An event both celebratory and mournful, the seventh and final season of FX’s hit drama Sons of Anarchy is upon us. Mr. Toad would be so lucky as to get a ride as wild as this series has been, putting viewers through some of the most pummeling and joy-sapping incidents in TV history, all with a sense of humor as dry and gnarled as an old tree branch. Dull moments are a rarity with Sons of Anarchy, which means not even the sky is the limit for Season 7, and some of its most explosive moments are yet to come.

With a show like Sons of Anarchy, the plotlines come quick and are all layered on top of one another, and the long wait time between seasons means it’s easy to lose track of where these characters are when Season 7 kicks off, not to mention what their mental states are like. So we’re tackling five (or so) of the most relevant story points going into this season and offering a little backstory on each one so everybody can start off on the same level.

The Aftermath of Tara’s Murder
If you’ll recall, the Season 6 finale offers one of the most shocking events in Sons of Anarchy’s long line of them, as Gemma drunkenly murders Tara by stabbing her in the head with a carving fork as she half-drowns in a sink full of dishwater. Gemma thinks that Tara ratted the group out to D.A. Patterson, unaware that Jax did his usual scheming to plan a way around that fate. Sheriff Roosevelt arrives at the scene seconds too late, only to be shot down by Juice, who cleans everything up for Gemma. Jax soon walks blindly into the worst moment of his life, just before more cops arrive.

Season 7 begins ten days later, with Jax wearing his familiar orange inmate jumpsuit. It seems like ten days should have been enough time to prove that he had nothing to do with the murders, but his lengthy record probably didn’t make the courts work very hard to get him back out. Jax is now a looser cannon than usual, refusing to talk to anyone but Gemma, who carries her guilt-stricken sorrow well, being accustomed to keeping such dark secrets from Jax. The cops are mostly clueless as to where to take the case, and are in need of a few pointers.

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