It’s been over a week since Sons of Anarchy aired it’s final episode and I’ve finally made my way through the five stages of grief. I think I’m finally ready to talk about it.
I guess over all I’m pretty satisfied. Wendy and Nero took the kids and ran like I’ve been telling them to do through my tv screen all season and Jax finally made his meeting with Mr. Mayhem. I do however have three tiny problems with how everything ended.
My first gripe is with the inevitable deaths of the rest of the club that were sure to come in the weeks following the finale. As a representative of SAMCRO you can’t just rampage through the streets taking out major crime bosses, corrupt (former?) cops, and IRA leaders in broad daylight and not expect repercussions to fall on the rest of the club after you check out. The whole club is going to be murdered. Probably by the two remaining irish kings. We all know how forgiving the IRA can be.
At this point Jax couldn’t possibly believe that anyone would buy that he escaped his club’s mayhem vote. With all the shit they’ve pulled the last few seasons no one has any reason to believe anything they say especially when it comes down to protecting their own. What good did letting Jax commit suicide do anyone anyway? Either way he’s dead but now the club hasn’t made things right for Jax’s unjustified murder of Indian Hills’ club president. By sparing them the “burden” of taking out their brother he’s set them up to be ostracized by the rest of the charters.
Secondly what the fuck was with all the last minute Jesus symbolism? I think we’ve established over the course of the last seven years that if Jax Teller is anything it is not a christ like figure. He’s not a messiah or the chosen one. He doesn’t even know how to turn the other mother fucking cheek. He’s a vengeful, trigger happy, criminal. Other than the hair beard combo he rocks in the first few seasons I’m not seeing a whole lot of similarities.
The last thing, and what bothers me the most, is what’s been running through my head since Jax ended up like a bug on a semi’s windshield is how upset I am that I didn’t get to see it. I know it sounds like small potatoes but does no one else feel that there’s something wrong with the fact that this show, that has never shied away from showing us the brutality of outlaw life, decided to skimp out on us on the last shot? Kurt Sutter made me watch him bite his own tongue off but wouldn’t show me Jax Teller meeting his inevitable bloody end? I didn’t need to see the crash but at least give me a little more than a blood pool for aftermath to drive home that this man is not someone you should want to emulate. I’m already peeved that Jax got to go out on his own terms. After all the violence and suffering he’s responsible for he deserved a lot worse. And that brings us into today’s topic.
For all the horrible shit that Jax did over the course of seven seasons no one suffered the brunt of it more than the love of his life, Tara Knowles. Somehow a large portion of the show’s viewership is able to over look this and cast Tara in the role of bad guy. This has become a surprisingly common theme lately in a lot of series. We’re given an anti-hero or a villain as a protagonist and end up hating the people in their lives that hold them back from their less than ethical activities.
3. Tara Knowles – Sons Of Anarchy
I might be the only person I know who was not sad to see Jax die and that’s because I’ve never forgot what we knew from the very beginning. He confessed to Nero in the final episode, “I’m not a good man. I’m a killer and a criminal” but it seems that most people were awfully quick to over look that fact. For all of the good intentions Jax had in the beginning that made you route for him he never followed through on any of them. He got swallowed up by gang life and became everything he wanted to stop. He became Clay.
We might believe that deep down Jax is a good guy but all of his actions, particularly since taking the gabble, say differently. If you forget about all his good intentions and look at what he is on paper it’s plain to see that Jax Teller is a terrible person. He’s been a criminal, a gun runner, a drug mule, a murderer, and a manipulator who’s done nothing for the woman he’s supposed to love but ask her to jeopardize her career, cheat on her repeatedly, leave her to take care of his children, and rope her into staying with empty promises of getting out of the gang life. Despite all this somehow Tara is the bitch for reasons I have yet to understand or even pin point. I think I once had someone site that “she’s not Gemma” to which I say: duh. The implication is either that she wants to be Gemma, which all of Tara’s actions and words contradict, or that they can’t handle more than one strong female character in a single television show.
Ironically SOA, a show about an outlaw biker gang that devotes a quarter of every episodes run time to bromance is also one of televisions major exporters of strong female characters. Tara Knowles is no exception. She’s an educated woman, a protective mother, and a support system for her boyfriend and later husband. She thinks for herself, makes her own decisions, and doesn’t let Jax push her away or push her around.
She’s a mother fucking surgeon people. She’s put years of her life and a fuck ton of money into a career in saving lives which she foolishly risked time and time again to help out Jax and his club. She takes care of the kids and tries to protect them from the brutal life their father is involved in and his bat shit crazy mother. Shit man, Abel isn’t even her child and she took over the role of his mother no questions asked. She even went to prison for helping the club and she never wanted this life in the first place. She ran away to Chicago before the beginning of the series to get away and when her psycho, DEA agent, exboyfriend forced her back the the only reason she stayed was out of hope that Jax would leave the violence behind like he promised her every fucking episode.
If Tara has a flaw it’s that she fell in love with Jax and stuck around too damn long. Maybe faking a pregnancy and miscarriage in season 6 to get her and the kids away from Jax and Gemma seemed a little crazy and outrageous. I thought so too at first, but the more I mulled it over the more I realize how desperate she was to save her sons from a miserable life and a grisly death. She was willing to sacrifice her relationship with the love of her life in order to do what was best for her kids and herself. Considering the hardened, blood thirsty criminals she’s dealing with I’d say her actions were justified especially when you realize the end result was her being viciously murdered by her mother in law.
