And that was the way the world ended: not with a bang but a whimper. If you had that famous phrase stuck in your head while tuning into the series finale of “Sons of Anarchy,” we wouldn't blame you. Not with everything that went down last week. But if you still haven't tuned into Tuesday's final episode, well … do it. Immediately. As for everyone else, well we all deserve some hugs, Brutha.
Still wrapping your head around what you just saw? Well in the words of a dead man, hopefully I can help you out: “I got this.”
“Papa's Goods” might have been long — way past your bedtime kind of long — but it had everything fans of the show needed in order to say goodbye to Jax Teller and the rest of the SAMCRO gang. Sure, it won't go down as the best series finale in the history of finales, but hey, at least we got some closure, at least enough of it that we won't be debating a black screen for nearly 10 years.
From the opening moments of the 77-minute finale we knew that by the end of this thing, Jax was going to be dead — even if we did somehow manage to avoid the spoilers that leaked thanks to the early release of that fan book. Killing Gemma was Jax's breaking point, and as Nero predicted, there was no coming back from it. But the story needed that moment in order for Jax to break, for him to realize that he was never going to be good for his kids and that his life was not one he wanted for Thomas and Abel. And as an audience we needed that to go down last week — not in the finale — so that we could put aside our Gemma-hating ways and return to the heart of the story that we've watched for the past seven years: the story of Jax Teller taking ownership of the Redwood Originals.
And so in the much quieter finale we saw what Jax unleashed truly looked like. He singlehandedly tied up his loose ends (Marks, Barosky, the Irish), put an end to the street wars and patched over the first black SAMCRO member. Not to mention finally asking the homeless lady who the heck she is. (Thanks for that continued mystery, Kurt Sutter.) It was the first time we've really and truly seen Jax take ownership of being the “bad guy,” something that he, and even we as an audience, has been denying for years. But in the end that's exactly what he was: a murderer, a criminal, the leader of a biker gang. No matter how hard he tried to go legit, he was just too deep in it from the very beginning.
There were moments when I wondered if this thing was going to be botched and if there would be another plot twist that allowed Jax to live in the end. Thankfully, we were instead given clarity as to why Jury mysteriously shared his JT theory with Jax all those weeks ago, as Jax rode off on the open roads to meet a fate similar to his father's.
Myself, I would have been perfectly happy with Jax's final words to the club, “I got this,” being his last. However I also understand the poetic justice behind Jax closing off the series by talking one final time with his deceased father, a Shakespearean monologue if you will (and yeah, Kurt Sutter “will”). It was the perfect, full-circle ending to what had become a loud and often messy show, and it came after enough great one-on-ones between characters (Jax and Nero, Chibs and Jax, Chibs and Tig, Jarry and Chibs, etc, etc.) to remind us why we watched in the first place.
By the end of the episode my own page of notes was so full of scribbles and reminders of the many homages, Easter Eggs and small endings that were thrown in for those of us who have stuck through thick and thin, that there are almost too many to recall now. Jax's always white sneakers, stained and tossed in the garbage bin. That one final car chase scene. JT's bike finally making it out. The rings and the photos, now burnt up in some dumpster. Even Michael Chiklis returning as the Papa's Goods truck driver. It all culminated in not just a proper sendoff, but in a nostalgic reminder of all the small things we've loved (and sometimes hated) these past seven years about “Sons of Anarchy.” Now, we'll just miss it.
One final ride:
*** Watching Jax “divorce” the club and Tara all at once at that graveyard was when the official waterworks started.
*** Of course “Fat Ass in My Face” was the final Red Woody production. Of course it was.
*** The moment between Chibs and Jarry broke my heart. Now we know why the Scotsman is still single ladies — he doesn't handle breakups so well.
*** “I need my sons to grow up hating the thought of me.” Did anyone else's heart break at that moment? Still, Abel had a pretty good grasp on that ring, right?
*** Did anyone else wonder if Happy volunteered to be the one that was shot?
*** Three words: T.O.'s full name.
*** To be nit-picky for one sec, did we really need that many close-ups of Gemma's dead body? I mean, it had gone cold and all.
*** Let's address that ending one more time: Jax basically committing suicide on the road. The way he was always meant to go out — his way — or a cop-out to get around that Mr. Mayhem vote? WOULD that many squad cars actually be “chasing” down Jax? Is it even possible to ride a bike with no hands and not fall? Was it all just disappointing or did the crows/bread do it for you? Let's talk this out in the comments section, shall we?
What did you think of the finale? Let us know…