Previously, on Sons of Anarchy: “Red Rose”
Well, guys, we made it to the end. Ultimately, this final episode was a denouement—the dominos Jax set up throughout this season fell with no exceptions and no surprises, which was disappointing. No dark, undeserved deaths left us in a fluster, yet Jax’s work isn’t quite finished. So let’s get into it.
After waking up with Wendy, Jax grabs his box of journals, throws out his white shoes, breathes in Thomas’ glorious hair fuzz, and gives the house a last look. At the storage unit, he burns both sets of journals and all the photos, ensuring that his sons will never glorify them. He grabs the deeds from Teller Morrow, then pays Opie and Tara a final visit, leaving his Sons ring with Opie’s tombstone and his wedding ring with Tara’s. The cemetery custodian must get rich off the Sons’ jewelry.
The boys and TO wait at Red Woody watching Lila’s latest filming. Jax sends them to chapel, then sweetly tells Lila he loves her. She watches him walk away, knowing something awful is cooking. After setting up the meeting with Tyler to trap Connor and once again deflecting their questions about the forum, they vote TO, or “Taddarius Orwell,” in as a full patch. Everyone celebrates and hugs him. Apparently, the other GBs can go hang.
After a brief status meeting with Tyler on their Connor Trap, the boys saddle up only to get caught in the Worst Drive-by Ever, thanks to said Irishman. He hits absolutely nobody, then leads them on a ridiculous chase to Leatherhead’s “Can’t Help Falling In Love” through a doll factory and finally gives them the slip, trashing Jax’s plot device bike.
Nero checks back in with Wendy about leaving later today, wondering where Jax is. Upon hearing Jax didn’t get home until 4 am, Nero understands. He looks for Unser at TM, but Chucky says he isn’t there and asks after Gemma. Finding Wayne’s investigation board, his face registers that this probably went worse than he’d hoped.
Chibs and Jax meet on the roof, docks busy behind them. Jax finally tells him that the forum recommended a Mayhem vote, and after Chibs balks, Jax pushes him to trust that this is best for everyone. We don’t hear their conversation, only the aftermath: Tig comes up to tell them the Irish are here, finding Chibs in shock. Jax again encourages Chibs that this is how you learn to be a leader. Tommy Flanagan does an incredible job looking gut punched, but frankly, I found the conversation a little patronizing considering Chibs is much older and more experienced in the ways of gang life than Jax. He doesn’t need to be mentored by this kid that’s been leading for, what, a year?
Anyway, Tig shoos Lila and her girls out before they induce Hugh to call Connor by shooting his two henchmen, making it look like Hugh is going rogue like Connor but really setting an Infamous Warehouse Trap via Rourke.
The DA, CCH Pounder, visits Jarry to get an update on the case. Pounder wonders why Jax wants to meet with her, then instructs Jarry to put out an APB on Gemma. Pounder praises Jarry for maintaining the line between “close, but not too close” with Charming’s gang situation and says she was right for the job. Again, I found this a neutering of Jarry’s character. Jarry is a gang-violence expert and, until this point, we were led to believe that she knew exactly what she was doing. To have her use this moment as validation to straighten up was disappointing.
Connor shows for the Hugh/Warehouse Trap meeting, telling the Sons he can get as many guns as he wants, thanks to the rogue IRA pipeline, so when the Kings show up, Jax shoots Rourke ‘n ‘em, securing their gun pipeline and territorial peace. Chibs confirms that their Belfast charter will take care of any homeland heat and the Mayans will ensure the docks stay open. They can never go home, so Connor thanks them at Chibs’ insistence, to Jax’s proud amusement. Connor warns Jax that after killing a King, there’s no coming back. Logically that makes no sense, because the only people that saw it benefited from it, but story-wise, whatever. Jax sees it as the final severing of the IRA tie, making it happy times for all of Charming’s racial gangs to roll in Dat Gun $$$, so… yay? Kind of.
Now that his gang is financially set, he moves on to family, asking Nero to handle “What I should’ve done when my wife was alive.” Wendy gets their two homes and TM to sell and set her and the kids up either with Nero or on the East Coast. The Club gets Red Woody, using the profits to buy Scoops. It doesn’t seem appropriate to sell the garage out from under the Sons and leave them with an ice cream parlor. Can you imagine the flavors? Red Woody Velvet. Grim Reaper Rocky Road. Mint Chocolate Chibs. Aryan Chocolate Swirl. I could go on all day.
Nero wonders why him. Jax: “I’m leaving.” Nero: “Why?” Jax: “You know why.” Nero looks sick. Jax admits that he tried to hide, tried to make it legit, tried to run away, but he knows he can’t change now. He makes Nero promise to take the boys away so they don’t become like him and tell Wendy everything so that she can ensure that they never think he’s a good man, only that he’s a criminal and a killer and that they hate the very thought of him. Nero gravely agrees.
