Binge & Purge: Sons of Anarchy 7.13- THE FINALE

Sons of Anarchy Season 7: Episode 13- “Papa’s Goods”

SOA

It’s the end of the road for Jax Teller.

I can’t imagine watching this show for seven years straight and being happy with how things turned out. Picking this show up last year and powering through the bulk of the series via Netflix, I’m honestly dumbfounded by the amount of love and praise being heaped on this finale on my friend’s Facebook and Twitter feeds. It’s schlocky fun, and the earlier seasons had a sense of playfulness that made the grimness of things balanced out. Plus it had Clay, a fantastic villain with clear motivations– protect his club.

When Clay was pushed out of power and Jax took the reigns, an interesting dynamic was put on the table and was never followed through. I stand by the fact that Jax/Tara vs. Clay/Gemma should have concluded the series, and after watching “Papa’s Goods” I stand by that assessment.

In the end Clay was a far better leader for SAMCRO than Jax was, especially when the opening moments of this finale showcase Jax burning JT’s memoir and everything the first five seasons built up. It felt like the writers just shrugged and said, “Oh well, Clay was kind of right.”

Jax admitting to the DA that he was a bad guy was supposed to be self-reflected revelation, but it just felt hollow. While doing some internet digging, I came across these wonderful stats detailing the death toll for each individual season. It should be noted that seasons 5, 6, and 7 are all within the span of a few months time span.

Season 1: 23+

Season 2: 8 (Best season by far, and lowest body count. Coincidence?)

Season 3: 13 (But this is actually my favorite season. Ireland rules!)

Season 4: 22+ (Jax takes over, let the bodies hit the floor)

Season 5: 24 (Opie dies, things go to shit)

Season 6: 41+

Season 7: 108

Jax’s reign as President of SAMCRO left a trail of bodies unrivaled by any other.

Jax was ready to meet Mr. Mayhem and save on some car insurance.
Jax was ready to meet Mr. Mayhem and save on some car insurance.

FINALE THOUGHTS:

  • Nero made it out alive! With Wendy! And the kids! I’m very happy Nero made it out alive, and his scenes with Jax were the very best of the episode. Man, that guy can act. The scene with Wendy and the kids was also very moving, and I was really hoping for an epilogue would showcase the future for these characters.
  • I struggle to give a shit about SAMCRO when all of the characters I liked are long dead. Don’t get me wrong I am a fan of Chibs and Tig, but two men do not make a club. Happy? Okay he’s cool. Rat Boy? Ugh… Tall guy? Umm… Short Spanish guy? Oye… Grim Bastards dude who left his own club to join the Sons? Fin.
  • This episode should have been subtitled “loose ends”. Mowing down Robocop and August Marks, killing one of the Kings and setting up the gun trade, talking to Ghost Mom™ who’s been haunting the Teller’s since the first season, and reuniting with Vic Mackey’s Mack Truck.
  • Speaking of Vic Mackey, I really need to watch The Shield. Is that on Netflix?
  • So Jax is Jesus, right?
  • Final Thoughts: This ain’t Shakespeare.
With my Leave of Absence from work earlier this year, I began devouring TV shows and movies on Netflix by the pound, powering through series upon series until I was all caught up with each individual selection. I originally did this when the 5th and final season of Breaking Bad was about to premiere, and sitting through all four seasons on Netflix was like a religious experience for me at the time , and made me realize what I was missing out on. I soon realized binge watching doesn’t always turn out to be so enlightening, but as a completest I always feel the need to finish what I’ve started.

Binge & Purge: Sons of Anarchy 7.12

Sons of Anarchy Season 7: Episode 12- “Rose Red”

SOA JAX

***FILLED WITH SPOILERS, duh***

So let me lead with this, I’ve got no clue what’s going on within the mind of Kurt Sutter and attempting to figure out the endgame for SAMCRO and Sons of Anarchy as a whole is futile at this point. I say this not only because most of my finale predictions were literally blown away during the penultimate episode this past Tuesday, but because in my eyes there’s no story left to tell.

