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Sons of Anarchy Review: It All Comes Around

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On a tongue-biting, nail-facing, dog-fighting season finale of Sons of Anarchy, the main reaction from this viewer was not one of loud disgust... but rather stunned silence.

Clay is headed to jail. Tara is headed to jail. And Gemma has returned to where she thinks she belongs: alongside the man at the head of the SAMCRO table.

Indeed, "J'ai Obtenu Cette" (French translation: I got this.) concluded with an altered image from the one that ended Sons of Anarchy Season 4, as Gemma stood in the same spot Tara had occupied just one year earlier. A whole lot has gone down since - and with the exception of one rescued pit bull, is anyone in a better place now than they were then?

Sons of Anarchy Season 5 Finale Scene

Jax has gone against every word he writes in those journal entries.

He isn't the bigger man, he isn't taking the club in any new direction, he's no different than the traitor he replaced. Even Jax admitted as much to Bobby this week, just prior to Bobby resigning as VP.

It's been a fascinating, gradual decline of this character, who lost the moral high ground a long time ago. He tried to regain it to an extent here, setting up Clay to take the fall for killing Pope, but that was for purely selfish purposes - and it also required a few leaps in logic.

What if Pope had immediately killed Tig? What if Pope's men had actually searched Jax? What if Clay had never given Juice his gun? And, come on, I'm just a mechanic looking out for his family? Laying it on a bit thick there.

Many pieces, most of which were beyond Jax's control, had to fall exactly right for this plan to work. I don't exactly buy it, but I'll try to ignore those questionable storyline details. Focusing too much on plot can drive a fan crazy for any show, especially one where - for all its chases and bullets and gross-out scenes - really comes down to the characters and how they react to the craziness around them.

So, where do these characters stand heading into Season 6?

As previously mentioned, Clay has been arrested for murder. I don't feel an ounce of sympathy for him, but I do believe that he's a regret-filled, sorrowful shell of his former self. Note his reaction upon hearing the charges, upon learning that both Juice and Gemma turned on him: simple hurt and begrudging acceptance.

He didn't rage, he didn't scream or yell. He seemed resigned to his fate. Of course someone like him wouldn't have a loyal best friend or actually get the girl. He knows that can't be how his story ends.

Tara is in handcuffs. And she was oh so close to getting away! This was a tough one to take. With the babies crying in the background, with Tara having just delivered a winning speech about her role of being strong in Jax's weaker areas, with her quick turn from sullen to stoic... just great stuff all around, from the acting to the unexpected cliffhanger itself.

Gemma is back in charge. This is a woman who has always done what she can to survive, but has she lost any and all sympathy? Turning in the mother of her grandchildren is downright evil. Forget Jax or Nero getting out of the life... what about Gemma? She had her chance here. Her rotten husband was gone, she had a good man by her side, song birds in a cage. And yet that still wasn't enough. She still had the need to be in such control that she took the drastic step of sending Tara to the slammer.

Don't chirp for her, Carl or Carla. She doesn't deserve it.

Juice is off the hook. When it comes to Jax, at least. But it seems impossible to believe that guilt won't continue to eat away at this SAMCRO member, the most innocent and wide-eyed of the bunch. From Roosevelt playing him to Clay jerking him around, poor Juice never knows who to trust or what to do.

Tig has revenge. And a new furry friends! Who would have guessed that the biker whose daughter was recently burned alive would actually find the most salvation by season's end? Tig is a nut job, but what a great character.

Bobby has given himself a demotion. Still the most calm and collected of the group, it's hard to blame him for his reaction to Jax's underhanded machinations. But is a demotion really the right move? You can't affect change from the bottom.

And finally there's Jax, of course. Will Tara's arrest be a wake-up call? Opie's death sent this President spiraling down a dark path, erasing his mission to exit Charming, live a clean life and make his father proud. What even remains of his club? Of his actual family? Both are more divided than ever.

That's where we leave things heading into Season 6. I hope we see more of Nero next year. I'm intrigued by Donal Logue's U.S. Marshal. And, grrrr, I really hate Gemma right about now.

What did everyone else think? Sound off below and give Sons of Anarchy Season 5 a grade:

 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (163 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Did anyone stop to think that maybe Gemma DIDN'T turn Tara in??? Think about it a second. The Marshall guy thought he would get the story from Otto, that didn't happen. So who would be next on his radar??? Tara. Just a thought!

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Cont.. Gemma to experience what she said that would happen to Tara while in prison. I hate Gemma she is just like clay. Love TIG glad he killed pope. No feelings for Clay what so ever. The writing killing off pope was weak. I hate Gemma. Can't wait til Nero finds out what kind of person she is. Lost respect for JAX for siding with his mother to send his wife to jail. Tara does not think she is better than anyone she just saw how JAX was changing. And did not want their children to grow up like there father did. Has OPIE said the gavel corrupts. Still a loyal fan. Can't wait til next season

