Loose ends were wrapped up on Sons of Anarchy Season 7 Episode 12 ... as the body count continued to rise.
Below, TV Fanatics Amanda Wolf, Leigh Raines, Carla Day and Christine Orlando gather to discuss if they expected Jax to kill Gemma, whether Jax has a death wish and then rundown their final thoughts on Juice after "Red Rose."
Did you expect Jax to kill Gemma?
Amanda: After he lowered the gun in hesitation I did not think that he was going to be able to do it. Part of me thought that it meant that he was going to use her for some other plan. I did expect Gemma to accept the fact that he was going to kill her. Kurt Sutter has this amazing ability to keep the characters so true to themselves. Gemma has always known, accepted and even embraced the rules of the world that she is in. Her accepting that Jax was going to kill her spoke to that. At the same time Jax struggling with it was true to who he has been the entire series (although more so in the beginning).
Leigh: I thought he'd hunt her down, but I didn't know that he'd be able to pull the trigger. Nothing was surprising about him lowering the gun, he loves his mother so much. It was when he raised it again....After he did it, it was like he looked up in contemplation like he was looking for Tara's spirit to say "I avenged your death."
Carla: I had doubts about whether he would kill his mother up until the moment he pulled the trigger. That said, when he killed Unser the way he did, I was pretty sure he'd go through with it. He wouldn't have shot Unser in that moment, if he didn't fully intend to kill Gemma. It was their way as Gemma said, he had to do it.
Christine: I wasn't sure, especially after his talk with Nero last week. When he seemed to hesitate in the garden I thought there might be hope, but perhaps there's been too much damage done to both of them for it to go any other way.
Do you believe Jax has set up his own death or does he have another plan?
Amanda: I think that Jax has set up his own death. Of course, that being the case it doesn't mean that everything will go according to that plan. I think there will be more collateral damage before this thing is over.
Leigh: I think he set up his own death and is making moves to set things up to work out after. Like the bi-law he was discussing with the other presidents- I think it's possibly 2 things. 1- Let black members into the club. 2- Don't automatically patch in a President's child (he wants to protect the boys.) I also feel like he slept with Wendy as like a last night on earth thing, needing to feel that intimacy. He is making his plans.
Carla: He was setting up his death by Mr. Mayhem. I agree with Leigh that one of those two unwritten bylaws is the one he got the presidents to agree to eliminating. Whether or not Jax actually meets Mr. Mayhem is something entirely different. The club could have a hold out or Jax could be planning to fake his death and ride off and disappear with his boys. When he asked Gemma about his father's journal that moment signified to me he plans on dying and leaving the journal for Abel along with his own.
Christine: I think he's setting up his own death and I'm a little ticked off about it, mostly because of his sons. They've already lost their mother, let's face it, Abel barely knows Wendy, and now to have them lose their father as well just seems cruel. There's a part of me that hopes Jax survives and makes a life without the club, not because I think Jax deserves peace but because his boys don't deserve to be orphans.
What are your final thoughts on Juice?
Amanda: I am left wondering if what he did at the end (getting Tully to kill him instead of the Chinese) was for the club, or if it was his way of getting out of his crazy mess of a life as fast as possible.
Leigh: I felt bad for Juice. I think he got way worse than he deserved. The dude got raped how many times?
Carla: Juice was loyal to the end. He struggled along the way and made a few bad decisions, but the club was his life and family. He could have killed himself in prison numerous times. Instead, he stuck it out and did what the club needed him to do.
Christine: Juice had a lot of issues and made some really bad decisions, but he was loyal to the club to the end (well, expect when he said he's give the Mayans SAMCRO secrets to get him to Mexico.) In the end, I hope he enjoyed his pie.
Was Nero right to ask Unser to save Gemma and Jax?
Amanda: I don't know if the question for me is whether it was "right", or if its a question at all, it was all Nero just being who Nero is. Nero is still in love with Gemma, and he loves Jax like a son. I don't think he can bear the idea of two people he loves destroying each other like that. I kind of got the feeling that he knew it was hopeless, but that he had to try anyway. Nero and Unser are similar in this way, and I shudder to think where that will lead Nero.
Leigh: I agree with Amanda that there wasn't a right or wrong. I love Nero as a character. Him wanting to save Jax's soul was noble, but he knew he couldn't be the one to show up. He also couldn't see Gemma again, they had their goodbye. Poor Unser, but I feel like he had nothing else to live for and went out protecting the woman he always loved and now slowly being eaten away by cancer.
Carla: Nero realized that Unser was the only one who could possibly save Gemma and Jax's soul. It was right in the moment and Nero had no way of knowing Jax was so far gone that he'd kill Unser. It's sad and tragic that Nero will have another death on his conscious when he's trying desperately to leave it all behind.
Christine: Right or wrong, it was his last ditch effort to save both Gemma and Jax. I'm just glad Nero didn't go himself or I wonder if Jax would have shot him.
Was there anything in the episode that disappointed you?
Amanda: There was a lot of dialogue in this episode that slowed the whole thing down, despite there still being three deaths. SoA has had dialogue heavy episodes that don't seem to drag as much as this one did. Great episode though!
Leigh: No, other than it being the second to last episode ever and it making me emotional! It's really ending, this is it.
Carla: The interclub politics and stuff with the Irish dragged the episode down and kinda bored me, but overall I'm glad that major happenings took place in this episode so the finale can be about closing out Jax's journey.
Christine: Jax having sex with Wendy at the end. I was really hoping these two would avoid going there.
What was your favorite scene from "Red Rose"?
Amanda: This may sound harsh, but Gemma's death and the scenes leading up to it. She very much deserved it, but it was sad because I think it means the end of Jax. Speaking of Gemma, is Jax going to read those letters again and figure out the role she played in his father's death? Why would he ask for those?
Leigh: Yeah harsh or not, Gemma knew this was the end and it was filmed very well. From everything she said to Milo, to seeing her father, spending her last night in a place that was close to the girl she was before the MC ruined her, listening to old music and looking at pictures. Lastly telling her son she loved him and going out to the garden. This is morbid, but I suppose if I were in her position I would do the same thing: tell my family I loved them and go to a place that felt safe and like home, have that be the last thing you see.
Carla: Gemma's journey and the final walk into the garden was perfectly written, acted, filmed and edited. It was a tragic scene and a reminder that Sons of Anarchy has always been a classic tragedy told in the modern day.
Christine: I'm going to have to agree with everyone else. That final scene was heart wrenching, even though I knew what was coming. Something about being in the garden where she played as a child made it all the more poignant.
Don't miss a minute of the mayhem, watch Sons of Anarchy online here at TV Fanatic.
And prepare for Sons of Anarchy Season 7 Episode 13, the FINALE, via the following teaser:
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.