Literary Cameo (Season 3, Episode 3: Caregiver)
The Moment: While visiting her elderly father Nate, Gemma and Tara wind up accidentally killing his caretaker, Amelia (well, technically she knifes herself) and have to call in a cleaner. Cue: Stephen King, in full-on biker garb as a creepy clean-up guy who disposes of the body.
Why It’s Great: The name of King’s on-screen cleaner is Bachman, a cute reference to his real life pseudonym Richard Bachman.
Bad Grandma (Season 5, Episode 7: Toads Wild Ride)
The Moment: Seizing the opportunity to spend time with her grandkids, Abel and Thomas, Gemma drives them home heavily under the influence. A night chuffing away at the weed clouds her judgment and she crashes her car.
Why It’s Great: The cliffhanger - will Abel survive? - was a fantastic story tool to drive a much-needed wedge between Jax and his mom. Plus, it was about time someone on the show dealt with all the substance abuse twinned with babysitting!
Otto Kills The Nurse (Season 5, Episode 10: "Crucifixed")
The Moment: Oh, Otto. The club member whose long-suffering stint inside has seen him lose his eyesight, his tongue and his sanity. To make it up to the club after he sells them out, he manipulates Tara into bringing him a gold cross... which he uses to stab a nurse repeatedly in the neck.
Why It’s Great: Yes, it’s incredibly violent but there’s no way he can testify against the club on the RICO case now. A prime example of the club’s logic.
Gem's Attack (Season 2, Episode 1: "Albification")
The Moment: Charming’s newest rivals, the white supremacists led by Ethan Zobelle (Adam Arkin) and AJ Weston (Henry Rollins) opt to make their mark on the MC not by attacking them. But by attacking Gemma. In a truly abhorrent scene, Gemma is tricked into helping a woman with a broken-down car and kidnapped. When she awakes in a dismal warehouse tied up, she is subjected to a horrific gang rape.
Why It’s Great: The content of the scene is of course, despicable, but it’s Gemma’s unrelenting strength afterwards that’s worth the mention. She’s an even bigger badass than the Sons; she keeps the whole incident to herself - which was not what Zobelle wanted at all.
Galen Murders The Prospects (Season 6, Episode 4: Wolfsangel)
The Moment: Jax has made it clear: the club wants to stop running guns in Northern California. Galen O’Shay (Timothy V. Murphy) and the IRA don’t give a monkeys - they want the Sons to maintain the relationship so they can rake in the cash. When Jax puts his foot down and tells Galen to keep his hands off his club, Galen retaliates in the most frightful way. He shoots two of the prospects at point blank range, chops their bodies into pieces and leaves their hands on the back of their kuttes.
Why It’s Great: A gruesome response to Jax’s ultimatum, it spurs the Sons on to toughen up and take out Galen.
Burning Up (Season 5, Episode 1: Sovereign)
The Moment: A bloody season opener following on from the repercussions of Tig’s crazed killing spree the previous year. This act of revenge is served up by Oakland gangbanger Damon Pope (Harold Perrineau), after Tig mowed down his daughter. An eye for an eye has never been more chilling. Pope forces Tig to watch his daughter get burned alive, the sounds of her screams and his are utterly disturbing.
Why It’s Great: It's a fantastic introduction to the payback tactics of Pope, a man who would come to be one of the Son’s most hated enemies.
A Walk In The Park (Season 6, Episode 13: A Mothers Work)
The Moment: Freedom was in her grasp. Tara had the boys, the assurances of the DA and a clubless future to look forward to. Until Jax tracks her down at a local park as she’s about to close a witness protection deal. Chibs (Tommy Flanagan) and Juice take Abel and Thomas while Jax orders his wife to take a seat...
Why It’s Great: Maggie Siff’s phenomenal performance in this scene warranted an Emmy. Frightened, vulnerable and aware that she’s likely to be murdered, she still puts her sons first. But it’s Jax’s response that pulls the rug - he doesn’t want to hurt her. He agrees that she should take the boys and raise them away from the club.
Clay's Hit On Tara (Season 4, Episode 10: Hands)
The Moment: When Clay learns that Tara is aware of his involvement in John Teller’s death, he seeks to take her out. Recruiting a bunch of thugs to snatch her into an unmarked van, their sloppy techniques don’t exactly get the job done. While Tara screams and shouts, Jax chases down the vehicle and rescues his paramour. Sadly, not before her hand is crushed in the sliding door.
Why It’s Great: Plotting an elaborate hit on his stepson’s old lady while the beefcake stepson was present? A poor choice on Clay’s part - a hint at his downfall to come.
Opie's Revenge (Season 4, Episode 12: "Burnt and Purged Away")
The Moment: Opie’s (Ryan Hurst) gotta lotta things to avenge. One of those was his father Piney’s death. The discovery that his long-trusted friend and MC brother, Clay, was responsible fuels his burning desire for closure. In the inevitable showdown, he delivers a non-fatal bullet to Clay’s shoulder.
Why It’s Great: Finally, Clay gets some of what he deserves for his complete lack of conscience. Offing people left, right and centre as if humans are expendable was bound to catch up with him.
Gemma's Confession (Season 2, Episode 10: Balm)
The Moment: After nearly an entire season of keeping the details of her rape quiet, Gemma tells Jax and Clay.
Why It’s Great: Gem suffered in silence for the benefit of the club, never spilling the atrocious truth which would’ve achieved exactly what Zobella and his crew wanted: to divide the Sons. Her admission scene is an understated reveal into the emotional mechanics of Samcro, as Clay and Jax put their differences aside.