First, I loved the ending. Second, this would have faired better for me as a two hour season finale. Splitting it up made this episode feel a bit weaker to me, but that was only because the first hour was so damn phenomenal. I won't knock it for that though because at least Sutter fought and got the extended episode for the season. Everything that happened in the last two shows needed to be put out there. Moving on...
I so called the Romeo Cartel thing... sorta. I thought they were involved with the feds, but having them be CIA works just as well. I knew that botched hit on Tara was not a hit but an attempted kidnapping. Romeo and his man keeping Tara from being killed but keeping the deal in motion. I was super relieved to find out that was true, because now poor Tara can at least mark "mexican cartel" off her danger list. Much of the CIA/Cartel/Irish felt unfinished to me. For a season that built up to this so much the ending wasn't really an ending, it was a new beginning. I'm okay with that. I like that we have a new jumping off point. And I thought Hunnam played those scenes so well. Poor Jax just can't get a damn thing going his way.
Onto Potter, I've hated him all season long. Like I would literally cringe when he'd come on the screen, and found nothing what so ever redeeming in him. And then he comes in tonight and turns out to be an alright guy. His methods were wonky, and I didn't like how he treated Roosevelt but in the end he really just wanted to put a stop to crime. I'm good with that. In fact, I wouldn't be opposed to him coming back somewhere down the line and causing more trouble. He's a decent opposition for the Sons. He played all his cards, and could have totally dismantled them. He failed this time, but I'm sure it won't be the last. Loved him making peace with Roosevelt, and ESPECIALLY loved him stopping Charming Heights (hopefully). Bringing in those sex toys was genius, and his ending line to rat face Hale was perfection. Score for the good guys indeed.
Roosevelt and Juice also had a satisfying ending for me. A connection did form between them, and I hope we see that explored more later one. Despite himself Roosevelt likes Juice. He didn't feel right about playing Juice dirty. I don't doubt Rosie will attempt to take the Sons down, especially with Oakland gangsters coming in pretty soon, but he'll be above board. I respect that. He's David Hale lite. (And I actually much prefer him to our last fallen cop, win/win for me.)
Jax and Clay... This was a scene so long in the making. I hated when the CIA told Jax he had to keep Clay alive. Hated it. Clay has taken or tried to take nearly everything from Jax, and he's done it with a cold smile on his face. To have Jax be so close to finally ending Clay, and not be able to do it just plain sucked. I wanted Clay dead. I get why he's alive. I get that Sutter needs him for the plot. I get that RP is phenomenal. But he'll always be a rat bastard to me now, and I'll never stop thirsting for his blood. I don't imagine Jax will either (not to mention Tara, can we get a scene with them next season?). So, that hospital scene was kind of bittersweet for me. It was refreshing to finally see all the layers pulled back. Jax and Clay were real with each other. Jax hates Clay. Loathes everything about him, and wishes to slit his throat. Clay doesn't really see Jax as his son. He sees him as his pawn, but he's always feared Jax. He kept him close because Clay knew one day the son would rise, and that moment finally came. Clay was so pathetic in that scene. He couldn't defend himself. Jax wouldn't even let him try. He told Clay how it was going to be, and that was that. Clay doesn't even get to die. He has to sit at that table and take orders from the son of the man he killed. Suck it Clay. I can't wait for their dynamic next season. If I have to suffer him alive, at least Sutter set up a situation I can't wait to view.
One of the most revealing scenes of the night to me was the brief hospital scene with Jax and Gemma. Gemma comes to him practically begging. You can't leave ME. Not the club. Not Charming. ME. And honestly it's always come down to that. Gemma uses the club to keep Jax, but at the crux is she can't let him go. Jax is the one steadfast man she's ever had in her life. She brought him into this world, molded him how she wanted, and expected him to stay that way. Unfortunately for her Tara won, and that could not have been more on display than in that hallway scene. Gemma has one moment of relief when Jax tells her he's not leaving, and tries to hug him... He can't hug her back. He seems downright disgusted with her. Like I said, very revealing. I don't think the Jax/Gemma relationship will ever be the same again. He finally cut the cord, and he's done it in spectacular fashion. He's the man Gemma always dreamed he could be, and in being that she truly lost him.
The scene of Jax visiting his father's grave really got to me. My heart started to really ache for him. It seems Jax really never had a chance. This was his legacy, his destiny, his blood - and he was trapped. It looked like such a heavy burden for Jax. He knew then he had to take that gavel, had to basically become his father... It was sad, bittersweet, haunting. Charlie Hunnam hit every note.
Second part coming...
(I apologize for the longevity of this. This is actually the edited down version. SOA makes me verbose.)
Onto Opie and Jax... brotherhood is dead. This scene really bothered me. Not in that I didn't like it. I did. It all made sense, but I just hate where they are now. Opie doesn't trust Jax. Jax doesn't trust Opie. I believe in the past Jax probably would have told Opie the truth about the CIA, and Opie would have shown up to support him. Now they're so far away from who they used to be. Both of them have made decisions that can't be undone. I kept wishing Jax would have told Opie that Clay killed his father too. The fact that he didn't really made it look to Opie that Jax just didn't give a shit about Piney, or Opie's own feelings. The parting shot of Jax ordering Opie to be there was hard to watch. Who knows where Opie ends up next season, but this seems like just the beginning of the Opie/Jax issues.
