Back in 2008, I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into when I watched the premiere episode of Sons of Anarchy. Seven seasons later, it’s definitely been one hell of a ride with its president, Jackson “Jax” Teller, and the rest of the SAMCRO crew!
In case you haven’t watched Sons of Anarchy yet, it’s a show about a motorcycle club based out of the fictional California town of Charming. The show focuses around Jax Teller (played by Charlie Hunnam), son of John Teller – one of the two founders of the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original (SAMCRO) main charter. Jax, starting off as the vice-president of the club when the show began, juggles his family and club life through the duration of the series.
I’m not going to recap the series finale, but instead this will be more or less an overview of the series – so if you haven’t seen it yet, this is your spoiler warning!
I wasn’t sure I’d get so involved in a show about a motorcycle club, but after the first few episodes, I was totally hooked. More than a few articles have been written regarding the show’s parallel’s to Hamlet, and while it does draw from that theme, it does it well. Critics and viewers agree as the show currently holds an 8.7 rating on IMDB. As with all good things though, it had to come to an end.
For the most part, the writing and story lines under the direction of creator Kurt Sutter were well done and kept you wanting more. The casting was great as well as Charlie Hunnam, Mark Boone Junior, Katey Sagal, Kim Coates, Tommy Flanagan, Theo Rossie, Dayton Callie, Maggie Siff, Ron Perlman, Ryan Hurst, and the rest delivered outstanding performances and were joined by recurring guest stars and seasonal additions of the likes of Jimmy Smits, Danny Trejo, Mitch Pileggi, Peter Weller, and even Marilyn Manson.
The show was filled with so many great, and sometimes heart wrenching moments, it’s hard to list them all but here are 10 of my favorite moments from the series (in no particular order). NOTE: some of these contain descriptions of events that may not be easy to stomach.
10 Great Moments from Sons of Anarchy
Opie’s Death – S5:E3
I know I said these weren’t in any particular order, but this story line and sequence of events which resulted in Harry “Opie” Winston’s (Ryan Hurst) death in prison by sacrificing his life to save Jax, and for the good of the club. I can still hear the sound of the pipe striking Opie in the final blow that finished him off – not to mention the look of horror on Jax’s face as he watched. “I got this” remains one of the best lines in the entire series.
Tara’s Murder – S6:E13
While the on again, off again relationship between Gemma Teller Morrow (Katey Sagal) and Tara Knowles-Teller was a large part of the show, I never thought I’d see the day where Gemma would ever take Tara out – not to mention in such gruesome fashion. It wasn’t only the murder, but also the resulting lie by Gemma about Chinese gang involvement that set the tone for the final season, and unraveling, of Jax.
Juice’s Death – S7:E12
Over the seasons, we came to love Juan Carlos “Juice” Ortiz. Even when he was betraying the club by talking to the cops, you couldn’t help but feel for his situation. All Juice wanted to do was fit in and return to being a part of the club. In the end, even though the club has used him and left him to die at the hands of neo-Nazi Ron Tully (Marilyn Manson), Juice steps up and informs Tully of a plot to kill him, thus saving Tully’s life, and in the process keeping a SAMCRO pipeline open in the prison system. Juice finally seems at peace with himself as he hands Tully a scalpel which is then used moments later to end his life.
Gemma’s Death – S7:E12
Lets face it, after Jax found out his mother murdered his wife, you knew it was only a matter of time before Gemma bit it. It was unfortunate that ex-chief Wayne Unser (Dayton Callie) got caught in the middle of it, and Jax had no issue taking him out as well in order to get to his mother. That entire scene in the garden from Jax wrestling with his thoughts, and Gemma telling him it was o.k. and he had to do it, to the trigger pull and the death of Gemma was well done and you could almost feel the emotion that was taking place.
Gemma’s Rape – S2:E1
Wow. This season opener was definitely one for the ages as a white separatist gang comes to Charming and tries to drive SAMCRO out. Thinking they can intimidate the club, they kidnap and gang rape Gemma, setting the stage for the remainder of the season. Great, albeit disturbing, performance by Henry Rollins as one of the gang members in this scene. Gemma thinks she can keep quiet about the event, but in the end her rape ends up bringing the club back together when she finally tells the club what happens.
