Sons Of Anarchy: Why Red Rose's Big Awful Moment Had To Happen

You clicked on this story, so you know there are huge SPOILERS below. Dare to suffer the consequences and read on.


Over the past seven seasons, Gemma Teller has gone through and been guilty of some of the most ruthless shit that any character on TV can do, much less one that’s a loving mother and grandmother. (At least she wasn’t as racist as the Aryans, I guess.) But tonight, she had to tell her only child that it was all right to put a bullet in the back of her head. The struggle to watch that sequence was countered in full force by my unwaveringly rapt attention. Everything this season has been about came down to that scene, and it delivered. Because, even though some of us may have been secretly keen on seeing Gemma ride off into a farm-shadowed sunset with Nero, she had to die. She had to.

Season 7 has centered entirely on Jax’s blood-soaked road to revenge, which splintered off into several different neighborhoods of awfulness. And all because Gemma’s drunken survival instinct inspired her to murder Tara with all of the kitchen equipment she could muster. The amount of people who have died this season, all because of Gemma and Juice’s secret, is fucking incredible. Although quite a few of them were probably going to die anyway, if we’re being honest. But you can be damned sure West would have made it through at least a little longer. And Bobby… Oh, Bobby. The fact that he lost an eye, fingers and different chunks of his head is more than enough proof that Gemma’s time had come.

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And still, part of me thought that Jax would indeed keep his weapon at his side, swayed by a relationship that had taken his whole life to reach that point. I thought that maybe decades of love and (sporadic) safety might outweigh her one major sin in Jax’s warped brain. But no, he knew what had to be done, and he did it. In the world of SAMCRO, horrible actions lead to horrible consequences. Of course, Opie would have probably had something to say about this, as his own wife was killed by the M.C. and it took forever to get avenged, but times have changed.

I almost wish we lived in an alternate universe, where we could see how things would have played out if Gemma would have come clean to Jax immediately, rather than after an apartment building’s worth of bullet-ridden bodies had piled up all over California. I like to think that if she would have called Jax, bloody and blubbering about what she’d done, that Jax might have taken a different approach to his catharsis. He wouldn’t have spent weeks (or however long) simmering over Lin’s faux hit on Tara, he wouldn’t have dealt with the fallback from both Lin and Marks, and he wouldn’t have had so many questions boiling his brain to mush. Of course, maybe he would have just shot her in the head right then, before she could even have time to beg for her life. That’s the thing about alternate universes. You never know. But at least Unser would have lived. (Maybe?)

For all the things that can be said about Gemma, she’s never been a beggar. As it happens, the always amazing actress Katey Sagal was very happy that Gemma’s demise came with dignity and a pronounced lack of pleading. Here’s how she explained her thoughts on that shocking-but-not-shocking scene on Anarchy Afterword.

I’d like to think that her motive was always to have the best for her son. You know, he’d been so hellbent on revenging Tara’s death, that I think for her, it was the ultimate gift to give him, in a weird way. Like, okay, now you can revenge Tara’s death. I think it was a combination of that and also not being able to do that herself. It was layered, like everything on Sons of Anarchy has always been. There’s never just one dimension.”

That sounds about right, too. If Gemma is going to die, she’s only going to die for the people she loves the most. It just probably sucks for her that the one she loves the most is the guy pulling the trigger. If only Abel had been there to take the bullet. Kidding! Not really!

In the end, there’s comfort taken in Gemma meeting her maker in a place that meant a lot to her. But seriously, between this show and The Walking Dead, quotes about flowers are starting to become pretty dangerous on TV. It feels weird that earlier this year, I was talking about the ways in which Gemma’s form of motherhood was relatively a good thing. And now I’m mourning the aftermath of what her matriarchy wrought. I thought I’d be ready for this. I guess I just need a Wendy to bang to get my mind off of things.

R.I.P. Gemma. You didn't even get to call anybody a cunty gash or a gashy cunt or anything in weeks!

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Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.