[WARNING: The following story contains major spoilers from the Season 6 finale. Read at your own risk.]
Sons of Anarchy's bloodiest season yet delivered even more carnage on Tuesday's Season 6 finale.
After learning that Tara (Maggie Siff) took his sons, Jax (Charlie Hunnam) started a manhunt to find Tara before she could rat out the club to D.A. Patterson (CCH Pounder). However, when SAMCRO found Tara playing with her sons at the park, Jax delivered surprising news: He had no intention of harming Tara. Instead, he cut a deal with Patterson, giving himself up for the gun charges related to the school shooting and freeing Tara and SAMCRO of any further legal prosecution.
How long have you known that Tara would meet her demise at this point?
Kurt Sutter: I've known now probably for a few seasons that I wanted to do this. I knew pretty early on [in the series] that the end of Season 6, if we were doing seven, we would have the death of Tara. I had a sense that I wanted it to be Gemma [that killed her] a little bit further on down the line. But I ultimately knew that relationship would evolve or unravel into that somehow.
Given Tara's decisions this season, her death seemed almost inevitable. Did you consider not killing her just to subvert expectations?
Sutter: I feel like it feels organic to the characters, and yet I think it'll be somewhat unexpected. We led Tara down the path of making the tragic mistake of trying to make the adjustment to live this life. Ultimately, in an odd way, [she] continued to be betrayed by her dedication to the club. That led to her death even at the end.
What sort of fallout will Tara's death have on Jax?
Sutter: The final season is really the season where Jax decides whether or not he can be part of any of this again. There'll obviously be emotional fallout from everything, in terms of what's happened and [Jax] trying to discover how it happened and who did it. That'll all play out, but it'll ultimately lead to Jax making that greater decision: Is this the life that he was supposed to lead?
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Earlier in the episode, Jax admits in his journal that he's "become the thing I hate." Is that why he ultimately decides to give himself up for the gun charge and not harm Tara?
Sutter: I believe so. It's sort of the evolution of this season and trying to go legit and the consequences of that. I think in writing that journal entry to his sons — whether he had the presence of mind to know what he was going to do before that entry or if it was a self-discovery process as he was writing it — I think he knew that there needed to be some sort of karmic balance. I think it's the most honest he's ever been to himself. I think the closer in all of that was the scene with Patterson. She was the one that basically confirmed the thing he already knew. When he showed up at that park, there was a sense of betrayal. But I do believe that, ultimately, he knew he needed to make some kind of sacrifice.
Obviously part of the sadness of Tara's death is that Gemma didn't know the whole truth about Jax turning himself in to save Tara.
Sutter: I am always thinking of those epic Shakespearean tragic devices. This is straight out of Romeo and Juliet, that sense of one person having a piece of information that the other person doesn't have. The show is an epic tragedy and a tragic love story. The tragedy of Gemma not having that piece of information is heartbreaking. But it's also not an inorganic death; it doesn't just come out of left field. It happened because of everything that had been set up previously. It happened, one could argue, because Tara, once again, made the mistake of trusting love in this world. Had she just followed through and gone into witness protection and given up Jax, she would have been in custody. None of that would have happened.
What can you say about Juice's role in all of this? Did he shoot Roosevelt because he's upset with Jax or just to purely help Gemma?
Sutter: As I write these scenes... I try not to overanalyze and crawl inside the character's head in terms of everything they're thinking or they're planning. The reality of it, especially in this life, is a lot of times there's not a lot of thought. There's not time to analyze the reaching tentacles of the decisions they make and everyone it'll impact. Juice has always sort of had that connection to Gemma in the death of Clay. They've sort of been bonded in blood already. When this goes down, he realizes that Gemma killed [Tara] tragically [but] for the right reasons. By killing the one guy who was aware of it, he saved Gemma and now in a way they're kind of bonded in their betrayal to Jax. Now, the relationship gets complicated, and it can go in a lot of different directions.
Sons of Anarchy's Maggie Siff: Tara's out of options
Nero seemingly decides to get back in the game in this episode. Why couldn't he walk away?
Sutter: We played it out last season where Jax confronts Nero [and says,] "You could have gotten out of the life a long time ago." He's a guy that is defined by the life, and as much as he wants to be the good guy and take his son away from it, perhaps he keeps creating circumstances that ultimately become roadblocks to that. The truth is, it is who he is, and he doesn't want to leave. So, him showing up to that meeting at the end at least symbolically represents him staying connected to who he is. You could argue that he's doing it because he wants to try to steer [that group] in a peaceful direction. If he doesn't show up, he absolutely knows Fiasco is gung-ho and wants blood and wants revenge. But I just felt like at the end of the day he's an OG, and he's not ready to f---ing hand it off to the younger dude.
Whatever role Nero plays, can we safely assume the "brown and yellow vs. black and white" war will happen next season?
Sutter: I think so. I try to lay a little bit of track to some things that are going on in the world around them. I don't know to what extent that will be [the focus]. But I do like having the conclusion of one season perhaps point in the direction for the following season.
Patterson sees Jax at the scene of Tara and Roosevelt's murder. Are we to assume she thinks Jax did it?
Sutter: The way I envision it with the look that she gives him at the end, she obviously doesn't know all the details. I wanted to preserve the emotional impact of that scene, so I didn't want it to become a police beat. But ultimately, he would absolutely be put under arrest. He's there at the crime scene with two dead bodies. At the very least, they're going to pull him away from that body and cuff him. I don't know to what extent the law enforcement component will happen in Season 7, in terms of whether or not we begin with Jax in jail.
Will the final season be more the emotional toll of Tara's death on Jax or will it be about him trying to once and for all save SAMCRO?
Sutter: I think it'll be both. I think he'll continue to be moving the club into a legitimate business. Obviously, what happens with Tara, at least in the beginning, will pull focus. It's not like we spent the season doing that and then we're not going to continue to play that out.
Sons of Anarchy postmortem: Creator Kurt Sutter defends controversial premiere
Looking at the season overall, are you surprised at the hatred aimed at Tara from some fans?
Sutter: I am to a certain extent. We did the fundraiser in Asbury Park for Hurricane Sandy. We watched it in this old theater in front of New Jersey fans. It was like watching a movie in the hood, man. They were just screaming at the screen, "F--- that bitch! Kill that bitch!" I think the sense of somebody, even for the right reasons, turning on these guys is a lot where the hate comes from. The fake pregnancy, I think, pushed a lot of buttons for people. That felt really deceptive and even beyond what Gemma would do. So, it makes sense in retrospect but, yes, I'm sort of surprised at the overwhelming support for Team Gemma.
Some critics have claimed this season didn't feature enough consequences related to the school shooting in the premiere. Do you think you lived up to your promise of not exploiting that plot?
Sutter: Yeah, I think so. I think it'll continue. I wanted to do that story for a couple of seasons, but I knew that to do it the right way, the emotional impact would have to take Jax to a point of no return. So, I could only do it at the end of the series. I feel like we have honored that. It's not like every episode we were seeing the consequences of it in the story, but we were seeing the consequence of it emotionally on everybody. In Episode 12, it comes back with Juice and the weight of that comes out, and it comes out here with Nero. It leads to Jax giving himself up. All that stuff is all about the series [of consequences]of that event. It's been the emotional and karmic thread that is weaved through the entire season. So, I do feel like I've honored that and kept my promise.
What did you think of the finale?