[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers from Tuesday's Sons of Anarchy. Read at your own risk.]
On this season of Sons of Anarchy, Jax Teller has double-crossed a lot of people in order to get his outlaw motorcycle club out of the gun-running business. But he may have finally crossed the wrong person.
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On Tuesday's episode, Jax (Charlie Hunnam) pulls off yet another double cross as he and the rest of SAMCRO take out a majority of the Lin Triad in order to guarantee that the Irish guns Jax is trying so desperately to stop selling go to August Marks (Billy Brown) and the One-Niners. But just when it seems Jax will get what he's worked so long for, the rest of Jax's world comes crumbling down when he realizes Tara (Maggie Siff) has taken his sons and (seemingly) agreed to rat out SAMCRO to D.A. Patterson (CCH Pounder), though the audience knows Tara is simply on the run.
But Jax has an even bigger storm brewing. After an increasingly remorseful Juice (Theo Rossi) overdoses on Oxycontin at Diosa, Gemma (Katey Sagal) and Nero (Jimmy Smits) come to his aid. When Juice and Nero are left alone, however, Juice confesses in a drugged-out haze to killing Darvany (Samaire Armstrong), the junkie mother of the boy that shot up the school in the season premiere, on Jax's orders. Upon learning the news, Nero, who previously questioned Jax about Darvany's mysterious death, seems hell-bent on revenge. But when he learns of Tara's betrayal of Jax, Nero stifles his own rage and embraces Jax.
How long can Nero choke down his anger? And can Nero exact any sort of revenge on Jax without losing his relationship with Gemma? TVGuide.com chatted with Smits to answer our burning questions. Plus: Could Jax's betrayal lead Nero to accept the Mayans invitation to team up with the Byz Lats against SAMCRO?
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How have you felt about Nero's arc this season?
Jimmy Smits: The good thing about the way that [creator Kurt Sutter] writes is that he loves to have his characters not on firm ground. They're trying to get somewhere, but there's never a direct line. He likes to leave people a little bit off-kilter. This season has been about trying to reestablish where Nero was in terms of that endgame he kept on talking about all last season. But there's the development of the relationship with Gemma and the partnership that he has with the club. And that relationship is even blossoming more because of his feelings towards Jax and how that's interrelated with Gemma.
But his relationship with Jax, at least this season, has been built on a lie. That can't sit well with Nero.
Smits: We're kind of left, at the end of this episode anyway, with another one of Kurt's continuing resonant themes, which is: How do these people in this world deal with betrayal? The audience really gets some understanding that in this particular world, when you make choices, things come back to bite you. We've seen that certainly in the last three episodes with the loss of the characters. All of those characters — [the] sh-- they have pulled comes back to get them.
We saw Nero question Jax about what went down with Darvany at the beginning of the season. Do you think in the back of his mind he was always wary of Jax's possible involvement in her death?
Smits: We're dealing with a world that has to do with the streets and the wrong side of the law. So, all these characters have that quality to them. They're a little bit leery in terms of the trust factor, which is why betrayals impact and resound so much more.
Because Nero knows the outlaw life, does any part of him try to rationalize Jax's actions? Or does this cut deep?
Smits: It's a real violation of the unspoken code that they have amongst each other. It had repercussions. He had to make choices with regards to his own family, pulling the trigger on his cousin because of what he thought was the higher good. So, that betrayal runs really deep.
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And yet, after Nero learns about what's happened between Tara and Jax, he comforts him. Does one betrayal trump another?
Smits: It's really intense in terms of whether he wants to caress this kid and console him or choke the sh-- out of him for this transgression and the lie that has been perpetrated. That's what's going to propel us to the season finale as far as Nero's concerned. Gemma's feeling betrayal too with what was done by Tara. They all, in their own way, feel destruction and they're going to have to find ways to lash out. Is it going to be an immediate kind of lash out in the final episode, or is it going to be, like you say, one hurt trumps another and you put one thing on the backburner for a bit?
Given the meeting with Alvarez, Nero could have a trump card. Does Nero realize he could hurt Jax without physically hurting him?
Smits: Yeah, exactly. That's exactly where he's at right now, and that's what you'll see in the final episode.
Of course, any move Nero makes against Jax is going to be complicated by Nero's relationship with Gemma. Will his head or his heart win out?
Smits: He's definitely wrestling with that. It's no accident that both of them have these scars on their chest that mean much more than just a physical ailment. They fulfill each other, and you've seen this very awkward courtship that's happened between them. They've bonded in a lot of ways. So, he's a smart guy, but sometimes love blurs the lines and makes things a little foggy for the best of us.
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Does Nero have any play here that will keep Gemma in his life?
Smits: There's that possibility. Whatever comes his way, he'll react accordingly to that. But I also don't think he's above blowing everything up. Nobody should count that out. Kurt likes to keep things rocky and turbulent.
So, we should expect a pretty bumpy finale?
Smits: Everybody's on rocky ground and the potential for fireworks is combustible. It's going to play itself out, and it ain't going to be pretty. Sh-- is going to fly somewhere. People get their comeuppance.
Sons of Anarchy's Season 6 finale airs Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 10/9c on FX.