category: films and TV shows

thoughts on the ‘Sons of Anarchy’ season finale

My thoughts on the “Sons of Anarchy” season 6 finale (***SPOILERS AHEAD***):

What worked:

a) the scene between Jax and Tara in the park.

BTW, Tara — not sure why you went to a public park your kids are known to enjoy, when you’re on the run from your husband and his friends but… dumb move. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there… next!

b) the shock value of Juice killing Officer Roosevelt — just as you were recovering from what just happened, there was another “WTH?” moment

c) granted, we all knew Tara was a goner at some point. This is a Hamlet-style tragedy. But… that it would be Gemma to take her out? It’s one thing to be part of the hit on Clay …. but to kill Tara… and physically, brutally do so? Shock value = 10. (Realistic value? Eh, we’ll address that below.)

d) the slaying of Tara. It’s not often I squirm and turn away from the screen. This time, I did. Sutter, you deranged man — I’ve got to hand it to you on originality here, at least.

e)Β some reviewers took issue with the pace of the episode, noting certain scenes were unnecessary, e.g., that between Unser and Wendy. Wrong! Such thought neglects to consider that the Unser-Wendy scene was a set up for what is to come — my guess: a rekindling between Jax and Wendy. After all, Tara is gone. Who’s Jax going to be with? Colette? Give me a break. The wonderful, can-do-no-wrong Drea De Matteo has been woefully — criminally! — underused by Sutter & Co throughout six seasons. It’s time to bring her into a starring role and her chemistry with Charlie Hunnam is terrific. Sutter has slowly built Wendy from junkie-mom with a bad attitude into a character we now genuinely like and — ironically — seems somewhat sane, at least when compared to the rest of Charming’s finest. Will Jax and Wendy become an item once again? Could be…

f) Tara had to go. The show has been building up to Jax ‘breaking bad’ completely — and it needed something dark to push him there. Opie’s death got the ball rolling — Tara’s death is the closer.

What didn’t work:

a) let’s get back to Gemma: is it believable that she would actually murder Tara?

Beat her up? Yes. But murder her, stabbing her in the head repeatedly with a BBQ fork? I honestly don’t see it. Let’s recap: Gemma was at a low point, with Nero having just dumped her because he needs to get away (rightly so) from all the crime and violence enveloping his life. Gemma storms out and goes home, presumably smoking a joint and downing half a bottle of whiskey. Unser shows up and informs her that Jax is going to be arrested, as Tara seems to have ratted him out. In a moment, it dawns on her that she’ll lose her son and her grandkids. She takes his car, driving over to Tara and Jax’s place. Hiding in a room (or just lying in wait), she emerges once Tara walks into the kitchen. Gemma suddenly snaps and attacks Tara, killing her (in remarkably brutal fashion). And this wasn’t a “Catfight got out of control, it was self-defense!” type of murder: this was a flat-out “going to shove your head in a sink so you drown, and in the meantime, stab you in the head!”

Some reviewers felt this works, as Gemma simply lost her mind in that moment. I don’t buy it. That would require someone to become a lunatic — and evil soul — in the span of a second. And, by the way, did Gemma’s circumstances even merit such a snap? Sure, she’d heard (bad intel!) that Jax was being arrested because Tara ratted him out but… c’mon… this is the Sons of Anarchy MC. They always find a way out of a mess. And sure, Nero dumped her so she was having, admittedly, a lot happen at once but… eh. Enough to snap and kill Tara? Sorry, I just don’t buy it.

Most complicated of all: how are we ever supposed to appreciate Gemma once again? Part of the show’s charm is this tough-as-nails-but-vulnerable matriarch whom, despite all her flaws, the audience adores. Now? A cold-blooded murderer, who killed her own daughter-in-law and the mother of her grandson? Peace out, Gemma — go crawl under a rock and take your Freudian obsession with your son with ya.

b) Juice killing Roosevelt. Sorry, I’m also not buying any of the potential motivations Juice had for such a downright insane (not to mention, cold-blooded) act. Was it to get back in Jax’s good graces (by saving Jax’s mom)? Nah. She’s just killed Tara so… hmm, just tell Jax the truth. The likely reason is because of the bonding between Juice and Gemma earlier at the ‘ice cream shop’. Juice felt a certain kinship with Gemma, someone who understood him. It’s why, you may have noticed, he quickly volunteers to go find Gemma, when Unser can’t find her. Of course, Juice has also struggled for a few seasons now so a drastic act is not out of the question — but this?

As for whether Gemma will even get away with it, sure, Juice disposed of the evidence in some dumpsters but we then see a (homeless?) woman with a stroller walk by shortly thereafter. Is that a hint someone will retrieve the objects? Possibly so — but honestly, I hope not because I cannot deal with another “Sons of Anarchy crew (including Gemma)” vs. “law enforcement” showdown spread out over a season’s arc. No mas.Β 

c) Who will be blamed for the murders? We’re made to infer it’s Jax but… was Juice’s gun similar to the one Jax dropped on the floor? Will the cops not find any inconsistencies? They’ll just rush to believe it was Jax? This is already giving me a headache.

d) Did I miss it when Jax became a “monster”? The show seems to imply — and Tara outright says so — that Jax has turned into one but… where? when?

Sons of Anarchy is now on hiatus, as is Game of Thrones, as is Breaking Bad (permanently).

How will I cope?

UPDATE: My Twitter pal, Dave (@Amish1979) notes the homeless woman, who walked by the dumpster (and may possibly end up retrieving the evidence) is a potentially symbolic character that has appeared throughout the seasons. See here:Β http://sonsofanarchy.wikia.com/wiki/Homeless_Woman

UPDATE 2: Thinking about next season, clearly the show would not work if Jax is in prison. So he won’t ultimately be blamed for Tara and Officer Roosevelt’s murders. Am wondering if this is where the “Juice being the one to dispose of the evidence” comes into play? As I recall, Juice throws the evidence out, sans gloves. While he seemed to use caution, are some of his fingerprints on the now-infamous BBQ fork, and even the iron? Will HE take the fall?

UPDATE 3: Bravo, Jimmy Smits! Forgot to throw him a shout-out. The man absolutely owns every scene he’s in and is an utter pleasure to watch him work his magic. What a thespian, as is Katey Segal. You might be a murderer, Gemma, but I’ll probably still love ya!

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