Sons of Anarchy 6×13 A Mother’s Work Recap

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Prashant Gupta/FX Networks

Tonight, in the sixth season finale, all of the betrayal, hurt and uncertainty of the season comes to a head. Let’s dive in to this 110 minute episode.

Spoilers below.

The episode starts with Jax writing to his boys, as he’s done in the past. He confesses he thrives on the fear he feels and is remorseful for the violent acts he’s committed. He also says he always finds a way to justify these acts. Jax says he has no moral center since Opie was killed.

During this voiceover, we see Clay being buried with only Unser in attendance. The Sons help a recovering Bobby. Nero meets with members of his crew. Tara watches the kids in a motel room.

Jax, in his writing voiceover: “I love you, Abel. I love you, Thomas. More than anything or anyone. I always will. Everything I do is for my sons.”

He writes this leaning against Opie’s enormous headstone. As he rides away, he decimates a dove in the road. Peace is dead. We are all screwed.

Eli meets with Patterson about Tara’s MIA status. Clueless ATF Agent Bowman asks Eli if he thinks Jax would really kill Tara. Nah, I’m sure he’s the forgiving type.

The Sons meet at the new clubhouse and discuss the mess with Tara. Tig is finally reunited onscreen with his dog, the one he rescued last season finale. Hooray! Brooke, the girl who smashed the window a few episodes ago, is now working off the cost of the window in the shop.

Gemma asks to meet with Juice alone. She asks if he’s okay. He pretends he didn’t try to kill himself but Gemma sees right through it. Juice: “I don’t want to die, Gem. I’m just a little unsure of how to live in all this right now.” Gemma says she won’t tell Jax about the overdose. The pills are the least of your problems, baby.

Juice asks if Nero told her about something he let slip. That something being that Jax ordered Juice to kill the kid’s mom. “It’s okay,” she jokes. “He knew you were gay.” So, nope. He didn’t tell Gemma. It would work to Juice’s advantage if Nero had because then Gemma would have time to calm Jax down when it comes to light. Gemma tells Juice, “Vulnerability is a liability. No place for it in this life.”

Jax enters the shop and soon after, so do Eli and Patterson. The upstairs Sons join Jax, Juice and Gemma at the door. Patterson requests to talk to Jax and then greets Gemma, who replies, “Suck my white crack.”

The Sons go back upstairs when Patterson asks to speak to Jax alone. So, basically, they made a wasted trip downstairs for a show of solidarity. Jax pretends he knows where Tara and the boys are. Patterson: “Do you ever struggle with your need to be a good man?” Jax: “I struggle with all my needs just like everyone else.” Patterson: “My guess is you struggle with it every day, what you are crashing into who you are.”

Patterson warns Jax any vengeance will land on him and destroy everything he loves. “You’re a husband and a father and a man before all of this. Own your place,” she advises him before leaving. Man, I get lost in CCH Pounder’s acting sometimes. She’s such a powerhouse. Sudden urge to rewatch all of The Shield rising.

The Sons discuss what Tara has on them and what her plans could be. Jax thinks she’s close as she wouldn’t stray far from Abel’s doctors. Tig urges they find her to convince her to keep her mouth shut. Juice: “And if we can’t?” Jax: “Then we do what we have to do.” No one is happy about that.

They decide to find her through the hospital administrator, her new lawyer and Barosky’s connections.

Alvarez waits outside to meet with Jax. He confronts Jax on his getting out of guns and the Lin family getting executed. Alvarez wanted the gun deal and doesn’t like that August Marks has the power now.

Jax tries to assure Alvarez he’ll get his guns today and that everything will be fine. Alvarez requests Nero be there and tells Jax the Mayans are setting up in Stockton, which takes Jax by surprise. A pissed Jax orders Happy to get him “King Nero.”

Tara calls her lawyer, Glender. She says she’s in Lodi and he advises the deal has to happen that day. Tara says she’s ready. Abel asks if she talked to daddy on the phone. She tells him no and his face falls. Tara lets Abel know they’re going on a big trip and asks him to make Thomas feel less nervous about it. Abel runs over to Thomas as the best big brother ever.

