Sons of Anarchy, Season 7, Episode 1, “Black Widower”
September 9, 2014, 10:00 p.m., FX
Coming off the heels of a dramatic season six finale, Sons of Anarchy returned for its seventh and final season. If the premiere is a glimpse into what the rest of the season has in store for us, there is going to be a massive body count and it’s likely we’ll say goodbye to at least one member of the Teller family when the series finale credits roll.
Sons has been infamous for its brutality and graphic violence, and it seems as though Kurt Sutter can’t get enough of it here. The opening scene of Jax carving a swastika into an inmate’s chest before pulling two teeth out with his bare hands is hard to watch, even for those with strong stomachs. While Jax has become no stranger to using violence as a way to solve his problems, this is a new level even for him. One might justify his actions as a way of dealing with grieving over Tara’s murder, but it was just to get another prisoner’s attention. D.A. Patterson’s reveal to Jax about her son’s murder due to gang violence and how she knows what it’d feel like to get revenge falls on deaf ears for him. We know Tara was a huge reason for Jax turning his life around and why he was ready to turn his back on SAMCRO to keep his family safe. Now that she’s gone, Jax has either lost that moral part of his soul completely, or he wants to get his vengeance before finally leaving this life behind for good.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about Gemma too. I sometimes wonder how long her character would’ve lasted in the show if Katey Segal wasn’t married to Sutter. Don’t get me wrong, Segal has turned in a fantastic performance as the matriarch of SAMCRO for the past six years, but Gemma has more than worn her welcome though on several occasions. How she keeps managing to stay ahead of everyone, including law enforcement, is beyond me. Then again, one must suspend disbelief with this show’s logic at times in order to let things slide. It’s interesting how Jax just eats up whatever his mother says, despite the fact that she has crossed him before. He doesn’t seem to take a second to consider the fact that Gemma and Tara rarely got along and maybe, just maybe, she had a hand in Tara’s death.
Gemma, always looking out for herself, is more concerned about not being around for her grandsons to have a strong female role model in their lives growing up. Here is where the show had one of its solid points: resilient lead female characters. As much as I hate Gemma, she and Tara were some of the strongest characters the show had. With Tara gone, Gemma is unfortunately the only woman left who can hold it together. While Wendy has returned, her stints in rehab and half-hearted attempts to be at the same level as Gemma fail. She’ll always be the junkie who almost killed Abel.
The saddest part about this is Gemma is under the delusion the she is the thread that binds the club. She had JT killed to keep the club together back in the day. She finally turned on Clay to keep the club safe. She murdered Tara to protect her family. Family has played such a huge role for Gemma and Jax throughout the series. At a certain point, it’s a hard pill to swallow after all this time. It’s as though Gemma has to keep telling herself this lie in order to make it a truth.
Gemma’s lies continue when she offers up a member of Lin’s crew as the guy she saw leaving the house the night Tara was murdered. Again, Jax just goes with it and, to the tune of “Bohemian Rhapsody”, brutally tortures the man before plunging a carving fork into his head. Jax’s bloodlust has only begun, and now that he’s under the assumption the Triads were responsible for Tara’s death, he’s about to leave a bigger, bloodier trail of bodies in his wake.
This season has the potential to answer a lot of questions and provide closure, not only for the audience, but for several members of SAMCRO too. While I know the violence isn’t going anywhere, I certainly hope the Sutter and company can remember why audiences tuned in the first place: to give these working-class antiheroes a purpose and provide great character drama.
Sons has been infamous for its brutality and graphic violence, and it seems as though Kurt Sutter can’t get enough of it here.