When the last episode of "Sons of Anarchy" episode, "The Mad King," ended, something unthinkable happened. The clubhouse that serves as SAMCRO's home, and a sign of true safety on the show, was bombed by the Irish after Jax ( Charlie Hunnam) made moves to get the club out of selling guns.
"Salvage" opens up not long after, as Jax and Chibs ( Tommy Flanagan) walk through what's left of the building. One of the most startling moments is the realization that the jury table, with the giant carved reaper, looks destroyed. Finally, Jax begins to realize what his decisions are doing to the club he loves so dearly. "I did this," he tells Chibs.
Still, there's work to be done. Chibs finds the presidential gavel among the rubble and tells Jax that they can still fix the club. It was a touching moment between the two, and one that needed to happen after they were at odds in "The Mad King."
The next step for the Sons is to gather all the charters in the region. Jax is ready to move the entire club out of businesses that bring them nothing but trouble and even offers SAMCRO's help to the other charters to help them earn legitimately. The meeting also sets the stage for the reunion of Jax and Bobby ( Mark Boone Junior) fans have been waiting for.
In many ways, Bobby is Jax's conscience. He's always been the voice in Jax's head, pointing him in the right direction. When the president continued to stray though, Bobby did the only thing he thought was good for the club, separate himself. Now he's back to open a nomad chapter, or so Jax thinks.
It turns out Bobby has actually been out recruiting for SAMCRO, finding brothers to transfer to Charming. Seeing as the herd is really thin, this is something Jax needs to help the club find its way once again. "I love this club," Bobby says, "and I love you."
Jax and the Sons also set terms with the Irish on finally getting them out of guns, once and for all. The plan is to move forward with Clay being the firearm connection, but the Irish are forcing the MC to facilitate that transaction. Even as they end their relationship, the Irish strongly point out who's really in charge. It doesn't seem like it'll end there, though. With so much unsettled business between the club and the Kings, a war is practically inevitable.
The law is another worry for SAMCRO. The good news is Sheriff Roosevelt ( Rockmond Dunbar) and District Attorney Tyne Patterson ( CCH Pounder) know exactly what kind of person Toric ( Donal Logue) was before he died, thanks to Gemma ( Katey Sagal) shedding a little light on his setting up Otto ( Kurt Sutter) to be repeatedly raped in prison.
When they finally get around to checking out his motel room, they come across the cleaned up murder scene, which will clear Nero ( Jimmy Smits) in the death of one of his escorts. They also find Toric's extensive collections of both guns and drugs.
That doesn't keep the club out of bomb trouble, though. The test results are pending, but everyone knows exactly what happened to the clubhouse.
Patterson is also still set on hanging the school shooting on the Sons with or without Nero. Her next plan to get into the club is by turning up the heat on Tara ( Maggie Siff). She offers her immunity in exchange for proof of a connection to guns.
While Tara is planning to divorce Jax and get her kids away from Charming, she refuses to rat on him. That's when something weird happens. Patterson disappears into a bathroom, takes off her hair, which it turns out was a wig, to reveal braids, and says "Time to go hood, sister." She then informs Tara that her trial is moving up and that she'll be prosecuting it personally. Please let her have dueling personalities.
Tara is coming to terms with the fact she's likely headed to prison. With that in mind, she's going even further with her plan to hand over custody of her children to Wendy ( Drea de Matteo). She lets Unser ( Dayton Callie) is on the whole plan so he can help her out. Gemma notices the two of them are getting closer and seems just a little jealous. Wait until she realizes exactly what Tara is up to.
Gemma was also around for the return of Venus Van Dam. That's right, Walton Goggins returned to "Sons of Anarchy" as the transgender escort Tig ( Kim Coates) had a certain affection for. Venus has seen better days and appears a little roughed up. Gemma gets a bit of her back story and also comforts her. It will be interesting to see where that goes. Gemma needs an ally, since both Wendy and Unser are Tara's buddies now. Hopefully Goggins sticks around for a few episodes. If the audience is lucky, Tig will find out.
While there was still plenty to worry about regarding the club's future, this is one of the first episodes in a long time that didn't end with dead bodies or something terrible happening. It's allowed for a bit of a breather, after everything that's happened in Season 6.
There was even some good old club action, as SAMCRO got pulled over while heading to meet the other charters. Cops tried to impound their bikes, which seemed like an obvious scam. They cuffed Juice ( Theo Rossi) to his bike and shooting out the tires. Naturally, he responded by headbutting the officer. After a scuffle, Juice got free and the club rode away, while Juice took one of the police bikes.
What happened next defies all reason, as Juice made a jump from the motorcycle to to a moving van. He was a flat out action hero in that moment, even if it meant his bike got taken by cops.
Once the Sons confirmed that the cops were indeed dirty and running a scam, it became time to pay a visit to the friendly, neighborhood chop shop and get Juice's Harley back.
Unfortunately, by the time they got there it was already in pieces. Luckily, the chop shop also stole some bikes, so Juice got to ride away on a brand new motorcycle. It'll need a pain job though, glittery gold doesn't really scream "outlaw motorcycle club."
What did you think of "Salvage"? Did you enjoy the more easy-going pace after the high levels of trauma in recent episodes? Nothing stays good forever, but it's nice to get a bit of a reprieve now and then.
Photo/Video credit: FX