Juice and Bobby tail Glender, Tara’s lawyer. Bobby: “Let’s play follow the lawyer.” Juice: “I’d rather play let’s run over the lawyer.” Bobby: “Still early.”

Jax confronts Nero about how long he’s known the Mayans were setting up in Stockton. Nero suggests everything happening to Tara is because Jax had Juice kill Darvany. Jax plays dumb for a minute, then goes silent while Nero unloads on him in an even mannered way.

Tyler comes in place of Marks, saying Marks can’t be involved in street activity. Alvarez vocalizes the extent of the Lin massacre, which stuns Nero. This won’t help Nero’s internal karmic rage. After the Sons leave, Nero asks Alvarez what happened with the Lin family. Nero is even less pleased. Alvarez guns down Tyler and his crew and Nero is horrified.

Barosky and Jax meet about Tara. Jax fills Barosky in on the Mayans’ Stockton charter. Rat Boy informs Jax that Bobby and Juice tracked down Tara. Barosky tells Tig and Chibs about the Niner murders that just went down. He questions Nero’s loyalty.

Alvarez advises Nero to pass control of the ByzLats on to Fiasco. It’s all bad days for Nero now.

Tara brings Abel and Thomas to a park with her lawyer as Bobby and Juice watch. He tells her she’d have to testify if it went to trial. Tara tells him where she’s staying and says Patterson can get her there. She asks Glender for time alone at the park, which is a huge mistake.

Unser meets with Gemma at her place. He asks what happens if Tara runs and Gemma says Jax “will do what needs to be done.” Gemma asks about Clay’s funeral and Unser tells her no one else was there. She kisses him on the cheek and he recoils as Gemma tells him she loves him and doesn’t know what she’d do without him.

Wendy readies to go with Unser to rehab. Gemma says they’ll visit on family day. Wendy: “Oh, Jesus Christ. That’s terrifying. You’re my family.” “Yes, we are,” Gemma says and kisses her. Unser confides in Wendy that his wife bailed and moved to Boca with some other guy. Unser toasts, “Hey, to the bitches we hate.”

Unser asks if Wendy is still in love with Jax but she says no. She goes on to say that they shouldn’t have gotten married and that Gemma pushed them to do so for grandkids.

At the park, Abel runs, yelling “Daddy!” Jax picks him up, then Bobby takes Abel to play. Jax takes Thomas from Tara and orders her to sit. Juice then takes Thomas. Tara asks Jax not to hurt her in front of the boys and Jax says he doesn’t want that. She breaks down, saying she’s tried to see things his way but in the end, she only sees the lies.

Tara: “I’ll die if I have to. At least I know I tried to save them from becoming what you are.”
Jax: “I never forced my life on you. You came back to me. You’re part of what I am, Tara. You always have been.”
Tara: “That was my mistake, thinking our love, our bond was stronger than the pull of your history but it’s not. You were going to pull them out of this, remember? You were going to break the cycle.”

“They will suffer with this,” she warns. She sobs and begs to say goodbye to the boys. Jax takes her hand and says he’s not going to hurt her or the boys. “You don’t have to run. Not anymore,” he says. Tara asks, “What do I have to do?” Jax: “Just be a good mother. Save our boys. Please.”

Nero and Gemma talk at Diosa and he shuts her out. She asks what’s going on and he tells her he needs to be alone. Gemma starts to storm out but Nero intensely asks her if she’d run with him and leave everything. Gemma: “You know I can’t make that choice.” Nero: “I know, I know, I know. But I have to.”

Gemma freaks out that he’s calling it quits on their relationship and storms out, leaving a tortured Nero behind.

Patterson and crew show up at Tara’s motel. She meets alone inside with Tara and Jax. Jax says he’ll take full responsibility for the gun charges if Tara and the boys are free. He promises he’ll turn himself in at 6pm. Tara says that’s the deal and no other. Jax promises he’ll honor the deal. Patterson leaves.

Tara thanks Jax, who replies, “I love you.” She tells him she loves him, too, and they kiss. They then fall to the bed.

