There very well may be no series on TV quite like Sons of Anarchy, and there’s a myriad of reasons responsible for that. One in particular is the show’s characters. The cast is so incredibly diverse and complex, and also so mentally instable in their own special way. The matriarch of the club, Gemma Teller, may be one of the more interesting subjects to examine. While being a woman doesn’t allow her to be an actual SAMCRO member, it can be argued that her influence goes farther than that of the president of the club. This is just one of the many ways her character defies the dynamic of Sons of Anarchy. She can be considered the most loving but shamelessly manipulating figures on the show, and a lot of things about her character often conflicts. It was obvious that at times the show just simply didn’t know where to place her, so it’s time we sort out some of Gemma’s biggest inconsistencies.
In order for an aspect of Sons of Anarchy to be considered for possible inclusion in this list, it first and foremost needs to relate to the character Gemma Teller in one way or another. On top of that, upon further examination, there has to be something about it that makes no sense. Finally, it should be noted that the list is limited to things that took place in the show Sons of Anarchy, so you won’t find any references to the comic books or Mayans MC come up here.
Here are 20 Things That Make No Sense About Gemma Teller.
While taking someone out someone is far from the realm of impossibility when it comes to Gemma, this one left viewers shocked. While the Queen of SAMCRO has never in particularly been fond of her son’s fiancé, she has admittedly made peace with her and even attempted to take her under her own wing at a time or another.
Tara’s decision to distance herself from Gemma when she believed her to be toxic for her children was the first straw, but when she believes that her daughter-in-law made a deal with the Feds which resulted in Jax going to jail, she blindly goes after her in her own kitchen, she finally ends it for her following a struggle.
Most mothers’ most proud moment for their sons are when they graduate college, join the Armed Forces, or when they get married. However Gemma’s was when Jax decided to don the infamous SAMCRO Cut. Despite what it symbolizes, the motorcycle club is easily one of the most violent gangs in the town of Charming, with a history of illegal activities. Jax himself has amassed one of the biggest criminal counts in the whole gang, and with every attempt he’s made to leave his life of crime in the past, Gemma has been there at every corner to keep him in the club. She’s made it clear that the integrity and longevity of the club is worlds more important than the livelihood of her son.
Gemma’s love life is far from predictable, but no one foresaw her and Nero being one of the show’s perfect power couples. Nero, an ex-gang member who now humbly owns a new type of illegal service, found Gemma after her falling out Clay. Following a hook-up, the two decided to continue seeing each other despite being weary of each other’s intentions. The two, while being affiliated in a life of crime, come from different worlds and have admittedly never dated outside of their circle. What made it more complicated was Nero’s recent friendship with Gemma’s son, Jax. After their meeting, she asks Nero to house him and the club members while they try to allude law enforcement.
There are some secrets that family members take to the grave, a virtue that Gemma held quite dear. Her decision not to confess to Jax that her and Clay conspired to take out his father years ago by sabotaging his bike before a ride isn’t clear. Up until he was an adult, she let him believe it was a complete accident. When he uncovered that Clay was involved, she continued to neglect the information that she was involved as well, fearing that it would break their bond, but one would have to say the damage was done after Jax discovered that she took out his fiancé. In her final moments, it would have probably been the best time if any.
While some may say it sufficed for her to ruin her own son’s life by inducting him into a criminal organization from when he was young, Gemma wouldn't agree. Against her son and daughter in law’s wishes, Gemma, in a private meeting with her grandson, Abel, gives him her SAMCRO ring, hoping to one day inspire the young Teller to follow in their family’s footsteps. Irresponsible doesn’t begin to describe Gemma’s actions in this moment, especially since she was forbidden to see her grandsons at this point in time. It’s a wonder after all the horrors she’s witnessed the club bring, why she would ever want to influence an innocent child to commit to such a life.
