'Sons of Anarchy' - 'Small World': Clay is not out of play

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CANCEL
ron-perlman-sons-of-anarchy-stolen-huffy.jpgThe carnage keeps piling up on "Sons of Anarchy": Tuesday's (Oct. 16) episode featured four more deaths -- one from out of nowhere, two delivering on a promise and one that was expected after what happened last week.

(Spoilers for "Small World" coming right up.)

The expected one -- Sheriff Eli's wife, Rita, dies of the bullet wound she suffered in the latest Charming home invasion -- is probably the one that will affect SAMCRO the most going forward, because it leads to (finally) revealing who's been behind the string of crimes.

We've known since the beginning of the season that Frankie Diamonds and the erstwhile Nomads have been pulling the jobs. The episode's final scene shows that Clay's the one giving orders -- and that he's not happy with what went down with Rita.

PICS: 'Sons of Anarchy' Season 5

The invasions seem to be a mix of score-settling (Unser), Clay getting something out of it (the theft of John Teller's papers) and an attempt to unseat Jax from his leadership of the club (Rita). However it all adds up, Clay is sowing seeds to get himself back in charge -- even going so far as to fake still needing the oxygen tank so the rest of the club doesn't see him as a threat.

Jax, meanwhile, seems to be playing right into Clay's hands, getting narrow approval at the table to mule more drugs for the cartel and Damon Pope in exchange for Pope kicking the club (and Jax personally) some more cash. Pope notes that the risk for SAMCRO is the same -- 30 kilos and 60 kilos yield the same trafficking charge -- but the reward is greater. That's all fine, but taking on the extra weight at the exact moment that a grief-stricken and enraged Eli is vowing to come after the club even harder feels like tremendously bad timing on Jax's part.

As for the other deaths:

As a show of good faith, Pope supplies the address of the prison guard Jax promised to kill in the wake of Opie's death. He makes good on the promise in a pitch-black sequence where we see Jax maybe as violent as he's ever been, caving the guard's skull in with a snow globe (an incredibly sturdy one, incidentally) while its tinkly music plays. It's a show of emotion from Jax a lot of us have been waiting for since Opie died, and it comes out in the most disturbing way. Equally unsettling was Tig's almost casual execution of the guard's wife, demonstrating how far around the bend he's gone since Pope killed his daughter.

As for Carla, well, her suicide was shocking in that it wasn't really foreshadowed. Given how little we knew about the character -- and the fact that she went from Nero's slightly annoyed right-hand woman to entirely unhinged in the space of a few weeks -- her death also made the least impact. Her entire back story came via Nero's "she went off her meds" explanation to Gemma after she had done the deed.

"Small World" also saw "SOA" creator Kurt Sutter return on-screen as Otto, who made a lewd threat to Tara when she tried to get him to flip change his testimony in the RICO case. The case itself is still a sword over SAMCRO's head, and Tara got another lesson in the perils of being the president's old lady, but not much was sorted out. We'll be curious to see if Tara makes another run at Otto or if Jax finds out what he said to her and goes after Otto himself.

Finally: Joel McHale! The "Community" star has said in interviews that he's playing a con man, but his appearance here amounts to little more than a cameo (he's in at least one more episode). Still, you have to figure that A) his approaching Gemma wasn't random and B) it probably will not mean good things for either party.

What did you think of "Sons of Anarchy" this week?
Photo/Video credit: FX