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[Warning: Spoilers ahead from Tuesday’s season-six finale, “A Mother’s Work.”]
The shocking season-six finale of Sons of Anarchy brought to a close one of the most important relationships on the hit FX drama.
At the end of the episode, Tara (Maggie Siff) was brutally killed by Gemma (Katey Sagal), who thought that Tara had betrayed her son, Jax (Charlie Hunnam), by ratting on him in exchange for immunity and a place in WitSec.
But the whole thing was a misunderstanding — Tara had not betrayed him at all. Rather, Jax had turned himself in to protect her, a fact them Gemma learned too late. As showrunner Kurt Sutter told THR, he designed the finale to feel like a Shakespearean tragedy.
THR spoke with Siff, who is currently expecting her first child, about the dramatic finale, how she found out her character would be killed off and what it was like to shoot those final scenes.
How did you watch the finale?
Katey, Kurt and I watched a screening of it around the time it was airing. We were on set [to shoot the aftershow episode].
Do you enjoy watching yourself on the show?
I hate watching myself! (Laughs.) I honestly don’t often do it, but I did want to see that episode just because it was the finale, in more ways than one for me, and I thought it was important to watch it put together.
I spoke to Kurt about this episode, and he had mentioned that he’d known he wanted to end season six with Tara’s death for quite some time. When did he first talk to you about that happening?
We talked about it at the beginning of the season. I can’t exactly remember, but it was after the first or second read-through. We sat down to have a chat about what Tara’s arc would be for the season, and there was something about the way he sighed, and I was like, “You’re not killing me off, are you?” and he said, “Well, darling,” which is the way Kurt talks, and that’s when I knew. It wasn’t a huge surprise. All of us in the cast joke about how our days are numbered one way or the other, it’s just a matter of when and how.
How did it feel that day on set? Were they the last scenes you shot?
The scene where she killed me and the scene where Jax discovers the body were both shot on the last day. They’re usually pretty good about that — waiting until the very end of an episode to let the character go. The knowledge that it was going to happen — it felt unreal, and then surreal. And then as we got to the day, and the episode, it got more and more challenging. And then shooting it was really hard. It was really technical, and we had our stunt doubles there. So one of the interesting things about watching the episode is that I actually feel like Katey and I had seen it before because we’d watched these two amazing stunt doubles perform it over and over again. So we knew what the feeling of that scene was. It was horrific, and we sort of experienced that.
Are you happy with the way Tara was killed off?
In a sense I am. It’s a very surreal thing to watch yourself be brutally murdered. Honestly, the violence of the show is something that I’ve struggled with at times in watching it. When I put myself in the position of viewer, I have to close my eyes [sometimes]. Things will cross lines for me, and so I’ve always insulated myself from certain parts of the show to continue to be focused on the work I have to do for it. Although, I’m very, very proud of the show and I think it’s quite amazing. But as an actor I feel like it’s an amazing way to go out, it’s like a lot of fireworks. And I know that it’s going to be a huge part of what the life of next season is, and that’s very gratifying. I’m curious to sit down and watch it. I know I’ll feel myself there even though I’m not there, and that’s very satisfying.
What’s next for you?
Well, I’m pregnant, so that’s the very next undertaking. I’m very lucky to have a little bit of time off to ready myself for that. I’m also hoping to develop a film that would shoot next summer or fall. It’s been great because it’s given me something to work on creatively while I’m gestating.
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