After eliminating Clay and Tara last year, the endgame had to focus on Gemma and Jax. But with that, I wasn’t expecting that story to end in the second to last episode, and I wasn’t expecting it to end with Jax blowing his Mom’s brains out. Watching Sons of Anarchy from the Netflix perspective (binge watching, swallowing seasons worth of TV in a weekend) you get a better sense for the story and where things might be headed. In the earlier seasons I was charmed with the relationship between Dr. Knowles and Jax, and saw the evolution this outlaw was taking as he dug deeper into the manuscript his father once wrote.

The arc seemed clear, John Teller wanted a better life for his club and in the end Jax (with Tara as his avatar) wanted a better life for his kids. Of course things went south, Tara got sucked into the life, Gemma meddled, Clay schemed, Jax became President. That’s drama, and it’s more than acceptable.

Things began to unravel in Season Four when the screws began to tighten on Clay, especially with the murder of Piney and Opie’s need for vengeance. The “shocking” death of Opie seemed to pull the final thread off that arc established in S1, irrevocably changing Jax’s story from there on out. I’ve previously written about my dashed hopes for Jax’s story, and seeing how it played out in “Rose Red” I became incredibly disappointed with how things ended, despite how well acted the scenes were. Everything Tara had hoped for was whisked away by Jax killing Gemma. When Gemma says “You have to do this baby, it’s what we do” (paraphrasing) the ultimate evolution of his arc would be for Jax to take the higher road, let Gemma live, and call the cops. Obviously that wasn’t happening after he blew Unser away, but it wouldn’t have made the previous six years a bloated waste and would have given the finale some added weight.

Oh, Unser. Jeez… Live by the sword, die by the sword. I wish I could say more about the situation as there were a million ways for him to avoid death-by-Jax, but to be friend-zoned into death Wayne? Poor form. Chucky would have made it out alive.

Juice got to die on his own terms (a theme prevalent throughout this SUPER SIZED EDITION of television), and despite my earlier predictions of Theo Rossi surviving the series I was happy to see Juice enjoy his last slice of pie. I could have done without all the prison rape, but in this show I’ll take what I can get.

Where does this leave things heading into this Tuesday’s finale?

Otto-Tongue-Sons-of-Anarchy
This. Is. My. Masterpiece.
  • Nero and Wendy seem to be heading toward a fresh life as caretakers for the kids, enjoying freedom and raising their makeshift family on that fantastical farm in NorCal (did you hear? There’s animals too!!). I had my doubts on Nero making it out alive, and DOES NOT DIE (Sorry Jimmy, that means you dead).
  • Wendy and Jax got to fucking since murder always seems to turn Jax on, especially when it’s Mommy Murder™. My guess is Wendy will become pregnant, and we’ll perhaps get a fancy flash-forward at the end revealing young adult Abel working on his Dad’s bike with Thomas and Jackson Jr. playing in the background. Symmetry!
  • Jax signed his death warrant with the unanimous vote for mayhem, and his off-screen deal to broker the Grim Bastards into the Sons is not what I’d call riveting finale TV. Sorry to say I’m not that invested in what becomes of SAMCRO at this point, and I’m guessing this will drag things down a bit as Chibs and Tig hug and tell Jacky Boy how much they love him pre-sacrifice.
  • Final prediction that will probably be wrong and invalidates everything I’ve pontificated– Everyone dies?
With my Leave of Absence from work earlier this year, I began devouring TV shows and movies on Netflix by the pound, powering through series upon series until I was all caught up with each individual selection. I originally did this when the 5th and final season of Breaking Bad was about to premiere, and sitting through all four seasons on Netflix was like a religious experience for me at the time , and made me realize what I was missing out on. I soon realized binge watching doesn’t always turn out to be so enlightening, but as a completest I always feel the need to finish what I’ve started.

Recovery: Part Deux

jc surgeryIt’s been one helluva week for me.

Between Thanksgiving, NCW WrestleFest, the amazing Say Anything/Saves the Day concert (with Reggie & the Full Effect!) and my second (final) eye surgery on Tuesday the last seven days have been a perpetual blur for me.

As I sit here nursing the stitches above my eye, unable to drive, going stir crazy and cabin fever settling in I’ve realized it’s going to be one long fucking month of recovery.

