The final season of Sons of Anarchy is just not working. Kurt Sutter’s intentions, ultimately, fit within the themes of Hamlet — the Prince (Jax) is being driven by a plot for revenge — but Claudius the King (Clay) is already dead, and so is Ophelia (Tara). All that’s left is Gertrude (Gemma), and the wedge between Gertrude and Hamlet (Claudius) no longer exists. Sutter has strayed from his inspiration, and Sons is suffering badly for it.
In fact, the revenge plot in this final season of Sons of Anarchy is completely meaningless. Jax is seeking revenge against the wrong goddamn people, week after week after week, and until the focus finally turns on Gemma, everything about this season seems pointless. There’s plenty of death in this final season, but there are very few stakes involved.
It’s sloppy as hell, too. I like to believe that, once the plot takes a turn toward Gemma, Kurt Sutter will begin to focus, but right now, he’s just spinning his wheels. Boardwalk Empire took eight episodes in its final season and spent the entire time wrapping up the first four seasons. Sons of Anarchy is creating more problems, more diversions to keep Sutter from dealing with the end game. We’re eight episodes into the final season, and the core dynamic hasn’t changed: Gemma is still lying her way through the season, Juice is still clinging to survival, and everyone else is just circling the drain, minus an eyeball or an extraneous member of the club (West).
The more bodies that pile up, the more it all seems like a huge waste. When Jax finally finds out what’s going on, he should have only two goals: 1) To kill Gemma, and 2) to kill himself for causing all this destruction for nothing, for letting his thirst for revenge cloud his judgement and his common sense.
That’s no more apparent than how he dealt with Jury White last night. Jax gets ideas, and then bends the narrative to fit within them. He assumed that Jury was the rat who outed the club to Lin. Jury convincingly denied that, and instead of trying to get to the real facts, Jax put a bullet in Jury’s head and closed the case on it.
Besides that, the plot didn’t move much. The episode ended, as it did last week, with a box containing one of Bobby’s body parts — last week it was an eye, and this week, it was either Bobby’s clutch hand, or at least fingers from it. But Jax is no closer to finding Bobby, and August Marks is no closer to finding Letitia and pushing through the land deal MacGuffin.
In the meantime, someone broke into Jax’s home, murdered Gemma’s crows, and threatened to kill Jax’s sons. Jax assumes it’s Marks. I’m not so sure. Marks doesn’t seem the type to pull that off. On top of the pressure he’s applying with Bobby, Moses — who was actually the best part of the episode — seems too cold and calculating to muster that kind of threat.
But I’m going to put aside Gemma’s wailing over her lost birds, the bad acting of Abel, the pointless cameo of Courtney Love, and all the pointless monologuing, and the “I love you, brothers” and Juice’s promise to reveal the whereabouts of the murder weapon to Unser and Jarry (to implicate the Chinese, not Gemma), and instead, I’m going to posit a theory.
I don’t have a ton to go on with this theory, but if true, it might help to salvage what’s been an otherwise disappointing final season.
It is this: Chibs is the rat.
How might that make sense? Well, there were a few suspicious instances last season in which Chibs offered a few telling glances to suggest that Chibs’ real alliances may be with the Irish. Both myself and several people in the comments here suggested that something felt off about Chibs. He was passed over for promotion when Jax was meant to go to jail, and he didn’t say anything. He also kept his mouth mostly shut when his fellow countrymen were picked off (Chibs is Scottish, but of Irish descent). Remember how angry Chibs was last season when Jax handed over the gun pipeline? Remember how pissed off he was when he found out Marks was taking over? Remember Chibs’ talk of Jax reminding him of “the guy who used to sit at that seat”? There were a lot of moments last year, where it seemed like Chibs legitimately hated Jax … and then it all went away, which is either terrible writing or … a long-con.
Remember this: Chibs is True IRA. That loyalty doesn’t just go away.
Is it possible that the Irish — who haven’t been involved this season, but who have been mentioned on several occasions — could be using Chibs to take down Jax from the inside, to get revenge for the events of last season?
What really set me off to this possibility was the lengthy exchange between Chibs and Jax at the beginning of the episode. It didn’t make any sense to me: Why would Chibs — who is, along with Bobby, the sensible one in SAMCRO — continue pushing Jax so hard to follow through on a misguided plan that’s only resulted in more and more deaths?
I was yelling at my television, “Why are you trying to convince Jax to fight a war that doesn’t matter, Chibs? What is your problem, Chibs? LET HIM QUIT.” But Chibs kept pushing Jax, not out of his own self interest, or even the interests of the club, because nobody wins in this war. Why would Chibs care so much about Jax getting revenge for the death of Tara?
Unless, of course, Chibs was pushing Jax toward self-destruction. If he was using Jax to get rid of Marks and the One-Niners because the Irish — forced participants in the arrangement from the beginning — didn’t want their guns to go through the blacks (the Irish, after all, are notoriously racist). If Chibs can get Jax to self destruct and take out the One-Niners, Marks, and the Chinese, the Irish are free once again to run guns through SAMCRO and its new president, Filip ‘Chibs’ Telford.
Chibs is Fortinbras!