The crowning achievement of screenwriter Kurt Sutter's career thus far, Sons of Anarchy was a full-throttled family psychodrama that played by its own rules. At the center of its violent biker subculture was SAMCRO, the mother charter of the MC, tucked away inside the quaint agrarian town of Charming, California.
An acronym which stands for Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Originals, the club began as a social rebellion by John Teller, whose return from the war in the late '60s left him an outsider searching for the same level of comfort and freedom he found in the war. Paving the club's rebellious ways with good intentions, he soon watched as monetary needs tainted the Sons' members, veering the MC onto an inevitably chaotic path. As John Teller's son and the rightful heir to his creation, Jax was a bright spot among the incessantly bloody actions of the club. Beneath the bloodshed, he foresaw more legitimate means of making the MC profitable, ways which could provide financial stability while keeping the brotherhood intact.
Through his own shortcomings, Jax was unable to save the club from its deeply rooted history of gun-running and drug deals, leaving an indelible impression in his wake. For seven seasons, the club wreaked havoc as Jax tried to keep its members afloat. Along the way, some members made a few questionable decisions and left some unresolved mysteries behind. Now, four years removed from the show's end, we're taking a look back at some of SAMCRO's biggest head-scratchers.
Come along as we explore the 20 Things That Make No Sense About SAMCRO.
20 The Racist Rule
Operating as an intelligence officer and computer hacker extraordinaire in early seasons, Juice Ortiz ended his run with SACMRO with one of the show's most disappointing storylines. After learning that his father was black, Juice turned on the club out of fear of an antiquated rule which strictly prohibited ethnic minorities from becoming patched members.
First formed in 1967, the club depicted in the series had come a long way since the days of the racially intolerant First 9. Having worked with other clubs such as the Mayans and the One-Niners, it made little sense why the Sons would keep such a rule and risk a chance of spoiling any lucrative business relations. Furthermore, Jax rarely displayed signs of racial prejudice, making Juice's actions unwarranted given his closeness with the club's members.
19 The Club's Decreasing Interest in Motorcycles
Throughout the series, Jax Teller rides a 2003 Harley Davidson Dyna Super Glider, a bike which star Charlie Hunnam became so accustomed to during shooting that he could often be spotted driving it about Los Angeles. Behind the scenes, the brotherly bond of filming and driving on the open road fortified the relationships of the cast, but sadly the interest in motorcycles took a backseat on the show.
As an established motorcycle club, the Sons could occasionally be spotted discussing their bikes while working at the Teller-Morrow repair shop, but rarely did anyone delve deeply into the specs and customizations of their rides. For people who seemingly enjoy the open road, they mainly use their bikes as transportation and the occasional high-speed chase, making the biker mentality a side note next to the crew's illegal activities.
18 All the Club's Ranks
Following the destructive leadership of Jax Teller in season seven, SoA wrapped with very few active SAMCRO members in Charming. With Chibs taking over as Prez and Tig acting as Vice, there was little manpower to keep the MC gainfully employed, but the club operated with so few members for the majority of the show's run.
With rarely more than ten members in Charming, the club's hierarchies remain a mystery. As seen patched on their vests, members can hold such titles as Sergeant-in-Arms, Enforcer, Secretary, Treasurer, Road Captain and Ass Kicker. Although the various patches highlight a member's attributes, they also provide details about their various tasks within the club. What isn't clear, however, is why so many positions are needed with so few members and exactly what all these positions entail.
17 The sons take each other out all the time
It goes without saying, but harming or fatally injuring another Sons member goes against the club's brotherly code. Obviously, not all members' demises are created equally. The passing of beloved character Opie Winston reverberated throughout most of season five, but others have come and gone with little aftermath.
The biggest difference between Opie's end and the demise of other characters such as Juice or Clay is that the others were taken out for the benefit of the MC, but those members' betrayal should still have lasting effects. Despite the "no snitching" rule, ordering Juice's demise in season seven shouldn't have come easily for Jax, yet he showed remorse. Perhaps all the illegal activities have numbed the members to wicked actions against their own, but it's hard to believe eliminating a once-dear friend could be so easy.
16 They don't clean up after themselves
In the season three episode "Caregiver", famed horror author Stephen King makes a surprise cameo as a professional "cleaner" named Bachman. After the live-in caretaker for Gemma's father fatally wounds herself in self-defense, Tig makes the call to clean things up. In a rarely depicted scene, Bachman uses a slop sink to carefully remove the problem while listening to a collection of '80s ballads.
The removal of Amelia Dominguez isn't just a perfect example of an Easter egg cameo. It's one of a handful of times when a Sons member is shown cleaning up a crime scene. With as many indictments as the MC has accrued over the years, it'd make sense for them to leave fewer bodies lying around, but as the series has taught, they rarely clean up after they're finished.
15 The Initiation of Prospects
Compared to the established members of the Sons, the newest recruits or "prospects" of the MC are given seemingly trivial tasks to prove their trust. Although Kurt Sutter never delves explicitly into the world of a prospect on the series, various new recruits are depicted, including Half-Sack Epps, Phil Russell, and Eric Miles, none of whom make it out alive.
