Sons of Anarchy has always made bold choices, but nothing could have been more controversial or far-reaching within the world of SAMCRO than its sixth season finale. It was the culmination of struggles that existed on several different planes on the show: Gemma and Tara, Jax and Clay, and between a motorcycle club in theory versus and an outlaw gang in practice. The back-and-forth that has taken place over the last six seasons, though, now has a clear resolution. As the show’s final season begins, it’s also clear that the focus is going to be on endings — and most of them personal. Hit the jump for why “I am the only thread holding this family together.”
For those who believed Jax, through the transformative love of a good woman (Tara), could realign the club to what his father JT had wanted, Season Six was a rough road. Instead of Jax and Tara forming a new world order for SAMCRO that got them out of the guns and drugs, and back to being a family that relied on the porn industry to support them, history repeated itself fully. Gemma killed the upstart Tara, just like how she colluded to kill JT. Clay’s vision reigned supreme then, as it does now again through Jax.
Despite Jax’s desire to be anyone but Clay, his conversation with the club at the table made it clear that vengeance is on his mind, and he is absolutely willing to pull everyone down into the abyss with him. SAMCRO, of course, is absolutely willing to follow their leader wherever he may take them. Those disappointed with Tara’s end should then relish what is probably about to happen: a season of lies upon lies, that will finally all break down in a spectacular series of bloodbaths that, in all likelihood, will wipe almost everyone out.
Or not. But it seems improbable that both Gemma and Juice will survive the season. Despite her justifications to herself and to Juice (and to Tara’s ghost, apparently), the body count is really starting to pile up. Having said that, her romance with Nero and her control of Jax shows Sons of Anarchy could possibly be giving her a pass, and taking to heart her belief that what’s she’s doing is, ultimately, for the good of her family. But is that just her own truth?
Swirling in the background are Jax’s continued parlays with a variety of racial factions, hoping to keep everyone happy enough to not kill each other. He brokers a truce with the neo-Nazis (led by Tully, Marilyn Manson), gets the Irish talking to the Chinese about guns, gets one more revenge killing (or tries) on some old Niners business with the Grim Bastards, and assures the Mayans that their turf is their turf (thanks to a little help from Nero).
But Gemma pointing her finger at a lonely Asian lackey of Lin’s as being Tara’s killer now re-complicates SAMCRO’s relationship with Lin and the Chinese. And, a new sheriff in town will, without a doubt, muddy the waters further. For Jax, though, that’s all background noise now. His main objective is to seek retribution for Tara’s death, and to make sure the club rides free … no matter how much blood is spilled along the way.
In Sons of Anarchy‘s final season, it doesn’t seem so much a question of if, but how and when the stories of all of its major characters (and even some minor ones, like Lyla and her Redwoody girls) come to a close. In many cases, it will also be whose life comes to a close. Sons of Anarchy has always been a show that borders on torture porn, and “Black Widower” was no exception to that sadistic streak. With relish, the show seems set to rip the teeth out of anyone necessary (and many who aren’t — such as the pastor-bookended three-way) along the way to its final ride. Ambivalence has no place here. “We’re all in, brother. We love you, we trust you, tell us what you need.”
Episode Rating: B
Musings and Miscellanea:
— I don’t think Juice has the heart to kill Unser, because he’s never been strong in that way. Remember when he was just a jolly little hacker on speed? Those were the days.
— Wendy, of all people, is right to worry about Gemma’s parenting skills for a number of reasons. Most recently, that she entrusts her grandchildren to random crow eaters.
— Who has sex with a gun in their hand?
— For me to be emotionally invested in Rat getting a girlfriend, I need him to have more speaking lines now and again.
— Somehow I have a feeling DA Patterson is going to figure things out about Gemma, and tell Jax. The other thing is, why is the investigation solely focused on Tara? Isn’t Eli’s death a huge fucking deal? And far more random?
— Wendy was really sloppy about hiding Juice from Unser. She could have at least put the groceries somewhere out of sight.
— Did Jax mention the Italians coming into the mix? When did that happen? I feel like there was a Boardwalk Empire crossover episode I missed.
— Chaining the wheelchair to the bike was hilarious, and felt like old school Sons. Brutal, yet also darkly funny. Jax carving a swastika and pulling out teeth = just brutal.
— “I already lost the woman I love, I’m not going to lose my club” – Jax.