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‘Sons of Anarchy’ Season Finale Review: “A Mother’s Work”

Sons of Anarchy Review A Mothers Work Season 6 Finale Tara
FX

Sons of Anarchy’ season 6 roars out its 13th and final episode of the year, “A Mother’s Work,” as Jax makes a surprising decision when SAMCRO catches up to Tara, relations between the Mayans and Niners sour, and a horrific tragedy rocks the club.

Last week’s ‘Sons of Anarchy’ episode, “You Are My Sunshine,” saw Jax settling accounts between the Chinese, Irish and August Marks, while Tara made her last play to flee Charming with the boys, and Juice wrestled with the weight of his conscience. So how does “A Mother’s Work” roll the season to its inevitable conclusion?  Who does ‘Sons of Anarchy’ season 6 surrender to the reaper this time?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Sons of Anarchy’ season 6 episode 13, season finale “A Mother’s Work”!

Sitting at Opie’s grave, Jax writes his sons about how truthful his diaries allow him to be, fully voicing his remorse for violent acts, especially after losing his moral center in Opie. Jax writes that they’ve begun a defining day, that he wants his sons to know he was honest, in that he’d never hurt or abandon them. On the way out, Jax runs over a dove in the road.

With no word from Tara, the Sons at the malt shop reason that they’d already be in custody if Tara had truly taken a deal, while Gemma pulls Juice aside to question his state after the suicide attempt. Juice assures Gemma of his stability, despite worry he might of overshared with Nero, before Jax finally arrives, quickly followed by Tyne Patterson. Requesting a word in private, Patterson reminds him that he’s a husband and father above all else, and should consider how the crimes weigh on his family.

Upstairs at church, the Sons agree that Tara hasn’t given them up yet, but likely bode her time until making a decision, for which they should be prepared to “do what they have to.” Chucky interrupts to announce that Marcus Alvarez has arrived, who expresses his concerns to Jax about the power shift in Oakland. Jax assures him nothing will change, but is taken aback when Alvarez announces his intent to open up a charter in Stockton, which Alvarez claims Nero had known. Elsewhere, Tara calls her lawyer to set up her meeting with Patterson, unaware that Juice is following the man, before Tara tasks Abel to look after his brother in all that’s to come.

Jax arrives to a junkyard meet with the Niners and Mayans to assure that Marcus receives his latest shipment, where Nero lets slip that he knows that Jax lied to him about Juice’s murder of Darvany. The three crews settle their respective beefs, assuring that nothing major will change, even as August Marks’ absence from the scene is noted. Jax and the Sons drive off, but when the Niners go to hand the Mayans their guns, Marcus has the Niners killed, shocking Nero.

Jax elicits Barosky’s help in tracking down Tara, simultaneously warning him of the Mayans intent to set up in Stockton. Jax gets word that Tara’s laywer has set a meeting in a park that Abel has been known to frequent, though after Jax departs, Barosky warns Tig and Chibs that reports came in on the radio of the Niners assassination. Meanwhile, Alvarez suggests to Nero that he get out of the life while he still can, while Juice and Bobby see Tara arrive to the playground to meet her lawyer, requesting time to herself before signing her deal.

Wendy and Unser bond in the hours before taking her to rehab, while Jax and the sons tersely confront Tara at the playground. Realizing she has nowhere to run, Tara breaks down sobbing that she only wanted to take the boys away from the suffering of a life with the club, as he once had. Jax assures her he has no intent to hurt her, or the boys, and surprisingly urges her to save their children. Meanwhile, Nero finds Gemma waiting in his office, and asks if she’d be willing to leave the life and family behind with him, though she naturally refuses, for which Nero finds no other option but to end their relationship.

Patterson arrives to Tara’s motel room to find she and Jax waiting for her, as Jax lays out that he’ll offer himself up as the scapegoat in the school shooting, while Tara will take their kids anywhere she likes, and no harm will come to her or the club. Patterson reluctantly agrees to allow Jax the day with his boys, after which he’ll turn himself in, before Jax and Tara take advantage of the empty motel room one last time.

