The final episode of the hit television series, Sons of Anarchy, came to a close tonight, finishing off seven engaging seasons about the story of a criminal motorcycle club based around the theme of Hamlet, as Kurt Sutter saw and created.
Sons of Anarchy SPOILERS
I’m going to chat and spill my observations and emotional beans, so rather than tip-toeing through, I’m merely going to write my meager observations and thoughts out as I go.
Tonight’s episode, titled “Papa’s Goods,” was closure to Jax’s journey of trying to set the club on the right path. But through seven seasons, we found that the club was what it was and Jax had to accept that he was the leader of that club. And he owned up to it in the final episode and the final moment.
There was no dark scene for us to scream at, though the show took one tricky commercial break that scared me thinking, WAIT, WAS THAT IT? (Right after the vote for Mayhem, and the camera panned down to the table center carving, and then we had an ad saying Anarchy Afterword was next. That gave me a start!)
This episode wasn’t the big gun fight episode some were expecting, but rather a time of reflection, of bidding farewell and fixing some wrongs to make sure the club was in a good place. He worked hard at these things so he could find peace, despite the mistakes that happened around him up until this point.
He cleaned up the Irish problems in a surprising set of moves that was typical of a murderous motorcycle club. He visited Barosky and shut that smug-mouthed ass up once and for all. And when Marks got out of prison, well, it was sweet justice and guaranteed safety for his club by taking him down.
And we, the viewers, got to see our homeless ghost one last time and Jax finally asked her the question we all wanted to know, and that was, “Who are you?” We never got that answer but she gave Jax a blanket to disguise himself with so he could lay in wait for Marks. In this one case, where she used to be a harbinger of tough times coming, this time she delivered a means to an end.
And that end, with Jax going on his murderous spree, started looking inevitable.
During it all Jax visited the DA and came clean about Gemma killing Tara. To end his conversation with her by saying the bad guy loses at the end of the day was yet one more clue to prepare the viewer for the end.
Hell, we even had one more Tig interlude of humor where a car chase brought the gang riding through a doll manufacturing plant, making Tig cry out in anguish as he sped through the inventory of dolls and mannequins on his bike. LOL.
Yep, this final episode had it all. All except the happy ending fans wanted.
This resolution of action all started the week before when he had to kill his mother for her transgressions and to set the tone for meeting Mr. Mayhem, for his part in her subterfuge, including his killing of another club president. It was that moment when Gemma dropped like a sack that Jax knew he too was going to die, and that he had time or made time to do everything he needed to.
Because, as Gemma said, “It is who we are”
But among all the carnage of death and change, Jax took the time to set things in motion to be right for his kids and Wendy, sending them out of town with Nero.
Some might have called the killing spree that Jax went on as his embracing being the thug, the biker gang leader or even as a murderer. But for others, this was Jax doing what was necessary to clean the slate of all threats to the club, as closure, as his meeting and delivering the phrase, “Live by the sword and die by the sword.” Or so his club’s foes discovered. This was just a simple house cleaning in the only language the Irish, Barosky and Marks knew. It was the only way. And it was most satisfactory. (I can accept that!)
You could equate his killing spree directly to the tale of Hamlet. As Hamlet discovered he was poisoned, he still had time to avenge the wrongs put upon him and his family before he too had to die. And thus, Jax fulfilled his role as Kurt Sutter saw fit.
And yes, like many of you, I was waiting for that one turn, that one twist that would save Jax. Like every other season, there was always a plan of subterfuge. A plan where we only knew one part, while the other parts were set in motion to deliver his succor. But not this time.
Despite my hopes and doubts, the club said farewell and Chibs ended up with the President’s patch, and Tig received the VP patch, that it came into focus. That as they faked Teller’s escape from Chibs delivering Mr Mayhem, when Jax left the warehouse, he turned around smiling, feeling good with what he was about to do, and he turned around and said, “I got this,” I knew he was going to die.
There was no more wondering as law enforcement had an APB out on him and he led a slew of cops on a merry chase. A seemingly super slow, respectful chase, where it all came to an end. Did you notice the crows at the end? A single crow, again and again and again, flying over the car/bike chase? I presume that was a single crow for every SAMCRO brother lost. And this chase was with him riding his father’s bike, riding it to his demise.
And for it to all end as Jax rode head-long into the oncoming semi, driven by Michael Chikless. And yes, as the title said, it was a “Papa’s Goods” truck, as Sutter once again told us with the episode title, exactly where Jackson’s journey was headed in this episode.
Jax’s life came to a close because there was no other option. This was who he was, no matter what he tried doing to straighten it all out. He was Hamlet.
Sons of Anarchy did the surprising and unthinkable. This criminal motorcycle gang… I mean club, who looked out for their own town, who committed horrendous crimes to keep things on the up and up, and yet still deliver an incredible tablet of family values through it all. Sure, some of the family values were protected by twisted and dark means, but as we’ve all heard about honor amongst thieves, so too did we see it here as SAMCRO looked out for its own, no matter what.
Fans must stop and give thanks to FX for letting Kurt Sutter deliver 75 and 90 minute episodes over and over. That was something I loved, that FX let Sutter tell a fully formed story in every episode properly instead of cutting him off to fulfill a mere programming hour, like other networks might not have had the balls to do.
Fans must stop to say thank you to Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, Maggie Siff, Ron Perlman, Dayton Callie, Drea de Matteo, Jimmy Smits, Tommy Flanagan, Kim Coates, Mark Boone Junior, Theo Rossi, David Labrava, Ryan Hurst, William Lucking, Michael Ornstein and Winter Ave Zoli, just to start a short list of talent that captured our imaginations for seven oddly acceptably bloody seasons.
We must give thanks to Kurt Sutter himself and that damn homeless girl or ghost or whatever she was. (She was his little bit of unexplained magical element that he may never truly explain.) Plus thanks for ending the story/series of SAMCRO on a high note instead of being greedy and running it out until the series became a comfortable, familiar feeling of boredom and failure.
And thanks to each other, the fans, for tuning it and making it happen.
Plus a daring and big thanks to FX for airing Anarchy Afterword with their SoA live fan party and letting a tanked Sutter still take the reigns of this ill-toned after-show that never quite worked for me, but was still something more, something extra from every episode.
Well gang, the curtains closed on this tragic telling of Prince Jax Teller. (Yes, Clay once called him a prince in one sneering moment.) He tried hard to achieve the impossible, but it was impossible to atone for all that was done. This week the curtains drew close on the only show I looked forward to every week. Everything else is just noise, fodder that doesn’t quite bore me to death but fills a void, a void in search of good stories, engaging stories. But nothing else, at this moment, comes close to the gap that Sons of Anarchy is leaving behind.
As odd as it seems, as surprising as it may be, Sons of Anarchy sits in my mind’s eye, next to Breaking Bad, and Torchwood: Children of the Earth, as some of the best television I have ever had the good luck to experience.
I love when my imagination is engaged with great drama. Aren’t you?
For the few of you who see and read this, thanks for coming by. It was a pleasure thinking this out, reflecting on it, and sharing my thoughts with you. Thanks for reading. -bruce