Sons of Anarchy, Season 7, Episode 12, “Red Rose”
Tuesday, December 2, 2014, 10 pm (EST), FX
If this is what the penultimate episode of Sons of Anarchy gives us, I really have no idea what’s in store for the finale next week. Although, with a run-time of almost two hours, Red Rose proved to be exhausting in more ways than one.
This isn’t to say there weren’t good moments in tonight’s episode, because there were. There is just so much filler and drawn out scenes that could be cut. The final scene is a great example. However predictable it was, Jax and Wendy hooking up is just a waste of time. Yes, Jax is hurting, having just brutally murdered two people. You’d think a guy that just lost his wife a month or so ago really wouldn’t be hooking up with everyone. We’ve seen it earlier in the season, but it just seems wrong. Jax is willing to jump back in bed with baby mama number one after leaving a trail of bodies for the woman he supposedly loved so much? We know this “relationship” is just going to fall apart once Wendy finds out the truth anyways. The only acceptable reason for Charlie Hunnam to be in this situation is if he has it in his contract that he has to be bare-assed a certain number of episodes.
Back to the beginning of the episode, Jax is still hiding from the sheriffs from the APB Jarry put out on him. He somehow developed a limp too, which is never fully explained, but I’m sure we’ll find out why next week. After gathering the Mayans and Niners together to settle the dispute in Oakland over turf and guns, Nero praises Jax for what he’s doing. Jax, knowing he has a talk with the other presidents of SOA about Jury’s murder, tells Nero to take Wendy and his sons to the farm with him. The look on Jax’s face as he says this is that of a dead man walking. He knows a mayhem vote is imminent. Of course, the Irish show up and aren’t too happy about this, so Jax’s plans for the Mayans and Niners are up in the air for now.
Jax finally coming clean to Unser about Gemma murdering Tara was one of the better things he did. He also convinces Wayne to not tell Jarry, but also get her to call off the APB on him while he looks for her. Why Wayne would do that after telling Jax off last week is anyone’s guess. Apparently his loyalty to the club and Jax’s family wasn’t cut after all. Either that, or Jax calling Unser out on getting Jax to punch him on purpose meant Wayne owed him one final favor. Unser still loves Gemma, but his mistake to not call it in will cost him later.
Juice is another tragic figure in this. He’s duped into thinking the Chinese were going to kill him for killing Lin. Instead, they beat and rape him before telling him they want Tully taken out. He can’t even bring himself to do it as he confesses to Tully at lunch. He gives Tully the scalpel and asks him to make it quick, but not before he finishes his pie first. It’s such a sad end to a man that stayed loyal to the club to the bitter end.
Jax’s sit down with the other presidents as he confesses he murdered Jury going on false information doesn’t do much to sway them. They demand a mayhem vote from SAMCRO, although it seemed they did so with a heavy heart. I’d like to think that the by-law Jax brought up will have something to do with his sons more than with saving Jax’s life, but perhaps we’ll find out for sure. JT never wanted the life Jax took, so perhaps Jax is attempting to stop it before that flame of an idea gets going.
Speaking of Gemma, despite everything she’s done, we came as close to feeling sorry for her as we could given the circumstances. After hitch-hiking with trucker Milo, played by Michael Chiklis, she arrives at the nursing home where her Alzheimer’s ridden father is. Hal Holbrook gives a great guest performance as Nate Madock. Gemma’s apology for all the bad things she did growing up also seemed like the desperate need of someone to clear their conscious before they meet their end. Both Jax and Nero find out through Wendy of Gemma’s whereabouts. Nero begs Unser to go up there, not just to save Gemma, but more to save Jax. Despite his initial reaction last week, Nero knows there’s a possibility Jax will kill Gemma and as he told Jax last week, there’s no coming back from that. At this point, we know things won’t go well for Unser going alone.
Unser finds Gemma at her house going through old photos and tries to get her to come with him before Jax shows up. He’s just about to call the police (why wouldn’t he do this beforehand!) when Jax steps in. Unser knows Jax will kill Gemma and pulls out his gun. After a brief standoff where Jax gives Wayne the option of leaving him alone with Gemma, Wayne refuses and Jax shoots him in the chest, killing him. I don’t know what was worse, Jax murdering Wayne or Gemma acting like nothing happened. She knows her fate is not far behind, but one would think she’d convince Wayne to leave or Jax to not kill him. For supposedly being friends growing up, Gemma shows no emotion, only requesting to see her garden one last time. Jax obliges, although he can barely bring himself to shoot Gemma without her encouraging him it’s the right thing to do and that “this is who we are.” He ultimately pulls the trigger, shooting her in the head as her blood splatters the white flowers in the garden. The juxtaposition of her blood on the flowers and the blood on Jax’s white shoes was a nice touch at the end. This is the only time in the series I can remember Jax’s shoes shown dirtied, as though this is the final lasting impure act he’ll perform.
All we can hope for now is that Jax gets that mayhem vote. He started out the series as a sympathetic character, having new ideals and direction for SAMCRO. The ugly underbelly of the MC dragged him down into the sex, violence and constant loss that surrounded them daily. There was hope when he became president that things would truly change, but that was a fleeting dream. Tara’s death put the nail in the coffin, though we still had hope there was some good left in Jax. We know that to be false now. Anything less than the death of Jackson Teller in the series finale would be a slap in the face to the audience. Anti-heroes rarely live to see things through. Omar Little, Walter White, Vic Mackey and Dexter Morgan are just a few recent examples.
The long road is finally coming to an end. See you next week for the series finale.
- I’d like to think that Otis is actually Vic Mackey on the run from the feds.
- Juice’s death must have been a relief for all the mental and physical anguish he’d be enduring in prison.
- Will Jarry be able to put things together before Jax finds a way out of it? He can’t get away with Wayne’s murder.
- Will SAMCRO be able to enact mayhem on their president? It seems unlikely, but we’ll find out.
- The Irish are just white noise at this point, another pointless road block in our way to the end.
- I can’t imagine the club would let Barosky get away, but then again they’ve got better things to do.
- Dayton Callie, Katey Segal, Theo Rossi all gave spectacular performances in this episode. It’s unlikely they’ll see recognition for it, but it’s some of their best work of the series.
Certainly the best episode of the season despite its long running time and unnecessary scenes. The bodies piled high in this episode as we said goodbye to Juice, Unser and Gemma. Juice and Gemma going out in the same episode closes the chapter on Tara’s death (at least for Jax). An imminent mayhem vote for Jax could mean the future of SAMCRO is up in the air.