Stalkers and skeletons–it's like junior year Halloween all over again. "Old Bones"' two major plotlines are introduced at the start; picking up where "AK-51" left off last week, we see Jax giving Tara a lift home with Kohn following a thoroughly indiscreet half a mile behind, and we also see some Water and Power guys digging up human remains just off the main drag. No matter how many times Tara throws him off, Kohn isn't going away quietly, and no matter how neatly Clay and Gemma think they've covered their tracks, nothing stays buried for long. In Charming, the past isn't dead. It's not even past.
Jax gets pissed when he learns his on-again-off-again is being stalked and decides to confront the problem directly. As always, it's nice to see him have an actual emotion; he's generally stuck in shades between bemusement and irritation, and while it makes sense dramatically that he's not entirely engaged (the more Jax thinks he knows what's going on, the more it'll matter when he finds out he doesn't), that even-temper gets boring. Seeing him go to town on Kohn's car, and ultimately throw Kohn through a plate glass window, made him interesting.
Also interesting was the way he immediately went to Hale after Tara told him the truth. In a weird way, I'm rooting for Hale; most shows with anti-heroes, I find myself dreading the moment the other shoe drops and the law closes in, but on Sons, I actually wouldn't mind it if Sam Crow got theirs. In a different story, Hale could easily be the hero–he's stuck on his own with a boss who's actively undermining his biggest case, and he has the integrity to respect the people he's chasing even while he works to lock them away. Even more telling, those people respect him too; maybe not Clay, but Jax obviously thinks he's decent, and even Gemma had a few kind words for him last week.
By the end of this ep, Kohn has been escorted out of town. It makes sense; there's only so long a guy can pretend to be working for the government while he follows an ex-lover and pisses in the baby room of a lead suspect. I doubt he's gone for good, as there's too much potential in the character to let Jax and Tara off this easily. Kohn is a loathsome sonofabitch, but the show does a good job of making him sincere; his impassioned plea to Stahl and Hale to protect Tara from the Anarchy boys made a certain kind of sense, even if it was largely bullshit. Kohn hasn't tipped entirely into obvious psychopath, and that makes him more dangerous.
As for the skeletons: there are three bodies, two of them Mayans, and one of them Lowell Harlan, Sr, Teller-Morrow's former mechanic and father of Lowell, Jr, ex-junkie and current engine fixing guy for the garage. Clay tries to hide dead Lowell from Jax, and when Jax finds out anyway, gives him a line about the Mayans moving in heavy and taking out anyone who was connected to the club. Jax seems to buy it, but Lowell, Jr, doesn't; after hearing the news, he goes back on the drugs. Clay tracks him down and tells him the truth, or at least part of it; Lowell, Sr. was a junkie, too, and he was killed by Sam Crow to keep him from spilling club secrets. For a moment, it looks like Lowell, Jr. is going to be following in his dad's buried-by-the-side-of-the-road footsteps, but Clay has a change of heart. It's a decent resolution with strong performances that nevertheless came off as a little shortchanged. The moment where Clay puts a pillow against Lowell, Jr.'s head to silence a shot was intense, but the relief when you find the guy whimpering in the back of Clay's van later on wasn't nearly as strong.
While all the serious stuff is going down, Half-Sack gets entered in a bare knuckle brawl tournament; he has the skills, and after some heavy training, manages to make it to the final round. That's when he finds out that the Sons need him to take a dive–they're still trying to scrounge up the $150,000, and by betting heavily against HS, they've got a chance to make it back in one fell swoop. It nearly works, too, until HS sees Cherry hugging Clay in the stands; it's an innocent gesture (Clay just told Cherry he's cool if she sticks around and becomes HS's old lady), but HS flips out and wins the fight. Which puts him 35K in the club's debt, but hey, at least he finally gets the girl.
"Old Bones" felt mostly like set-up. Between Half-Sack and Jax we got some decent fights, but the bare knuckle con was a little too Honeymooners, and as satisfying as Kohn's beat-down was, it didn't feel like anything had resolved. Given that Sons has already been renewed, I'm wondering how much of Gemma and Clay's machinations will fall apart this season; hopefully we'll get something more than the meaningful glances and veiled comments we've been living off so far.
--Funny how Clay tested Cherry's resolve with the least physically attractive member of Sam Crow. (Although Bobby is awesome, no question.)
--I did not know what "cold-packing" meant. Now I do.
--Clay on loyalty: "I don't want you losing true north."