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[Warning: Spoilers ahead from the Dec. 9 series finale of Sons of Anarchy.]
Tuesday’s two-hour episode of Sons of Anarchy wrapped up seven seasons of brotherhood and bloody deaths with a fitting series finale centered on the fate of Jax (Charlie Hunnam).
Since creator Kurt Sutter first hinted that he planned to end the popular FX motorcycle drama in seven seasons, fans have wondered about the fate of Clay (Ron Perlman), Gemma (Katey Sagal), Tara (Maggie Siff) and, most of all, Jax. Clay, Tara and Gemma met Mr. Mayhem in episodes leading up to the finale, but fans tuned in Tuesday to see what would happen to SAMCRO leader Jax.
Jax’s story has always been at the center of the Sons of Anarchy universe. He started out as an energetic member of his late father’s motorcycle club, hoping to transform the club into a legitimate business. But he was haunted by the legacy of his father, John Teller, who had founded the motorcycle club but, as he revealed in his writings, felt SAMCRO had lost its way. The words of John Teller, who died in a motorcycle crash that, it’s eventually revealed, was caused by Clay, weighed heavily on Jax over the years as he saw himself and the club falling into the same pit of darkness.
Over time, tragedy and betrayal continued to plague Jax. He lost his best friend, Opie, and his wife, Tara. The death of Tara, who had inspired Jax to want more from his life than the darkness and violence of the club, launched Jax on a rampage of death and destruction as he sought out the killer. But his own mother, who had killed Tara, misled Jax, causing him to get even more innocent blood on his hands.
Finally, Jax found out about his mother’s betrayal, and killed her in the emotional scene from the penultimate episode.
At this point, with nearly everyone who had ever been close to Jax dead, many at his own hands or because of his choices, what else could his fate be but to die?
“I’m sorry, JT. It’s too late for me,” says Jax in the finale, sitting in the place where his father died. “I know who you are now, and what you did.” The finale episode sees Jax take his own life on a motorcycle, fulfilling his father’s legacy in the most tragic way possible.
Sutter has always said that Sons of Anarchy was inspired by Shakespeare’s Hamlet, so we should have been under no illusions as to how dark and tragic this show would get toward the end. And while he’s strayed from the exact plot of Hamlet, Sutter has often kept true to the way Shakespearean tragedy feels. Indeed, the death of Tara, who was killed after a misunderstanding gave Gemma the impression that Tara was going to rat, was very much inspired by the pages of Shakespeare.
“I cringe a little bit sometimes when people reference all the Shakespearean overtones. But I do really feel like when I have the opportunity to keep the show in that wheelhouse I enjoy doing that. So for me, I knew I wanted Tara’s death to really feel like straight-up Shakespearean tragedy,” Sutter told THR at the time, adding that he had her plunged into a sink of water as an added nod to Ophelia’s drowning death in Hamlet.
After Tara’s death at the end of season six, Sutter has been pushing Jax’s tragic story forward throughout the bloody seventh season, topping it off with the death of Gemma, Unser and Juice in the penultimate episode. By getting these deaths out of the way in the second-to-last episode, the finale was fully focused on the fate of Jax, giving fans two hours to say goodbye to SAMCRO’s reigning king.
What did you think of the series finale? Was it the right move to end Jax’s story with his death? Share your thoughts in the comments section below, and check back on THR’s Live Feed for a postmortem interview soon.
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