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There's always a Code. You get a bunch of guys together, they start stealing shit and killing people, sooner or later, they're going to start talking about a Code. There's always a rationale; our Code makes us different, our Code binds us together, our Code makes us warriors. But what it comes down to is: don't screw me over. And if I even suspect I'm getting screwed, I'm gonna take you down fast.

Agent Stahl knows this. If anybody doubted she was going to want some payback after get her face smashed last week, "Capybara" goes a long way towards settling the doubts. She has her team raid the club and arrest Bobby's murder for Hefner; all well and good, they've got an eye-witness that can ID him as the shooter. But Stahl also picks up Opie, Donna, and their kids in the middle of the night in black sedans, pays off some of Opie's debt, and holds the whole family at a detention facility. It looks a lot like Opie and family are getting set up for Witness Protection, and that's exactly how Stahl wants it to look. She's starting to put the pressure on, and if that means putting a guy in danger from the people he trusts the most, I doubt she'll be losing much sleep.

On the slightly less terrifying side of things, Wendy's back home. We haven't seen her since "Seeds," and I was half-convinced she was gone for good; maybe we'd get a line or two of dialogue about her suiciding in rehab, or maybe she'd just wise-up and stay the hell away from Gemma. But here she is in Charming, clean and sober and riddled with guilt. She finds the locks at home have changed, and Abel's a lot bigger than she remembered; but she still gets to spend some time with him, and with Jax. Tara watches the reunited husband and wife with their baby, and there's something there that bothers her; more importantly, Gemma watches her watching. Rotten as Gemma was to Junkie-Wendy, she'd rather have the sober version around with Jax then have to deal with Tara. At least you can imagine Wendy committing to the club. So Gemma lets Wendy crash at home, and they talk about the future.


Really, though, Opie was the big focus. The scenes with Wendy were mostly just so you could breathe (although I kept expecting something bad to happen during her and Gemma's last conversation). The rest of it… Jax tries to find Opie after the raid, and each new piece of information he tracks down (ha! Unser's in jail!) makes things look worse for his friend. Tig and Clay start off half-convinced of Opie's guilt; I don't think either of them want to believe it's true, but I also think they're both cagey bastards who understand how bad Opie selling out would be. Hell, even Jax knows that. But for Jax, it's innocent till proven guilty, no matter how much he suspects. For Tig and Clay, life is safer the other way around.

While she has them detained, Stahl does her best to convince Opie and Donna to come to her side, but she doesn't have much luck. That's not surprising when it comes to Ope; his loyalty to the club is ironclad, which makes it all the sadder when you realize that loyalty stands a very good chance of getting him killed. But Donna standing tall was a surprise. Ahe's been edging away from Opie ever since he re-affirmed his commitment to Sam Crow, but the arrest, Stahl's lectures, and her and Opie's heart-to-heart, seem to have pushed her back to his side, stronger than ever. Maybe it had something to do with having to deal with Opie's mother, and realizing she desperately doesn't want to turn out the same way.

It all builds to a viciously tense closing in which there's no actual violence. After Opie and Donna get released, Opie immediately goes to the club to set the record straight. What he doesn't know is how thoroughly Stahl has screwed him. We do, though; we saw her giving Bobby her theory of how the shooting went down, only pretending it's all eye-witness testimony, which means Opie is the only person who could have given it. And we heard Stahl making sure that Opie's phone, truck, and house had been wired for sound. While Opie's making his case in the safe room, and saying he's all in with the Sons from here on out, Tig is searching his car and cell phone for bugs. He finds two.


It's ridiculous, but I half expected Opie to get his head blown off right there and then. It's been a while since I've been this wound up by a show–closest I can remember is a couple of moments from The Wire, like the end of the second season, when somebody walks… someplace. (No spoilers, but y'all know what I'm talking about, right?) When Clay and Tig discuss what to do next–Opie needs to get dead, and they both need deniability–some of the tension eases off, because you realize that there won't be any killing till next week at least. But man, it's gonna be bad. It's the Code again, and that means blood. I really like Opie, too. If something happens to him; and if Jax finds out who did it, and then he finds out that Opie wasn't the witness; there's going to be some serious hell to pay.

Grade: A

Stray Observations:

—Stahl has Hale kicked off her case, and out of the building. Poor dope.

—Tom Everett Scott has a brief scene as Rosen, the club lawyer. It was almost enough to make up for the fact that I saw An American Werewolf In Paris in theaters. Almost


—Clay's "I've seen this shit before" made me wonder. You think it might have anything to do with what happened to Jax's dad?

—Had to Google the title. A capybara is a giant, gentle—rat.