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@ totally. I agree with you 100%. I think Gemma told Jax and JAX and Gemma did this to Tara. I love Tara. Love Tara
Live Tara. She wants out because she was seeing how JAX is turning into. It took an ex junkie to tell Tara take your boys and leave. Look how he ripped up the papers that Tara had for him. Your wife that you loved since you was 16 conspired with your conniving mother sent Tara to prison. JAX face when they took her he usually goes off when someone evens talk bad about her but he didn't. Remember when the lawyer was talking to JAX about Otto and the first thing JAX said was: so the Rico case is gone? The lawyer looked at JAX and said but Tara could be facing jail time and that is when he went off and said: well make sure she doesn't. The Rico case was his first priority then his wife. I loved JAX since season season 1. But at the end of this season sending Tara to prison not so much now. And I am glad that Tara has a card to play : Gemma knew about JT murder. And I want Gemma to get what she told Tara she would get if she went to jail. Tara is protecting her boys just like Gemma always did for her sons. But has loving OPIE said the gavel corrupts. Juice is the weakest link. I am glad that TIG did not die. He is so fun to watch. Bobby tried and lost let him go. Tara is no goody to shoes but she loves her boys unlike Gemma with Thomas. Pope's death was not has I expected good TIG took him out but where was his right hand man when he died? Well can't wait for next season. Clay deserves everything he gets and hopefully Gemma will too. Love Nero and I hope he finds out what kind of person Gemma is B4 she does something to his son. Can't wait for season 6. Still a loving fan and always will be this is how my husband and I get addicted.

Jaxs girl

Where do I begin?....... I loved last night's season finale. I really didn't care if Tig lived or died, but I guess I'm glad he's still around. I hate Clay, but my heart went out to him a little. I think his silence was his expression of hurt feelings. Juice may just kill himself and succeed this time around. I'm glad Pope is gone. I'm also glad Nero is still in the picture. I love him. I wonder will he still want Gemma when he finally meets the real Gemma. She's a force to be reckon with. She's a Bad B@$%^#! At first I thought she set up Tara, but after reading your comments, I'm doubtful. Tara may just play her last and final card, telling Jax the role Gemma played in JT's death. That's who I want to die, GEMMA! She'll probably be the last one standing season 7, when it all comes to an end. Now the waiting begins.........Until next season, later gang. R.I.P Opie....

Snakethecritic

★★★☆☆TV Not Impressed. The character inaccuracy was way to difficult to swallow. It's like eating a Cheeto after someone else licked the cheese. Pope dieing on his knees hurling insults was terrible writing. Not to mention the greatest villain goes out like a coward. He should have stood up , fixed his tie and died. Clay will be saved by Toric or the Irish. Cop Out Cont. Gemma can't be the snitch as her testimony against Clay would be affected. She would not be that stupid to cross Jax. Nero The only true highlight of the season. Tara knowing it was going to end with her going to jail. Why make her so unlikable? I don't care enough to come back to see what happens to her. SOA Gone #MainStream. After the first 3 seasons I said to anyone and everyone this was the GSOAT. Now I don't even think it's the best show on FX. #Justified

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I am so angry at Gemma, but not because I believe for a moment that she is the one who got Tara arrested. My anger is based on the fact that the kids belong to Jax and Tara, they are not hers to pick and choose how or where they are raised. There is nothing more pathetic then a woman who cannot allow her children to spread their wings and fly from the nest, and decide their own destiny. While Jax has gone very dark this season, I can understand why. He was after all raised by Clay and Gemma in an atmosphere of violence. He tries so hard, but keeps getting pushed in the wrong direction at every turn. This is a brilliant show that deals as realistically as possible with the subject matter. Of course in order to tell the story in the thrilling dramatic way the audience expects, there has to be some parts that seem contrived. I for one am not looking for any happy ending. For the lifestyle these characters live HEA's are simply not in the cards. Kurt Sutter is a fantastic storyteller and I will be staying with the show to the bitter end.

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Don't understand all the hate for Gemma and jax, they are survivors just trying to survive. She didn't get Tara arrested. Toric is just setting his plan in motion. As for bobby suck it up, u don't belong to this kinda club and expect your leader to be a pushover, jax took a impossible situation and found a solution. Enough of Tara and her wining, shoulda left a long time ago or deal with the consequences. What's jax gonna do in Oregon be a brain surgeon? Can not wait for next season. Please a happy ending for all

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Should have been at the end of my post below........sorry “Wow, did she actually follow through on that threat? And what does that mean for Gemma and Jax if he finds out?� I definitely wanted to create that discussion.

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Well this was Sutter's overview on the Tara arrest and the Jax reaction
I also think [there was a] level of strength and almost stillness she had about those decisions; she wasn’t the fragile, neurotic Tara we’ve seen in the past. She was much more Gemma-like in these decisions: “This is my job, this is what I have to do, and I’m f–ing doing it.� That was new to Jax, seeing Tara be that strong and be that Old Lady. He was overwhelmed by all of that, which impacted his ability — or perhaps inability — to react when she got taken away. He was neutralized by it all, and that’s what was going on. And on Gemma being the one who made the call/I knew that was not a definitive that she did it/still up in the air Tara’s arrest was the result of Gemma making good on her promise to rat her out?
My intention was to definitely put that out there as a possibility, and I think we’ll reveal how that happened. I do want the audience coming away with, “Wow, did she actually follow through on that threat? And what does that mean for Gemma and Jax if he finds out?� I definitely wanted to create that discussion.

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Hate Tara, just don't like her " I'm holier then thou attitude " she had it coming. Made me happy to see. Her arrested, she's guilty like the rest of them. Worse cause she manupilates Jax, as if shes perfect. And love how Gemma put her in her place. Count down to season 6 starts .... NOW!!