The good news? When it’s all said and done I’ll have both my eyes back and will finally be able to put 2014 in my rear view while looking ahead at the new year to come.

With all this excess time on my hands I’ll be digging into my Netflix list and start reviewing those movies I had planned on watching during my last LOA from work, checking out the last penultimate episode of Sons of Anarchy currently sitting on my DVR, and laying back at some point today to listen to the latest edition of Serial (you should too).

sayanything
Say Anything’s 10 year anniversary of “Is a Real Boy…”

To be continued…

 

Binge & Purge: Sons of Anarchy 7.11

Sons of Anarchy Season 7: Episode 11- “Suits of Woe”

The sex scenes on this show have gotten really extreme.
The sex scenes on this show have gotten really hardcore.

It only took 11 episodes, but Sons of Anarchy finally advanced the plot that was set in motion during the season six finale “A Mother’s Work”, and by doing so turned in one of the best episodes SOA has ever had. Seriously, no snark it was a pretty great episode of television.

I stand by the comment I made a few days ago where I said that the 7th season of Sons should have been an abbreviated mini-series, something like four two hour episodes. Even though it’s still stretching things out it would leave Kurt Sutter & Co. the opportunity to take their time, let things breath, and still keep the plot moving at a reasonable pace.

Jax is finally let in on what Gemma has done (courtesy of master manipulator Abel), and has realized that all the horror he’s caused in the wake of Tara’s death was for naught. How Shakespearean! Despite slipping in and out of his native accent throughout Charlie Hunnam did some damn fine work this episode, especially with Juice (Theo Rossi) and Jimmy Smits (Nero McNero). Juice’s confession, with such resign in his face was tremendous work for the actor, only stifled by the fact he performed another gruesome murder on behalf of SAMCRO’s ill-advised revenge plans just a scene prior (RIP Lin). Oh, and Lin helpfully revealed that Robocop was the rat, not Jury. With this important morsel of information, SAMCRO must now face the wrath of the remaining charters who will determine Jax’s fate.

I was reminded what a piece of shit Unser was this week. While the old fuck righteously badmouthed Jax he neglects to bring up all the awful things he’s done in the name of love for Gemma, and the culpability he has in this situation. It was his big mouth that put Gemma onto Tara in the first place, and has also protected her (purposefully and inadvertently) throughout this season. I’m not on Jax’s side, but you should probably go now Wayne.

STUFF:

  • Tig and Chibs literally had nothing to do despite their status as OG’s, becoming messenger pigeons for SAMCRO while the use of cell phones is completely ignored.
  • Gemma is the worst. No sympathy from me on this one.
  • Sheriff Jarry is even more pointless than first expected. She’s played no role in this narrative and has devolved into just taking direct orders from Unser. If the amazing CCH Pounder wasn’t available, they should have just reinstated Wayne despite the whole cancer thing. I mean the show routinely ignores this fact, why shouldn’t it’s characters?
  • Lyla is also a notary. I can see what Opie saw in her.
  • Looks like they fired that other awful host of Anarchy Afterword. Thankfully they replaced him with a wacky morning FM Radio host! Oops, looks like that shitty host is still hanging around on set. Sorry, I didn’t realize that was you Mr. Sutter.
  • Nero was fantastic in this episode, and also defied my expectations heading into the finale.

Speaking of…

FINALE PREDICTIONS:

  • Considering they’ve basically dropped all mention of JT during this season (and last really), I expect Senior Teller to be awkwardly jammed into the actual finale, probably as some kind of force ghost to show Jax what he needs to do. So what does he need to do? Kill himself most likely. For his kids, for his club, for his penance, and to punish Gemma. It will be ham-fisted, so I’m pegging it to be death-by-motorcycle. John Teller’s motorcycle, as set up this week by Chucky and Jax working on the bike during this ep.
  • This is Gemma’s punishment. They’ve already established in Jax and Nero’s final conversation that Jax still loves his mother despite everything and probably wouldn’t be able to kill her. She will be left to rot alone, with no one else and knowing she caused the death of her family, specifically Jax.
  • I know Juice should be a goner, but I’m going to veer off course here and say if he hasn’t died yet he isn’t dying at all. He will put down Marilyn Manson during a fight, and will become the new Otto living his life out in jail.
  • I thought Nero wouldn’t survive, and I’m still on the fence. Maybe blow back from the Robocop situation will put him in the crossfire, but I’m starting to believe he may ride off into the sunset with Wendy and the kids.
  • Unser and Jarry will be killed by a single bullet from a sniper hiding on the roof of Teller/Morrow. The shooter will be Chucky, who’s been giving robotic hands by Robocop.
  • Chibs will become President with Tig taking the VP patch. Everyone will believe that Chibs will follow Jax’s wishes and get the club out of guns but at the last minute Chibs reneges, kills the Grim Bastards, Alvarez, the Niners, August Marks, Lin’s corpse, Ethan Zobelle, and John Teller’s ghost.
  • Chibs then unmasks to reveal himself to be Clay Morrow. Alive and well.
  • Fin.

tumblr_mrekxlMFQT1s5hh54o1_250

 

With my Leave of Absence from work earlier this year, I began devouring TV shows and movies on Netflix by the pound, powering through series upon series until I was all caught up with each individual selection. I originally did this when the 5th and final season of Breaking Bad was about to premiere, and sitting through all four seasons on Netflix was like a religious experience for me at the time , and made me realize what I was missing out on. I soon realized binge watching doesn’t always turn out to be so enlightening, but as a completest I always feel the need to finish what I’ve started.

Binge & Purge: Sons of Anarchy 7.7 through 7.10

Sons of Anarchy Season 7: Episode 7- “Greensleeves”
Sons of Anarchy Season 7: Episode 8- “The Separation of Crows”
Sons of Anarchy Season 7: Episode 9- “What a Piece of Work Man Is”
Sons of Anarchy Season 7: Episode 10- “Faith & Despondency”

goggins
Goggins: Best tits on TV.

I’ve been struggling to get through the last few episodes of this goddamn brutal (not in a good way) overlong season of Sons of Anarchy. When I first decided to tackle this mission to watch SOA in “real time” I never once thought it’d be so bad that I would want to give up and get mowed down in a poorly executed, overly contrived shoot out.

The biggest take away from watching these four episodes is how everything just bleeds together. One could say this is a sign of seamless storytelling, but I call it a sloppy piece of fiction. For example, I give you the dearly departed Bobby. It took three episodes for Bobby to get a bullet in his head, THREE FUCKING EPISODES. When he was kidnapped at the tail-end of  “Greensleeves” I actually thought he was dead right then and there, killed off-screen (a rarity for SOA I know, but felt it would have been appropriate for the box reveal) and gifted to Jax & Co. by August Mark’s main henchman. That moment of bravado was quickly dissipated when it was revealed to be Bobby’s eye. WHY? I know, I know— As a bargaining tool to use against SAMCRO. But in the narrative Bobby has served no purpose this entire season (arguably longer than that) and killing off a major character in such a dismissive way would have been a bold decision, especially considering the Sons have been murdering people by the truckloads this year with no loss on their end (except for an anonymous SAMCRO goon, and uh… Tara).

Three episodes of wheel spinning. The same wheel spinning also applies to our boy Juice, who (off-screen) made a deal with Jax to get his cut back, as long as he got locked up and put into play to murder Lin. Of course this is all leading to a double-cross of some kind, but Sweet Christ is this shit tedious. The way this season has gone, it would have been more beneficial to have a miniseries event (four two hour episodes) serving as an epilogue to seasons six, which seems now more than ever a true “end” to the series with the tragic murder of Tara and the end of Clay at Jax’s hands. S7 just hasn’t had enough story to fill out a 13 episode, extended length series.

The one interesting piece of business this year was the implosion of the Sons of Anarchy charters, with Jury eating a bullet at the hands of Jax, resulting in the other charters second guessing the holier-than-thou Jax Teller. I wish Jury had lasted longer, but with only three episodes left I have a bad feeling this story will be sidestepped to allow Chibs and Jax to smoke some cigs on the roof while pontificating.