3. Skyler White – Breaking Bad
I get that at first Walter White is a very sympathetic character. Buddy has cancer for fuck’s sake. He gets into meth cooking to provide for his family. As shitty of a thing to do as making drugs that seriously screw up lives is, I get why he did it even if I don’t approve. He’s fallen on hard times, but Skyler is in the same financial situation and troubled marriage as he is yet no one is able to afford to slip any sympathy her way. Maybe she doesn’t have cancer but she does have a lying, criminal husband and that sucks too.
From the start she was pegged as a nagging wife; which in all fairness she is. Skyler White is not the kind of woman to beat around the bush. If something is bothering her she’ll come right out and say it. When the show starts Skyler is clearly the one in the driver’s seat of the family unit. Chances are she’s been there for a while. Walter starts out as what I can only describe as a massive pussy and a lot of the show’s fans assume that it’s a the result of years of marriage to what must be an emasculating harpy. It’s far more likely a result of the beating life has laid down on him.
Skyler’s perceived nagging is a direct result of Walter distancing himself from her. He’s keeping something from her and rather than pussyfoot around it she chooses to confront him which for some reason is seen as an overreaction. If my significant other started sneaking around and staying out half the night damn straight I’d want to know what the fuck they’re up to. She’s distrustful and she has every right to be considering he’s lying to her, cooking meth, murdering drug dealers, and keeping his cancer from her.
Most people seem incapable of cutting this woman, who acts as primary care giver for her special needs son, any slack but are more than willing to ignore the growing abusive behaviour Walt exhibits towards her. He manipulates and threatens her, forces his way back into her home, and there was that one time he sexually assaulted her, which I guess the collective audience somehow ended up taking a simultaneous bathroom break during considering how much that’s been addressed.
Then there’s the apparent issue of hypocrisy on her part when Skyler decides to break bad herself which is apparently far worse than the original hypocrisy committed by her husband when he go into the drug game. It’s perfectly acceptable to watch family man and chemistry teacher Walter turn into a morally stunted drug lord but for his wife to go from home maker and moral compass to money laundering accomplice is not. Plus at that point Skylar had already been made an unwilling accessory by spending the drug money her loving husband never bothered to tell her was drug money.
Maybe had more focus been given to Skyler’s development, viewers wouldn’t have been so quick to make fan pages devoted to hating her or maybe Anna Gunn who portrays her was right about and it’s really about most Skyler haters “own perception of women and wives. Because Skyler didn’t conform to a comfortable ideal of the archetypical female”. Why else would there have been such an onslaught on social media in reaction to her weight gain?
1. Lori Grimes – The Walking Dead
If you ever needed proof that I was a masochist than look no further than my useless plight to defend Lori Grimes. Whenever she comes up in conversation I feel this wrenching in my gut that forces me to try to justify her choices to others. It’s frustrating because I confess that I too hate Lori Grimes. The fault of this is more on the shoulders of the shows botch writing than it is the character herself. I honestly didn’t hate her until we’d nearly reached the end of the second season. Yes, she made some bad decisions but I can sympathize with why she did.
People’s number one grievance with her is that she’s a “slut”. It’s weird because when the roles are reversed no one seems to give a shit. Mad Men‘s Don Draper didn’t have an affair but multiple. He’s a serial adulterous and everyone has his back. We don’t hold our male characters to the same moral standards as we do the female. We still expect our female characters to uphold this outdated idea of virtue. That they should show more restraint than their male counterparts. Stay faithful to their husbands no matter how shitty they are treated, even if for all that woman knows she’s a widow.
Yes, she was sleeping with her husbands former partner and best friend 2 months after she believed him to have died but lets just take a breath and get something straight. She thought he was dead. She’d been told he was dead. I can’t say that sex would be my go to grieving tool but who am I to judge? It is something of a special circumstance after all. Lets take a moment to imagine we’re in her zombie blood covered shoes.
You’re marriage is unravelling when your husband gets shot and goes into a coma. The zombie apocalypse breaks out. Your husband’s friend, and likely yours too, shows up telling you that your husband has been eaten and that you have to get your shit and leave with him now if you don’t want the same to happen to your kid. You’re in a state of grief and shock over the end of your whole world and the loss of your husband. You don’t know how you’re supposed to survive, how you’re supposed to protect your kid, or if you’ll even survive the next week. This friend takes care of you and your son. He provides for you, protects you, and genuinely does care about you. Being this mess of emotions and despair can you say that if your friend, who’s been your rock through this whole mess, made a move on you that you wouldn’t bone him? I’m pretty sure I would and if that makes me a slut so be it.
The second biggest problem people have with Lori is that she never knows where her son is. In all fairness neither does Rick. She might be a shitty parent but so is Rick and people don’t hate him for that. Is it that Rick is off doing “man” things that gets him off the hook? Where as Lori’s (the woman’s) number one job should be child rearing?
Then there’s the wanting to abort her baby thing. Having a baby in the middle of the zombie apocalypse is the worst idea I’ve ever heard. With the added drama of “who’s baby is it”, I whole heartedly believe she shouldn’t have thrown up those Plan B pills. Especially considering one candidate for fatherhood turned out to be a complete psycho.
Then there’s all her dramatic mood swings which really just come down to sloppy writing. Like her flip flopping on Rick killing Shane (another often sited reason for Lori hatred). She implies she wants him dead and then gets mad when Rick takes him out because why? It makes no sense for her to be so torn up about it. They were involved so I get that she would morn but within reason. Mother fucker tried to rape her, killed Otis, threatened Dale, tried to kill her husband and was generally just out of his damn mind. Most people on the Walking Dead are pretty unlikable but the annoying qualities that start stacking up amongst their main female characters like Lori and Andrea are just proof that writers of The Walking Dead‘s first few seasons had no idea how to, or interest in, writing believable female characters.