While the hazing process for a prospect would typically avoid giving someone a potentially club-threatening errand, new members would often be tasked with keeping lookout during a business meeting or asked to look over family members while members were away. Either way, given how long many of them stuck around, it's easy to conclude that the initiation was a years-long process, which just makes it sadder that almost every prospect lost their life.
14 The Club's Stance on smuggling
In season one, viewers are introduced to Jax's ex-wife Wendy Chase, a recovering addict and the mother to Jax's oldest child Abel. Shortly after re-entering Jax's life, he makes his feelings clear about her substance use by vehemently voting against becoming involved in the substance trade, having experienced the negative effects of such things on the community.
Although the potential profits of smuggling are enough to help the club out until Jax can find a more legitimate source of income, he insists that the Sons have a code; however, he continues to use the club's connection to the Ireland to supply local gangs with guns. While Jax and some of the other members see the downside of gun-running, there's still a question as to why they believe substances are more harmful than semi-automatic weapons.
13 The Citizens of Charming Don't Care About the Sons' Actions
Home to a population of 14,679, Charming covers roughly twenty-three square miles, making it far smaller than the Bay Area located just fifty miles away. Its citizens are mostly middle-class workers; farmers, ranchers and lumberers. In contrast, the Sons of Anarchy bring notoriety to an otherwise ideal community with their illegal means of income, sacrificing the town's otherwise peaceful existence.
As the Chief of Police, Wayne Unser endured the club's actions, believing they protected Charming from further violence entering the town, but as the series showed, they couldn't ward off all threats. With the town's reputation at stake, Charming's citizens seem to have no care for the corruption brought on their home by the Sons, nor are they depicted taking action, which raises the question of what the town's true feelings really are.
12 The Club's Money Problems
Ideally speaking, the potential profits of gun-running and smuggling, combined with secondary sources of income such as a functioning pleasure house and a legitimate automotive repair shop should provide enough financial support to supply the Sons with a lifetime's worth of cash. On paper, there's more than enough to go around, though the Sons' members would have most viewers believing the risks aren't worth the rewards.
Beginning in season four, Clay Morrow enters into a lucrative trafficking deal with the Galindo Cartel after learning that he doesn't have enough money to retire comfortably. The hazardous deal leads to bloody complications for the club, but more importantly, it suggests that its members are rarely given enough to support their families long-term, giving them little reason to continue on with life-threatening activities.
11 The Club’s Treatment of Imprisoned Members
It is the obligation of working Sons to provide for their incarcerated brother until their release. Fully-patched SAMCRO member Otto Delaney first entered Stockton State Prison after being sentenced to six years for the club. During his stay, he remained so devoted that he continued to carry out crimes inside for its members.
For his unwavering love of the Sons, the club protected his wife Luann. Despite supporting Luann, however, the Sons showed little care for Otto. While locked away, Bobby Munson had an affair with Otto's wife and when a business rival ordered to have her life ended, the Sons failed to prevent it. Despite all the club's wrongdoings, Otto remained faithful. There's no justification for how little the club seems to care about its imprisoned members.
10 The Fate of Opie's Children
In season five, SoA fans suffered a detrimental loss when Opie Winston laid down his life to protect Jax from a beating in prison. His sudden, hard-hitting demise was the driving force for the Sons' retaliation against kingpin Damon Pope, but just as importantly, it begged the question of what happened to Opie's family.
Looking to reconcile life with his family after a five-year stint in prison, Opie was left a single father following the loss of his wife Donna and the demise of his father Piney, leaving only his children and his new wife Lyla. After being sentenced, he asked Lyla to watch after his kids, but after his life ended, nothing was heard of his family again. Presumably, Jax financially supported the children, though little is spoken about their well-being.
9 The Club Always Outsmarts Law Enforcement
With all their lethal shenanigans, the Sons have encounter their fair share of able-minded law enforcement officers willing to navigate outside the boundaries of the law. With an overwhelming amount of bodies, it was only a matter of time before the Sons mistakenly left just enough evidence to permanently shut down the club.
Among the notable characters intervening in the Son's plans were Agent June Stahl, Attorney Lincoln Potter, and heads of the San Joaquin Sheriff's Department Eli Roosevelt and Althea Jarry. Despite all the ruckus caused around town, the Sons still managed to narrowly escape any serious charges. Perhaps the club's largest threat came when a pending investigation was opened over violations of the RICO Act, but they would once again walk away clean, proving they're smarter than they look.
8 The Blind Faith in their leader
With all its treachery and ceaseless uphill battles, the Sons of Anarchy MC remained undying in its loyalty, but with seemingly no money to show for all the blood, sweat, and tears, the dedication appeared to be all for naught. After the destruction of members, family and various acquaintances, Jax's self-destructive path led him to an early grave and his band of brothers encouraged him with their refusal to dissuade his actions.
