Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 10 pm (EST), FX
Sons of Anarchy Series Finale, Season 7, Episode 13, “Papa’s Goods”
After seeing the mayhem ensue in last week’s episode, it was hard to know what the series finale would bring us. Was the final ride worth it? At this point, I’d say no. Papa’s Goods gave us some decent moments, but overall the two hour finale felt drawn out and the moments that did matter were rushed, leaving us with more questions than answers.
The opening scene of Jax getting ready provided some interesting insights. Gone are the clean white shoes Jax wore throughout the series. He tosses those in the garbage and puts on a worn dirty pair of boots, signifying we are witnessing a man who has finally comes to grips with what he is. He won’t even hide his nature anymore. After burning JT’s manuscript, along with Jax’s personal notes and various SOA pictures, he heads off to visit Opie and Tara’s graves. He puts his SONS rings on Opie’s grave and his wedding ring on Tara’s before kissing them. To me, this was Jax unburdening himself of any further responsibilities, as well as an omen that perhaps he will join them soon. After all, the mayhem vote has yet to take place.
Jax tells Chibs about the mayhem vote and asks him to follow through with it, regardless of his feelings for Jax. After taking out most of the Irish Kings, Jax lets Connor live to help distribute guns in Stockton to the Mayans. With that out of the way, Jax goes to Nero and tells him about Gemma. I honestly expected a different reaction out of Nero. He seemed very somber at the realization that Gemma is dead. We know he still cared for her despite what she did to Tara, but I thought he’d be more pissed at Jax. This leads us to one of the better scenes of the episode. Jax finally admits that he’s a terrible person, although he’s been one for a long time. He doesn’t want his sons to grow up around their father, going so far as to say he wants them to “grow up hating me.” He gives heart-wrenching goodbyes to Abel and Thomas. Wendy knows something’s wrong, but Jax doesn’t tell her, instead saying she’s a great mother. For as much crap as he’s put her through, Jax owed her the truth instead of her having to find out from Nero later. The way he says his goodbyes almost made it seem like he might back out and run for it instead of facing his issues. He’s clearly upset about never seeing his sons again, but he only has himself to blame for how things turned out. Granted, taking Gemma’s word was the first mistake, but Jax was never going to go down the right path, especially after Tara’s murder.
Jax meets Patterson and tells her about Gemma and Juice’s involvement with Tara and Eli’s murders, but stops short of selling SAMCRO out for the heat with Lin and the Triads. After promising her that everything will end today, Patterson asks how Jax knows. His response: “The bad guys lose.” We then see each member of SAMCRO sadly vote for Jax to meet Mr. Mayhem.
Aside from the usual violence we’ve come to expect from Sutter and company, we’re quickly treated to Jax murdering Barosky and August Marks in broad daylight. Jax has always been meticulous in his planning, but again this strikes me as someone who has nothing left to lose. Although Jax getting a blanket from a homeless person that looks like Emily Putner, whom we’ve seen throughout the series. The imagery of the wine and bread symbolizing Jax as a Christ-like figure is extremely heavy-handed and comes into play again later.
One of the most important scenes in the show’s history comes up unbelievably short. Jax arrives to accept the inevitable mayhem vote. He rips off his President’s patch as well as Chibs VP patch. Chibs gives the VP patch to Tig, which Jax agrees with, although it’s not like there’s a huge selection of good candidates in SAMCRO to take that spot right now. Jax appears ready to meet Mr. Mayhem when Chibs shoots Happy in the arm before telling Jax to take off. They’ll handle any heat that comes from the other charters. Chibs says they couldn’t kill their friend and president. What’s the point of having the mayhem vote if it was going to lead to nothing? It’s a waste of the audience’s time, causing unnecessary tension. Jax is a coward and should have forced them to do it, especially with what comes next. Jax knows he deserves it, but he’s not man enough to accept the consequences of his actions. He takes off on JT’s bike as the group watches him leave.
The final moments have Jax talking to JT’s ghost at the site of his death. Jax laments that he couldn’t be a good father and good outlaw at the same time. After shooting at a cop, he leads several cars on a chase down the highway. I did like the imagery of crows flying around. The obvious symbolism of death aside, it reminded me more of Gemma, thinking that she’s always there following Jax even after her death. Jax eventually sees a semi, driven by Milo from last week’s episode. As he gets closer, Jax takes his hands off JT’s bike as he veers into the semi as is hit head-on. We get one last shot of the crows chewing on some bread at the side of the road as Jax’s blood spills into it. Jax was a coward at the very end. He knew he wouldn’t survive and SAMCRO would have to give a mayhem vote, but allowing Jax to go out on his terms was a slap in the face.
Kurt Sutter provided a very Shakespearean series with all the twists and turns, eventually leading up to the main character’s demise. While it started out a very promising show, Sons of Anarchy lost its way in the last few seasons. It became less about the characters and more about how violent and gritty the show could be. The countless bodies and headshots took away from once was a great character drama. Sutter was able to create a show that gained critical and commercial acclaim. He clearly had a vision for the course of the show, and was able to take it to the very end. At the end of the day, we can at least thank him for giving us these characters that took us on a journey we won’t soon forget.
- CCH Pounder was a delight to see, reprising her role as Patterson, even if it was for just a few minutes.
- Chibs was a dick to Jarry, but he was truthful about what he said what happens to cops that cross SAMCRO.
- What was the by-law Jax brought up to the presidents of the other charters? It must’ve had something to do with his sons, but we’ll never know.
- Tig was oddly comforting towards Rat when he hesitated to give a yes to the mayhem vote. It was a nice moment between them considering all the other stuff they’ve been through.
- Aren’t cops usually outside courthouses? I wouldn’t have thought Jax would get far after murdering Marx.
- Watching Abel play with the SONS ring Jax gave him makes me think Abel will be going back to Charming later in life.
SAMCRO voted for mayhem, but it was never meant to be. Jax gets to go out on his own terms, however cowardly they were. The finale left more questions than answers. Another bloated episode gives us too much filler and ultimately leads to a disappointing end.