My fingers were sitting on the keys for a few minutes trying to figure out if my first statement would be reflective, angry, or cathartic. I typed all those words with my middle fingers, so that should be a clear sign. Sons of Anarchy ends its sixth season with Samcro tears and lonely anguish. I can’t speak for everyone’s hearts, but mine sank as far as it can go, always knowing but never accepting what this finale would bring. This show can remark on it’s poetry and prose with the best of the bunch, but at the end of the day, death is cold and brutally callous. In a dense reality full of guns and balance, Jax deals with a fatal blow that marks the fate of its seventh, and final, season in the hands of Nero’s haunting karma.
I once read that tragic endings have a way of lasting longer in memory than the happy endings. I’ve found elements of truth to it even if my own take is that tragic endings have less repeat performances on nostalgic nights. I guess what I’m trying to say is that after tonight’s episode, it will be a long time before I go back and re-watch everything that led up to this finale. There will be some character bias in this review, because I had specific high hopes for certain events while pushing my subconscious thoughts of the truth down to the depths. I tend to understand “why” writers do what they do in these kinds of situations, so in that context I won’t be giving this episode a negative review. What I will do is seek to broaden the objective approach with some mutterings of a fan who is forced to say goodbye to a friend. Thank you for reading.
Jax sits next to Opie’s headstone as he narrates a journal entry to his sons about his choices in life and his love for them. He runs over a white pigeon with his bike after he leaves.
Wayne oversees Clay’s burial at the prison. Aside from the convicts filling the grave, he is alone.
Tara is still at the hotel with Abel and Thomas.
Eli tells Patterson that Tara never went home as they discuss what Jax will do when he finds out she’s gone.
Bobby and crew discuss Tara at the sweet shop and surmise that she hasn’t given them up yet else they’d already be arrested. Gemma speaks with Juice alone about his overdose and Juice admits he doesn’t want to die. He asks if Nero mentions anything he might have said, but Gemma assures him that Nero said nothing.
Jax arrives at the shop, followed by Eli and Patterson. Patterson and Jax speak alone about Tara as Jax avoids answering on the subject. Patterson attempts to get Jax to understand that he’s a family man above his role as an SOA and to own his place with it
During a club meeting, Jax and crew make plans to find Tara and that they’ll do what they have to do should Tara decide to rat on them.
Marcus drops by and speaks with Jax about the gun trade going to August instead of him and his plans to expand the Mayans into Stockton. Jax explains that August has a deeper connection that includes political ties and the Mayans don’t currently have those resources but assures Marcus that the gun trade will be business as usual. Jax is visibly concerned with Marcus’s news about moving into Stockton and tells Happy to get him Nero.
Tara calls Mitch, her lawyer, who tells her that the deal is still open from Patterson. She agrees to meet Mitch to look over the papers. When Mitch leaves, Juice and Bobby tail him.
Jax meets with Tyler and the One-Niners, along with Marcus and Nero at a junkyard. Jax and Nero speak briefly and Nero brings up karma as well as his knowledge from Juice about his hand in killing the child-shooter’s mother. When all three crews meet, Marcus realizes August won’t meet them personally. He agrees to buy guns from the Niners and Jax leaves with their relationship seemingly well-adjusted. As they make the trade, the Mayans shot and kill the Niner crew with Nero watching, unknown of the plan.
Barosky tells Chibs and Tig what the Mayans did as the Sons discover where Mitch is heading.
Later on, Marcus sits with Nero and tells him to leave the Biz-Lats in the hands of his second and retire as the Mayans build relations with the Chinese.
Bobby and Juice watch and Tara arrives at a park to meet her lawyer. He and Tara talk at a bench over the immunity deal and the possibility of testifying in court, to which Tara agrees and asks for some time with the kids before Patterson meets with her.
Wayne picks up Wendy at Gemma’s house and the two discuss their significant others. Before leaving, Gemma asks if anyone was at Clay’s burial. Wayne says he was alone.
Tara watches Abel go to Jax as Samcro shows up. Tara begins to panic as Jax takes Thomas and then gives him to Tig so they can speak alone. Jax says he can’t let her do what she’s going to do and Tara explains that she sacrificed everything for him. She tried to save the kids from becoming like Jax and realizes that their bond isn’t stronger than the club and reminds Jax that he was willing to leave at one point. Tara says the kids will suffer because of what’s to come and cries, asking if she can say goodbye to them. Jax takes her hand and says he’s not going to hurt her or the kids and that she doesn’t have to run anymore. He wants her to be a good mother and to save the boys.
