If you’re big on interpreting the titles of Sons of Anarchy episodes and comparing them to the content within each installment, your ears must have perked up the minute Gemma told her trucker friend that her name was Rose.
“Red Rose” did ultimately see the demise of Gemma, something I’ve been waiting 11 long episodes for, and it did not disappoint. The episode wrapped up nearly every loose end, gave us a serious idea of where the show will end (white trainers strained and all) and finally put the nail in the coffin of three essential characters that were bound to end up dead eventually, setting us up for next week’s series finale.
Let’s start with some of the loose ends, such as figuring out territory and gun running. It wasn’t hard to believe that Connor and the Irish Kings would be a little miffed that the terms of the gun deal were changed once more. Instead it was a pleasant surprise that Connor was the one making things more difficult for everyone and that the Sons and the Niners—lead by Chibs—were able to go into yet another situation with their guns blazing, kill who needed to be killed and finally end the turf war that only began because of Gemma in the first place. It also affirmed that the club can indeed get work done without Jax at the helm, something that may become a reality as of next episode.
After another round of getting gang raped in jail, it admittedly gave me genuine relief to see Juice finally killed off after an agonizing final season. I can’t think of a single character that had the same downward spiral as Juice, from the young prospect with a stupid haircut left lovingly in front of the police station with a diaper to getting shanked in jail with the very same club’s approval. It was quite the bloody death as Tully (played very well all season by Marilyn Manson) whispered in his ear before ruthlessly jabbing him—all after a goodbye slice of pie. As a pie connoisseur, it’s the same type of final request I would ask for, and made me feel just a little bit better about the demise of his character.
The death of the night I was surprisingly upset about ended up being Unser, literally blown away by the collateral damage of his relationship with the MC. After playing ball for so long with the club and letting them roll on over him for so many seasons, at least Unser did die standing up to Jax…not that he necessarily had that much to live for anyways. I really did think Unser would actually be the only character to die of natural causes, so to see him left for dead in Gemma’s dad’s house was a heartbreaking end for the old man. But ultimately Unser brought this life upon himself in the same way Gemma brought the life she did upon her family and he paid the price for it.
Of course the biggest resolution of the night was Gemma, ending with the bullet in her temple. There were many times this season I assumed Gemma, the cockroach of Charming, would end the series alive and well thanks to her manipulative skills and ability to dodge the truth. There were even times during “Red Rose” I thought Jax wouldn’t be able to end the life of his mom, his gun quivering in his hands as he held it up. But after Gemma’s tragic and beautiful goodbye with her father (a scene that gave me multiple instances of goose bumps) down to her exchange with Jax—passing the old photos back and forth as Unser lay dead in front of their eyes—it all felt right that her life be ended where it all began so many years ago.
At the same time, only the Tellers would have a conversation that it’s who they are to kill someone who’s betrayed them. That’s probably why Jax seemed so genuinely okay with agreeing for the mayhem vote and convincing his club to vote to kill him, the same way his stepfather before him ended. It still makes me sad that in the end after the discovery of the manuscript, Jax couldn’t change who he was and the life he was born into.
One of my favourite parts of the entire episode was the ending shots of Jax’s classic white trainers and the pure white roses from the garden stained with the blood of his own mother. How many new pairs of shoes has Jax had to buy throughout the years? Of course we’ll never know, but soon enough those shoes will be stained with Jax’s own blood if his promise to secure the mayhem vote goes through.
- The bylaw that Jax made the other club presidents promise to secure will be next week’s big mystery going into the finale.
- I really wish it didn’t have to end with Jax’s death, but with Wendy, Nero and the boys off to the farm, it sure as hell seems that it’s set in stone. I do appreciate the one episode heads up to get accustomed to the idea, Kurt Sutter.
- So glad Michael Chiklis could make a random guest appearance. The Shield crossovers live on forever.
- So what was up with Jax’s bum leg? Think that’s going to show up somewhere again? Before the talk of the mayhem vote I assumed he might get in an accident just like JT, bringing things full circle.
- The mysterious homeless lady was back, and after Milo addressed her I’m really not sure if she’s a ghost or if we’ll ever get an actual concrete answer about who she is.
- “Road trip, homie!” Wendy has grown on me so much, especially after this line.
- Who do you think Unser left his trailer to in his will? Too soon??
The Sons of Anarchy series finale airs Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 10 p.m. ET on FX and Super Channel. Want to catch up before then? Get the season now.