SAMCRO may have been many things, but what it wasn’t, was an all-inclusive organization. Club rules stated very clearly that the biker gang was an all male affiliation and while Gemma never had a seat at the table, her word was almost always treated as law. While it may have had something to do with the fact that she was married to two different Presidents of the club, John Teller and Clay Morrow, the respect she received from the club members was something unheard of in most charters. Women, in the club’s eyes, were traditionally given no say, however Gemma, not being your everyday women, held a commanding role and got away with influencing a lot of decisions.
With a track record as long as Gemma’s, one could easily argue that she doesn’t carry much compassion for living things outside of her family, but there is one thing shown to bring out her motherly instinct. Gemma has a soft spot for birds; her birds in particular. She’s actually owned a number of different kinds throughout the show, however it is never explained where the previous ones went or why she never opted for something traditional, like a cat or dog. Additionally, she is shown to have a tattoo of a crow on her chest, which is may be a symbol for the club, SAMCRO. Her love for the winged creatures is apparent when Mark's goons covertly eliminate them, leaving Gemma to grieve over them.
Call the Queen of SAMCRO what you will, but she’s been shown to fight tooth and nail to support her family. Gemma’s father, a character we have heard little to none of up until one episode, is revealed to be living with Alzheimer’s under the care of a caretaker. Still on the run from the police, Gemma sneaks away to visit him after her mother passes. However, when his caretaker is less than thrilled to find out Gemma is a fugitive, she deals with her in the various ways she knows how, and takes off with her father. Gemma brings him to an assisted living home, but seeing as she keeps this a secret from most of the club, it brings to question how she funds the housing for her father.
Gemma’s a sly one, but more than often her crimes are out of passion, leaving little time to cover her tracks, and number of holes in her alibi. Nothing was more apparent of the club’s lack of suspicion of her than when she took out Tara in her own home. Believing her to be plotting to rat her Jax out to the police and escaping with their sons, Gemma attacks her in a fit of rage. Not even once was it considered by anyone in the club that Gemma could have done something so insane, despite all the clues and motive pointing toward her. Gemma immediately lies about the Chinese in order to give them a scapegoat and, without any clear evidence, they immediately accept it.
You know those random moments when you almost end up up with your best friend’s wife and never speak of it again? No? Just Tig? In the wake of a terrible attack against the Queen of SAMCRO, Gemma distanced herself from not only Clay, but the whole club in attempts to heal. She battles with the idea of being unattractive to her husband, Clay, after this moment and things get up close and personal after a visit from his right hand man, Tig.
There’s little to no explanation in the scene, but Tig catches Gemma in a nightgown, the two lock eyes, and it was off to the races. Following a quick embrace, the two come to the realization of what they were actually doing and stop.
Whether it was the fatigue of running away or seeing her son in agony, Gemma decided to stay completely still only a couple feet away from Jax and his weapon. Jax had finally come to the resolution of ending his mother’s life and instead of continuing to run away from him, or fighting for her life, something we’ve seen her do a number of times, she granted him the free shot.
Gemma’s will to live seemed to have no bounds, however it was the first time we witnessed her almost giving up, by telling her son to finish the deed. It was also a deed that she wouldn’t let anyone do for him, not even herself.
Gemma appears to have left her husband in the past following his assault against her and his incarceration in connection to the passing of a gang leader, but things appeared to be a bit more complicated than that. Now officially with Nero, Gemma opts to see Clay in jail. in which he reveals his plans to move to Belfast and how he needs her help to coordinate his escape. While they were together for a number of years, they had officially been separated since the assault and she doesn’t owe him any favors. Gemma also appears to come see Clay off after his apparent release from prison, where Clay leaves hers with a goodbye kiss.
Former Charming Police Chief Wayne Unser may have been the only person on the entire show that was prepared to do absolutely anything for Gemma. It was later revealed that the two grew up together and, while their history is never explained in explicit detail, it was evident the two held quite a bond. It became increasingly evident that Unser was in love with Gemma, even before he confessed it to her in the sixth season, however the feelings were never returned. She instead opted to keep Unser at arm’s length, as his former Police Chief status granted him a number of resources for her and the club. Unser’s ultimate demise was a result of him attempting to protect Gemma.
