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Three Major Deaths. One Heartbreaking Episode. (SOA 7×12)

So many things happened on the last episode of Sons of Anarchy and so many characters met their end. We are truly preparing for the final episode and though this was a tough one, I can’t say a lot of it was completely unexpected but I’m not sure that shock was what the writers were looking for, it was more like this inevitable depression that eventually had to happen. For the majority of this episode we dealt with the division of power between all of the clubs and the aftermath of the truth coming out about Gemma. Be warned. Spoilers ahead.

So we will be dealing with more of this in the finale I believe but in this episode we started looking at what is going to happen with all of the club’s territories. It does look like the Mayans and the Niners might have some troubles ahead and Alvarez has asked Jax to stay out of it. But when does Jax ever do what he’s told? I don’t know if these two clubs do come to a head…..I believe Alvarez will eat the Niners alive. Tyler doesn’t nearly have enough backbone to take the Mayans on. In another front, it was brought to everyone’s attention that Connor reached out to Marks to buy guns. So the club is setting up a meet with Tyler and Connor (Connor doesn’t know Tyler is allies with SAMCRO) and can hopefully kill him before he creates anymore complications. In return for this favor, the club needs to get rid of the mobilizing Chinese who threaten Tyler’s turf. I’m not sure why they even waited so long to do this. I feel like this should be your first priority. Nonetheless, SAMCRO killed the Chinese and everything seems to be going according to plan so far.

We also had a couple of wonderful guest stars in this episode that I loved seeing. While Gemma was on the road, she ran into Michael Chiklis who she eventually hitched a ride with even though Kurt Sutter said he would never have Walton Goggins or Michael Chiklis guest star on Sons of Anarchy because they are too recognizable from The Shield. Guess he lied. For any Whedon fans out there, we got a glimpse of the lovely Charisma Carpenter while Gemma went to the nursing home where her dad lives. And last but not least, we again saw the homeless woman that appears various times throughout the series. Just to explain, in seemingly very crucial moments of the show, a homeless woman appears to Jax or Gemma before something life changing could happen in their life. For those of you who may have missed this explanation, in Season Six when we meet the lovely but super crazy Brooke, Jax has a sit down with her father. In that episode he sees a wedding photo of Brooke’s father and that homeless woman. She is in fact a woman who was accidentally killed in the same crash that ended John Teller’s life. She now appears as a ghost whenever Jax or Gemma have an important decision to make. If John Teller did in fact commit suicide, this would bring this woman’s ghost appearances to a whole new devastating level.

Moving on to something I predicted long ago, it looks like Nero will be taking Wendy and the boys to the farm. Jax is starting to see things straight and understand that Wendy and Nero are the best things for his boys and hopefully after all of this mess is over and done with, we can all rest easy that Lucius, Abel and Thomas will all be taken care of. In more of the more unsettling scenes (for me anyway) was the ending scene where Jax has sex with Wendy. To me, this isn’t just him having sex with a random woman or one of Nero’s girls. It’s him having sex with someone he deeply cares about and seeing as this whole season has been completely surrounding Tara’s murder, the fans aren’t completely over the fact that she’s dead or that Jax should move on. But with all things considered, Jax needed some serious comfort and you can’t really blame him for that.

There were three big deaths in this episode and they were all characters that have been with us since the very first episode of the show. Two of the deaths were expected (at least for me) and one was not so let’s start with the one we knew was going to happen sooner or later. Poor Juice. Juice’s story arc was a completely tragic one and in the end, I believe he showed himself as a strong man dying for what he thinks is right. And that’s what the club truly wants. In the last episode, he killed Henry Lin so the Chinese want him dead but he also admitted to Jax what happened with Gemma and found out he was part of the reason Bobby was killed. In this episode, the Chinese find him, rape him and offer him a chance to live if he kills Tully. Knowing that Jax wants Tully to kill him for what he did to the club. Juice goes up to Tully and instead of killing him for the Chinese, he offers the shank to Tully saying that it will solidify his relationship with the club. Juice seems to finally be at peace as Tully repeatedly stabs Juice in the throat and chest falling to his death. I think in the end Juice did what was right for him though part of me always wanted him to stand up to Jax for all of the awful things Jax has made him do but I knew that was a long shot. Juice’s death didn’t surprise me but it definitely was still a very sad thing to finally see play out.

