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We were hit hard last week with the school shooting. That's been very relevant, unfortunately, in the news recently, but it's not surprising that Kurt Sutter and his team dropped something so shocking on us in the season premiere. As this episode opens up, Nero's cousin, Arcadio, drops in on Nero at Gemma's house to tell him that it was his old lady's son that was the shooter, and that it was his gun that the boy used, a KG9 that the Sons had sold Nero's crew.
In county, Lee Toric offers Clay another deal, this time actually in writing. When Clay asks Lee why he's doing all this, Toric replies that it's retribution, plain and simple. Clay agrees to flipping on the club for everything Toric promises, but he won't sign anything until he sees Gemma and Jax, only so he can tell them to their faces that he's the one who turned on them.
Tara is released on bail, her hand wrapped up after she beat the hell out of the inmate in the last episode. She gives Lowen pads of paper filled with everything she can remember and asks Lowen if she'd started on the other paperwork. Tara seems visibly upset when she sees Jax outside the station. They don't say a word to each other as they drive away.
At the school, the site of the shooting, Toric meets with an ATF agent (guest star C. Thomas Howell). He tells Toric that four are dead, including three kids. A security guard shot Matthew, the shooter, twice in the head to put him down. Toric points out that he recognizes the gun as coming from the Sons.
At their home, Jax tells Tara that he has a meeting with the Irish to tell them that the club is moving away from the gun running business, that Jax's plan is to invest fully in Diosa. He also hasn't signed the guardianship papers yet, either. Jax tells her that after Opie, he can't just walk away from the club, rendering everything Opie did to protect Jax a waste. Tara reminds her husband that her trial is six weeks away, so it likely doesn't matter what he does.
Nero stops by to tell Jax about their connection to the shooting. Matthew's mom, Darby, is a former junkie, which makes Jax think that once she sobers up, she's going to want to find someone to blame. Jax decides that they need to get her out of town, and they settle on bringing her up to Piney's old cabin until they can sort it all out.
Back at the school, Toric catches up with the DA (guest star CCH Pounder) and tells her about the Sons' connection to the shooting. He informs the DA and the local police about the MC's gun business and their deal with the Biz Lats (Nero's crew). The DA is the only one with jurisdiction over the club, and Toric urges her to get involved.
Nero, Jax and a few of the Sons go to collect Darby and bring her to the cabin. Her being hesitant to go with the club is putting it lightly, going as far as shooting up for the first time in nine months to "escape" the situation. Nero knows that the cops will look his way if Darby disappears, but he knows it has to be done.
Gemma goes to visit Clay in prison. Clay tells his wife he knows why she did it, why she lied to Roosevelt to get Clay locked up. He tells her that he had to keep her distanced so she wouldn't set him straight like she always had, and if she wasn't in on anything, she'd have no reason to protect him. He claims that when it's all said and done, none of what's about to happen is going to fall on her. Now Gemma knows Clay made a deal, and she gets up and snaps at the viewing window, knowing someone is behind it watching, but not knowing it's Toric. She runs out and fights off the tears until she makes it to the bathroom. When she comes out, she sees Toric sitting on the bench, and she realizes that it's him who is protecting Clay in prison.
Jax heads to his meeting with Galen and the Irish. Galen doesn't believe a word of Jax's story about Clay getting angry and sloppy in killing Pope. Galen tells Jax that he and Clay had been in contact about Clay leaving the states and then continuing their partnership in the gun running, knowing Jax wanted out. Jax admits to wanting out, citing the school shooting as another reason to lay low. He tells Galen that the San Bernardino chapter will pick up the business, that nothing but the territory changes. Galen says he'll take it to the Kings, and that he's bringing in a big shipment of KG9s, hoping to sell them overpriced by capitalizing on the shooting. Jax isn't happy. He tells the prospects to load the guns into the warehouse and sit on them. Jax isn't trying to put any guns on the street after what just happened, and this makes Chibbs angry. Selling the guns makes money for the club, but Jax isn't having any of it right now.
Toric comes back to the prison to try and get Clay to sign his agreement. Clay still won't sign until he sees Jax also. The day ends with Jax not showing up, and then Toric forging Clay's signature on the agreement. Dirty, dirty cop.
Tara gets a visit from Lowen at her home. Tara gives Lowen a bunch of papers, most of them stating how unfit a parent Jax is for their boys should she have to go to prison. Lowen plans to wait until right before the trial to push the divorce through - wait, what? Tara is really serious about Jax, and Gemma by extension, not being the ones to look after her boys should anything happen to her.
Nero gets Darby and Arcadio to the cabin. Nero assures Darby that he plans to move her out of town, but once he leaves, she worries that the Sons plan on killing her. Gemma arrives at the cabin to tell Jax about Toric and his deal with Clay. Inside, Darby grabs one of the old rifles off the wall and tries to make a break for it. She fires a shot off in the cabin, and once she gets outside, she runs into Jax, who immediately pulls his gun on her. Arcadio pulls his gun on Jax, so Jax puts his gun away. Darby gets in Gemma's SUV and screams for Arcadio to get in. He begs her not to do it, but he gets in anyway. Nero warns Arcadio against it as well, and when he's just about in the front seat, Nero fires a shot and paints the windshield with Arcadio's brain matter. Darby jumps out of the car and tries to run. Jax chases her down, and just before he shoots her, Nero stops him.
Inside the cabin, the Sons have dragged Arcadio's body in and have tied Darby down to the bed. Jax and Juice prep some drugs for Darby, hoping to even her out after her crash. Juice shoots her up while she's still tied down, then puts a pillow over her head and suffocates her. After Nero discovers her dead body, he asks if Jax ordered that. Both Jax and Juice play the accidental OD card, saying that they did shoot her up, but maybe she had other stuff in her system as well. Jax looks Nero in the eye and tells him that he had nothing to do with Darby's death, who we find out had two other kids as well. Jax embraces Juice before leaving the cabin, and Juice does not look happy with himself, a culmination of all the terrible things he's had to do for Jax to earn his way back into the club.
Toric brings the forged statement to the DA. She's rightfully worried about Toric's past, but he spins it so it sounds like his troubled past helped him to be the best in his field. He tells the DA that he'll help her further her career with a win in this case against the Sons. She agrees to draft her own agreement for Clay to sign, and also agrees to extend Clay's protective custody in prison. Toric leaves his meeting with the DA and heads to Diosa. He finds a girl he fancies, and gives her his hotel room number. He also leaves his card with the hostess to give to Nero.
Jax returns home. Neither he nor Tara is honest about how their day went. They head to their bed and begin to have sex. Tara has the look on her face that she has no idea what she's doing in this situation, no idea why she's there, and we get the feeling that she wants nothing to do with this man anymore.