Sons Of Anarchy's Jax Teller was a fan-favorite antihero on television. He had the right mix of being somewhat morally right but still had a dark and violent side. He was also very smart when it came to handling the club and their business dealings. Throughout the show’s seven seasons, Jax would prove why he was the right person to lead the Sons Of Anarchy.
On the contrary, he would also make some foolish decisions that would have unforeseen or even deadly consequences. Due to the pulpy nature of it, the show would have a ton of “Gotcha” moments where we’re led to believe a character has one intention, only for it to flip at the last second. Jax definitely orchestrated many of these moments. Here are five times that Jax Teller was a genius, and five times that he wasn’t.
10 Genius: Deceiving Stahl
ATF Agent Stahl was a ruthless character who would do anything to get ahead, even killing her girlfriend/partner. Therefore, no one shed a tear during her violent end.
In season three, Jax tells Stahl that he’s willing to give up the IRA member, Jimmy O., in order to keep the club out of prison, essentially becoming a rat. After the deal is done, Stahl gives up Jax as a rat and a huge fight ensues. Turns out, the club was in on this the whole time. They end up double-crossing the ATF by killing Stahl and Jimmy but framing it as an IRA hit. It’s a brilliant (while somewhat convoluted) ending to a mediocre season.
9 Not A Genius: Agreeing To Work With The Cartel
In Jax’s defense, he only agreed to back up Clay on the Galindo Cartel deal in order to leave the club unscathed. Still, Jax knew from the start that getting in the drug game is a bad idea, even worse, getting involved with a cartel.
Season four is primarily focused on how this deal is terrible for the club, which starts to break up the brotherhood they once had. If Jax had not pushed for the vote to mule drugs, it’s unlikely that Clay would have gotten the majority. Many of the problems in the show’s final three seasons are all stemmed from this initial cartel deal.
8 Genius: Getting Out Of The Drug Game
Jax may have been the biggest factor in getting them into the drug game, but he’s also the one who gets the club out. In season five, Jax is juggling many different things. He knows he can’t just end the deal with Galindo. For one, this would have deadly consequences on his club and their families. Also, Galindo is the only thing that stops the Rico case against them.
Behind their backs, Jax is able to facilitate the Chinese as Galindo’s new gun seller. He knows the IRA did not want to deal with Galindo anyways. In the end, he left both parties satisfied.
7 Not A Genius: Not Realizing Gemma Also Killed John Teller
From the start, show creator Kurt Sutter stated that Sons Of Anarchy was a loose and modern re-telling of Hamlet. Therefore, we knew that Jax would eventually find out Clay was the one responsible for killing his father, John Teller. The secret is finally revealed to Jax at the end of season four.
Obviously, Jax is furious and is ready to take out his step-father. That being said, how does he not realize that Gemma was involved as well? Surely he’d realize that Gemma is capable of violence. Also, when she does end up telling Jax about Clay, it’s clear that she knows way too much of the history. Jax should’ve realized that this was a move done by both Gemma and Clay.
6 Genius: Killing Damon Pope And Framing Clay For It
Throughout the last few episodes of season five, fans were wondering whether or not Jax was willing to let Damon Pope have Tig. After all, Tig is semi-responsible for Opie’s tragic death. We then see Jax pull a gun on Tig, making us think he’s truly going to go through with it.
It all ends up being deceptive though, as Jax is able to take down Pope’s guys and allows Tig to kill Pope. The cherry on top is that they used Clay’s gun. It was mentioned earlier that if Pope is ever killed, a huge bounty will go out on the one responsible. Jax was able to take out two birds with one stone.
5 Not A Genius: Offering August Marks To The IRA
Apparently Jax forgot that some people haven’t left the 1960s. After a tragic school shooting, Jax tells the IRA that they need to get out of the gun business.
Like the cartel, Jax knows that he can’t just leave the IRA with no buyers. He comes up with the idea of giving introducing them to August Marks, who just so happens to be African-American. Unfortunately, the IRA’s greediness does not trump their racism as they take that as a huge disrespect. They end up attempting to kill the entire club after that.
4 Genius: Remembering The Green Pen
While offering Marks to the IRA was a bad idea, the club should be thankful that Jax has a good enough memory. The IRA agrees to a scheduled phone call where they want a full table in order to vote quickly.
This, of course, is a ruse to get the club in one place. As the phone call is minutes from happening, Jax notices a green pen in their clubhouse. He saw that exact type of pen when he attacked an IRA henchman at their warehouse earlier in the episode. Jax quickly realizes that a bomb has been planted and he’s able to successfully get everyone out before their entire clubhouse is blown up.
3 Not A Genius: Going After Lin And Defying August Marks
At the beginning of the final season, Jax is full of vengeance after the brutal death of Tara. Even though it was Gemma who actually killed Tara, she still convinces Jax that Lin was responsible. Due to this, Jax is on a mission to bring down Lin and his entire gang.
While it's understandable that Jax would do this out of love and revenge, he’s told by August Marks that he should not do anything in order to maintain relationships. Jax still goes through with his plan, which Marks is not too fond of. This leads to the events of the final season spiraling out of control, including Bobby getting murdered in retaliation.
2 Genius: Getting The Sons Of Anarchy Out Of Guns
It’s clear from the start of the show that Jax has his reservations about the club being involved with the gun trade. He even starts their own pornography studio in order to have SAMCRO in more legitimate businesses. It isn’t until season six where the school shooting makes him realize what the consequences of automatic weapon dealing have. He’s able to rally all the charters and gives a great speech about the issues guns have had on the Sons for years. He’s able to get all the charters to agree in the end.
1 Not A Genius: Killing Jury
Jury may not have had a huge arc throughout the show’s seven seasons, but he was always a likable guy amongst the gang’s violent members.
Due to this, fans were pretty shocked and appalled after Jax murders him out of rage and pettiness. Jax suspected that Jury had ratted on the club. This turned out to not be true, of course. Without giving Jury a proper way to explain himself, Jax selfishly shoots him right in front of other members but claims self-defense. Anyone who saw it clearly knows it was not, which leads to Jax getting a majority Mr. Mayhem vote.