Sons of Anarchy Review: "Gilead"

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It was fitting that much of this week's episode took place in prison, as SAMCRO is beginning to realize just how trapped they are.

A old nemesis made her return and we started to see the possible return of one of our favorite characters. Read the full recap now; let's discuss what worked and didn't work tonight on Sons of Anarchy.
What Really Worked
Stahl's return. The show seamlessly brought back an old favorite, the vicious Agent Stahl. She is the perfect nemesis for SAMCRO, and though she was bested by them last season, she made her triumphant return to Charming. She bared her teeth and sunk her fangs deep into the club, picking up on the schism between Clay and Jax right away and bringing the feud that has simmered all season to a boiling point in the form of a prison brawl. It looks like Stahl finally has the upper hand.
What Really, Really Worked

Or does she? After a bit of back-and-forth between Stahl and Jax, with Stahl trying to use Jax's son and Tara to get Jax to play ball, he seems to gain the upper hand, noting that her investigation into the IRA must be desperate if she needs the club's help. As if that wasn't enough, as Stahl gets up to leave, Jax casually asks her, "You ever hear from Gome?" Stahl's face freezes in horror; Jax has hit a nerve by bringing up the agent that Stahl now realizes must be dead, and drives the blade home. "Being a fed can be dangerous."

In Prison Courtyard

What Worked
Opie's slow thaw. This tough guy routine has gone on for too long in our opinion. When Opie was with Jax, he seemed like a perfect #2 for the club. Since his wife's death, he's been a lost man, turning his back on his kids, on Jax, and embracing the darker side of the club. Maybe his little chat about kids with Lyla, and the subsequent follow-up with Tara, are signs that the old Opie is trying to break through.
What Didn't Work
The girls' cold shoulder. Gemma and Tara basically tore Lyla apart when she showed up to pick up Opie's kids, and would not let her leave with them. Just because she's a porn star? Please. Tara is a doctor who treats criminals on the side. Her boyfriend is the second-in-command of a criminal gang. Oh, and she killed a federal agent. And Gemma? She has more hatboxes filled with guns than we have hatboxes. Who are these two to judge anyone?

What Worked
Juice as the seductress. He even brought condoms to the fake tryst! Has anyone ever been more uncomfortable in prison? And yet he stood his ground, took one for the team (while thankfully not actually taking one for the team) and provided the episode's comedy relief. As Laroy's cousin's men stab Deon to death, Juice looks on and quips, "Guess he won't be needing the condoms?"
What Didn't Work
On the topic of comedy, was there a lamer line than Clay's "Can you hear me now?" remark upon getting the hidden cell phone from Laroy's boys. C'mon, Clay. You can do better than that. What's next, Titanic jokes?

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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