Ultimately, the strength of their brotherhood fueled the club's decision to blindly follow Jax, but as past actions have shown, the MC wasn't exactly against taking out another member. While it remains clear the club never wanted to go against their leader, there comes a point when everything boils over, and for Jax that moment occurred long before his demise.
7 The Club's Clean Clothes
With a name like the Sons of Anarchy, Kurt Sutter's gun-toting motorcycle club lives up to its anarchic reputation, but its members' fashionable cleanliness remains a lingering question mark. As many fans have been smart to point out, Jax's bright white sneakers are rarely bloodied or dirtied. Either he has an endless supply of shoes stowed away or he's constantly cleaning them after every one of his brutal encounters. Still, neither explanation accounts for the other club members, whose kuttes are rarely shown damaged or torn.
Futhermore, everyone's bikes appear in top notch form from episode to episode despite countless wrecks caused by very public, high-speed chases. Although all this could just be an example of Hollywood glamour taking over in place of logic, a simple scene could have easily explained why everyone always appears so fresh.
6 Gemma's Influence Over Club Members
Gemma Teller Morrow is an expert psychological manipulator and the reigning matriarch of the Sons of Anarchy. Hoping to someday see Jax assume control of the club, it's ultimately her overprotective nurturing instincts that become Jax's downfall.
Through her Machiavellian scheming, Gemma mercilessly ends the life of Tara Knowles in season six, resulting in an all-out war with the Lin Triad. Having twice served as the old lady of the Sons' leader, first with John Teller and later with Clay Morrow, her history with the club earns her respect. Still, with all her wrongdoing, it's never clear why the club continues to trust her, nor is it explained why other old ladies are given such little power in comparison, especially when they've done less to discredit their names.
5 Charming Isn't the Best Place for a MC
Beginning as a small group of veterans, the Sons of Anarchy's first members were John Teller and Piney Winston, two long-time best friends seeking their dreams. Settling in the quaint town of Charming, the club's base of operations was an quiet agrarian home which offered peace after the devastation of war.
Although Charming was once an ideal place to raise a family, it wasn't a choice location for the founding chapter of one of the country's most prevalent biker gangs. Although the Bay Area wasn't too far from home, which made smuggling contraband into the country easier, there was still a question as to why the Redwood Originals remained in Charming. Seemingly, a larger city would provide better resources and make hiding illegal activities easier, yet the MC continued to work out of a small town.
4 How Did They Get Anything Done?
For a small town MC, the Sons of Anarchy have accumulated a sizable lists of enemy organizations. As the bodies racked up, more and more onlookers began sniffing around. With countless antagonists asking for their heads, how did the Sons ever get anything done?
Seemingly, one idea Kurt Sutter would have viewers believe is Jax and his crew are more competent than their gritty biker exterior suggests, making them more than capable of multi-tasking. Still, it seems highly unlikely that they were concocting plans to escape their latest screw-ups while still managing to avoid suspicion, deal with family drama, and unload a heavy supply of contraband. In all honesty, there wasn't enough time in the day for all their troubles.
3 The Whole "Club Comes First" Mentality Is a Lie
As a fully-patched member of the Sons, strict adherence to the club's rules aren't an option. That means, above all else, Sons members must pledge their allegiance to the MC. Obviously, that kind of reliance on fellow members places a heavy responsibility on everyone's shoulders, with SAMCRO coming before everything, even family.
Although certain Sons have stood by the notion of "the club comes first," not everyone has returned their kindest. The biggest rule-breakers are Clay and Jax, who consistently put their own self-interests ahead of everything. Clay obviously rejects this idea when he enters into the deal with the Galindo Cartel for his own profit, but Jax constantly makes the mistake, choosing advice from either Gemma or Tara on several occasions despite the negative outcome it could bring the Sons.
2 John Teller's Plans for the Club Weren't Clear
John Teller formed the Sons of Anarchy in 1967 after becoming engrossed with the views of anarchism, believing the motorcycle club would recreate the brotherhood he found during the war. At a time where jobs were scarce for veterans, he offered camaraderie, though it was never clear what his intentions were for funding the club.
As John would later clarify in his manuscript, he foresaw the criminal direction in which the club was heading, although he never made a conscious decision when it came to entering the gun-running business. Though it's evident that J.T. attempted to persuade Clay Morrow and other members of the First 9 to stay away from illegal activities, plans for an alternative solution for funding the MC were never given.
1 The Club's Mayhem Vote for Jax
Jax Teller's final farewell occurred as he fled a squadron of police cars, driving head-on into a eighteen wheeler truck. Knowing his own interests would bring the club to its knees, he left his beloved MC behind, but not before the rest of the members had a mayhem vote behind closed doors to determine his fate.
Earlier in the series, Jax learned of his father's demise at the hands of Clay and Gemma, who tampered with his bike. Seemingly, Jax's fate paralleled his fathers, although his sacrificial last stance would suggest he took his own life. Still, a question was left lingering regarding the club's final decision on the mayhem vote and whether they may have had more to do with Jax's end than meets the eye.
What else doesn't add up about SAMCRO in Sons of Anarchy? Let us know in the comments!