Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sons of Anarchy: "Black Widower" Season 7, Episode 1

Sons of Anarchy throttled into high gear as the final season premiered Tuesday night. BTW ... SPOILER ALERT!!

I’m worried about Wayne Unser. Nobody ever said Wendy was the sharpest knife (or carving fork) in the drawer, but did she seriously not consider the danger of bringing Wayne into her apartment? Did she not for a minute think about how hard it would be to hide from the former sheriff the fact that Juice had taken refuge in her home? It never registered with her that Wayne would wonder why she bought groceries—and then let them sit on the counter—if she was going to stay with Gemma for a while. He may like his weed, but Unser’s a shrewd guy. We knew—didn’t we?—that his radar was running full blast while he was in that apartment.

As soon as he turned his back to the room and opened that closet door, I knew he was in trouble. Didn’t you? Juice couldn’t afford to stay hidden, once he knew that Unser had seen his pack—and his cut. So what now, Mr. Sutter? Who wins this stalemate? Will Juice put Unser out of his cancer-ridden misery before Gemma shows up again? If Juice simply holds Wayne until Gemma’s next visit, I think (I hope, to be honest) he will find that his investment with Gemma might be miscalculated. I think if Gemma has to choose between the two of them, I think (again, I hope) she’ll save Wayne and not Juice.

And what about Mommy Dearest? If you didn’t watch Anarchy Afterword (and if you didn’t, you missed the eye roll of the century—loved that look, Katey!), then you might have thought, as my husband and I did, that Gemma told Juice, “I’m a psychopath,” when he asked her how she was able to look at Jax, to talk to him about Tara. In fact, Gemma said, “I’m not a psychopath,” which made more sense. I just didn’t hear the “not” when I watched the episode.

As Katey explained on Anarchy Afterword, Gemma’s not a psychopath. A psychopath, she said, wouldn’t feel any pain for killing Tara. A psychopath wouldn’t have trouble talking to Jax about Tara. It was hard for Gemma. So, yes, there are many things we can call Gemma, but I think psychopath isn’t one. (Although, I’m willing to revisit that argument if my psychology-majoring daughter wants to discuss it.)

Gemma says she’s the only thing holding the family together. She says that if Jax were to find out what happened, he’d lose everything—he’d lose his mother. It’s a very arrogant statement, that she’s the single thread stringing them all together, but it’s also true. Jax trusts her—to the point that he killed an “innocent” member of Lin’s gang because Gemma said he had killed Tara. (What a tangled web of lies …) Jax counts on her. Loves her. What would happen if he found out the depth of her deception? (I really hope we get the answer to that question before the club rides off into the bleeding sunset.)

Which brings us to the prince. Jax. The wearer of the bright, white shoes. (That was explained on AA also, thank God. It’s always bothered me. Evidently, it’s what bikers wear in SoCal.)

Jax is on a brutal trajectory. Gone is his desire to get on the right side of the law. Gone is his desire to get out of guns. Gone is his desire to be good. He doesn’t care anymore. He loves his club. Period. With Tara gone, Jax is grabbing the gavel with both hands, and he’s embracing the outlaw life once again.

Charlie Hunnam talked about this, along with Kurt Sutter, on AA, and I really liked what they said. Charlie said that Tara was Jax’s moral compass, that she was the one who made him want to be good, to be better, to be different from Clay. Now that she’s gone, he can stop fighting the natural flow of his life—his outlaw life—and he can embrace it and fulfill his destiny. My husband asked, “I wonder what Clay would think of this reversal?” Indeed. What would he think?

With Tara removed as Jax’s moral compass, is there anyone left who can be that for him? Yes, there are two of them. Abel and Thomas. And this goes back to my Season 7 Preview post. If Jax embraces the outlaw life and flows with the current of the life he was born and raised into instead of swimming against it, then Abel and Thomas are destined to live the same life. The cycle will never end. Last season, before Tara died, Jax didn’t want that life for his boys. He wanted her to get them out and away from it. Has that changed?

Jax refused to see his sons at all during that first episode. I think he knows the effect they will have on him. I think he knows they could become that moral compass that Tara was. And right now, that’s not what he wants. So what will Jax decide? Will he shun his children so that he can live this life he seems to be choosing? Are Abel and Thomas already lost? (Grammy Gemma is there, but who would call that a consolation?)

When will Jax see his boys? How will he treat them? What will he say to them? It just dawned on me … he didn’t even visit Tara’s grave. Wayne did. But Jax didn’t. Did he need his vengeance first? And now that he thinks he got his vengeance, which we all know he didn’t get TRUE vengeance, will he be able to let go of any of his anger?

“Truth” is a major theme in this show. But it’s always a relative truth. Like Gemma said to Juice, the two of them did the best thing they could (killing Tara and Roosevelt) based on “the truth we had.” Now, Gemma has to keep the truth from her son so that she can continue to have a relationship with him.

What happens to a relationship that isn’t based on truth? As we’ve seen in six prior seasons, it gets bloody, because the truth always finds its way through the smoke and the fog.

Will the truth destroy Jax, or will it set him—finally—free?

Sons of Anarchy will be back Tuesday at 10 p.m. on FX. I’ll be there.

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