(Spoiler alert for anyone deciding to catch up and watch the show later.)
It’s been a roller coaster of a show let alone a final season, as each episode easily blew so many people away. Recall the very first episode? Wow, how time flies. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Sons of Anarchy, intrigued with the yin and yang relationship between the hot doctor, Tara Knowles (Maggie Siff), and Jackson ‘Jax’ Teller (Charlie Hunnam). It was sweet seeing an impossible romance bloom before our eyes as the professional and upstanding citizen Tara intertwined with bad boy Jax.
But, of course show creator Kurt Sutter couldn’t let them live happily ever after.
The moment their relationship started to slip, the violence escalated and escalated. With every episode and every season I honestly hoped that they’d reconcile, that Jax would do the right thing, and that Sutter would stop feeling the need to paint the show into a corner. It seems every episode and every season needed to outdo the previous. While I still admittedly couldn’t help but be driven to DVR each and every episode, it wasn’t until this very last season that Sutter’s need for over-the-top plot twists and violence started to feel tastelessly overused. It’s like the moment another head exploded, guts and eyeballs falling out…yawn…I found myself rolling my eyes.
The characters took a back seat to the need for shock value, which stopped working after the zillionth splat. Whether an incarcerated Juice (Theo Rossi) was taking it up the ass again from Marilyn Manson or Tig’s (Kim Coates) sudden love affair with a trannie (Walton Goggins). The last season felt like a toxic labyrinth of twists, turns, bloodshed and dull, extended heartache begging for someone to take a hatchet to it and shatter it already.
Once Gemma (Katey Sagal) decided to murder the shit out of her daughter in-law Tara, it was like my first arm tattoo. Once I decided to do it, there was no turning back. That episode above all others really shook the audience because you really didn’t see it coming. And after that, the show really didn’t feel the same at least it didn’t for me. I felt Tara really brought something to the show that it lacked after she was butchered to death. As I read threads from fans it was funny how all of us were saying the same thing about Gemma. It took what felt like an eternity for little Abel to finally spill the beans about his mother’s death.
Now, here we are as it all finally comes to an end. As I watched the final episode, I was numb to the plot twists that no longer worked. I was ready for anything and everything to happen. Any and all Sons of Anarchy fans, no matter how engrossed, aren’t too freaked out over a little blood, guts, sex, guns, violence, and drugs. Which comes to my final point. I do feel that less is more, and this major rule of great writing in fiction or creative non-fiction was completely lost during Season 7. On the other hand, Sutter felt that more was better. I guess he knows a thing or two. But I agree with Alan Sepinwall’s Hitflix article, How once-great ‘Sons of Anarchy’ ran off the road before the end.
“On ‘Sons of Anarchy,’ less could never be more, because more was busy trying to be morer. Even the shocks that Sutter had deployed so well for so long began to lose their power as he either repeated tricks or tried to expand on them.”
As much as I am on a pessimistic rant, I must admit that Sutter did succeed to do something to all of us. He created a show that made us love and hate and cringe and…not want to miss a single episode. Still, with this last season, I found myself DVRing the shows more and more and lagging on actually watching them. The urge I once had dissipated, but the adrenaline junky in me always found myself eventually catching up with SOA. I haven’t missed an episode, for good or bad.
And even as I braced for the predictable end, Jax indeed went out in a blaze of glory, and he did so with a Jesus Christ pose, arms out, a sacrifice for the sweet sins of the show’s creator.