So, you want to watch Mayans M.C. but you don't remember exactly what happened at the end of Sons of Anarchy? I feel you, dude. So many people died over the course of the show's final season that I honestly couldn't remember who didn't die. Luckily, I've brushed up on my Sons history, and I'm going to make this easy for you. Here's what you need to remember about what happened on Sons of Anarchy before you settle in for the next chapter in Kurt Sutter's motorcycle saga.
1. Jax Teller rode his motorcycle into a semi driven by Michael Chiklis
OK, so you probably don't need to remember that Michael Chiklis drove the semi that splattered Jax's (Charlie Hunnam) sexy, toned body across a California highway, but it is important to remember that Jax died at the end of Sons of Anarchy. I'm not actually sure how you could forget this fact, though, because the image of Jax with his arms spread wide like a twisted Jesus as he drifted into oncoming traffic on his father's motorcycle is seared into my memory forever because of its not-so-shocking lack of subtlety. Also the bad special effects.
Still, this is probably going to be important, because as Sutter teased earlier this summer, Jax's final actions — which also included killing a whole slew of his enemies — will have changed the fabric of Northern California by the time Mayans M.C. picks up three years later. Those changes will have apparently trickled down south through the connections of the clubs. Whatever that means.
But it's probably also important to remember why Jax died, and it's not just so we could laugh at bad CGI. It's because Jax wanted to end the cycle of bullshit once and for all. By killing himself, he ensured that his young sons would grow up hating him — he even instructed Nero (Jimmy Smits) to push that narrative so they didn't follow in his footsteps the way he followed in his father's footsteps. Mayans M.C. will also focus heavily on family — fathers and sons are at the heart of this series — so remembering what happened to Jax is probably a good idea.
2. A lot of other people died too
Whenever a spin-off premieres, fans always want to know which characters from the parent series might cross over to or appear on the spin-off. Mayans M.C. comes a few years after the end of Sons of Anarchy, and the only vet of Sons confirmed to be appearing in the series is Emilio Rivera, who played Marcus Alvarez, the founder of the Mayans. While we'd bet a whole lot of money on other familiar faces popping up, we have to remember that there aren't a lot of people who came out of Sons unscathed.
It's not terribly surprising that a violent show depicting a dangerous criminal lifestyle would leave a lot of dead bodies in its wake, but the number of people left standing at the end of Sons of Anarchy was surprisingly low. Here's the fate of the other main characters:
Gemma Teller-Morrow: Dead, killed by Jax
Clay Morrow: Dead, killed by Jax
Tara Knowles: Dead, killed by Gemma
Juan Carlos "Juice" Ortiz: Dead, killed in prison
Chibs Telford: Alive, currently president of SAMCRO
Tig Trager: Alive, currently vice president of SAMCRO
Bobby Munson: Dead, killed by August Marks (who is also dead now)
Opie Winston: Dead, sacrificed himself in prison
Piney Winston: Dead, killed by Clay
Happy Lowman: Alive, currently SAMCRO's sergeant-at-arms
Wayne Unser: Dead, killed by Jax
Nero Padilla: Alive
Wendy Case: Alive
Abel Teller: Alive, but definitely a psychopath
Thomas Teller: Alive
A few other members of SAMCRO also survived: Rane Quinn, Allesandro Montez, Ratboy, and T.O. Cross, who led the Grim Bastards for most of the series but was patched in during the series finale as SAMCRO's first black member. Also still alive are Lyla Winston, the widow of Opie, and Chuckie Marstein, a friend of the club.
3. There were other Sons of Anarchy charters
Look, Chibs doesn't have to show up to remind viewers that Mayans M.C. exists in the same universe as Sons of Anarchy. We saw several different charters of the club throughout the show's seven-season run, including one based in San Bernardino. If you're not hip to California geography, that's not located on the border of the U.S. and Mexico like Santo Padre, but it is in Southern California. So even if SAMCRO doesn't make an appearance in the show, SAMDINO potentially could.
Mayans M.C. premieres Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 10/9c on FX.