Sons of Anarchy
Sons of Anarchy

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"Balm" is the tenth episode of the second season of the FX original series Sons of Anarchy, and the series' twenty-third episode overall.


Agent Stahl takes notice at the handsome profits SAMCRO is reaping from the repo business. Meanwhile, the Jax-Clay standoff forces Gemma to make a difficult decision.


In the SAMCRO clubhouse Clay says Nomad president Quinn will accept Jax’s transfer; the Sons must vote unanimously to “release” him. The mood in the room is somber. Clay tells Opie, Bobby, and the others that he didn’t burn Caracara; if Jax thinks he did, there’s “no reason to keep him around.” Jax shows up at Piney’s cabin, and tells the old man about his transfer and the vote. Piney is pissed; he thinks Jax is abandoning the MC. He says Jax needs to stick around if only to take over when Clay’s “hands freeze up”; Jax says he needs to get away from Clay before someone ends up dead.

The brothers gather for Chib’s release from the hospital; the rowdy reunion attracts Margaret Murphy’s attention. Chibs rides shotgun in the SOA van as Half Sack drives; Jax, Bobby, and Happy ride ahead on their Harleys. The prospect brings Chibs up to speed on everything that’s been happening. An irate Chibs pulls his gun, and tells Sack to “take a left”: the van turns. Jax sees the detour, and follows. Chibs enters the Galt Army/Navy Store. With his gun pointed at Edmond’s head, Chibs asks why the Irish are selling guns to the guys who blew him up (Zobelle); meanwhile, Agent Stahl and other ATF agents listen in. Cameron Hayes enters the surplus store, his shotgun pointed at Chibs; the standoff ends with the entrance of another man (Jimmy O’). Clearly there is history between Jimmy and Chibs. Jax arrives. After exchanging pleasantries with the IRA boss, Jax convinces Chibs to withdraw. From the ATF listening post, Stahl plans her next move. Back at the SAMCRO compound Gemma hands a repo list to Opie and Half Sack. Jax gets a text message; he arrives home to find Stahl sitting in his living room. After he spills the beans (surprising Tara) with news of his transfer, she again asks Jax to give up the Irish; again he refuses. Jax and Tara discuss his transfer; the recent turn of events is cause for concern.

At the Wahewa Reservation‏‎, Opie and Sack repossess an old SUV. An Indian woman rushes out to stop them; she says the vehicle is loaded up with the beads and other weaving materials she uses to make money. Opie is apologetic, but nonetheless continues the repo. At the T-M garage Chibs gets a phone call while Opie and Half Sack look through the boxes of ‘beads’. They are surprised to discover the boxes are full of homemade (but high-quality) 9mm ammunition. They tell Clay. The guys watch as Chibs drives away in the SOA van. Tara breaks the news of Jax’s transfer to Gemma. Gemma doesn’t like it; it will leave Jax alone and unprotected. As Chibs drives, the van is intercepted by several ATF vehicles. Stahl approaches. She says she knows about all the things Jimmy O’ has done to him; including stealing his wife (Fiona) and daughter (Kerrianne), and permanently scarring his face; she asks him to roll on his ex-boss. Chibs refuses; Stahl slips her business card into his pocket.

Jax and Gemma talk; she says going Nomad is a bad idea. She admits to knowing about Jax reading JT’s manuscript; she warns that his father (as much as she loved him) was a very complicated man (like Jax is). She says JT’s “complications” were what killed him: “he hated his life and let the road take it.” She doesn’t want her son to suffer the same fate. He listens intently. She tells him to read page 449 of the manuscript. Chibs arrives at an Irish pub to meet Fiona. He is disturbed to find Jimmy there too. The men talk. Jimmy says Cameron’s decision to sell guns to Zobelle instead of SAMCRO was a mistake; he wants Chibs to set up a meeting with Clay to re-establish their gun pipeline. Chibs refuses; Jimmy coldly threatens Kerrianne’s safety if he doesn’t cooperate.

At the Indian Reservation, Clay, Tig, Opie, and Half Sack return and talk to the Indian woman’s son (Ferdinand) about her “beads”; Clay wants to make a deal to move the ammo. Ferdinand agrees. Jax and Bobby talk. Bobby doesn’t think Clay sabotaged Caracara; he suggests talking to Unser to get the results of the arson investigation. Tara arrives at St. Thomas. Margaret accuses her of coaching Chibs to feign critical symptoms in order to circumvent his insurance issues. Tara denies it. Margaret tells the doctor her hospital privileges have been suspended pending a hearing. Ferdinand shows Clay their ammo operation; he agrees to supply the Sons with rounds for their AK-47s. An Indian elder insists the Sons also distribute their psychedelic mushrooms. Clay tells Half Sack and (‘shroom aficionado) Tig to sample the quality of the fungi.

