Sons of Anarchy: Lean into the Hate

5 Nov

Sons of Anarchy

(SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN UP TO EPISODE 9 of SEASON 7 THERE ARE SPOILERS)

Here we are, four episodes away from the series finale of Sons of Anarchy, closing the book on seven seasons of murder, motorcycles, and men of mayhem. At the beginning of the season, I presumed Jax would likely end up dead, as would several other members of the club. At this point, nine episodes later, not only does that prediction still hold true, but I’m straight out rooting for it. I want everybody in the club to die. And that’s okay.

Earlier in the season, I began actively rooting against the club, and that initially made the show difficult to watch; while I’ve enjoyed may shows where I disliked the protagonist, it was tough to root against almost every character at the same time, especially after I hadn’t for most of the run.  Of course, these Sons have been murdering their way through six seasons, and yet, while I have had frequently ambivalent feelings towards them, I wasn’t actively rooting against them despite their continued violence, for, what boils down primarily to three reasons.

First, although they were obviously terrible criminals, there was an even worse antagonist, Clay, to crystallize hate towards. When everyone’s bad, sometimes rooting interests are relative, and Clay was clearly worse than everyone else. Second, there’ has always been this (possibly apocryphical) idea that even though Al Capone was a terrible criminal, his neighbors loved him, because he protected his immediate community. There was initially this idea, that even though in reality Charming seems like the murder capital of California and at times a war zone, there was a veneer that the Sons were always out to support the town, to be pillars of the community in their own bizarre way, and that even though they knew they did bad shit, that the goal was to keep it out of their hometown. Third, Jax, from day one of reading his dad’s notebook, always seemed to have an aspirational plan to take the club and himself to a better place. He was going to get them out of guns, out of drugs, out of violence (merely to porn and prostitution, but, hey, it’s all relative again). And even though this plan seemed to go two steps backward for every three steps forward, there was hope in Jax’s eyes, and his words, and even though the club’s actions always seemed to belie his alleged vision, I wanted to believe him and so I did. And he even showed something positive when he agreed to go to jail to protect Tara, an outcome which would never come to pass.

No more. Not only is there no more vision in action, there’s not even any more talk of vision. With the death of Tara, it was revenge, come hell or high water, with no plan for afterwards, as is obvious to anyone around him. Unfortunately, the fellow members of his club are too loyal to see this or fight it if they do.. Jax seems to know what he’s descended into; even by his own dismal standards, he’s sunk to new lows, killed more, betrayed more. While it’s hard to say he wouldn’t have killed a rival gang member or even an innocent before without thinking twice, he certainly wouldn’t have simply murdered in cold bale a fellow Son without the proper due process as he does to Jury, head of the Indian Hills chapter this season. His own club knows its wrong, and Chibbs, his number two is skeptical, but they follow him to the ends of the Earth on his say so, to their death, likely.

So, I’ve decided to lean in towards the hate, towards the rooting against the club, and towards their eventual deaths or imprisonment. The show was hard to watch when I was rooting for no one, but it’s easier when I’m actively rooting against the Sons. Thus, when Bobby was shot by August Marks, instead of anger, or shock, or despair, I felt gleeful. Perhaps Bobby had done nothing special to ensure his untimely death, but everyone in on Jax’s plan is in way too far now. They all had a chance to get out, but followed their leader down into depths they really can’t come back from.

There are three characters with remaining moral consciences worth saving – Wendy, Unser, and Nero, all of which have naviated the difficult waters of survival and immorality and come out cleaner, relative to the gang, and I hope that at least two of them make it, which I would consider a pretty solid ratio. Everyone else, I’m looking forward to many of them dying in disturbing ways over the course of the next few episodes. Bring it on.

 

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