Prashant Gupta/FX
Mandi Bierly
November 06, 2012 AT 12:00 PM EST

There’s something so satisfying about the “Previously on” intro being this long. It reminds us how deep we are into this story and puts the proper amount of weight back on our shoulders. If you haven’t watched this week’s Sons of Anarchy, stop reading now. Let’s break it down by story line:

• Gemma and Nero can have a good time together, even in a cemetery: It’s beautiful but cruel, making us like Nero this much and then forcing Gemma to choose between him and Clay. “We seein’ each other?” Gemma asked Nero. “Yeah… I see you, Gemma,” he said. Jimmy Smits’ delivery was disarmingly sincere. Even when he’s playing romantic or vulnerable, there’s always a strength there — you believe Gemma would be attracted to him. Nero asked Gemma to give him a ride to see his son, and though she knows she should keep her distance from him now that she’s on Operation Get Clay Black, she eventually did. They talked so openly and easily to each other in the playground, it’s hard to reconcile Gemma not telling him about her deal with Jax: the only way to get back into her son and grandchildren’s lives is for her to rekindle her romance with Clay so he starts sharing his secrets with her again. Is she afraid Nero won’t want her if she’s sleeping with Clay, or that he’d actually let her go because he, too, values family over everything?

Gemma and Nero then took Carla’s ashes to the cemetery.

Gemma: Well, here’s Carla.

Nero: Thanks… Damn, it all comes down to this, huh?

Gemma: Come in cryin’, go out in Tupperware.

Nero: [Chuckles] You make me laugh, Gemma.

Nero said Carla always wanted to be buried in a fancy mausoleum, so after he stole some flowers off a nearby grave, he and Gemma broke into one. Gemma never did that as a kid? “No, I’m not Tig… Nevermind,” she said. Ha. The way she kicked in the door made me wonder what she had broken into during her youth. They sat down inside, for a second. “Alright, this s—‘s creepin’ me out. Can we dump little sister, please?” Gemma said. Nero put Carla’s ashes in the vase along with the new flowers. “Please don’t let that ever be me,” he said. They walked out holding hands. It was oddly romantic.

Later, Gemma went to see Jax and Tara to return their house key. She told Jax she can count on one hand the times she’s been really happy: With Jax and his brother, with Abel and Thomas. She likes Nero, she said. She hasn’t felt light in a long time. If she goes back to Clay, she can’t do both. She needed Tara to tell her that Jax’s deal is real. Tara told Gemma that if she helps Jax get what he needs from Clay, she can have the house key back and the family that goes with it. After what Tara did with Otto for the cause (more on that later), it makes sense that she wouldn’t feel horrible about Gemma having to bed Clay again. (And yes, Gemma did nearly kill Tara’s boys.) Jax asked Gemma if she was good, and she admitted she wasn’t. I’m glad she’s not pretending, for Jax’s sake, that what he’s asking her to do is okay.

Gemma went to see Nero, presumably to break things off, but after seeing that he bought (caged) birds for her, she didn’t. Nero asked what was going on. Instead of telling him the truth, Gemma said she was exhausted, needed to go home and soak in the tub, and sleep for a couple of days. They kissed, like he knew it’d be a while before he saw her again. “I’m here,” he said. Gemma didn’t go home — she went to Clay’s. She showed up with shots for his hands after the long ride we’ll be discussing next. He put down the gun he was holding when she came in — symbolic of him putting down his guard. “My hands missed you,” he said. The hands that used to touch her, the hands that beat her. And that wasn’t even the toughest scene to watch in the end montage…

NEXT: Frankie goes bye-bye, is Juice next?

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