R.I.P. Sons of Anarchy

We bid farewell to the story of Jackson Teller and his brotherhood of modern outlaws.

One can only imagine the challenges that face the writers and casts of dramatic series coming to a planned finale. Wrapping up storylines and giving closure to characters that have been developing for years, and years, is a daunting task. Daunting, but certainly not impossible.

With the maturation and experimentation that has given television incredible growth in recent years, there have been several finales that have rivaled some of the greatest endings in film history – Breaking Bad or Six Feet Under, for example. FX’s ultraviolent outlaw biker drama, Sons of Anarchy, wrapped its seventh and final season tonight – did it live up to its fans’ staggering expectations?

Love it or hate it, Sons of Anarchy had a clear thematic vision that developed over its seven seasons. What began as a hopeful, albeit brutal, story of redemption descended into the chaotic story of inevitability of the final explosive season. Brief glimmers of hope could not dispel the foreboding march towards finality. The finale settled virtually every major storyline, so longtime fans of the series won’t have too many direct complaints about loose ends – save for one fairly puzzling reference to a long running mystery. The exact question is posed, “Who are you?” to which we are given instead some obvious religious symbolism and no further explanation. Why bother even addressing it at all at that point?

Minor quibbles about loose ends aside, the ultimate resolution of the series was, in a word, satisfactory. Neither predictable nor unexpected, the story of Jackson Teller and the Sons of Anarchy ends perhaps precisely as it was meant to. The tone was a fitting metaphor for the series as a whole – dark deeds, extreme self-sacrifice, and hope for the future in the face of this darkness. Believable people doing terrible things simply makes good television.

If you haven’t dove into the series, or are early enough to have fears about the final seasons, rest assured – this one is worth the ride.

-Patrick B. McDonald