At the clubhouse, Jax tells Chibs and Bobby there isn’t another way. Bobby does the math and Jax won’t get out of prison with all the charges. Jax thinks he’ll get 25 years and be paroled in 7-10. Bobby suggests Jax tell the other Sons but he won’t. Jax tells Bobby to be President and have Chibs as his VP. They agree.

Jax says, “There’s one more thing. I was wrong about Juice. He can’t be trusted.” Chibs is charged with updating Bobby on Juice’s situation. Jax leaves to be with the boys. He implores them to support whatever Tara wants.

Unser lets himself into Gemma’s house and finds her not giving a shit. He explains to her Jax is being arrested and they assume Tara made a deal. Or you could all talk to each other. Gemma says she’s feeling light-headed and asks Unser to get her heart pills. Of course, she takes off, driving Unser’s truck high as a kite.

Brooke, the window vandal, kisses Jax on the cheek and thanks him. Unser arrives at the shop and tells Jax he needs to let Gemma know what’s going on. Juice offers to find her and Jax accepts. Jax goes outside and Juice hugs him. He kisses Juice’s cheek, says, “You betrayed me,” and virtually kills Juice with his stare.

Eli brings Tara back to her house, where Unser’s truck is parked out front. Oh no. Eli goes to wait outside. Tara takes too long of a moment reflecting inside her living room, even allowing herself a smile. She hears a door and finds Gemma in the kitchen.

For a moment, they’re both like scared animals until Gemma grabs an iron and beats Tara. Gemma holds Tara’s head underwater in the kitchen sink and repeatedly stabs her in the head with a carving fork. Eli storms in and Gemma, in shock, says, “It had to be done. It had to be done. I had work to do.”

Eli explains Tara didn’t rat, that Jax gave himself up. Eli goes to call it in and Juice shoots and kills him. Juice sees the wreckage and a sobbing Gemma and offers her his hand. Juice is cold, so cold.

Jax kisses his boys goodbye, unaware of Tara’s death. He shares an emotional goodbye with the Sons and tells Tig, “We’re all good.” Chibs tells Jax he loves him and Jax gets emotional.

Gemma meets with Unser and breaks down. Wendy is safe in rehab. The Sons are peaceful with the boys in the shop. Tig’s dog licks his face. Jax rides off.

Nero meets with the Lin family. Unser comforts Gemma. Juice throws out the iron in a dumpster and destroys the carving fork Gemma used to kill Tara. We see the mysterious homeless woman wandering. Jax goes home to find Tara and Eli dead on his floor. He sobs and cradles Tara.

Patterson arrives, finds him and sees the gun used to kill Eli was left behind.

In Anarchy Afterword, Kurt Sutter said he always wanted Tara to die at the end of season 6 and to have that major impact on Jax. Katey Sagal said she and Maggie Siff are good friends and Gemma’s act was one of rage, as she views Tara as having ruined Gemma’s life.

Also, Katey said she worried the fans would hate her but Kurt reminded her she couldn’t think of that. Katey: “It is not premeditated.” She says Gemma is out of her mind.

Maggie said the hardest part was having to act dead and cope with Katey and Charlie’s reactions to Tara’s death. She met with Kurt early on this season and says she said, “‘And I was like you’re not killing me, are you?’ And he said, ‘Well, darlin’.'”

Maggie: “Tara sees Gemma and sees something off in her eyes and is like, I better go off in the other direction right now.”

There you have it. We made it through another tough season. Now, all that’s left is to wait nine months for the final season. In the meantime, we have plenty of time to think and overthink about how Tara’s death will impact everyone. I wasn’t expecting Nero or Juice to make it through this episode. I also didn’t expect Gemma would be the one to kill Tara and kill her so viciously.

As always, all the problems on this show could have been solved if everyone would just talk to each other. Instead of rushing to tell Gemma his half news, Unser really should have known Gemma better than that and waited until he had the whole truth. You can’t be Gemma’s best friend and number one informant in a situation like this.

One more thing. Maggie Siff, it’s been a joy watching you these past six seasons. There will be a hole on the show with you gone. I wish you all the best and hope to see more of you on television and in movies in the future.

So, what did you think about this episode? What do you think will happen next season? Let me know in the comments below.

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