This Sons of Anarchy review contains spoilers.
If there is one thing I can say about Sutter, he knows how to take a hard left. Last episode we watched the club deal with their grief at the loss of Bobby. There was a lot of forlorn sex. Abel tried to roll over on his ole granny; reported her for child abuse and then ratted her out to Jax as Tara’s killer. Pretty canny for a tot. Even a dead eyed, future serial killer tot. Jesus that kid gives me the creeps.
Imagine my surprise when we discover that Jax took Abel at his word. Not at first, no. First Wendy came clean to Jax about Gemma protecting Juice. But once he had that information, all the pieces fell into place and made a nasty, Joan Crawford-esq picture. Jax knows, down to the core of his being, that Gemma is more than capable of some deeply horrendous shit. What he never seemed to understand is that Gemma is capable of justifying just about anything to herself. Especially when she thinks she is acting in defense of family. While everyone thinks she is just one tough old lady, Gemma is actually a straight up sociopath.
Well, Tara knew. Fat lot of good that did her.
And Juice knows. Fat lot of good that does him, too. Poor Juice. He completes his mission, getting Lin to admit that Robocop was the rat before thanking him with a shiv to the neck, and walks into his meeting with Jax, head held high, ready for redemption. That lasted all of thirty seconds before Jax confronted him about Gemma and the patsy from Lin’s gang that they pinned Tara’s murder on. Juice took one look at Jax’s man tears and knew he was done. Finished. Finito. So he confessed.
Which begs the question, what is left for Juice? When Unser and the insecure Sheriff visit him, he seems serene. Hell, he even takes a beating from the guards like a champ. He might be ready for death, having unburdened himself, but I am not so sure Marilyn Manson wants to give up his prison wife so easily. Juice may end up killing himself yet.
Discovering that Jury was not the rat is a hell of a blow to Jax. Yet the news that Gemma killed Tara unravels him, but does not break him. Which makes me wonder what Sutter has in store for el Prez. I cannot imagine him living to see the end of the series.
Gemma’s revelation goes a long way toward breaking Nero down, though. Oh look, the woman I love is a reprehensible piece of shit. At least he knows why Jax is such an abusive man-friend now. Blame it on the momma.
The only person who seems relatively unfazed by this upheaval is Gemma. She was already cracking up, having imaginary conversations with Tara. Finding out that Jax had learned the truth seems to have had the same unburdening effect on her that it had on Juice. Defiant to the last, Gemma has one last chat with Nero, lauding her one accomplishment in life: being an awesome mom.
Amazing. After all the goddamn damage she’s done. After all the lives she has burned through, the pain, the devastation that she has been the root of (for all seven seasons, if we are really being honest here), she drives off into the sunset, smoking a cigarette and singing gospel hymns. Justified. Hell, righteous even.
Gemma is a miracle of compartmentalization. But I said it before and I will say it again; the woman is a straight up sociopath. Sure, she loves her boys, but the fact that she gives Abel one of his grandfather’s rings, ostensibly for the day he patches into the club, is so mind blowingly horrific, it makes your head (and heart) want to explode. This moment (most of Gemma’s moments), buried under all the superfluous crap, gives real insight into Sutter’s true brilliance as a writer. To create a character so dynamic and yet so emotionally crippled as Gemma, as a writer, is some serious goddamn art.
Here, baby, I love you so much, I want you to have this memento of your grandfather, who died horribly for the club. Like your step-grandfather who died horribly at your father’s hands. Like your birth momma who I tried to kill with an overdose immediately after you were born. Like your adoptive momma who I drowned and stabbed to death. Like your father’s best friend who was beaten to death in a prison. Like our old family friend who was raped, blinded, and killed in prison, or our other old family friend who was mutilated and murdered by rival gangs. Like the women who were gunned down. This is the life I bequeath to you. The life I wanted for your father, who has turned into a hollow shell capable only of man tears and brutalization. This is what I give to you with my whole heart.