Hello! Just as I promise to spend more time on this site, I get sick and have nothing to say. Terrible. Things have been pretty dull around here lately since I have been spending most of my time lounging around my condo recovering. All this downtime did allow me to catch up on the television shows I have been behind on, one of which was Sons of Anarchy. I was able to catch up so that I watched the finale the day after it aired in the US, which was awesome because it meant that I wasn’t spoiled by the internets!
Warning – very heavy spoilers for Sons of Anarchy finale below. Get out now if you do not wish to know what happened.
My initial thoughts on the finale were not good. I was angry, but not angry because I wasn’t satisfied with the way things ended, but rather how things ended. Sons of Anarchy is based on Hamlet, and so knowing how Hamlet ends (spoiler alert – everyone dies!) I was pretty sure I knew how SoA was going to end. It was pretty obvious to me that Jax was going to kill himself after he killed Gemma in the previous episode. I just knew he couldn’t live with himself and that he couldn’t be anywhere near his sons. I also thought that as bad of a father as Jackson is (offering Abel candy to call Wendy “mom”?!), there was no way he could live and not see his sons, so suicide would be the only answer for him. In the first 10 minutes when we saw him at Opie and Tara’s graves leaving his rings behind, I knew I was correct in my assumption.
I also kind of figured that if he was going to kill himself, he may as well take out as many people as he could on his way out to save the club, so I wasn’t so shocked that he killed Marks and Barosky. I also was not surprised that Chibs was made president and Tigs vice, showing how Tigs has evolved since his days as Clay’s vice. Really, as far as tying loose ends goes SoA hit hit the nail on the head. I think most people were pretty satisfied that the story was nicely wrapped up.
So what issues did I have? The whole final episode was so heavy handed. Seriously. I felt like I was being knocked over the head with symbolism, and theme to the point that it was just overkill. As Jackson says goodbye to his father, and leaves his helmet beside the highway, we see the police start what amounts to a slow speed chase throughout the canyon, which looked just like a funeral procession. While this chase is going down the song playing in the background features the lyrics “come join the murder, come fly with black”. A very on the nose reference to a group of crows, as well as the business of the SoA. And, in case you were too stupid the connection between those lyrics and a murder of crows, the camera pans to a shot of the sky where 7 crows are flying.
We are then given a short reprieve from the crows and are taken into our Jax as a Chris figure metaphor. This was touched on earlier in the episode where we see Jackson speak to the homeless woman who was eating bread and wine, and Jackson’s notion of sacrificing himself to save the club, but really hits you hard (pardon the pun) in Jax’s final moments. As he sees a transport truck round a bend and head straight for him, Jax embraces his death, lifts his hands from the handles of his bike and smiles.
Much like the crows, if you were a wee bit too thick to understand this symbolism as Christ on the cross, our ill-fated truck driver, Michael Chiklis, gives his one and only line before smashing head-on into Jax, – “Jesus!”. Jackson’s blood is spilled on the road where it pools next to two very poorly CGIed crows nibbling on bread on the side of the highway, mimicking the opening scene of the first episode. Apparently these two crows weren’t as skittish as their peers, as even a massive crash right next to them wasn’t enough to scare them from their dinner. Also, for those of you counting – 7 crows in the air plus two on the highway is 9, the same number of original members of SAMCRO.
The final kick in the pants is that after over-extended metaphors and embarrassing CGI we are led to a rather beautiful Shakespeare quote.
Doubt thou the stars are fire,
Doubt that the sun doth move,
Doubt truth to be a liar,
But never doubt I love.
I’m a sucker for Shakespeare, I’ll admit it, and this is a great passage (iambic trimeter for you word nerds), but really, this quote was just so Kurt Sutter could shove down our throats that Sons of Anarchy is a modern telling of Hamlet. We get it Kurt! You passed 11th grade English. Good for you. As if it wasn’t already obvious enough in the naming of your characters, Clay (Claudius), Gemma (Gertrude), constant references to Jax as the “little Prince”, and wars between nations, you had to give us one more hint as to the origins of your story. The thing of it is – those of us who knew the Shakespearean reference didn’t need this extra nudge, and those who never did wouldn’t have gotten it from that quote.
As a series Sons of Anarchy is great. There’s action and a lot of gore, but just as much love. The sense of brotherhood and the love Gemma and Jackson have for their respective sons is often incredibly moving, though their decisions are sometimes questionable. That being said, the finale suffered from an over confident show runner who seemed more interested in showing how much symbolism he could shove into two hours of television than giving his characters a proper send off. Want to see a truly great series finale? Felina, the last episode of Breaking Bad will not disappoint, but as for Sons of Anarchy….I guess we’ll always have season 2.
Have some thoughts on the series finale of Sons of Anarchy? Share them in the comments!