Thursday, September 4, 2014

Sons of Anarchy Season 7 Preview

The last season of Sonsof Anarchy debuts Tuesday, Sept. 9 on FX. Are you ready? I am.

This post is chocked full of SPOILERS! If you haven’t watched every episode of Season 6, stop reading. SPOILERS AHEAD!!

So I have questions—as I’m sure you all do—about where Sutter will take his merry band of outlaws this season. Before we go there, we should take a moment to mourn (and celebrate?) the passing of some major players.

Otto was probably the baddest badass I’ve ever seen on any screen. Seriously. The man could dish it out and take it like no other. He was complicated and interesting. Loyal. Loving. Violent. Unforgiving. Ruthless. I will never be able to get that picture out of my mind of him biting off his own tongue. Ever. Whenever Otto was part of a scene, I sat up a little straighter, glued my eyes a little tighter to the screen. Turned the volume up. Otto was always worth watching. Sutter put him(self!) through hell, and Otto got an out he earned. Toric was interesting too, but I wasn’t sorry to see him go, and I was thrilled Otto was the one who got to take him out.

I despised Galen—partly, probably, because I could understand only about every other word he said. (I’m kidding—that’s not why I hated him.) Galen could never be trusted, even when he was supposed to be working with or for SAMCRO. You knew never to turn your back completely to Galen. I think the Kings were even beginning to realize Galen was a little too self-serving for their own good, for their cause. So when Jax killed Galen at the hangar, I was stunned, but oh, so happy. That dude needed to go.

Which brings us to … Clay. For me, it was hard to see Clay go. It wasn’t that I liked him. He was despicable in many ways. It was that he was compelling. Each time you thought Clay had gone as far as he would go into the dark side, he’d go just a little bit farther. I like it when characters surprise me. So many of the conflicts within the show revolved around or were connected to Clay, so I’m happy that Sutter waited until the end of the penultimate season to let him go. I think without Clay, we start to run out of story.

But let’s talk about Clay’s death for a minute, shall we? There were so many elements of that scene—and the scenes that led up to it—that were so well written, so well acted. The subtle look Bobby exchanged with Jax as Bobby lay bleeding in the van. The look on Clay’s face when he realized what was about to happen. “I guess you had another vote I wasn’t privy to,” Clay said to Jax, who says yes, and that this time it was unanimous. The best exchange though, and kudos to Ron Perlman and Katey Sagal, was the look Clay and Gemma shared through the window right before Jax shot him. The history of their life together passed in that one look. It was brutal and beautiful.

The final deaths are the ones that are going to propel this final season. They are the ones that generate the questions we all have: Tara’s death at Gemma’s hands, and Roosevelt’s at Juice’s. What a tense, emotional, scary-as-hell, tragic scene Sutter crafted and Sagal and Maggie Siff brought to life, right? Let me say this: I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING!! (And I’m immensely proud that my husband and I were able to keep the secret from our daughter. She went into that scene as blind and unaware as we did.)

I’ve thought about reading Hamlet many times since we started watching SOA. (Yes, I have a bachelor’s in English, took two semesters of Shakespeare, and never had to read that particular play. Go figure.) It’s in my queue on my Kindle. But the farther we got into the series, the less I wanted to know about the source material. I’ve read elsewhere that Sutter has strayed from the original, that’s he’s made it his own, but I don’t know where he’s strayed and where he’s stayed true to it. Hamlet will wait until SOA is over. So if Tara’s death fit with the play, I didn’t know it, and I was blown away not just by the murder itself but by the sheer brutality of it. Death by carving fork. Wow. I think I stopped breathing—literally—during that scene. I remember I couldn’t move. It was fantastic storytelling and acting.

And then, just when I thought I could breathe—a little—Roosevelt walks in, starts to call in the murder, and Juice shoots him in the back. Holy shit. Really? But it fits. Juice has always been a lost little boy. I don’t mean that in a derogatory manner either. He’s always seemed as if he didn’t know quite where he belonged, and the club meant everything to him. SAMCRO was his family, but mostly he just wanted to be loved. I always had a soft spot for Juice.

When Jax told him, “You betrayed me,” right before Jax left to head home in that last episode, Juice knew it was over. He knew he’d lost it all—until he saw Gemma on the floor, bloodied and crying, beside Tara’s corpse. Gemma had always been kind of a weird surrogate mom for Juice, and there she was—vulnerable and desperate. Juice did what he had to do to save the one person who might still love him.

So that’s where we are as we prepare to say goodbye to one of the best dramas on TV. If Jax finds out that Gemma killed Tara, what will he do? This is surely the conflict that will drive this season. There will be lies on top of lies, trying to keep the truth from him. What will he do if he finds out Juice had a part in the cover-up? That one’s easy, right? Juice will die.

But will Jax kill Gemma? I think Shakespeare would say yes. If Jax kills Gemma, everything will come full circle. Gemma signed off on the murder of JT (Jax’s dad), and that death has fueled the show. JT’s death has nearly driven Jax crazy as he’s tried to learn to cope with it, to avenge it, to move beyond it. So to kill his own mother to avenge the murder of his wife, it just seems like a very Shakespearean, tragic, choice to make.

I’ve talked with people who want Jax to kill Gemma. They feel she deserves it, and maybe she does. Hell, probably she does. But for Jax’s sake, and for the sake of those two little boys, I really hope he doesn’t. I hope he finds out, and I hope he chooses to walk away, to send Gemma to prison but not to kill her. DA Patterson told Jax in that final episode, “You’re a husband, and a father, and a man—before all of this. Own your place,” she says. I hope he remembers those words and chooses to be a better parent to Abel and Thomas than Gemma was to him. Otherwise, there is no hope. Is that the message Sutter intends to send—that we’re doomed to repeat the sins of our fathers (and our mothers)?

Next week it all begins, and it all begins to end. I’ll be blogging. I hope you’ll be reading and commenting. Sons of Anarchy airs Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. EST on FX.

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