Sons of Anarchy: The Revelator (season finale)
(S01E13) "... there's only one face I see." - Jax
Well that was pretty impressive. Sons of Anarchy went from a show that I really didn't care for (Kurt Sutter admits that the first two episodes were a bit "ambitious") to one of my favorite new dramas of the '08 fall season. I'm echoing just about every critic around the country by saying this, but Sons really did get better each week. As far as season finales go, last night's capper gave us the perfect amount of answers and questions as well as one of the most layered, metaphorical, and nuanced ending sequences I've seen in quite a while.
In the aftermath of Donna's accidental murder, it was inevitable that it would be the lynch pin in Jax's transformation. Everything this season (the questioning of Clay's leadership; reading John's manuscript) has been building up to the moment when Jax would finally say enough is enough.
The revelation that Clay ordered the hit on Opie and Tig bungled it by putting a bullet in the back of Donna's head turned into the ultimate betrayal for Jax. We've seen Jax break down all season, becoming more and more emotional, until it all finally came out when he yelled at Tara for wanting to leave again. His confession to having "slept with hundreds of women" but only seeing one face "while he's inside them" was about as personal Jax has gotten all season and was truly the only moment that we saw him for who he really is. Not a killer and certainly not Clay.
The final sequence (after Jax beat the crap out of Tig) at Donna's funeral was the ultimate transformation for Jax. He drank himself to sleep on the front steps of a tomb in the cemetery. The family name on the tomb? Patmos.
Jax is no longer Jax. He's his father, John. And not only that, now he's John the Revelator - aka John of Patmos - the widely accepted author of The Book of Revelation. Hence the episode title and the folk tune playing as Jax strutted to the ceremony, risen anew in his epiphany of change. He was the only one wearing white at the funeral until Tara rushed over to him and dressed him in his leather vest, as if to silence the truth on the tip of his tongue. Jax may have stayed quiet, but the looks he gave Clay and Tig said it all. It was a phenomenally well thought out scene; mesmerizing to watch. Time for a change indeed.
More thoughts on "The Revelator" --
What did everyone think of the scene when Tig admitted to Clay that he had an opportunity to kill Opie but couldn't pull the trigger? The way he admitted weakness reminded me exactly of the moment in the first season of Damages when Ellen asked Patty, "do you regret what we did?" That utterance set Patty on a path to have Ellen killed and I wonder if Tig's moment of weakness will push Clay to do the same in season two.
While I was hoping for some devastating secrets to be buried in John's manuscript, it really did turn out to be nothing more than a message of peace. Completely acceptable, just not quite what I had been wanting. Hopefully season two will shed some more light on how he was killed though. Was he killed in Vietnam? I'm assuming no, since that's how he met Piney and they founded the club after the war. So was it accidental, natural, or pre-meditated?
Speaking of Gemma, Katey Sagal had better get some recognition for her role this season. Hands down, the performance of her career. Peg Bundy who?
We saw that homeless woman twice now - Gemma gave her money in the previous episode and now she gave Jax a blanket. What do we make of this? I think I'm missing something...
I loved the moment in Unser's office when he told Hale to try and appeal to Jax. It took a tragedy, but Unser and Hale finally saw eye to eye.
Agent Stahl: "I guess I'm feeling guilty about creating orphans." Great line.
Is it wrong that I only think of Skitch Patterson whenever I see Tom Everett Scott?
Piney had a copy of the manuscript too. Jax had burned his and Gemma destroyed it when she found it. But Piney had a clean, pristine copy to give to Jax. Makes you wonder how many more copies are out there and that no matter how hard Gemma and Clay try, another copy will somehow always make its way into Jax's hands.
We probably won't see season two until around August or September of '09, but in the meantime, there are still a lot of loose ends to ponder. Could the witness possibly come back? Will Bobby still get charged without her? What happens when Clay's arthritis takes over and Jax is in charge? Would he even want to? What happens if the rest of the club finds out what Clay and Tig did? Is Tara going to stay in Charming? Could Kohn's charred body be found? I could keep going, but I won't. It took the whole season to have me hooked, but I'm in - FX has done it again.