Sons of Anarchy's A Mother's Work: The Series' Best Season Finale To Date

By Nick Venable 2013-12-11 01:36:41 discussion comments
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Broad generalization before freaking out: No one watches Sons of Anarchy for the conversations; they watch it to see the members of SAMCRO get into hectic situations where the endgame is never clear. Tonight’s “A Mother’s Work” managed to cram both meaningful and tense talks and devastating action into its nearly two-hour timeframe, with more than enough tense dialogue and blood to last another season. I haven’t been able to close my mouth properly since it ended, as it seems to have been permanently shocked right open. I love this show so much. Am I babbling?

For Christ’s Sakes, Why Was a Carving Fork Within Reach?

For years now, S.O.A. fans have known that a dark and bloody storm was almost always on the horizon when it came to Jax and Tara’s relationship, and this season stretched it to its logical conclusion: with Tara’s corpse laid out on the kitchen floor with blood pouring out of her head. I have been waiting for this moment for ages, and the murder scene held my face agog throughout the entire commercial break, but this is not at all the way I wanted to see her go.

I needed Tara to be the bane of the club’s existence, earning her ticket across the river Styx. But this episode led viewers down the pathway to Tara’s retribution, as Jax mentally came to terms with what it takes to be a father, a husband and a man. (His conversation with Patterson is the only time I felt like the D.A. was actually worth CCH Pounder’s time on the set.) When he agreed to give Tara her freedom so that he could take the rap for the gun used in the school shooting, I knew it couldn’t possibly be the end game, but I just figured he and the club would game the system in some way that allowed someone else to take the fall. What I didn’t expect was for Gemma to ignorantly and drunkenly bash Tara’s body with an iron before driving a carving fork into the back of her head over and over as she held her face down in a sink full of dishwater. I don’t think anyone could have possibly predicted that one so specifically.

The road leading up to it was admittedly clumsy, with Unser moronically falling for Gemma’s “I need my pills” line and the complete lack of communication involved between everyone. (What stopped him from calling Jax or Tara to see if she had indeed ratted to the cops?) But as soon as Gemma took off in Unser’s truck, I stopped caring about plot holes and let the impending dread take over. I will now forever be bothered by the fact that Gemma killed Tara without the proper direct motivation, but I already do not miss the character’s presence in my life, so I guess it all evens out. Try not to trip over my empathy on your way onto the next topic.

”You betrayed me.”

We already knew Juice was headed down the path of no return after last week’s awkwardly placed confession to Nero about Darvany’s death, and his extended conversation with Gemma only confirmed that his presence in this episode would be one of note. After Jax reveals he knows Juice squealed – just before trusting him to go out and find his drunken mother – all bets were off with the character. Would it be suicide? Would he get into some kind of horrific accident?

Nope. He walks in on a shellshocked Gemma sitting next to Tara’s body, and then shoots Roosevelt to remove Gemma’s presence from the equation. As of this point, it’s unclear why he did it, but I like to think he wanted to help Gemma one last time for being so warm with him throughout his life with the club. I can’t make myself believe that he did it “for the club,” because he knows that those days are probably behind him. He only has so many fuck ups before someone pulls the plug on his life. Unless…

Jax Wails Like a Champ

Since Jax technically passed club presidency onto the benevolent Bobby, it’s possible Juice may be saved so that SAMCRO isn’t once again crippled in numbers. Though Patterson sees the gun on the ground next to Roosevelt’s feet, she can’t possibly think that Jax is responsible, or she’s terrible at figuring out a crime scene. I’m not at all sure how things will go down next season for Jax, and what crimes he will inevitably be serving time for, but I seriously doubt they peg him with either of those murders. For one, I’m sure his gun was still fully loaded, and Juice took away all of the other murder weapons. Sure there is definite wiggle room for a prosecutor to go to town on this, but Sons isn’t a courtroom drama. Either Jax is on the streets or it all comes crashing down in Charming.

”If you’re here for ice cream, I’m afraid it’s just a front.”