Gemma meets Nero at Diosas and tries to talk to him, but Nero is reluctant and wants to be alone. When she tries to leave Nero pleads for her to leave Jax and the club and to go with him. She says she can’t make that choice and realizes that Nero is leaving her. She storms out upset.
Patterson meets Tara at the hotel and finds Jax in the room with her. The three speak alone and Jax offers himself to Patterson with conditions that Tara is free as well as the club. In exchange he’ll admit to possession of the KG9 and it’s selling. Patterson agrees to the deal as Jax sets the time for six giving him enough time to spend with his sons. After Patterson leaves, Tara thanks him and they embrace telling each that they love each other. They kiss and presumably go further.
Jax holds a meeting with Chibs and Bobby about his plan to take the fall saying he can’t let anything happen to the club or Tara. He gives Bobby the gavel and says Samcro will be fine under his leadership. Chibs seemingly agrees. Jax then tells Bobby that Juice can’t be trusted and for Chibs to bring Bobby up to speed.
Wayne arrives at Gemma’s house asking her where she’s been. Gemma is high as Wayne tells her that Jax is going to be arrested and that it appears Tara made a deal. Gemma tries to leave but Wayne blocked her car. She convinces Wayne to retrieve pills from a bathroom and she slips away with his keys to the truck.
Wayne then goes to the sweet shop to tell Jax about Gemma disappearing. Juice offers to find her. Jax speaks to him outside and they hug as Jax whispers of Juice’s betrayal. Jax says nothing more and leaves Juice alone, who departs himself.
Eli drops Tara off at Jax’s house as they notice Wayne’s truck in the driveway. They walk inside as Eli says he’ll wait outside. Tara reflects for a moment in the living room and smiles, believing everything will be all right. She enters the kitchen and sees Gemma. In a panic, Tara tries to flee with Gemma brutally attacking her. They struggle with Gemma having the upper hand. She forces Tara’s head into a sink full of water and grabs a two-prong kitchen appliance. Gemma repeatedly stabs Tara in the head until she dies. Eli enters the kitchen but it’s too late. Gemma says it had to be done as Eli tries to explain that Jax made a deal to save Tara and the kids. Just as Gemma realizes what she’s done, Juice enters and shoots Eli dead. He then helps Gemma up, who is still hysterical over what’s happened.
At night, Jax kisses his sons goodbye and embraces Samcro members, Rat, Happy, Tig, Bobby, and Chibs, the latter in tears. Jax departs after kissing his fingers and touching them to Abel’s head one last time.
Wendy reflects alone in her rehab home.
The Mayans meet with the Chinese as Nero arrives with his second showcasing his continued involvement with the Biz-lats.
Gemma goes to Wayne at the garage and cries in his arms.
Juice disposes of the evidence proving that Gemma was responsible for Tara’s death. The homeless woman from previous episodes pushes an empty carriage, seemingly oblivious.
Jax gets home and finds Tara and Eli lying on the kitchen floor. Distraught, Jax embraces Tara and kisses her as Patterson enters the house with the police. Patterson surveys the room and appears to conclude that Jax murdered them. Jax howls as the season ends.
Where else can I sufficiently start except at the critical moment that had me yelling at the scene. I speak plainly of Tara’s passing. It was ugly and harsh and full of twisted and self-absorbed entitlements. It wasn’t enough that they kill her, it wasn’t enough that the situation was out of Gemma’s knowledge, but the sheer concept that Gemma actually thought committing murder was the right thing to do because in essence, she thought everything was being taken away from her. Regardless of her justified sense and weed induced power trip, Gemma is a full blown psychotic. She couldn’t stand the thought of Tara having that final upper hand and once more ended a direct line of love and life that connected to Jax. It’s ego-centric at it’s core because nothing Gemma did was what was best for the kids. It all revolved on her desire to handle the anger on her own. Watching her play the cool older lady throughout the season was one of the top signs that she was going to burst at the seams one way or another. Wendy was a clever red-herring, because, she’s the one who I thought would finally lose it, kill someone, and/or steal Abel. I even thought the gun that Gemma gave to Wendy would come into play again in this episode, but alas, that’s probably what they wanted me to think.
As a fan from day one, I knew this death would crush, and it did. You don’t see a white pigeon get crushed by a bike and think everything is going to be all right in the end. Symbolism or not, Jax put everything past him and finally owned up to the role he put himself in. I’ve written in the past that Jax pulling the trigger was something far-fetched and even gruesome in thought. Nothing truly set the bar so high that Jax would force such a sentence to save the club. Which left Gemma and one hell of a confused state of mind. My honesty is that Gemma is no longer any kind of redeemable character to me. She can cry and regret that choice all she wants with Wayne. There is something fundamentally wrong with the wires in her head and for the sake of Jax, I hope he finds out the truth. Here I was thinking his true enemy was Clay for so many seasons when all along the final season should be showcasing his true enemy is his mother. If you follow Hamlet logic as season one emulated with it’s premise and characters, Tara is Ophelia and Ophelia didn’t make it to the final scene. Will Samcro end like Hamlet in that regard? I wouldn’t be that surprised honestly if everything came full circle.
