Sons of Anarchy season finale recap: A Mother's Work

A violent, epic conclusion comes when karma bites back
Ep. 13 | Aired Dec 10, 2013

REMEMBER THIS This shot, of Jax (Charlie Hunnam) handing the gavel over to Bobby (Mark Boone Junior) so he and Chibs (Tommy Flanagan) could keep SAMCRO alive after Jax turned himself in, will now be remembered as "happier times." 

Prashant Gupta/FX

There are some Sons of Anarchy moments that will always stay with us: Opie saying, "I got this," Clay locking eyes with Gemma through the blinds, and Tara smiling before she walked into that kitchen. Why? Because you don't forget how you begged out loud to your TV to make what you knew was about to happen stop. Even though I was telling myself Gemma was going to kill Tara because she believed Tara had ratted on Jax, I must not have wanted to believe it because I burst into tears when Gemma took that large grill fork to Tara's head. That's when I conceded it was actually happening.

EW advocates every year for Maggie Siff to get an Emmy nomination, and I hope that scene in the park -- when Tara was convinced Jax was going to kill her, but instead, he wanted to set her and the boys free -- will cinch her one. It was flawless. The perfect amount of tears for someone scared but of such strong conviction. The perfect tone for someone who wasn't saying hurtful things to be cruel but because she believed them to be true.

UPDATE: Siff talked about that scene in our burning questions post, which also includes tidbits from creator Kurt Sutter and Katey Sagal. For more insight, check out our postmortem interviews with SiffTheo Rossi, Rockmond Dunbar, and Jimmy Smits. This is gonna hurt, but here we go...

We opened with Jax sitting in the graveyard, leaning on Opie's tombstone. He was journaling and explaining to his sons that he writes so they'll know him, but also because these pads are the one place he can be honest without fear of judgment. Ah, the poetry of Tara having started the season writing down all of Jax's actions on those notepads so he would be judged an unfit parent when the time comes. He admitted he was terrified a great deal of the time -- of what he's done, what he's doing, and what he might have to do. [Fitting cut to Juice, who was helping Tig and Chibs bring Bobby back from the cabin.] More than once this season, I've written that Jax should just stay in bed because his days are just one problem after the other. Turns out, Jax craves that terror. It's that rush that gets him out of bed in the morning. He feels remorse for the acts of violence he's committed, the planned and the spontaneous. But what brings him the most sorrow is how he's learned to justify the behavior. [Fitting cut to Wendy, packing for rehab.] I love it when you can hear Kurt Sutter's voice in Jax: "I always find a reason, a cause, a need that allows me the karmic lubrication to stuff my guilt into a savage compartment. I've become the thing, the one I hated." [Fitting cut to Clay's sad plot at the prison graveyard and only Unser being there to mourn him.] He spoke of the periods when he has to avoid looking into a mirror because of the self hate. [Fitting cut to Gemma doing dishes, trying to get something in her life clean.] Since's Opie's death, he seems to have lost his center, he said, along with love, camaraderie, freedom and all the things he wants from his life. [Fitting cut to Nero back on the street with the Byz-Lats.] Today would be a day they'd all remember: He wanted them to look back and know that he was speaking the truth in this entry -- they are the most important thing to him and he would never hurt them or abandon them. [Fitting cut to Tara with the boys in the hotel room.] Everything he does is for them, he said.

Okay, how scared were you? Truthfully, it crossed my mind right away that Jax had realized the boys were better off with Tara and was preparing to turn himself in and "abandon them" to save her in a deal. But then he ran over that dove on the road, and well, that hope died.

NEXT: 'Own Your Place'

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