Later on, Jax appoints Bobby to lead the club as he breaks he news to he and Chibs, reasoning that he’ll at least get to see his boys grow up, potentially getting out of prison in 7-10 years. Elsewhere, Unser finds Gemma drinking away her misery, telling her that he’d heard through the wire Jax was to be taken in. The two mistake it as confirmation that Tara made a deal, for which Unser prevents Gemma from driving off in her condition, though Gemma shortly after manages to slip out of the house and take his keys in her grief.

Unser finds Jax at the malt shop to explain that Gemma disappeared in a bad state, for which Juice offers to track her down. Outside the shop, Jax says his goodbyes to Juice, whispering in his ear that he knows Juice betrayed him. Meanwhile at the Teller house, Tara and Roosevelt assume Unser’s truck in the driveway to be a sign of his presence, before Tara enters to gather some things. Roosevelt leaves the house before Gemma finds Tara, and the two brawl it out, ending when Gemma horrifically drowns her daughter-in-law in the sink, stabbing her head with a meat fork. Juice arrives to the house as Roosevelt hears the commotion, and both find Gemma sobbing by the body, babbling that “it had to be done.” Roosevelt goes to report the crime, before Juice shoots him dead, examines the scene, and extends a hand to Gemma.

Later that night, Jax says goodbye to his children at the malt shop, saying tender goodbyes to his fellow Sons as well. Gemma returns to Unser with his truck, while Juice disposes of the meat fork and other incriminating items, and Nero shows up to the meeting with Marcus Alvarez and the Chinese. Finally, Jax returns home to find the bodies of Roosevelt and Tara, hysterically cradling Tara’s lifeless body just as Patterson and law enforcement arrive to the scene.

OUR REVIEW:

Well, that happened. A season of ‘Sons of Anarchy’ that began with the shocking, nigh-unpredictable violence of a school shooting ended with an act of almost equally squirming brutality, however predictable in its measure. Tara Knowles has come and gone, along with her Eli Roosevelt (to ‘The Mentalist,’ at least), leaving us with a blood-stained kitchen, an equal measure of questions toward the seventh, and likely final season, and yet another numbing notch in the series’ belt of questionable violence.

Notions of following the ‘Hamlet’ model and the limited options not withstanding, it merits mention that tonight’s season 6 finale once again took advantage of ‘Sons’ extended run times to deliver a two-hour installment that very easily might have been condensed to a solid hour, perhaps more. That said, questions of ‘Sons of Anarchy’ dragging things out seem all but moot by this point, especially in light of the momentary montage consideration that Clay Morrow’s funeral merits tonight.

As with most ‘Sons of Anarchy’ finales, it will take time to process the shock of tonight’s events, however easily they might have been avoided by simple phone calls, though we’d be hard-pressed to deny the inevitable dread, and tension of Tara’s brutal murder, given that Gemma has repeatedly proven ‘Sons’ irrefutable wildcard, and likely the ultimate villain of the series. However earned Jax’s ultimate act of sacrifice might, or might not have been, there can be no denying the tragedy of their final end, given brief peace attained by the two after so much strife in recent episodes. And even then, kudos should be given to the cinematography for Tara’s final frame against a backdrop of tranquil nature, albeit a painting, before drowning in a manner somewhat reminiscent of Ophelia after all.

We’re left with plenty of questions heading into the seventh season, first and foremost what Patterson will make of the sight of Jax cradling his dead wife next to a fallen sheriff and the all-but-smoking gun, not to mention Nero’s continued Mayan alliance, Gemma and Juice’s ultimate culpability, and the floating involvement of RoboCop Peter Weller’s Charlie Barosky. Where we go from there is anyone’s guess, though the numbing violence and length of “A Mother’s Work” at least set the stage for a bloody, and bitter end to ‘Sons of Anarchy”s cycle of violence. Season 6 traveled across the map both literally and figuratively, but still proved every bit as affecting by its final frame. For that, at least some credit is due.

What say you? Did you get your fill of tragic ‘Sons of Anarchy’ misery?  What did you think about the big deaths of tonight’s finale “A Mother’s Work”? Stay tuned as we bring you additional coverage on season 6′s end with series creator Kurt Sutter, and join us again in 2014 for all-new recaps of ‘Sons of Anarchy”s seventh and (presumably) final season!

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