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:


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+.


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

Strawberry fields

Dear Lord, this season was so damn DEPRESSING... Jax keeps going down the dark road and my heart just keeps breaking. I'm not even sure how I feel right now. The one thing I am sure of - Tig is freaking awesome! When he started crying after Jax saved him, I swear I cried too. That was definitely my favourite scene. Thanks for keeping him alive!


still can not believe that Jax and Chibs let Juice off so easily. He is a rat, that turned against his MC and his Brothers. Juice admitted that only those Sons of Anarchy members on site when the feds busted the arms deal last season would be charged. Well, that was the entire Charming Samcros board, how can Jax so easily forgive him no matter how he helped put Clay away???????????


Simply cannot get enough of SOA. I don't understand all the "hate" for Jax. He's taking care of business and his "VEEP" was too "soft." Glad he gave up the seat. Hard times calls for Hard decisions and actions. I don't think Gemma gave up Tara but she was happy to see her in the back of the squad car. In the end, sons always count on their moms and mom was their when her son was at a low point. What a show. Sutter RULES and this cast ROCKS!


If Gemma was the one that had Tara put in jail, that would backfire as soon as Tara tells Jax that Gemma threatened to do that to her. Jax won't forgive his mom for that. I think there is more to that story..and that it was the ex-US marshall, Toric that is after Tara. Otto biting off his tongue probably further pissed him off and he is going to get revenge.
I could not watch the dog fight, covered my eyes and turned down the sound..which is a little weird since I watch all the men and women get blown to pieces and blood splatters everywhere! I did read a story about the behind the scenes of that dog fight..the dogs are brother and sister and were was very quiet..they add all the growling and squeals in editing. That's nice at least! Amazing how we hate someone new at the end of each season!!!


Soooooooooooo, we are supposed to believe someone as cunning as Clay would leave a murder weapon half way up the hill at the murder scene?


Not sure how I feel about the finale. The whole Tara thing seemed reminiscent of last season's finale - she's just about to get out of Charming and then something happens that prevents it. Seems unlike Kurt Sutter to replay plot lines like that. Jax saving Tig redeemed him a bit for the Wendy thing last week. I personally thought Jax taking out Pope and using Clay's gun was genius. And Pope's men did search him but the gun was hidden in his motorcycle. I dont think the police or Pope's men actually believe it was Clay, but they will both play along with the 'evidence' for their own reasons. Jax knew that. Everything he does is calculated. Not sure what to think about Gemma!


I love this show, I hate and love all of the sons just like we are suppose to. I am so mad that the writers had to put the pit bull fighting on last nights episode. I don't mind all the graphic violence with the sons, but lets not go there. That was my dog that died on this episode. I think bad taste, I think you could have showed chickens instead. except for that, keep it coming, let get rid of Gemma. Her character this year is good in small doses.


I'm so happy they didn't kill Tig. I'm done rooting for Jax after what happened to Wendy, & I really want to see Gemma shot. I'm not a huge fan of Tara, but what Gemma did - she's got to go. Sadly, I'm losing interest in the show. Just can't watch what has happened to Jax.


Loved all of it but was shocked Jax made no attempt to keep Tara from jail or even say he would work to get her out.Great opening song. The dog made Tig. Great work Kurt. Wonder what Chuckies fingers would get on ebay?

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