The Jax/Tara scene was probably my favorite of the evening. Maybe even more so than the end, which to me is hard to beat. I just thought Charlie and Maggie were phenomenal. My heart ached for them, and I almost shed a tear. If the scene had had more time to linger I probably would have started crying. So much about this scene stood out to me. First, the direction was perfect. Having Tara sitting on the ground with their innocent baby, having Jax walk into that, and hesitate before shattering every promise he's ever made her - killer. The set up was haunting. I loved that Jax told Tara the truth about the CIA. It said a lot. She is the only person he totally loves and trusts at this point. He doesn't doubt her loyalty even though he knows he's about to break her with his decision. Tara's immediate response to be concerned and shocked, but not realize what it meant was also very sad for me. It seemed like some of her walls had come down. She wanted to support him. But the moment that really did me in was the realization of what that meant. Maggie Siff killed it. Her eyes were shining, her whole body stilled... it all broke for Tara in that moment. And if I thought she owned the scene, then came Charlie Hunnam. Jax looked like he felt so ashamed of what he was doing. In his heart of hearts he couldn't walk away from the club and let it die, but it was like he was dying an emotional death in that room. When he totally fell apart and began crying about how much he loved her... I was stunned. It's rare we ever see Jax totally let his emotions out. He keeps them reeled in unless it's an angry rage. But this... he couldn't help himself. It's probably my favorite Jax moment of the season if not series. That powerful. And then... "He's mine."
Two words have never meant so much to a character. Tara has loved Jax since she was 16 years old. She left him once. She made a life for herself, and at the end of that road she came back to Charming. Not much is said about the ending of their first relationship. We know it nearly killed Jax. We've heard less on what it did to her. I think after tonight we can safely say it was a hell she just couldn't go through again. She loves him. She wishes she didn't. She would change it if she could. She can't. She knows exactly who he is. She knows him better than Gemma. Maybe even better than he knows himself. And she still loves him, warts and all. People say Tara is stupid but I disagree. I think she's very self aware. She knows exactly what she's doing she just can't get off the tracks. Had Jax tried to convince her to stay maybe the situation would have turned out differently. The fact that he didn't, that he let her go is what made this okay for me. Tara has been on the fence since she was 16. Leaving, coming back, I love you, I can't be with you in Charming, etc. It's always been a struggle for her, and tonight she finally got off the fence. She finally made her choice. Is it wrong? Maybe. I don't think it much matters. She can't live without him. She doesn't want to. It might lead to her death, but it is what it is.
Which brings me to the ending scene. I was pretty traumatized by the time "House of the Rising Son" came on. I really thought Tara was out, and I couldn't imagine spending 9 months miserable with this finale. But I tried to clear that away and really watch the montage. A few things stuck out, in no particular order. What did Jax lock up? And it's trouble that Gemma saw. Her meddling days aren't over. Unser was sitting at the head of Gemma's table looking very proud of himself. Is he her new old man? He sure as hell wants to be. They're an odd pair for me. I don't get the romantic vibes, but I'm just glad he survived another season. RIP Piney. And then the gavel... I'm going to try and not get too long winded about this scene. I felt only misery watching Jax walk into that clubhouse, and sit down in that seat. It seemed like he'd given everything up for an empty existence. And at the same time it was so damn mythic. Jax was truly the rising son. He was following in the destiny that had always been his, following after his father, and maybe having a shot at turning it all around. I loved Chibs being the SAA. He's trust worthy, and that was a smart move for Jax. Though removing Tig is going to cause issues next season. I'm sure Tig's going to be all about Clay, and neither of them are brain trusts. Gotta watch out. It was sad to see how dwindled the table has become. It's time to recruit more SOA boys. Or at least patch Filthy Phil and Rat Boy in. Phil baby sat Jax's kids. That has to be good enough for a patch.
I kept waiting on Opie to show. I wanted to see him right beside Jax. When Tig asked, and Jax knocked that gavel I was sad. I thought Hell, this is an awful ending. Then the door cracked, and I thought well at least Jax has Opie... And it was Tara. I was relieved. Stunned. Excited. I knew what was coming. I think someone on here speculated about that JT/Gemma picture mirroring Jax/Tara, and I was so hoping that was true. And then it came. I was so... touched seeing Tara kneel to Jax and love him in a way that no one else ever has in his life. Gemma's love was about control. Clay's was the same. JT deserted him. But Tara... she came back. She chose him above everything else, and as crazy as that might be that is what Jax needed. He needed her by his side to be whole, to make this work, and she gave him that. MYTHIC. Sutter talks a lot about Kings and Queens, and tonight Jax and Tara rose to SOA royalty. Finally, the rightful King with a good Queen by his side. It was haunting to see them take on the pose of his parents decades before. I can only hope they don't get the same tragic ending, but this is SOA so I'll never bet on that. And finally, the look between Gemma and Tara? Gemma lost. Truly lost. It was vindicating, and also a little scary.
So until then, goodbye SOA. This season sped by with many highs and few lows. It'll go down as one of my favorites, and no one can touch that ending. Bring on S5.
Edited by badhabit, Dec 6, 2011 @ 11:57 PM.