Here’s the deal: Sons of Anarchy is one of those shows that I both love and hate. I love it for its characters and for what it once was (I’m talking about seasons 1 & 2, specifically). I love it because it’s fun. I love it because of Katey Sagal and Ryan Hurst. I love the heartache, the betrayal, the loyalty and the danger. I love it because it has nearly limitless potential.
I hate it because it hasn’t come close to reaching so much of that potential. Instead, the writers (primarily Kurt Sutter, creator) wrote this season into a corner and rather than see it through to the end it rightfully should have reached, the end all of its fans wanted because it was the most logical, inevitable end in sight, because it was the only end that made sense and would have justified the roller coaster we’ve been on this entire season, they took the pussy’s way out and wrapped everything up with a plot twist that felt way too convenient. For anyone planning to watch the season 4 finale, you’ll want to stop right here. I’m about to lay it all out.
For the record, I’m glad Tara lived. The scene in which Jax told her he had to stay in Charming actually brought tears to my eyes. It was tender and sincere and the performances given there were the very best we’ve seen so far from Charlie Hunnam and Maggie Siff. I’m also glad she’s staying. I know how badly she wanted to flee and, for her sake, I wanted her to get the hell out of there, too. But how could she abandon Jax at such a pivotal time and leave him there in Gemma’s clutches? Not to mention, the shit that will hit the fan between Tara and Gemma next season should make for excellent television.
I’m also so, so, so glad the turmoil involving Juice’s black father and his guilt over hiding that has finally reached an end. I never actually bought that the club would give a shit what color Juice’s dad was but I did feel awful for Juice and I tired pretty quickly of seeing him in such a miserable state. The upside to that storyline was two-fold: it gave Theo Rossi a chance to shine, an opportunity he most certainly did not waste, and it deepened our already cavernous love of Chibbs.
What pissed me off, of course, was the overwhelming disappointment in Clay’s survival. I admit the whole Danny Trejo-is-actually-CIA bit felt cheap and easy but even that would have been overlooked had the writers had the balls to make good on the promise they’ve made in nearly every episode of this season. They went far out of their way to create an irredeemable, relentless villain in Clay, cementing in all of our minds (the viewers, that is) the near-certain fact that he would DIE by the end of this season, at the hands of either Jax or Opie. (I soooo wanted it to be Opie.) And then, like the barely fifteen freshman at prom with the captain of the varsity football team, they chickened out. Left us with two blue, swollen, aching balls. Nothing but a bottle of Jergens to soothe our sad, disappointed hearts.
Are these the same people who wrote season 2? Who gang-raped Gemma tied up against a chain-linked fence? Who brought Tig to madness with guilt over Donna’s murder? Who shook Jax to the point of going nomad? Who gave Opie the sweet, sweet justice of killing Stahl in a mirror image of his wife’s death? What happened to those writers? They had balls. They took us to the very edge of our emotional capacity. And then they delivered. There was nothing anti-climactic about those season finales. Multiple climaxes, more like. I want those writers back.
I feel confidant that next season will bring a reunion for Opie and Jax, a return to the brotherly bond they’ve shared up until now. Hopefully, the fight between Gemma and Tara will result in some serious feminine bad-assery and, god willing, Clay will finally die. If there are surprises, and I’m not against them, I hope they are reminiscent of those found in the first 2 seasons of this beloved show.
The final scene with Tara standing behind Jax while he sat at the head of the table and the haunting comparison to that old tattered picture of Gemma and JT was beautifully chilling. Which gives me hope that the writers will get their mojo back and return to the glory that SOA and its fans deserve. One can only hope.