While the more intense parts of the episode didn’t happen until the final twenty minutes, we did get to experience Alvarez growing some major balls and executing some of August Marks’ men in exchange for their guns. I don’t see how Alvarez wouldn’t expect immediate retribution, but now that he’s gotten in bed with Nero and Lin, he probably thinks he’s bulletproof. And considering August is getting all the guns from the Irish, I’m not sure where Team Brown and Yellow think they’ll be getting their weapons from now on. Maybe Walmart? This is obviously the big set-up for next year, as not-quite-rival factions will all butt heads over a business that Jax has been trying to distance himself from. This is a wild prediction, but I’m guessing he’s going to have to get even deeper into the shit in order to get back out.

It doesn’t help that Jax’s and Gemma’s relationships with Nero seem to have come to an end. I saw it coming, but that doesn’t mean it makes me happy. Jimmy Smits really plays the role to let audiences know that he is a pained man in conflict with his own wants and needs. I think possibly all he really wanted was for Jax to offer him a heartfelt apology, but that could never happen. Jax doesn’t understand words like “karma.”

Who is That Damned Homeless Woman?

Sure, this series has seen its share of moments whose meanings weren’t immediately obvious, but who is this homeless woman and why is she such a lurker? I don’t think we’ve seen her since we were introduced to Brook, who also made her return tonight as an ice cream shop employee. And then she just comes out of nowhere as Juice is getting rid of the murder evidence inside different dumpsters. I don’t think she was too interested in what Juice was doing, but why was she even there? Doesn’t she only hang around the shop? And if so, why is Juice hiding evidence so close to SAMCRO headquarters? I don’t even have any guesses for this one.

And it doesn’t matter anyway, as we have to wait another nine months before getting into the seventh and final season. I’ll be using some of that time to mull over how I feel about Gemma now, and what I hope becomes of Jax’s future. That will of course come after making millions of screenshots of Tara’s dead body just lying there, not annoying anyone. R.I.P. sixth season. You will be missed. I’m gonna go call Knee-pad Nina now.

Stuff That Fell Off the Back of the Bike

I kind of hope someone breaks Jax’s hands next season so that we don’t have to worry about seeing him exude faux pathos while writing his manifesto to Thomas and Abel. Hearing him talk about breaking a mirror and cutting himself with “shards of broken reflection” is way more nauseating than deep. I’m pretty sure I have notebooks from high school with that kind of inanity scrawled on the pages.

Opie's giant tombstone FTW.

While it may be the most on-the-nose moment this series has ever put forth, Jax running over a dove on the highway, signifying the end of peace, was fucking incredible. I probably laughed harder than at any other point this year, even with all of Tig’s weirdness. Dumbest bird ever.

“Tara’s a shitty cleaner.” Damn. Kick a bitch when she’s dirty.

Charlie Hunnam was so still for several moments during his conversation with Patterson that I thought my DVR froze.

“Suck my white crack.”

In the motel is probably the only scene where Thomas and Abel actually stayed in one location and weren’t being handed off to someone.

Good riddance, Wendy, though I know you’ll be back. The junkies always come back.

Whenever Jax made it clear that they would “do what they have to do” when it came to Tara, I’m pretty sure Rat was sitting there wondering how his life had reached such a low point.

“A goddamned boat.”

Not being entirely familiar with the legal system, when would “withholding evidence” come into play with Tara and Patterson’s deal? Is it only because Tara spoke of it hypothetically that nothing could be done? In much the same way that Patterson barely did anything about the school shooting, she’s doing the same thing with the transport guard that Juice ran over. Someone should light a fire under her ass and see how long it takes her to run.

I suppose we can hand it to Unser for not trying to get it on with Gemma when she was in her still drunk, post-break-up-and-murder mode. But there’s not better time, I say.

Not that anything in this series particularly resembles reality, but there were so many moments in this episode, particularly during the final third, where really messed up shit was happening and characters were just mute with emotion, rather than screaming their head off about all the terrible shit happening. I think my wife and I spoke enough for all of them though.

Gotta love that Tara is letting the kids watch Sesame Street in the motel. I wonder what educational parody could have made them do that…



See you next year, SAMCROnies! Is that what you guys want to be called?
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