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It should go without saying that you shouldn’t read onward if you haven’t seen tonight’s episode of Sons of Anarchy, titled “What a Piece of Work is Man,” but if it needs to be said: there are major episode SPOILERS below. You’ve been warned.
The writing is on the wall for SAMCRO as it takes its final ride – or #FinalRide if you will – and the only thing that’s written is one long, unending eulogy. Tonight, Mark Boone Jr.’s gangster teddy bear Bobby Munson finally met his maker after days of being physically tortured by August Marks’ men and many years of being emotionally tortured by the M.C. lifestyle. Audiences knew big deaths were coming to Sons of Anarchy, and it’s particularly depressing that the stoic and rational-minded Bobby was one of them. But sad and shocking as it was, Bobby’s death was a necessary evil.
From an episodic standpoint, it works in three ways. It turns Marks from “smart thug who’ll have awful shit done to someone” to “calculating monster who does awful shit to people in front of their loved one.” Second, it hopefully proves to an even more shattered Jax how flawed his plans to kill only certain people have been, and that the ground has to be razed completely in order for peace to grow. And, on a more practical level, the murder also saves the writers and viewers from spending the final four episodes dealing with Bobby healing from wounds that are far from just superficial. That’s an awful way to look at it, but depressing conversations with a one-eyed, five-fingered Bobby is inarguably a terrible series-ending plot direction.
From a series standpoint, Bobby’s death adds more context to this overcooked storyline of bodies endlessly piling up based all on Gemma and Juice’s secret. It’s a big secret, sure, but it’s starting to feel cartoonish just how much of a butterfly effect Tara’s death has had on just about everyone who’s ever appeared on this series. That’s how it should be, sure, but it’s a little out of control now, and Bobby’s death almost HAS to be the thing that mentally breaks Gemma and unplugs the drain where all this shit is going to go down. At least in the past, Gemma and Bobby have been the closest characters on this show in a non-romantic way, so his head getting exploded by a bullet needs to affect her in a huge way.
From a character standpoint, Bobby sadly started running out of steam once he and Jax had their falling out at the end of Season 5. His whereabouts were kept a mystery for part of Season 6, and it was revealed he was just recruiting more guys for SAMCRO. Then he gets shot and gets sidelined with narcotics, although it is a big moment when we realize he voted Mr. Mayhem for Clay the second time. And as far as his involvement this season goes, I think even Rat has played a bigger role in the plot, and most of what we’ve seen Bobby do is agree with Jax’s warlord ideas of how to combat problems. That’s not like the Bobby-of-old at all. I hate the fact that Bobby had to be tortured and killed to give him utmost importance again, but it needed to be done.
Grab a 40 oz. flask and pour a little whiskey out. But pour it into a cup, because Bobby wouldn’t want anyone wasting any alcohol in his memory. That’s just the kind of level-headed madman he was. R.I.P. Bobby Munson. Here’s hoping you aren’t joined in death by your SAMCRO brothers too soon.