Waiting to sit down for that 80-minute movie event that was the penultimate “Sons of Anarchy” episode? Better eat up those pies, set down the gavels and smell the roses because you probably don”t want to be spoiled by the review that follows.
Tuesday”s “Red Rose” was everything this season has been building to and more, yet true to the overall tone it took us a damned long time to get there. Although the set ups that went down in the first 50 minutes or so will inevitably lead to next week”s wrap-up, none of the real action took place until the last half hour. To be honest, I can”t decide if that slow burn made those final minutes more climactic or not, but either way those are the cards we”ve been dealt so let”s see how they were played – shall we?
With the actual truth out for the first time all season, Jax set about making everything right: his family, club business and the dealings between Black and Brown that we”ve heard so much about over the past few weeks. He came clean to the other charters about Jury”s death and seemed to accept a fate that may or may not lead to his death/suicide, depending on what that unspoken charter rule winds up being. I”m in no rush to find out, since it will all have to go down next week.
This week, it was all about piling up that body count. Juice, whose usefulness had run its course finally succumbed to Tully”s shanking tactics when being the blowup doll for Lin”s jailbirds proved to be his final straw. Rather than retaliate and become “the rat” yet again, he prepared for his death in stride and got himself one last meal as a condemned man. Had it been cake he literally would have had his cake and eaten it too.
But no one was more prepared for death than Gemma. Once Unser knew the truth and drew his line in the sand we all knew it was a matter of time before the character”s life ended. That guy has lasted through everything – even cancer – but in the end it was Jax, not Gemma as so many of us theorized, who put him down. Once that happened, there was just no going back for Jax.
Unfortunately, as Nero predicted, killing your own mother is a dark task that you just don”t come back from. So during that entire garden scene, which fit right into the whole “rose” themed episode, a large part of me wanted Jax to realize it too. Leaving Gemma to herself would have been the biggest punishment he could ever inflict on her. As a character, Gemma has always been completely selfish in everything she”s done. Asking her own son to kill her – convincing him he needed to kill her – was just another bullet point on the long list of terrible things she did in her life. Did she ever think about how he”s supposed to live with her blood on his shoes? If she wanted death for her sins, she should have killed herself and spared him that task. It would have been the one good thing she could have done for Jax given all the other terrible things she did along the way.
Instead, there will be plenty of blowback for Jax to deal with heading into Tuesday”s series finale. There”s no argument to be made for keeping the character alive anymore, other than a potential movie down the line. He”s done so many crappy things this season (like son, like mother?) that there”s no coming back from it all. It”s interesting to note that throughout all of this, it will be Nero who will potentially lead the life Tara always wanted for Jax. He”s getting out of the business, will have access to Wendy and the boys, and is walking away from everything intact with no debts. At least that”s assuming he survives next week. It”s a nice little juxtaposition when you consider how far Jax has fallen from the series' opening season, isn”t it?
*** Although we know Connor and his crew had to be put down, did we really need to see it? Wouldn”t the ending have been more effective with Jax shooting that gun?
*** It only took 12 episodes, but Jax and Wendy finally hooked up. I think we needed to see Wendy as the good guy before Kurt Sutter could allow that to happen. Methinks there was a reason she was dressed in a white little number. Although I wouldn”t exactly call it virginal.
*** As soon as the Homeless Lady popped up we knew Gemma was going to die. But at least it led to a fun little cameo by Michael Chiklis. Also “Two broken hearts on the road to tomatoes” would make a great country song. Just sayin”.
*** Can we all agree that at this point, we shouldn”t question how Jax was able to fire a gun – twice – in a residential neighborhood without anyone calling the cops?
*** As much as I”ll miss Juice (or the idea of Juice, pre-craziness), I will not miss these prison rape scenes. I have no idea how he was sitting at all after all of that.
*** It was nice to see Hal Holbrook on the show one final time, and a shout out to Charisma Carpenter too. The Buffy fan in me wanted more, but the Sons fan in me was happy to see the role relegated to simply serving its purpose (ie alerting Wendy to Gemma”s whereabouts).
So who do we think we makes it out alive in next week”s finale? Was the episode the payoff you”ve been wanting since the start? And how will Sutter top himself? Sound off below.
“Sons of Anarchy” wraps next Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on FX.