Sons of Anarchy “Black Widower” Review (7×01)

10 Sep


“I already lost the woman I love. I’m not going to lose my club.”

Going into the final season of the show, Jax Teller is no longer attempting a reinvention of any kind, no longer moving toward legitimacy or structuring a future around his wife or distancing himself from JT’s and Clay’s ideals. It’s all about vengeance now, and Charlie Hunnam portrays Jax as a hollowed-out individual, a perpetual blank stare in his eyes as he does anything from listen to a business deal go down to torture and kill one of Lin’s men.

With Tara’s death comes a reaffirming of Jax’s position at the head of the club, at the head of his other family. With Tara’s death also comes an attempt by Gemma to reaffirm her position as a caring, protective family member who wants what’s best for everyone. “I made choices based on the truth I had,” she tells Juice, and we can see her convincing herself of the moral veracity of her justifications; in reality, though, this toxic environment they’re in will never change, no matter how hard they may try to raise themselves above the fray. In the end, Gemma’s a catalyst for the endless cycle she’s very much a part of, and her history with JT eventually ties in with her actions in the present.

So, Gemma resorts to pinning Tara’s murder on an unsuspecting member of Lin’s crew. It’s another example of innocent people–innocent with regards to this specific crime, at least–getting caught in the web of violence spun by the various factions of Charming. It’s a brutal, unsettling scene, and it shows us a Jax at his lowest level. It’s Jax not doing this out of a sense of honor or respect, but rather out of a sense of personal need, and that makes his appeal to the rest of the club more morally complex in retrospect; he’s preaching brotherhood, but what’s he using the club for? Himself. Not so unlike Clay now, is he?

This foreshadows a season of questioning loyalties, of people like Unser having their loyalty toward supposed friends like Gemma tested. The truth is inevitably bound to surface, and now that SAMCRO’s on shaky ground with the Chinese, not only will the club have to deal with the ramifications, but also will those connected with the club in some way. People may have different end goals–Juice, for example, is trying to get out, in contrast with Wendy trying to get in–but they’re all a part of the cycle. They’re all going to be affected by the actions of the man at the head of that club table.

Ultimately, violence begets violence, and that’s an idea that CCH Pounder’s Tyne Patterson attempts to instill in Jax before he heads out of prison. However, if he should find time for self-reflection, for remembering this message, it’ll already be too late (oh, so Shakespeare). Jax Teller is on a warpath, and he doesn’t care who gets in his way.



-The grade–just an arbitrary letter, really–is essentially a result of the fact that none of this feels new. It’s just all so worn out, predictable, and lacking in energy now, but I’ll still stick with it to the end. What’s maybe a little refreshing about this final season is the seeming simplicity of the plot, though. If the show doesn’t try to do too much, it might be better off. Then again, if it doesn’t get ambitious, it may get stuck in mediocrity. 

-Juice has Unser tied up.

-I want Walton Goggins already.

-Montages that involve people doing things and people being violent. Been there, done that. Try to bookend your episodes a little better, Sutter.

-Kurt Sutter is definitely drawing from The Shield here, what with the final scene being reminiscent of the Vic-Guardo scene in early season six. It’s also a similar set up to that scenario, with a person in a position of trust trying to “protect” those around him or her, eventually leading to the death of an innocent. If Sons wants to have a finale anything like that show’s finale, then…well, it won’t, so.

-Wendy: I’m trying to keep a big secret from you, Unser, but would you please look in the closet that contains that big secret? Thanks!

-Marilyn Manson is now a recurring cast member of the final season.

-The CGI during the wheelchair drag scene is terrible.

-I have sex while holding a gun all the time! It’s so fun!

-This will definitely not be getting regular coverage, not only because New Girl and Person of Interest are returning soon, but also because I don’t really take pleasure in writing/have much to say about this show week to week. However, I might drop in around episode 8, and I’ll definitely review the series finale in December. The show is nothing like it was back in season two, but hopefully it remains at least a little entertaining until the end.

Photo credit: FX, Sons of Anarchy

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