Wendy and the kids arrive for their Norco trip. Jax instructs Abel, aka The Best Actor On the Planet, to listen to Nero because he’s daddy’s BFF. Furthermore, he should call Wendy “mommy” because she would like that and would totally give him candy. Jax Teller: world’s worst father. He hugs Wendy, saying, “Everything will be fine. You’re a good mom. I love you.” She looks concerned, probably because he just undermined her parenting for the next 13 years, and they leave to everyone’s relief. Finally, Jax mounts his father’s bike, thanks to Chucky updating the plates, and the audience is like, “What’s that on the wall? Oh, writing!”
Jarry catches Chibs at the docks, telling him about the APB on Gemma. She breaks up with me him again, apparently thanks to CCH Pounder’s gift basket of Big Girl Panties, but Chibs thinks it’s a mistake. She’s all, “Why? Do you have feeeellingggsss??” No, it’s just that cops on the wrong side of the club tend to end up dead. Harsh but true. “Stay safe, Sherriff,” he growls. I’m just gonna pretend like that didn’t happen because my HMS ChiBarry ship is so, so pretty. Also, because it’s bullshit. Inside, Chibs encourages Tig that they must tell the club and vote to make this right.
Jax meets CCH Pounder, thanking her for her attempts to help and offering information on the record. She records his explanation that it was all his mother and Juice, saying his mother’s in Oregon at his grandfather’s house. Off the record, he admits the whole Chinese angle was made up but says it will all be over by the end of the day. “You’ve been more than fair with me. I wanted you to have the truth.” She asks him what happens by the end of the day. “The bad guys lose,” he smiles strangely. That makes absolutely no sense, because not all of them lose.
At the table, Chibs barely restrains his tears as he calls the Mayhem vote, no feelings involved, just rules. One by one, they agree. With a final tear, he submits the only, “Yes,” normally reserved for Happy, and weakly bangs the gavel.
Wrapping up his killing, Jax kills Barosky, the police find Unser and Gemma’s bodies, and Jax heads to the courthouse. Behind the building, he finds the homeless woman that’s witnessed all their mayhem, both here and abroad, which Sutter previously explained as a type of angel or witness of the human cost of their killings beginning with JT; irritatingly, he refused to elaborate on Anarchy Afterward like he never said that. SUTTERRRRR!!!! Anyway, she’s having bread and wine, part of the wine soaked in bread, just like Jesus ate before his death. Here’s their exact exchange below:
Ok, maybe it wasn’t exactly like that, but he kills Marks, then parks JT’s bike at the docks, where his Club awaits. He takes off his cut, removing the president badge and hands it to Chibs, then removes the VP badge, which goes to Tig. “Good choice,” he says. As if there is any other, considering Tig’s seniority. They walk him to the center of the room, one hand on each shoulder, and Chibs shoots… Happy’s arm, who seriously barely flinches because he is made of Bad Assery. They all hug Jax goodbye, with the aim to tell the other presidents that he laid fire and got away. “I got this,” Jax says, repeating Opie’s last words and drives away.
Jarry puts out an APB for Jax, then takes the force to Scoops. Jarry looks at CCH like, do you see this bullshit? CCH only looks away, then tries unsuccessfully masking a face that says she’s not terribly sad to see that asshole go. Jarry gapes. She didn’t realize people in the Big Girl Panties Club get to gloat openly.
At JT’s rock, Jax has a final conversation with his dad. His life was nothing but a war of the mind, and he had to make it right with his family. He couldn’t be a good father and a good outlaw. “I’m sorry, JT, it was too late for me.” Gemma already had his life laid out, but it’s not too late for his boys. A cop parks behind him, and he shoots, initiating the chase.
Wendy and Nero drive to Norco while Abel colors a book because he is totes going to school and getting away from all this just like Hamlet… Oh, wait. Jax continues his chase. SAMCRO somberly awaits news. Venus comforts Tig. Chibs sits at the president seat. Gemma’s body is carried away. Abel plays with his Sons ring, tossing a (Dark? Conflicted? Bad acting?) look to the front seat. Jax soars down the highway, 21 cop cars in his weirdly slow wake, CGI crows flapping fakely overhead. Milo/Michael Chiklis rounds the bend, and Jax smiles AGAIN, like, “Oh, yes, there’s that plot device I was looking for,” speeding up slightly and removing his hands from the wheel in a crucifixion gesture as he plows into the semi. “JESUS,” says Milo, just in case you missed the symbolism hitting you in the face like a truck, as the blood flows towards that same piece of sop bread that two crows are eating.
I’m sorry, but… he can’t be an outlaw AND Jesus, so whatever was happening there just didn’t work for me. Overall, this last season has effectively wrapped up most of the Teller storyline, but it seems clear that Gemma got one last seed in the ground with that ring. A happy ending is not guaranteed for those boys, and Charming is still full of guns. With nothing more than mild misgiving to chew on, I give it a resounding MEH.