Bane was right; you cannot have true despair without hope. Sons of Anarchy’s season 6 finale “A Mother’s Work” had those things last night. For a goof 10-15 minutes, my mind was lit up with joy that perhaps Sons would do something un-Sons like for a change. Jax turning himself in and accepting the consequences for his grievous actions was a shocking move, in the best way. It reminded me that yes underneath the monstrous visage that Jax Teller is still a good man. Not many of that era’s difficult men accept that they are monsters and wretched individuals, and throw themselves at the mercy of the authority. Perhaps Season 7 was going to feature a 7-12 year time skip with Jax getting out of jail and learning to be a family man or something like that.
What dreams may have came were fleeting as Sons reverted back to handling things in typical bloody Sons fashion. Tara repeatedly stabbed with a carving fork while simultaneously being drowned by Gemma. Typical Sutter excess as Tara is stabbed more than necessary and the camera getting all to close and personal. Tara’s body lay dead on the floor, blood pooling. Gemma muttering like Lady Macbeth (perhaps that’s too much credit) that is “had to be done” there was no other choice. She had no other choice but to murder her daughter in law, to protect her family. The characters of Sons have a real problem with seeing that there is always the choice of inaction.
Juice and Roosevelt find the gruesome scene, appalled at the savagery. Roosevelt mournfully informs Gemma that Tara didn’t make a deal. Jax was turning himself in and taking the hit for everything. Katey Segal’s breaking in that moment was actually well done and deserves credit, she is better than the material given. So here we have some Shakespearean carnage and dramatic irony. A strong well executed dramatic engine, perhaps the best thing this show has done all season (faint praise), ending on an intended emotional filled shot of Jax cradling his dead wife’s body and wailing in pain.
In between the moments of Gemma’s realization and Jax finding out, Sons goes back to being Sons. Juice murders Roosevelt…for some reason. Seriously not a rhetorical question, why did he do that? Killing Gemma or turning her over to Jax might have saved him from meeting Mr. Mayhem. Instead he murders Charming’s Chief (man remember when his wife was murdered by the club?) and disposes of the evidence implicating Gemma….why? All it does is save Gemma from the consequences of her actions, something that has happened far too often to her.
Sons of Anarchy is what it is and in moments like the finale, I can’t help but feel totally burned out emotionally by this show. Beyond the plot device of the kids, Tara was the only character that didn’t absolutely deserve a karmic bullet to the head, instead she gets a carving fork to the neck. As an example of karam collecting the debts paid by Jax with the interest that is owed, I get it. Jax deserves to lose everything but so does Gemma. So why does she get to live to see another day again?
Looking back on season 6 and this two hour finale, I’m left wondering why it was this way. Why every episode ran 90 minutes long. Every episode lasted 10-15 minutes longer than necessary and just bloated an already near stagnant when it comes to plot movement. Lots of things certainly happen: gotta have those mindless hard rock driven chase sequences, opening monologues by Jax, and musical montages that last 5 minutes. But from a overarching perspective how much of that was necessary for the emotional story attempted to be told. Sons had a great synergy of fun crazy chase sequences and propulsive plotting because everything was so interwoven. Season 6 had none of that as it meandered through the fall of Lee Toric, due to Donal Logue’s prior commitments and everything with the guns. There are some good 60 minute versions of season 6 episodes and a better 90 minute cut of “A Mother’s Work” to be found. AS it stands Season 6 should go down as a bloated indulgent mess of television.
Sons of Anarchy is going to Sons of Anarchy, which is just as poor an excuse as everyone reasoning their actions by “they had to” without proper forethought. I’ll be seeing this through to the bitter bloody end. Hopefully Kurt Sutter dose not make good on his threats of more Sons past season 7.