By Eli Ralston
When it comes to the final season of an extremely popular television series, there is an incredible amount of pressure for the showrunners to get the ending just right. You have to be able to perfectly close out these incredible stories in a final way that doesn’t feel too cheap or confusing. There are shows that get this right like Breaking Bad or The Office, and others just completely drop the ball like Dexter or Lost. I am happy to say that Sons of Anarchy nails it in its seventh and final season, creating a gripping and emotional story with some incredible performances all around to conclude this highly popular show. WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
One of the main issues shows like Dexter have during their final season is that they run out of stories to tell and it is obvious that they are scraping the bottom of the barrel for ideas. Sons of Anarchy thankfully does not make this mistake by using Shakespeare’s Hamlet as sort of a base for the story of Jax’s need for revenge and how that creates chaos and destruction all around. Its amazing how showrunner Kurt Sutter was able to not only tie up many loose ends by the end of the series, but also leave room for questions and hope that the viewer can create for themselves.
Many of the things that happened this season would not have been as effective without the stellar performances from the entire cast, but Charlie Hunnam really brought the show home as he has truly improved as an actor over the past seven seasons. He was truly convincing as a man hell bent on revenge and someone who is heartbroken. In the more powerful scenes near the end between him and Gemma were some of my favorite parts of the entire show. On the note of Gemma, Katey Sagal also brought a powerhouse performance to the show, but truly shined in “Red Rose” before she met her demise.
There were obviously going to be some major deaths this season, but television series sometimes run into the problem of having deaths feel pointless and only there for shock value. Sons of Anarchy does quite the opposite, even though many of the deaths are shocking and violent they really felt in place with the story. Seeing the way Bobby (Mark Boone Jr.) goes out may make some people upset since he is such a likable character, but it doesn’t feel unnecessary. I will admit Unser’s (Dayton Callie) death could have been handled a little bit better but he went out protecting Gemma which is in line with the character.
But the two biggest deaths of the series were also some of the most important and most well done parts of the entire series. The scene when Jax kills Gemma was a powerful scene where we see Gemma manipulate Jax one more time in an act that I did not think Jax could commit. Even though her death was inevitable, I was still surprised to see Jax pull the trigger. After that moment you could feel that Jax was going to meet his end soon. The amount of symbolism in the final episode and scene where Jax runs himself into a truck just like his father did was brilliant and ended the show perfectly. I honestly wouldn’t have wanted the show to end any other way.
Every single episode of this season was right on target with many of the episodes actually having extended run times with a few being almost two hours. The good thing is that the show makes good use of the extra time in each episode. There is no unnecessary filler and every single conversation or sequence we see advances the story. The obvious best episodes were the final two as we finally discover the truth and everything comes full circle. And I’m glad we finally get to see Jax honor Tara’s wish to get the boys away from Charming and the club.
All in all, Sons of Anarchy definitely went out on a high note by tying up all the loose ends but leaving some hope for the future. We get some great and emotional goodbyes from the characters and left me satisfied. We finally see both Jax and Gemma pay for their actions that didn’t completely destroy their family or SAMCRO. This is always been a show I have felt should be nominated for best drama and other categories at Emmys time, and I think this will finally be the season that will make it into the award circuit.