Tara’s death was an unforgiving look at Nero’s haunting warning about karma. The moment he said it, I knew Tara wasn’t going to survive. The how and when was arbitrary at that point. You don’t shoe in a comment like that to the audience and not pay it in full with a reckless and senseless act as a crazed grandmother wildly giving in to free will. There’s a short theme here in the concept that if karma exists in the eyes of a benevolent figure, than it has mastery over any character that falls under the rules of that force. In other words, if the wise old man speaks of a warning, no choice will alter the consequence that fate decrees. I will miss Tara just like I will miss other characters that other shows have killed in the past (That’s right Dexter, I’m talking to you!) And though I “get it” and the show much go on, SOA really tore into the hearts of Tara fans, and I won’t forget it.
Onto Juice. What else can I comment on, except that he is the quintessential victim of self-loathing that I have ever seen. He’s literally stolen the crazy formula from Tig and made it his own. The scene suggests that with Jax whispering his knowledge to Juice about his betrayal lit the dominoes that fell into place allowing for Juice to cover for Gemma’s murder of Tara and his own of Eli’s. This effectively ruins Jax in every way and even though Gemma’s moment with Juice in reflection of his slides in life, I don’t think he saved her because he felt it was the right thing to do. There’s a few broken cogs spinning in his head and none of it is leading him in a sensible direction. That wasn’t a club save for him, that was a play at keeping his life intact. I fully expected Chibs to be the one who carried out the sentence to Juice, but that scene never came and when he shot Eli, everything else made sense. Now, there’s still interpretation and that’s good for those who believe in Juice and still side with his character. That’s not me, though. Juice is a reaper off-track and I hope he gets that “karma” that’s so spoken highly of sometime in the last season.
Not much to say on Eli’s passing. He followed the rule that in some seasons, the good sheriffs get put in the worst spots. When his wife was killed it was another brutal moment that allowed for some decent character development for a supporting role, but Tara’s death yanked all the “what the hells” from me so when Eli was shot, it wasn’t nearly as impacting as it could have been.
Brooke’s cameo seemed odd to throw in, until I saw the homeless woman again, this time pushing an empty carriage. It’s late so I know there’s connections and symbolisms to be had, but I’m still muggy over the obvious bits and will probably need a day to digest and wonder what was all that meant for. Is she just a mindless clue to the real force that’s behind this show? Is there something akin or opposite Mister Mayhem operating on a level we don’t know? Even Rescue Me had strange things going on.
Overall, Sons of Anarchy delivered on a gut-wrenching finale. Predictability goes out the window when facing the truth as it’s force-fed into our eyes. I don’t agree with the direction, but, like all SOA fans, we have to get in Jax’s sidecar on the bike and continue driving to his final location. Tara was a big piece to his life and I’d like to think a big piece to ours as well. His kiss to her body at the end was not only his goodbye, but ours as well. I don’t like it, but that’s life. Sometimes the stoned grandmother wins. Beyond the visceral segment, I thought the episode held it’s tension well. The Mayans taking the gun trade into their own hands and building relations with the Chinese is bold but not a surprising move. The bit of surprise came with Nero’s continued role as the leader of the Biz-Lat crew, which means we’ll see plenty of Nero in season seven, and that I’m positive for.
My late night speculations for season seven include Patterson finding evidence that proves Jax didn’t murder Eli, along with his refusal to cooperate with any deal he made now that Tara is gone. I can’t imagine an entire season with Jax behind bars and even less as a “15-20” years later time jump. Season seven has to be smart and, above all, the wrap up season, assuming they aren’t already green lit for season eight. Gemma has to answer for what she’s done and Juice as well. We’re running out of characters on this show that I genuinely want to see bike ride into the sunset. Maybe that’s not what this show was meant to provide the watchers with. I wouldn’t align any Shakespeare motif with Sons of Anarchy, I hope for an original ending that’s bold and final. Keep Samcro close to heart, they’ll be back for one last crazy trip through Charming.
Thank you Maggie Siff for your wonderful and tremendous work on this show! Your last smile was genuine and for that short brief moment, I believed everything was going to be all right too. Tara will be loved, and missed greatly.
What were your thoughts on this finale? Leave a comment and let me know. I’ll be reviewing other shows in the future, so stay tuned and thanks for reading!
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