The body count keeps rising this season on "Sons of Anarchy" and "Small World" was full of "collateral damage."
 
The hour's four violent deaths provide a pretty decent overview of the episode, so let's look at each one:
 
 
Rita Roosevelt
 
The injuries Rita sustained during the home invasion attack in last week's episode prove fatal, and she passes away before the opening credits roll. This sends Sheriff Roosevelt gunning straight for the club, as he holds them responsible either directly or indirectly (if the perps are working under Damon Pope's orders). But Pope continues to tell Jax that he has nothing to do with it, and in the closing moments we discover exactly what some fans have been suspecting: Clay is the man calling the shots while the new members of SAMCRO carry out the home invasions. And he's pissed about Rita's death. Clay obviously wanted to rattle the Sheriff's cage by targeting his wife but her death has given everyone from Jax and Pope to Roosevelt and Unser even more motivation to find out what's really going on.
 
I'm a little concerned this is the slow burn of a season long arc involving Clay's return to power, but I'm hoping we'll get some twists to keep it unpredictable. We know Clay is healthier than he's been letting on -- he lied to Juice, and everyone else, about the doctor's prognosis -- and he's starting to move in on Gemma again. But why would we want to go back to watching that? We've been down that road before. In order to keep Clay a viable character on the show, he needs to have another angle than simply reclaiming his throne and his lady. We'll see if that turns out to be the case...
 
 
Carla
 
After breaking into Gemma's home and forcing her into bed with Nero at gunpoint, Carla reveals her end game and commits suicide with a bullet in the head. It's only then that we find out she was Nero's half-sister, had severe mental health problems and was pretty much in love with him. The question is whether this brings Gemma and Nero closer together or drives another wedge in their relationship. Gemma had to call Clay to help with Carla's body since Unser wasn't picking up his phone. So far everyone's behaving themselves -- as evidenced by Clay and Nero's conversation later in Gemma's house -- but how long can that last?
 
 
Sergeant Macky and his wife
 
This one was inevitable, but "Sons" held off on delivering it by giving us a couple of episodes between Opie's death and Jax getting his revenge on the solitary guard who carried out Pope's orders. This wasn't one of those cathartic vengeance killings where the hero punishes a bad guy. Macky seemed pretty scummy, but it was Pope who actually demanded the death of one of the Sons, and it was Pope who gave Jax the information on where to find Macky. This guy was just a pawn. If Jax felt some sense of justice in bashing Macky's head in with a snowglobe, it only demonstrates what a screwed up position he's in as the leader of SAMCRO. He's simultaneously getting in deeper with the man who essentially ordered Opie's death. Way to honor his memory Jax.
 
And Macky wasn't the only one who died in that house. His wife was shot in the head by Tig, brushed off as "collateral damage" by Jax, and a clear symbol of the ugliness at the core of this M.C.
 

Odds and ends:
 
- Everyone was lying a little bit tonight. Clay about his health. Jax about his Oakland road trip. And Tara about her prison encounter with Otto. He made it clear to her he's not protecting SAMCRO anymore. But Tara apparently isn't ready to take no for an answer.
 
- Why is Clay the only one making sense about the potential danger that comes with aligning with Pope? And why is Jax suddenly getting the club deeper into drugs, when just last episode he made progress in getting them out?
 
- Oh, hi, Joel McHale. Now, who are you and what do you want with Gemma?