Sons of Anarchy’s penultimate episode explores the idea that Jax Teller’s vengeance has consumed him to the point where there is little human left. Sutter’s superb characters have reached a milestone in their existence whereby their previous actions, having decided their fates, effectively move them forward. As a result, any heartbreak that occurs feels like it is already set in stone.
Red Rose balances two, equally important, tonal progressions, with club president Teller at the head of both of them. One is Jax’s decision regarding the whereabouts and retribution of his mother for the murder of his wife; the other is Jax’s dealing with ‘The Forum’, a system for the numerous chapters of the titular biker club to ensure justice is served to those in charge. Appearing to be purposely vague and littered with colloquialisms, it’s unclear exactly what his fate should – or will – be.
Gemma’s journey takes her to her childhood home via her father, whose Alzheimer’s leaves him unable to recognise her. It’s testament to Sutter’s show-running capabilities that, within ten minutes of the most important and chaotic episode of SOA to ever air, he quietly deals the cameo some fans have eagerly awaited.
What stands out from Episode 12 – beyond the shattering conclusion – is that the show has reached a point in which no character is morally right or wrong. They’re an individual with choices, all of which are understandable to a point. When and if their demise occurs, few characters leave the viewer feeling wronged by the situation of their passing. They live as they do, and die as they do. The exception to this is, shockingly, Jax himself. Red Rose’s indescribable final moments lead some to question: Have we been rooting for the bad guy all along?
Overall, this is a perfectly suited penultimate episode. As with Sutter’s previous work on The Shield, the final episode exists for storytelling, just as the penultimate exists to unsettle the stomachs of those who have loved the programme’s characters. It’s the inevitable pinnacle of the show’s bloody turmoil. A few loose ends remain and a few fascinating questions are left for Episode 13 (entitled Papa’s Goods). As always, the actions of Episode 12 must have consequences…
Sons of Anarchy Season 7 is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription, and on Amazon Prime, as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription.
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