By Kelsea Stahler, Hollywood.com Staff
We should have seen this coming. In the first moments of the Sons of Anarchy season finale, Tara sits up, staring into the great beyond while Katey Sagal's melancholy song drapes itself over the scene. We gathered that by episode's end, Tara would be gone. But we were dead wrong about where she was going.
As Jax has become darker and darker, inching closer to becoming the second coming of Clay, Tara has drifted towards the other life she's envisioned for herself. She's got that job offer in Oregon, her wrist will soon be rehabilitated enough to allow her to return to surgery, and all that's waiting for her in Charming is the threat of Otto taking her down with him for murdering that nurse. Jax solidified that when he injected Wendy with heroin. The former junkie exposes Jax's actions to Tara and she finally snaps, deciding now is the time to move the boys out of Charming. Of course, she still wants Jax to be a part of this new life, letting go of his dastardly move in what seems to be the hope that once he's out of Charming, he'll lose the dark elements he's taken on.
But Jax can't leave Charming. He's shackled to that town like a prisoner, and when Gemma learns of Tara's plan, she makes sure she keeps those cuffs in place and give Tara a pair of her own. Gemma threatens to feed incriminating lies to the investigator's in Otto's case, leading them to believe Tara gave Otto the cross with the intent of aiding the murder. Tara would be locked up, and as Gemma so satisfyingly spat: she'd be "getting fist-raped until [Abel and Thomas] are well into their 20s." Gemma's been burdening the sick task of becoming Clay's lover in order to betray him, and while Jax was the one who asked her to do it, Tara's support of the plot is where Gemma's focus lies, as always. It's never Jax, it's always Tara. Gemma wants her boys - Jax, Abel, and Thomas - all to herself, even if that means making them miserable.
As Tara is silently booked, Thomas' cries ring out through the house: this is Jax's own personal hell. Everything he's ever wanted has been taken from him, and while Gemma's self-satisfied mini-smirk assures us this plan was all her doing, for Jax it's just Karma. It's not about who wronged him, or what outside forces put this consequence in place, it's that he's earned this punishment: seeing the woman he loves and the mother of his child locked up for the crime of trusting him. Because Tara loves Jax, she signed up for the life of an old lady. She visited Otto multiple times to get him to reverse RICO. She put her needs and feelings in a box and took care of her man, and her reward is being inducted as a full-fledged member of his band of criminals and thugs.
And while Tara doesn't deserve this, Jax certainly does. The finale saw him making his final transformation into Clay 2.0. When he took Tig into the desert, presumably to allow him to be the requisite SAMCRO boy whose blood would be spilled by Pope, we thought that would be the final moment in Jax's transition to the dark side. And when it turned out his plan all along was to save Tig and let him murder the man who ruined his life, we thought our white knight had finally found his way. Unfortunately, he'd done something much worse than leading one of his brothers to slaughter. In the club, honor is the highest form of currency. Death is a professional hazard. And when Tig realized that Jax gave him Clay's gun to kill Pope, Jax's honor was decimated.
Bobby drives the final nail into Good Jax's coffin when he says, "It wasn't about being smart enough to hurt him. I was about being smart enough not to hurt him." The club voted Clay out on the promise that Jax would be different. They gave him his shot to be the better man, to excommunicate Clay, but leave him with his dignity. It's a level of maturity and compassion that Clay could never have executed as head of the MC. Yet, when given the chance, Jax not only takes his shot at Clay, he doesn't regret it in the slightest. With heaps of willful resolve, Jax simply tells Bobby, "Maybe I'm not that different."
But Jax's resolute transition can't come without consequences. Not only does Mr. Marx threaten to look into and expose the frame job on Clay, potentially opening a world of hurt for Jax and the MC, but Jax's personal life is over. He's left to wallow in a life straight out of a passage from Hamlet. In the final scene, he sits with Thomas in arms, pain written all over his face while Gemma comes in and assumes the role of matriarch. It's impossible not to compare Gemma's unmotherly affection towards her son, as she stands in the position that rightfully belongs to Tara, to Hamlet's Queen Gertrude. Of course, like Hamlet, Jax seems complicit in this strange relationship for the moment. But Queen Gemma's crown will fall as soon as Jax learns why Tara's suddenly deemed guilty. And now that he's fully a lost soul, his wrath will be unimaginable - and his further punishment even greater.
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
[Photo Credit: FX]
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