In the real world, there are consequences. Television writers, on the other hand, make a living from creating stories which can’t seem to help but incessantly glorify violence and gloss over the aftermath. It makes for good TV, watching the “bad guys” get what’s coming to them and watching the “good guys” ride off into the sunset – but sometimes it’s also the easy way out. If “Red Roses” showed us anything, it’s that Sons of Anarchy is by no means taking the easy way out as it sets the stage for the series finale.
As a whole, Sons of Anarchy has done an admirable job all along of not sugarcoating the fallout of SAMCRO’s decisions. There’s been a consistently high body count left in the show’s wake, but there are certain characters who have always remained untouchable. Though for the sake of the story fans have been forced to part ways with a few leads (Clay, Opie, Piney, Tara) and recurring characters (Eli, Pope, Otto, Hale), they’ve always had a security blanket – knowing that Jax would be around until the end.
Well, the end is here. Sons of Anarchy has laid all its cards on the table and Jax’s (Charlie Hunnam) life is at the mercy of a Mayhem vote – live by the patch, die by the path – and I doubt this character would have had it any other way. The real tragedy is that knowing that probably does very little to make anyone feel any better. After everything Jax has been through over the last seven seasons, he believes so entirely in his club that he’s willing to sacrifice himself for redemption. John Teller’s worst fear has been realized, the MC has destroyed everything he held dear.
Jax may escape Mr. Mayhem through a clever loophole (the unwritten bylaw?), but he’s never going to be able to fully put Charming in the rear view mirror and move on. It doesn’t matter where he goes, or who he ends up with, his life choices will haunt him until the end (which fingers crossed isn’t how the series ends).
And with that, Sons of Anarchy has come full circle in a lot of ways. Not only does it look like Jax and Wendy are going to end up together (their issues being the catalyst for Jax reuniting with Tara in the first place), but there’s also a lot of the same elements from season one being recycled. SAMCRO is standing behind its president, even though they know he made a massive, game changing mistake. The brotherhood and camaraderie that hooked fans in the first place is unmistakeably carrying the show to the end. Jax is doing what he thinks is best for the club, even if that means taking himself out of the equation permanently.