Jax Teller: President of the infamous SAMCRO motorcycle club, known criminal, and ex-convict. One would assume a young man like himself could take care of himself. Gemma has idealized the concept of “no matter how old your baby gets, he’s still your baby.” Gemma and Jax’s mother-and-son relationship often reaches uncomfortable levels.
She’s literally involved in nearly every aspect of his life, including his love life, and will often employ her masterful skill of manipulation to get him to do what she wants. This includes going through his romantic partners, his club members, and even his children to influence him. What’s even more concerning is that Jax rarely seems put off by this behavior and seems to almost prefer it.
It appears no female is good enough for Gemma’s perfect little guy. It’s clear that Gemma can’t help but meddle in Jax’s romantic relationships, but it’s also true that she’s never been fond of anyone he’s dated. Her incredibly judgmental behavior deters a lot of females from getting too close to him, but she’s convinced that most of them don’t carry good intentions for her son or the club. In the first season, she went as far as leaving Jax’s ex-girlfriend with illegal substances while she was in the hospital recovering from an overdose. Tara may have only lasted as long as she did because of her usefulness to the club as a doctor and ability to not be baited into Gemma’s schemes.
If Gemma strikes you as the kind of person to not have a lot of girlfriends, you’d be right. She’s the type one might consider to have a “strong” personality. At the very least, she’s not for everyone, however there was one other female in Charming that was able to call her a friend. Luann Delaney, wife to Otto Delaney, an incarcerated club member. What made Gemma and Luann’s relationship so strange was the fact that the two almost had nothing in common, other than their affiliation with the club. Luann was the head of an adult company, Cara Cara, and for the most part wasn’t involved in much illegal activity. Despite this, the two confided in a lot with each other and she was even the maid of honour at Gemma and John Teller’s wedding.
The members of SAMCRO may have tallied up quite the impressive body count, but when you consider the one who pulled most of the strings, Gemma definitely has all of them beat. While she’s only taken out a handful of characters on the show with her own hand, her influence in the club and overall manipulation of Clay and Jax has often resulted in a domino effect of passings. While there were many times she’s calculated the damages, Gemma often gets way over her head, allowing all out brawls to transpire because of information she relayed, withdrew, or flat out lied about. One of the most notable moments was when she caused SAMCRO to go to war with the Chinese after she lied about what happened to Tara.
One of Gemma’s biggest faults is believing she always knows what’s best, even if it comes at the cost of her own safety. After Weston and his crew assaulted her, she opts to not tell Clay or Jax, as she doesn’t trust them to not do something rash. While some would consider something rash to be quite necessary, she thinks it will play right into Weston’s plan, however she later tells them to prevent Jax from going nomad. The delay in telling the club only resulted in Weston’s League damaging SAMCRO much more than needed. A lot of casualties would have been preventable if Gemma trusted the club to take care of the issue from the start.
Gemma has taken drastic measures in order to not only keep her grandchildren safe, but to also be a prominent figure in their lives. In one careless instant, she sacrificed it all when she decided to get behind the wheel of a car under the influence with the two children in the backseat. She got into a wreck and of course lied, stating that a van tried to run her off the road. Gemma’s ability to be a positive influence with Jax’s boys was already put into question, but it was evident that after her assault incident, she became reliant on substances. After realizing the truth, Jax and Tara was prepared to completely omit Gemma from the boys’ life.
Gemma might be a bit much to handle, but she does know her limits… False. Gemma has no limits and that was made clear when she went out of her way to grab a federal agent, a person that could make things difficult for the club. What makes the feat even more insane is that Gemma did this at the agent’s police station in broad daylight. In Gemma’s defense, she took the drastic measure to prevent Jax from going to jail, but her sense of diplomatic immunity can be considered a bit nuts. After the confrontation, the agent doesn’t even call it in, despite being advised to by her partner.
Which of these confused you most? Let us know in the comments!