Chibs meets up with Stahl. He says he is willing to help her get Jimmy, but she needs to protect Fiona and Kerrianne from IRA reprisal. She agrees. She says she’ll need him to show some “good faith” first. He gives her the location of the IRA safe house. Jax reads page 449 of his father’s manuscript. The passage details JT’s thoughts about whether or not to go Nomad himself; he thinks his departure could either cure the club or kill it. Ultimately JT decided to stay: the only way to hold up the club was to “suffer under the weight of it.” Laroy meets with Clay to test the new ammo; he’ll take it. Clay asks about the “dry goods”; Laroy needs proof of the mushrooms’ potency. He sees Tig and Sack, who are both tripping heavily; Laroy says they have a deal. Opie gets back to his house. Lyla is there; they make love for the first time.

Jax meets with Unser. The Chief says the forensics point to the fire being started by a crew of guys; he thinks Zobelle, not Clay, is probably to blame. Jax approaches Clay; he swallows his pride, and apologizes for the arson accusation. He asks if Clay still wants him gone from SAMCRO; Clay says he does. Jax hides his pain with a nod, and walks away. Gemma watches through her office window as both her family and her MC are being pulled apart. Gemma tells Unser the club is going to need his help: he will need to protect them from themselves after she does what she has to do. She kisses him on the cheek; he understands. In the SAMCRO chapel the guys meet for the vote; Clay reminds everyone that the result must be unanimous. Jax says his leaving is “the best thing for Sam Crow.” They vote: it’s unanimous, though some are less enthusiastic than others to see Jax go. The vote done, Jax removes the VP and Redwood charter patches from his cut.

Stahl and the ATF raid the IRA safe house, and capture Edmond Hayes. Tara waits for Jax outside the clubhouse; she says she has some “vacation time” coming, and suggests they take a road trip. He agrees. Gemma comes out of her office, and says she needs to talk to them. She tells them to meet at her house. Agent Stahl tells Hayes she wants Jimmy O’. She threatens to seize the guns and arrest him, and then leak a rumor that he’s a rat (the same ruse she used so effectively to divide Opie and SAMCRO); after she releases him, Jimmy will think the rumor is true and “push the button” on him. Edmond is scared. He says he can’t tie anything to Jimmy… but his father can. Jax and Tara wait at Gemma’s house; Gemma arrives with Clay. Both Jax and Clay are surprised to see each other. Clay puts Jax’s patches on the counter by the door. Gemma tells them all to sit. Tara knows what is about to come; the men are confused. Gemma begins to tell her husband and son about the night of Bobby’s party. At the Indian Reservation, Tig’s trip is going bad as he repeatedly sobs “I’m so sorry” while clutching a small Kachina doll to his face. Gemma continues her story; slowly the men begin to figure out where it is headed. She tells them about Weston, and the repeated gang rape; and about his warning to Clay to stop selling guns to “color” or “they’ll find her and do this again.” The men process the news: rage wrestles sorrow. Near tears, Jax kisses his mother’s hands. He places a supportive hand on Clay’s shoulder; Clay reciprocates. It is a simple but powerful gesture. Clay cradles his wife’s face in his hands, unsure what to say. As Jax and Tara leave, he stops at the doorway and reclaims his patches from the counter.


Main Cast[]

Supporting Cast[]

Special guest stars

Guest stars


Notable Quotes[]

Jax: Chibs, come on. Let's get out of here.
Chibs: You... are not my VP anymore. Nomad.

John Teller: I found myself lost in my own club. I trusted few, feared most. Nomad offered escape and exile. I didn't know if leaving would cure or kill this thing we created. I didn't know if it was an act of strength or cowardice. I didn't know, so I stayed. I stayed because, in the end, the only way I could hold this up was to suffer under the weight of it.

Jax: You got a warrant?
Stahl: Do you see me searching?
Jax: I got nothing to say to you.

Half-Sack: Good. I can feel it. It wants to cure me. It's cool and warm at the same time. It's coorm!

Church meetings[]

Clay: You know what's on the table. Nomad charter accepted Jax. Redwood has to vote to release. You wanna say anything?

Jax: This is the best thing for SAMCRO.

Clay: Yea. I got Tig's proxy, it's a yea.

Jax: Yea.

Bobby: Juice's proxy a yea. Me, yea.

(Piney stands up): Yea. (leaves room)

Opie: Yea. (silence)

Clay: Chibs.

Chibs: This what you want, Jackie boy? For real?

(Jax nods)

Chibs: Jesus. Yea.

Clay: Unanimous. (hits gavel) You're free to transfer.

Jax: I'll let Quinn know. (takes off his cut and removes SAMCRO patches)


  • Balm is a healing compound. Combined with S2E07 "Gilead" title, the 'Balm of Gilead', a Bible reference in Genesis, to a balm carried from Gilead.
    • This could possibly be a reference to the "healing" of the relationship between Jax and Clay as they finally put aside their differences.
  • p.449 is, perhaps coincidently, widely known within the 12 Step Community as the "Acceptance Passage" in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd ed.
  • Unser's ribbon stack from his time in the Marine Corps is upside down and incomplete.

Featured Music[]

  • The Brought Low - "There's a Light"
  • Bob Neuwirth - "The Places I Can't Afford to Go"
  • Six Organs of Admittance - "Attar"
  • The Tossers - "Going Away"
  • All Pointz West - "Novocaine"
  • The Georgettes - "Down By the River"
  • Patty Griffin - "Mary"
SAMCROpedia has 3 images related to Balm.