Three eps down and three left to go. That being said Jax has finally learned that Gemma murdered Tara all thanks to the convoluted set up laid out in “Faith & Despondency”. Abel has turned on Grandma, and really I’m just glad it’s out and in the open. PLOT ADVANCES .001%.

STUFF:

  • I was wrong about Officer Jarry (Annabeth Gish), that’s for sure. No mole or plant here, just another fucked up law individual entranced by the outlaw nature of SAMCRO. I’m all for Chibs getting some, but this has been superfluous and clearly just an avatar for Chibs to avenge when she’s inevitably mowed down in gunfire.
  • August Mark’s ex-Navy Seal henchman sure walked into SAMCRO’s trap awful easily. It was a visceral thrill to see the club exact revenge on Bobby’s killer, but other than that this entire scene was ridiculous.
  • For a brief moment in “Faith & Despondency” I believed Unser was going to eat a bullet courtesy of the Nazi Supremacist. I then realized that he had to figure out Gemma’s entire plan, including Juice’s betrayal, moments before getting caught in a hail of bullets inadvertently from the Sons. Tragedy, and all that jazz.
  • Wish I had something interesting to say about Wendy, but her vibrator scene was probably her best character moment yet this season.
  • Marilyn Manson butt-fucks Juice. Pretty much some things up from where I’m sitting.
  • Everyone seemed to realize how awful the Anarchy Afterword show was, replacing the awful Chris Franjola with the equally awful replacement host… Kurt Sutter. Oops. Kurt, stick to your day job! Wait… Don’t. “THIS IS LIVE TV, PEOPLE!” Seriously, watching this (and don’t get me started on how SOA bundles Afterword on the DVR, forcing this onto my television) makes you truly appreciate the talent Chris Hardwick has to make a recap show entertaining.
  • Abel has had great timing with overhearing Gemma reveal her misdeeds. For someone who has been so good with keeping secrets over the years (John Teller, I’m looking at you) she has really lost a step. This woman really needed Clay to play off of.
  • Nero continuously talking about the farm. Buying it and moving on from Charming. Buying the farm. Very subtle Mr. Sutter. The only thing subtler would be buying his new boat the “LIVE-4-EVER” one day before his retirement.
  • Tig and Venus is a great story line on another show. What I’m saying is I’d watch a spinoff of these two riding cross-country, going on adventures, and solving crimes. .

I promise I will do my very best to get through the entire episode tomorrow and get a review up as soon as possible. I know everyone’s desperately waiting for my jilted opinion!

With my Leave of Absence from work earlier this year, I began devouring TV shows and movies on Netflix by the pound, powering through series upon series until I was all caught up with each individual selection. I originally did this when the 5th and final season of Breaking Bad was about to premiere, and sitting through all four seasons on Netflix was like a religious experience for me at the time , and made me realize what I was missing out on. I soon realized binge watching doesn’t always turn out to be so enlightening, but as a completest I always feel the need to finish what I’ve started.

Binge & Purge: Sons of Anarchy 7.3 through 7.6

Sons of Anarchy Season 7: Episode 3- “Playing With Monsters”
Sons of Anarchy Season 7: Episode 4- “Poor Little Lambs”
Sons of Anarchy Season 7: Episode 5- “Some Strange Eruption”
Sons of Anarchy Season 7: Episode 6- “Smoke Em If You Got Em”

CHUCKY

So do to work, weddings, and being sick I missed the last FOUR episodes SOA, and was looking forward to catching up binge-style (like the good lord intended) yesterday and today in anticipations of tonight’s episode.

I was floored to see that by the end of episode 7.6 “Smoke Em If You Got Em” NOTHING HAS FUCKING HAPPENED GOD DAMMIT YET. Oh sure, Gemma and Juice finally separated (off-screen mind you)… Lin easily figured SAMCRO was behind all their recent troubles, blowing up the Ice Cream Shoppe (yawn, they did that with the Irish already last season) and brutally murdering all their escorts including the lovely Kim Dickens in a thankless role… Jax and Lin had their much anticipated street fight leading to Lin’s arrest when the real cops showed up… Chibs is knee deep in police pussy (I still can’t tell if Annabelle Gish is working Chibs or not because she isn’t even a character, she’s a prop)… Unser has been kicked out of Teller/Morrow for wanting justice, and all the while ex-junkie Wendy pines for the man who in SOAs time bubble just injected her with heroin a few weeks ago, their son becomes a sociopath with all the acting skills of a piece of wood.