Donna’s Death – S1:E12
Early on in the show, Donna (Sprague Grayden) played the wife of Opie. She didn’t last long though as she was gunned down by Alex “Tig” Trager (Kim Coates) in a botched hit on Opie – which was set in motion by misinformation the feds gave to SAMCRO about Opie. Donna’s death had a big impact on Opie and really defined his character over the next 4 seasons.
Opie Shoots Clay – S4:E12
Another Opie moment came in season 4 after Opie found out that his father was killed by none other than club President, Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman). Morrow was also involved in the events that led up to Opie’s wife’s (Donna) death, so it was only a matter of time before this tense confrontation played out.
Otto Murders a Nurse – S5:E10
Otto Delaney (Kurt Sutter), a club member on death row, surfaced occasionally throughout the series. Otto was an instrumental part of Lincoln Potter’s RICO case against the club during season 4. Shortly after Tara shows up to ask Otto to recant his statement, he murders a nurse with a crucifix which would make his testimony inadmissible. In order to avoid giving a statement to the police about the killing, Otto instead bites of his own tongue. Talk about dedication. Unfortunately, the nurse ended up being the sister of a former cracked out US Marshal, who shows up and causes trouble for Tara and SAMCRO for the rest of the season, and first part of the next.
Abel’s Kidnapping – Seasons 2&3
The kidnapping of Abel Teller, Jax’s son, by the IRA at the end of season 2 was not only gut wrenching to watch as a father, but set the stage for SAMCRO to head to Ireland in the third season. The trip to Ireland was an interesting change of pace for the show, and further cemented the tense IRA gun running partnership with SAMCRO that played out over the course of the series.
Death of Tig’s Daughter – S5:E1
In one of the story arcs, Tig carries out a retaliation hit against a rival who he wrongly thought was responsible for shooting Clay, only to fail and kill the girlfriend of his intended target instead. This sets up one of the most heart wrenching – and almost unwatchable – scenes from the series. Turns out the girl was the daughter of gangster Damon Pope (Harold Perrineau). Pope subsequently kidnaps Tig’s daughter, a dirty cop sets Tig up, and he is then forced to watch as Pope burns his daughter alive.
US Attorney Lincoln Potter – Season 4
I know I said 10, but man does Ray McKinnon get a special mention here. This isn’t so much a single moment, as it is the enjoyment I had watching McKinnon play the eccentric Potter in his attempt to take the club down by building a RICO case against them. He was definitely one of the more colorful adversaries SAMCRO faced.
I know I’ve missed a moment or ten – Jax injecting Wendy with heroin so no one would believe her, the Russian getting eaten alive by ants, Jax killing Clay, Clay beating up Gemma, Opie killing Agent Stahl, the list goes on – and I didn’t include the final scene from the series either. The series finale wasn’t the greatest episode of the series, but it was believable and well done. We see Jax setting his affairs in order and taking steps to ensure the safety of his children, and the continued success of his club. The personal thoughts and conversation with his deceased father at the site of his death many years earlier gives us one final look into Jax’s mind, and the subsequent police pursuit further shows that Jax is finally at peace knowing that his kids won’t grow up following in his footsteps. While Jax riding with arms outstretched Christ-like into the oncoming semi, followed up with the zooming in on a chunk of bread on the side of the road with blood spilling towards it solidified the feeling that Jax was the saviour of his family and the club, it did feel a bit cliché.
I’m looking forward to picking up the complete box set whenever it comes out and reliving the trials and tribulations of Jax and SAMCRO. It’ll be great seeing Opie, Tara, and many other fallen characters again. Sons of Anarchy is definitely worth watching, and if you’ve read this and haven’t watched it, I highly recommend you do!
Check out this thank you video the cast of Sons of Anarchy put together.
— Sons of Anarchy (@SonsofAnarchy) December 10, 2014
Did you watch Sons of Anarchy? If so, let us know what your favorite moment was, or what you will miss most now that the show is done, in the comments below, or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.