Sons of Anarchy Season 7 Series Finale “Papa’s Goods”

Fellow Sons of Anarchy fans, let’s gather together and nestle our weary spirits in Nero Padilla’s cardigan-clad bosom. It’s going to be alright, babies. It’s going to be alright.

Full disclosure, several days in advance of last night’s series finale, I found myself in the unfortunate position of having been exposed to some of the Sons of Anarchy finale spoilers. Admittedly, I had also gotten wind in advance of the penultimate episode that both Gemma and Unser would not live through the finale. I was a little annoyed and frustrated at the free flow of spoilers because I really wanted to go into the finale unsullied. For what it’s worth, however, it was very clear what Jackson Teller’s fate would be the moment he fired that fatal bullet into his mother’s head.

At times, last night’s series finale felt like several things that weren’t necessarily the show I’d spent seven seasons watching. There were several moments when I wondered if I was watching a special episode of The Shield, given the cameo appearances by Michael Chiklis (Vic/Milo), Walton Goggins (Shane/Venus) and CCH Pounder (Claudette/Tyne Patterson). The end of the episode felt more like Jax as a Christ-like figure, as opposed to a tragic Shakespearean-inspired character like Hamlet.

Annoying onslaught of spoilers aside, the writers were very heavy handed in laying out Jax’s trajectory. In hindsight, a very large portion of the long-haired, optimistic Jackson Teller died when he lost Opie. The remnants of this Jackson Nathaniel Teller –

died with his wife, Tara Grace Knowles (Teller).

Whatever suspicions viewers may have had that Jax was on a suicide run were confirmed repeatedly throughout last night’s finale. I understand the writers’ intent in making Jax’s final actions look like a natural next step for the character. Although I understand that it would not have been well received if Jax suddenly committed suicide at the end of the episode, I still yearned for more subtlety in the approach as I watched the finale. With an opening montage that began with Jax burning his journals, his father’s transcript, SAMCRO pictures, along with the SAMCRO president looking at paperwork relating to his estate and paying his respects to Opie and Tara – there was no logical way for this series finale to come to an end without the death of the character we’ve followed since the opening scene of episode 1, season 1.

Look, I’m an avid fan of Game of Thrones. George R. R. Martin has conditioned me to accept the death of characters that I love and adore. However, nothing about the final two episodes of this series made it easier to accept the idea of Jax electing to leave his children without the father that loved them – particularly after they lost their mother in such a brutal manner. The repeated references to John Teller, Jax’s crucifix-like stance on a bike, the dead homeless lady and Vic Makey screaming “Jesus” as Jax ran into Milo’s truck all felt a wee bit melodramatatic – even by Sons of Anarchy standards.

Those nitpicks aside, I like that the writers left viewers with the image of the club in the hands of a very capable Chibs, with Tiggy and Happy as his highest ranking club officers. Jax continued on his quest to wrap up loose ends by killing an Irish King and August Marks, so the guys should be safe – barring any unforeseen betrayal by one of their allies. After enduring seven seasons of violence and mayhem, it’s hard to envision a bright future for SAMCRO – even if the Teller family is no longer around to create unnecessary drama.

Although Jax’s suicide felt a little too on the nose, it did not detract from the episode’s stronger scenes, which helped tie everything together. As with the last two episodes, the scene with Jax and Nero was a standout. Jax explaining himself to Nero was a poignant and effective character beat.

Jax’s final conversation, which was with his father, was a very telling revelation into his actions in last week’s episode. Killing Gemma was about removing an obstacle to a brighter future for Abel and Thomas. As Jax aptly observed, Gemma had different plans. Those plans included a life in which at least one of the boys, most likely Abel, would carry on the legacy of the Tellers and the MC. Ironically, I’m not sure if Jax’s actions will prove to be enough, as we saw Abel looking quite pensive as he touched the SONS ring on his finger – given to him by grandma. Perhaps the takeaway point of this series is that Gemma always wins – even in death! Just kidding.

For Your Consideration

If you follow awards campaigns, you’re familiar with networks submitting shows and actors “for your consideration.” Despite all of my nitpicks about how predictable the finale was, there is no denying the brilliant performances during the final episodes of the series. The scenes between Tommy Flanagan and Charlie Hunnam were breathtaking. I suspect that Sons of Anarchy will join The Wire among the ranks of shows that have been criminally neglected by those responsible for nominations during awards season. For this fangirl, however, I will follow the work of Sutter, Sagal, Hunnam, Rossi, Coates, Flanagan, Sift – to name a few – in all of their post-SOA endeavors.

Sign Of The Times

The finale wasn’t all death and doom. Welcome to the 21st century, Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Originals! Technically speaking, I should be welcoming them to the 20th century for finally voting Taddarius Orwell Cross AKA T.O. into SAMCRO without forcing him to be a prospect. Spoiler alert – I’m Black! Just in case that wasn’t evident from that picture included with my bio. I LOVE this show and representation (of gender, race, sexuality, socioeconomic status, etc.) is important to me. I don’t make decisions about shows from the outset on this basis, but these factors might make me more inclined to stick around. I have always respected Sons of Anarchy as a show that has been diverse in front of the camera and behind the camera. Further, I understand racial divides in real life motorcycle clubs, but since Juice’s storyline in season 4, I’ve been hoping that the SAMCRO would address this silly rule and dismiss it. Admittedly, there is something bittersweet about the club rejecting the unspoken rule about Black members after Juice’s death. I do, however, take solace in the fact that storyline about Juice’s mixed heritage received a very long-awaited closure before the series wrapped. The unanimous vote of the guys in favor of T.O. and the sight of him in a SAMCRO rocker was a very bright spot in an otherwise somber final episode.

Filling The Void

I haven’t fully “digested” the end of Sons of Anarchy as a series. Fortunately for all of us, most of our favorite shows are done for the year because of the winter hiatus. I don’t think the sadness of the series being over will truly hit until next fall. Even as I write this review, I get a bit teary at the prospect that there will be no new episode of Sons of Anarchy to get excited about in the fall of 2015. If you haven’t already watched it, I hope that you’ll accept my recommendation to watch The Shield. I can guarantee that you’ll find it as emotionally draining as Sons of Anarchy, but the amazing performances of actors you’ve already watched on SOA like Goggins, Chiklis, Pounder, Jay Karnes (Josh Kohn on SOA S1) are totally worth it.

THANK YOU!!!!!!!

Sons of Anarchy has easily been the most fun I’ve had in covering a tv show ever. Seriously. I’ve covered some pretty great shows, including Boardwalk Empire and True Detective. Sons of Anarchy, however, trumps them all when it comes to shows that are undeniably fun to watch and reflect upon. Few shows have been more engaging and compelling on a consistent basis. I’d like to personally thank those of you, like Julia and Rain, who stopped by each week with your comments. I love a good pow wow and looked forward to your input as much as I looked forward to new episodes each week. I’m also thankful for family and friends (Anna, Hilarie), who took this crazy ride with me as a fan. I will be eternally grateful to you all and offer you a virtual cuddle in the bosom of cardigan-clad Nero as a sign of my thanks.

Until . . .
It looks like our TV Equals gang is officially out of the gun SAMCRO business. I hope we’ll cross paths on other shows. If you’re on Twitter, you can find me – @southernbelleva. Let’s have one last SAMCRO hug.

Sound off below with your thoughts and reflections on Sons of Anarchy. I’ll just be here on the floor, grappling with all of my feels!