Other things sort of happened, except they didn’t go anywhere. Marilyn Manson showed back up briefly. Jury hasn’t appeared since his “family” was murdered, though I expect him to surface as the one who ratted out SAMCRO. Poor damn Nero is going to end up in a pine box for trusting Jax and Gemma. And tonight’s episode sees Juice come face to face with Jax. Will he finally bite the bullet? All signs point to no, they’ll just talk a lot and kill time to till the finale.

With my Leave of Absence from work earlier this year, I began devouring TV shows and movies on Netflix by the pound, powering through series upon series until I was all caught up with each individual selection. I originally did this when the 5th and final season of Breaking Bad was about to premiere, and sitting through all four seasons on Netflix was like a religious experience for me at the time , and made me realize what I was missing out on. I soon realized binge watching doesn’t always turn out to be so enlightening, but as a completest I always feel the need to finish what I’ve started.

Binge & Purge: Sons of Anarchy 7.2

Sons of Anarchy Season 7: Episode 2- “Toil & Till”

Unser
“…So… Am I getting laid or what?”

Table setting.

That’s all I could think of while watching this abbreviated episode of Sons of Anarchy (abbreviated meaning this only clocked in at an hour and sixteen minutes with commercials). As we head into the “final ride”™ of SAMCRO, a lot of pieces heading into the home stretch have been put into place.

Of course only a table setting episode of SOA would feature the murder of multiple Triad members, a high impact car chase, and the cold-blooded murder of two innocents tied to the Indian Hills chapter of the Sons.

It should be noted that Jax marked those red shirts for death even before Lin demanded perps for the raid on his gun deal, and that tells us explicitly that Teller and the Sons are no longer protagonists of their series.

They are the enemy.

But who takes the reigns as our hero? In this tale of woe I don’t believe there will be any White Knight. A rumor I read online pontificates that Jax may be playing a long con on his mother, and he knows Gemma murdered Tara and is waiting for the right place and the right time to strike, just as August Marks recommended at the top of the hour. It’s not a BAD theory per say considering Kurt Sutter has done this type of bait and switch before, but the collateral damage caused by SAMCRO thus far hasn’t exactly showcased a man with a plan– It’s shown us a merciless villain being born from the ashes of his murdered wife.

I will say setting up another charter to come into conflict with Jax and Co. was an unexpected (and smart) turn of events. Where it will land I have no idea, but if I’m not mistaken Jury’s crew was forced to join the gang back in Season 2 for protection, and now it looks like Jax, Chibs, and Bobby have just laid waste to his (illegitimate?) child. There will be blood.

STUFF:

  • LOVED the Breaking Bad homage during the cold open with Happy. Of course in the usual SOA twist a box full of fortune cookies also contains the head of the poor sucker from last week.
  • Wendy is still pretty meh, but more scenes with Nero Smits should help me tolerate her considerably. I’m still rooting for Nero to walk away from this thing unscathed, but good people don’t normally survive in this world.
  • How stupid is Unser? Pretty fucking stupid. You’re holding all the cards, you’ve got Juice for leverage, all the information you need on Tara’s death, a new lease on life, and your constant hard-on for Gemma leaves you vulnerable enough for her to find EVERYTHING YOU HAVE.
  • I’ve got no thoughts on the new Sheriff yet, or the lack of movement on the Juice storyline. Hopefully that’ll pick up next episode.
  • Tig & Rat Boy spinoff series. You know you want it.
With my Leave of Absence from work earlier this year, I began devouring TV shows and movies on Netflix by the pound, powering through series upon series until I was all caught up with each individual selection. I originally did this when the 5th and final season of Breaking Bad was about to premiere, and sitting through all four seasons on Netflix was like a religious experience for me at the time , and made me realize what I was missing out on. I soon realized binge watching doesn’t always turn out to be so enlightening, but as a completest I always feel the need to finish what I’ve started.