‘Sons of Anarchy’: Understanding How Vengeance Works

Published 1 year ago by , Updated December 4th, 2013 at 12:27 am,

Tommy Flanagan and Kim Coates in Sons of Anarchy Season 6 Episode 12 Sons of Anarchy: Understanding How Vengeance Works

[This is a review of Sons of Anarchy season 6, episode 12. There will be SPOILERS.]


It looks as though Sons of Anarchy is going to ride the question of whether or not Tara will risk her life and the lives of her sons in exchange for immunity from the charges being brought up against her – all the way to the end of the season. And when you stop to consider everything that has transpired in season 6, it’s hard not to see how her decision – regardless of which one she makes – will wind up being the catalyst for the seventh (and possibly final) season to come.

However, as penultimate episodes for a season go, ‘You Are My Sunshine’ finds itself in an odd place. Not only is the show coming back from a week off due to the Thanksgiving holiday, but it’s also the first episode that has to deal with the fallout (or lack thereof) from Clay’s death. After playing such a major role in the series from the beginning, the bloody demise of Clay Morrow is seemingly paid little more than cursory lip service, when Juice broaches the subject with a convalescing Bobby, and briefly again – although almost entirely through implication – during a scene that finds alpha females Gemma and D.A. Tyne Patterson sizing one another up at the hospital Tara used to work at.

“This time, it made sense,” is pretty much all Bobby has to say on the matter, though his nod of assurance to Jax before the deed was done pretty much told the audience he’d have been around for Clay’s execution had he not taken a bullet to the shoulder just moments before. Still, whether he intended his words to carry extra weight or not, it seemed there was more to Bobby’s terse statement and seemingly brusque dismissal of the topic than simply stating he was okay with the decision; it was a way of reminding Juice that those who deserve “the mayhem” generally get it sooner or later.

Tommy Flanagan and David Labrava in Sons of Anarchy Season 6 Episode 12 Sons of Anarchy: Understanding How Vengeance Works

No doubt Juice’s decision to steal and subsequently consume Bobby’s oxy following the conversation suggest he continues to struggle with the burden of his past decisions; namely, betraying the club, betraying Clay, and, as he confesses to Nero, killing Darvany after the school shooting, put too much heat too close to SAMCRO.

On the one hand, ever since he was briefly used against his own club by Roosevelt, only to feel the continual, brutal sting of Jax and Chibs’ (among others) admonition, Juice has become like a raw nerve. He’s just continually exposed to all the pain and anguish and wrongdoing brought on by the club’s dealings, and it has finally taken its toll.

And yet the fact that his concerns are for his crimes, and not those of the group, shows how Sons of Anarchy tends to think when it comes to matters of guilt and conscience. It’s a reflection of the insular, circle-the-wagons and survive-at-all-costs hive mind of the MC. It’s also why the club members (and especially its leaders) value things like vengeance as much as they do; it helps to perpetuate that insularity.

As the show demonstrates quite well, there’s a clearly drawn line in the sand between being with the group, being outside of it, and why. Right now, Tara and Juice are the only two really exhibiting signs of a conscience or concern for others outside of the group – and that makes them outsiders. But it’s clear that Clay’s death has already had some effect, and that must be to provide those two with the notion of how few options they have once they’ve crossed that dividing line.


Sons of Anarchy will conclude season 6 with ‘A Mother’s Work’ next Tuesday @10pm on FX.

Photos: Prashant Gupta/FX

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  1. Why in hell does some white screen keep telling me to stop running an adblocker when i dont run an ad blocker, wtf is wrong with this site recently. From annoying ads playing all the time to this dumb stuff, im about done with SR anymore.

  2. does anyone know the name of the song at the end of this episode?

    • You are my sunshine

      • yea I know but i wanted too know the artist and i found it, its by jamey johnson

  3. I got a kick out of the Chinese crime head. the guy was usually pretty condescending. tonight was the vengeance bit, and previously when they took off with happy and he claimed to have to dumb down his request for the mc. this guy was just angry…

  4. Ol Juice really doesn’t seem to have the hardness for that life…Never has seemed to. Kind of hard to iagie how he was accepted in the first place. Then again Jax seems like a nice family guy who is living the American Dream, but who will kill you in a second if you seemed a threat…And then go back to bein a family guy as if nothing happened. Juice just doesn’t have the ability to turn it on or off like that.

  5. I like SOA, but wish there was a little more clever and biker hijinks and a little less Gemma and Murder, sheesh, at this point the national guard would be called in due to the violence and craziness these dudes are committing.

    • Yes, I tend to agree. This show has seemed to move away from what made the show great which was the biker crew and went more into the Gemma/Tara storyline with a dash of biker crew plots all of which have many holes in the story. My wife started watching the series on Netflix a couple of months ago which she is now caught up and she even noticed the differences in how the seasons have declined. I just find myself fast fowarding past the Gemma/Tara parts right now because in the end I fight it useless. Oh wait, Jax is going to spiral downward because she took the kids. Yeah, who didn’t see that coming

  6. I was a hardcore fan from the beginning but after last season’s killing of Opie and the show turning into “The Gemma Show featuring the Sons of Anarchy,” I have lost any desire to watch it.

    I’m currently recording the show to watch after the season’s over but ENOUGH with Gemma and her garbage. I know Katey Sagal is Kurt Sutter’s wife but the character is simply ridiculous at this point and the show has lost focus.

  7. Basically the people who run the networks have decided that every show has to have a soap opra aspect to it. They do it with everything on commercial tv. It really gets annoying, but the theory is that if you don’t ad soap opra then the women won’t watch. So there’s few shows that carry on without some soap. Thus the Terra and Gemma aspect

    On the other hand I think they have Jax as a family man so that no matter how much of a cold blooded killer he is he will always come across as this great family guy who’s just trying to make things great for his family. In fact for the younger guys only he and Opie had families. I guess Everyone else just dips into the hooker pool

  8. I’ve been saying it since last season but I’ll continue to say it because he’s been that great “Jimmy Smitts Is Killing It On This Show!!!!”.
    Has any other actor been so great coming on as a guest star to featured regular?
    Between The West Wing, Dexter and now Sons of Anarchy he’s given more spectacular performances as a “guest star” than some other actors have given their whole career.
    Bravo Mr. Smitts, Bravo…

    Now, how do I think the finale will play out?
    I have no idea but my guess would be that Jax lets Tara go to Oregon or whatever with the kids and he’ll join her at the end of the series finale.