There was a myriad of major storyline possibilities set up at the end of ‘Poenitentia.’ We saw acts of betrayal and extreme duplicity, and, conversely, there were a few acts of kindness and even one tiny little ray of hope. But after Sons of Anarchy has shown season after season, almost nothing that takes place can be taken at face value. In fact, it happens in this very episode when Clay is granted a reprieve we later find out was organized to keep him alive so that Jax can deal with the Irish.
And again, of all the potential plots, schemes, and even character deaths that are hinted at while a cover of Sly and the Family Stone’s ‘Everyday People’ plays over yet another lengthy montage, the only real concern that comes to mind wasn’t wondering what these hints actually mean, but whether or not they’ll actually amount to something and lead to new and interesting storylines, or if they’ll all be undone at the last possible minute, so that things can return as close to the status quo as possible – sort of like how any discussion of the school shooting has all but faded into the background.
On one hand, it seems that Tara and Wendy are clearly up to something in regard to Jax and Gemma. Maybe they’re playing separate cons, or maybe they’re in cahoots with one another. At this point it’s hard to tell, but the episode could not have telegraphed the untraceable handgun Gemma gave Wendy any more than if the audience had been given the script for the next ten episodes. And the lingering shot of her wiping away makeup intended to look like bruise was the show switching from a subtle wink to a screaming high five. Still, the specifics of what these two women have cooked up – again, whether it be separate or together – doesn’t really matter at the moment; it’s just nice to see them being active in their own storylines, rather than reacting to circumstances brought upon them by outside sources.
Similarly, the episode ends with what appears to be Tig literally staring death in the face – it’s just that death happens to come in the form of Damon Pope’s former right-hand man, August Marks. Tig gets sold out to Marks because the pornographer that he killed in the season premiere has family who are wiling to shoot up Peter Weller’s favorite breakfast joint as retribution and it winds up looking like it was one mistake too many for Mr. Trager. But there’s that tricky cut to black at the end of the scene that leaves it for the next episode to reveal his fate, which leaves plenty of room for Tig to make an escape of some kind or antoher.
Otherwise, ‘Poenitentia’ is primarily the Lee Toric Hour, as the semi-retired marshal has gone from an interesting and morally conflicted character to another serious complication hell bent on punishing SAMCRO by any means necessary, and in this case, if that means using the body of the call girl he just murdered, then so be it. The question, then, is whether or not anything Toric does will stick, or if he’ll just wind up being another guest star who gave the club a hard time.