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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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Oh come on Tiffany no one believes Clay actually killed Pope no one they knew it was Jax they just accepted it. I thought this episode was actually less powerful compared to the last. I thought the whole Pope thing was obvious what was gonna happen however I didn't expect Jax to set Clay up like that in a really weak way. The dog thing annoyed me but only because they never really explained the whole Missy thing. Otto biting his tongue off was incredibly unexpected and surprised to see on FX. Juice I love this actor's emotes. When you see him you can just see how hurt he is by what he did to Clay. The end actually bothers me because is Jax so lost that when Tara was arrested he was just indiffrent than how he had been in previous episodes and Gemma ugh I'm incredibly tired of her however I don't believe she called the police. Tara's breakdown was painful to watch. I actually like Clay he's one of my favorite characters however I expected everything he did to come back to him tenfold. The biggest with this episode was how little things were forgotten or only given a minute. Otto was given a minute, Toric was given a minute they shouldn't have even brought him and acted like he was gonna be important in if his part was so pointless. Wendy also only got a minute aswell. It just seems like everything was thrown together in seconds.

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Don't feel all alone, MS catnip-I too felt such deep sympathy for Clay, & it broke my old heart to see how stoicly he took this massive betrayal by those he still had some trust in. Gemma-that skank needs to get hers & soon, I hope! There's something very sick going on between Gemma & Jax-she's his MOTHER but acts more like his woman than she has the right to.....
I screamed when Otto bit off his tongue, but couldn't take my eyes off the screen-omg, what a tremendous scene! Poor Otto-blind and tongueless. But not helpless, as he proves over & over!
Tig-I thought he was a goner-I was raging at Jax! I still think Jax has "plans" for Tig. Tig-now I wish I was 20 yrs younger-I'dtrip him & beat him to the floor! God, those eyes! That curly hair! The love for that dog. There's a lot more to him that gun crazy wacko!
Jax-that's a man who sucks as a person, husband & father. Murder, dealing, prostitution & gun running-THAT'S what a "family man" does to take care of his family? Hardly! he's proven himself willing to sacrifice ANYONE who gets in his way-Clay, Wendy, now Tara, almost Tig-WHEN is he going to get his?
What I'm afraid the very last show will show us is an older Jax,still SOA prez, sitting in a booth in some cafe with Gemma(much older & worn down), most of the club members we knew dead or in prison, while his now adult sons, both bikers like dear old dad, sit in the garage & discuss how to rid the club of scum like Jax, who shafted BOTH of their mothers. The cycle continues to the 3rd generation.....

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I think Jax and Jemma planned everything, including sending Tara to jail because he has turned a dark corner. He is willing to do anything to stay as the head of the club, including putting his wife in prison to keep her from leaving.

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I've been seeing a lot about this dark path Jax is supposedly headed down, but I'm not sure that characterization's entirely accurate. It's more like people keep switching off the damn lights. Given the situations he's found himself in, who could've done any better? Bobby probably would've stuck to his principles, sure, but is that really the right thing to do if it means the club goes up in smoke and half of SAMCRO is lying cold on the ground? I don't know. I guess I just feel that sometimes pragmatism is a virtue. In contradiction to the above, however, I'll also state that I'm so, SO happy Tig is alive. I just love that guy to death. In a weird sort of way he always strikes me as perhaps the most innocent of the bunch - it's almost like he literally doesn't know right from wrong. (Also, affect =/= effect.)

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Awesome, truly written brilliantly. Best drama on t.v., the most addicting show I have ever watched. I hope it continues forever, the cast is great and everyone involved deserves a raise and a pat on the back. Hated to see Opie go! I would like to see them draw out Clays part in the show, a quick death in jail wouldn't be as suspensful as keeping him alive and tortured. Jax needs a new girl next season, forget Tara!
I was literally on the edge in the Tigs sceen, would have never seen that coming, or anything else afterward in the show. Truly a masterpiece!

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Tim/That was Katy singing in the opening........
I am stunned that no one mentioned the "Homeless Lady" that pops up in every Season...to me she is the enigma in the show that seems to appear at crucial moments of the Teller Family/this time she was at the dumpster. It also should have tipped me to the fact that Jax is never leaving Charming I do not care what he told Tara. I do not believe that it was Gemma and I am not sure why the person who reviewed this is so sure....that is so up in the air until next season although I think it is the Marshall as almost a last ditch effort to get something that can be used on the Otto piece. Gemma played Clay like a fine violin packing her stuff and getting the birds ready to and then Bam. Do not feel badly for him at all Wish Kozik was alive to see that Tig got another dog and glad that Pope is gone...do not feel badly about that one either. In a way Jax did have this until the very end when his whole world fell apart. Not sure how someone thought he should have stopped them from taking her(I really feel he was completely shocked by the arrest thinking she was home free/I could be wrong though)and then they both would have been locked up and then what with the children..........Loved the ending and cannot wait to see how KS moves the journey of Jax along next season.

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Please writers
These people are ure evil and I hope when this show wraps up (in many years) it is not with the family sitting in a coffee shop.
When the show ends-
The whole family should get in a car and it blows up.
Boom all the murdering bastards and decendants gone with the show.

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Please let jax and Tara survive next season. Jax became the very man he said he would never be can he blame Tara shed isn't running she ifs protecting their boys can't jax see that. Gemma needs to be put in her place!!! But omg what an actress she is to play Gemma so well

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actually, i believe it was Toric that led to the arrest of Tara. I think it was an anomynous call that added to that . She was already being investigated for Sister Toric. Gemma seemed slightly surprised, but elated that Tara was being arrested. Tara's lawyer will obviously get her out.Tara, believing it was Gemma, will tell Tell Jax about the threat,and probably show him the letters that she kept hidden. Man, can't wait for the new season to start.

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I loved this finale. I called it "Jax Tellers Michael Corleone moment!"

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