SPOILER ALERT! – Series finale.
There are no shenanigans. Sutter shoots straight. Shakespeare killed Hamlet thus Jackson Teller must die; his fate was a foregone conclusion the day that Sons of Anarchy was dreamed into being. Why insult viewer intelligence by insinuating otherwise? The deathly calm, the momentous goodbyes, a mess cleaned up…a man waiting to die. A future foretold. The signs – crows; the bread and vinegar (then blood) of a last supper; the enigmatic homeless women – harbingers of wreckage. It was time. Hope and Denial no match for Fortune, a harlot vicious in her fairness. With Christ-like arms Jackson Teller meets Mr Mayhem – a sacrifice for the good of the club that killed him and the longevity of the sons that will never know him. He was a bad man. An outlaw. A murderer. He paid for his crimes.
There was no other way.
The great tragedy of Sons of Anarchy does not rest in the death of its protagonist, a fact boded from the very beginning, but in the cyclical character of what could not be stopped and what has not been stopped. The most disturbing scene in Sutter’s finale is not Gemma’s cold, white, dead body being zipped up in a coroner’s bag nor the reticent sound of the gavel on the reaper table as Jax’s fate is cinched, and not even the tears in Chibs’ eyes as he sends a brother to his death; it’s Abel, sitting in the back of Nero’s car on the way to a new life, fingering the ring that was given him by his Grandma – the women who “had other plans”, the woman who manipulated her son’s destiny with Machiavellian mastery.
In this small gesture, this fleeting picture, the audience is laden with doubt, rendering Jax’s promise that his sons “will never know this life of chaos” essentially futile. The seed has already been planted by a matriarch who reaches from her rose-shrouded grave. In a bitter irony, Jax follows in the footsteps of his father, eradicating himself to ensure that his sons have life, and in so doing he achieves some sort of redemption but the impending omen is poignant; it is too late for his boys. They, like their dad – like his dad – are “already inside it”. And that is tragic.
But it is also true. And truth, although sometimes cruel, is sublime.