“This is who I am. I can’t change…I’m not a good man. I’m a criminal. And a killer. I need my sons to grow up hating the thought of me.” – Jax Teller
Last Tuesday marked the much anticipated end to Kurt Sutter’s outlawed motorcycle club lead crime drama, Sons of Anarchy. A show that has gripped fans for seven sensational series. Here Editor, and SOA fan Sophie gives her verdict on the final ride…
I’ve been a Sons of Anarchy fan since day one, watching every single season religiously, often binging on a few episodes at a time. It has taken me a week to be able to write this. I needed to take time to lament the passing first and you only have to look online to see I’m not alone in my love for Sutter’s indigenous creation; I’m not the only one struggling to accept the series ending. Yet despite the shows mass following SOA never garnered a single award nomination during its airing which, considering it’s more than just a show about an unruly motorcycle club, is shocking. The series storyline has often been compared to the work of Shakespeare, a comparison Kurt Sutter invites with his unique flair for tragedy and his hero whose demise we all saw coming, yet didn’t want to quite believe. For those who haven’t watched it, you missed out and for those who have, I know you felt my pain as episode 13 of season seven saw Jax Teller take his very last ride.
Unsurprisingly, Sons of Anarchy went out with a bang. Figuratively and quite literally, as leading man and SAMCRO President, Jax Teller drove his motorcycle into an oncoming truck, ending seven years of murderous mayhem in a crescendo of biblical proportions.
There has been some backlash from critics claiming the ending was over the top, and I wouldn’t disagree; it was over the top, but it was necessary. It was Sutter’s all-or-nothing approach to writing SOA that made it so brilliant. He executed perfectly a harrowing reality of what it truly means to be a part of a increasingly outdated and ineffective ideal. Sons of Anarchy wasn’t about bike or gang culture, SOA was about the underlying truth behind power and how the refusal to distribute it will ultimately render you irrelevant, dead or both.
We saw previous President Clay Morrow dictate the actions of his club, then refuse to bow to the wishes of the men he claimed as his family, resulting in him withering into a weak bitter man whose own family wanted him dead. Unlike Jax, or even John Teller, Clay didn’t sacrifice himself for the love of his club – he held on, until what he cared about most was taken from him; leaving him a shadow of the former leader he once was. Clay Morrow wasn’t the only angry man who struggled throughout the series, Pope, Lin, Marks and Jimmy O’Phelan all died in the face of relinquished power.
Sacrifice was a running theme in SOA long before Jax and that fatal episode. Juice sacrifices himself in the name of truth and Gemma when Jax shot her amongst the roses. Unser died for the only women he had ever truly loved, while Bobby and Opie went brutally to soon out of honour for their club. The message of SOA is that power and misplaced loyalties will turn you into somebody you aren’t; it will rob you, beat you down and leave you to bleed. You are the sum of what you’ve done, and everybody pays their price. The once seemingly untouchable Jax finally accepted that as he drove head first into that truck.
The Shakespearean parallels in Sons of Anarchy have always been obvious and with so many main characters dying before the final, you would be forgiven for thinking you were watching a scene from Hamlet. But Jax Teller wasn’t Hamlet last Tuesday, he was Jesus himself as he rode to his death, arms outstretched, to put an end to the blood shed under is reign. Having Jax tell Wendy, his junkie ex-wife made good, to raise his children knowing he was a monster and killer, was a turning point for Jax’s character. It was his realisation that the outlawed life, as his late wife and mother to his children, Tara had predicated, had finally turned him into the dangerous man he was always destined to be. Jax did what all those before him had failed to do – break the cycle and save his family. To make his sacrifice count. Episode 13 of season 7 was a tying up of loose ends. Jax put right all he could the only way he knew how for those he loved and he died for the sins of those who came before him.
“Where you gonna go?” Those were Nero’s last words to Jax. It was a literal question on Nero’s part, but the satirical smile with which Jax responded suggested that he had taken the question philosophically. “I don’t know”, he answered. And whether Jax’s soul deserves salvation or not is something that audiences will now have to decide for themselves. But while Jax may have lost his way throughout the journey of Sons of Anarchy, and for all that he became, one thing that we never doubted was that Jax loves.
Doubt thou, the Stars are fire,
Doubt, that the Sun doth move:
Doubt Truth to be a Liar,
But never Doubt, I love.
– William Shakespeare
Mr Sutter…thank you for the ride.
By Sophie Maguire, Editor.