Anyone who watches “Sons of Anarchy” is well aware of the path of destruction that creator Kurt Sutter left behind at the end of last season, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Season Three begins with the characters picking themselves up off the ground. Only a few days have passed since that disastrous chain of events, and Gemma is still on the lam after being set up by Agent Stahl for the death of Edmond Hayes. But now that Unser has returned to his duties Charming, Tig and a few of the Oregon-based Sons have taken Gemma to a rundown motel to hide out.

Clay has smartly refrained from telling her about Abel’s kidnapping, and it’s a good thing that he has or otherwise, she’d probably come racing back to help with the search. Of course, between trying to hotwire a car and stabbing its owner in the groin with a pocket knife, Gemma has already proved quite a handful for Tig, so he finally concedes to her request to visit her father (Hal Holbrook) when she reads that her mother has recently passed away in the newspaper. I’ll be curious to see where this particular storyline goes, because it doesn’t look like Gemma will be coming back to Charming anytime soon, and quite frankly, she’s already missed.


Tara is doing a pretty good job of filling in, however, and there was a really sweet moment between her and Clay where he told her that she was the best thing to happen to Jax. Though it’s possible that he was just being nice so she would cooperate and not name the Sons during her testimony to the FBI, Clay has always placed family first, and Tara is now a part of that family. And if you didn’t think that Tara was fully committed to Jax and the club before tonight, then she pretty much confirmed it by refusing to leave Charming despite Jax’s request, summing it up perfectly towards the end of the episode with the following speech: “We don’t know who we are until we’re connect to someone else. We’re just better human beings when we’re with the people we’re supposed to be with… I belong here.”

Tara even stood up to Stahl after being accused of lying during her testimony, calling her out at as a despicable human being and more or less threatening her to stay away from her family. But while Stahl didn’t seem too affected by Tara’s best Gemma impression, she looked positively terrified after Clay delivered a message of his own: “Anything happens to my grandson, I promise you, I’m going to shove a gun barrel up that bony ass of yours and I’m gonna blow your black heart out.” You have to hand it to him, though, because he’s right. While the Sons don’t exactly adhere the highest moral standards, Stahl’s web of lies has led to the deaths of several innocents and the kidnapping of baby Abel. Eventually, that’s all going to catch up to her, whether she ultimately confesses from a guilty conscience or someone else pulls the trigger. I’m betting on the latter.

Of course, the main thrust of this season is going to be all about finding baby Abel, and though it takes some time to pull Jax out of his drunken stupor/mourning, the club looks into a tip they received about a guy who made a fake passport for Cameron. The guy doesn’t know much, but he does confirm that Cameron is traveling under an alias and has a boat registered in that name at a local pier. But when SAMCRO find the boat, Cameron is long gone. In fact, he’s already in Belfast, Ireland and has taken refuge with a woman played by Paula Malcomson (Trixie on “Deadwood”), who we’ll soon learn has ties to both the IRA and the club.

With no new information to go on, the Sons head to Half-Sack’s funeral service to honor their fallen friend alongside some of his military buddies. He’s no longer a prospect, as seen by the patched cut lying on the coffin, although that was pretty much a foregone conclusion after he heroically tried to save Tara and Abel. Also in town for the service is Kozik (Kenny Johnson) from the Tacoma chapter, who approaches Clay about the possibility of transferring back to Charming. Bobby suggests that Tig will be the one to decide whether his request gets pushed through (all but confirming that we’re going to learn more about their history with one another), but Clay assures him it won’t be a problem. Here’s hoping he’s right, because I’d love to see Johnson become a full-time cast member.

Unfortunately, Half-Sack’s service is stained when some drive-by shooters zip by in a van, clipping Chucky in the arm, killing a young boy, and running over David Hale during their attempted escape. Jax goes absolutely ape shit on one of the shooters, beating his face to a pulp and essentially proving to his fellow Sons that he’s in this for the long haul. It looks like viewers will have to be as well, as this season is definitely going to be a slow burn, although you can already start to see where they’re headed. Along with dealing with Cameron, Jimmy O and the rest of the IRA, Agent Stahl will likely still be floating around ruining lives, and Jacob Hale’s run for mayor will almost certainly be built around destroying the Sons. The only question is: will the people of Charming turn against SAMCRO as well?