The next death in the episode was to a beloved character that no one really saw dying. As if I need any more reasons to dislike Jax, he shoots Unser in the chest when Unser won’t leave him alone with Gemma. Let me be clear, this was a very loaded and complicated scene and it could be taken in many ways. Earlier in the episode, Jax told Unser that the truth about Gemma. He needed his help in making sure he could get everything he needed to get done finished and he needed Unser to drop the charges. This was such a heartbreaking moment for Unser. Unser swore to Tara that he would do everything to protect and he finds out she was killed by the person that he loves the most. Gemma and Unser have been through so much together and he was really the only constant in her life and she was the only reason he really felt the need to keep going in his life. Unser gets to Gemma first at her father’s house. He tries to convince her to leave with him so that he can arrest her and she doesn’t have to die. But Gemma was a woman that was preparing to die. She was looking at old photos and was exceedingly calm. A word you would never think could describe Gemma. Jax shows up before Unser can convince Gemma of anything. Jax asks Unser to leave but Unser refuses saying that this is it for him. The words rang so true to me as you think about what else does Unser have to live for. Maybe Jax understood that. Maybe that’s why Jax literally put Unser out of his misery. Gemma came to that house to die. Jax came to that house to kill her and Unser was in the way. It’s up to interpretation whether Jax did it to really set Unser free from being tied down to their mess or if he did it to get rid of this obstacle in his way of what he really had to do (I mean, he might be on borrowed time here) but no matter what the reason, none of the fans were expecting Unser to go and it was completely heart wrenching to watch him die before really finding peace in his life. It’s hard to watch genuinely good characters meet their end while so many jaded characters move on with their life. But I guess that’s the theme of television this week.

All of this has led up to one scene, the biggest scene of the series. Kurt Sutter has said that he based Sons of Anarchy on Shakespeare so we are all half expecting the series to end with Jax killing Gemma. After she killed Tara, fans knew it for a fact. That doesn’t mean it was too difficult to watch and awful to see Jax raise a gun on his mother and finally put the trigger. She calmly asks to go to the garden and he leads her out there. She stares at the beautiful white roses but doesn’t turn around to look at her son and waits for the inevitable. Jax raises the gun but seemingly can’t go through with it. She doesn’t turn around but she hears him cry. In this moment, she comforts him telling him that he has to do this and now in her final moments, she becomes the best mother she’s always wanted to be. She shows her son he needs to protect his own and follow through. After her words of encouragement, Jax pulls the trigger and shoots Gemma in the back of the head. Her blood splatters all over the white roses coining the name for the episode “Red Rose”. (Also, Tara had a red rose tattooed on her back…..it was all very fitting). It was a brutal scene to watch even if you knew it was going to happen and even more awful is watching Nero at the end of the episode. He doesn’t hear from Unser so he knows exactly what that means. He sits on the bed he shares with Gemma and starts sobbing.

With three deaths you would think they would be the focus of why the episode was so awful to watch but their heartbreaking fact of it all is that we see a man preparing to die. We see Jax getting everything in order for his death and to not leave any mess behind for those he loves. There will be a Mayhem vote. He will be found guilty and he will meet Mr. Mayhem. It was all pretty much decided when he sat down with the other charter’s presidents. And unless there is a huge plot twist we are all unaware of, Jax will be the second SAMCRO member to die this season. In this episode, we see Jax make sure his boys will be taking care of by Wendy and Nero. He makes a lot of moves to make sure his club and their allies are at peace with their business. And last but not least, he finally kills his mother; something that he probably can’t live with and doesn’t plan to. But he does it for his wife. He does it for Tara’s injustice and the awful events that happened that night. As he talks with the other Presidents, he makes a deal with them.  If he gets his club to agree with Mayhem vote, the organization will get rid of one of the unwritten by-laws. Of course we didn’t get to hear what that by-law is. My initial thought was if there was a by-law that prevented a son from becoming President if his father met Mr. Mayhem and Abel could actually join the club if he wanted to but I’m not sure Jax wants that and we all know Tara definitely didn’t want that. A better notion is that it’s an unwritten by-law that would completely prohibit his sons from being anywhere near the club. Fans are speculating that it’s a by-law that will patch over the Grim Bastards into SAMCRO to help Jax escape death but all of the evidence of this episode suggests that he is a man who knows he’s about to die. Another moment that stuck with me was the moment in the beginning of the episode where Jax goes to stand up and his leg gives out on him. What in the world? I’m sure it means something but I have no idea what. Guess we’ll just have to find out. The two likely outcomes of the ending of the show both involve Jax dying. First theory is that he will somehow escape the Mayhem vote but after everything that’s happened and everything he has done, he will commit suicide on his bike much like his father (allegedly) did. But I believe the second theory is the correct one. It’ll come to a Mayhem vote and Jax will somehow convince his club to vote against him and they will kill him. This sets up for a brutal final scene where Chibs will literally refuse to vote for Jax to die. Chibs would die before betraying his “Jackie Boy” and somehow Jax will convince Chibs to do so and that’s the way he will go out. That’s my best guess.

 

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