Sons of Anarchy Season Finale Post Mortem: Kurt Sutter Tackles Burning Qs and Previews Season 5

[The following contains major spoilers from Tuesday’s Sons of Anarchy Season 4 finale. If you have yet to lay witness to it all, turn back now.]

Phew. Sons of Anarchy concluded what has arguably been its finest season (take note, Emmy!) with an edge-of-your seat, twist-filled, game-altering hour that tied up a number of loose ends and planted just enough seeds to keep viewers pumped for Season 5. In the following Q&A, the show’s passionate, outspoken creator, Kurt Sutter, weighs in on the finale’s biggest question marks and reveals what’s in store when the show returns next year.

TVLINE | Was it always your plan to have Clay survive the season?
Yeah. The character of Clay was essential to me for at least a couple more seasons. There’s so much more dramatic ground to cover with Jax at the head of that table and Clay now almost the Piney character in that he’s weakened and stripped of some of his previous weight and power. To me, that’s a really interesting dynamic. And quite honestly, I didn’t want to waste the power of Jax having that knowledge and passion and knowing about the deceit that happened and the secret that’s been kept from him for all these years with just one episode of him killing Clay. Because then it’s done. He’s avenged his father’s death and it’s almost like that storyline kind of burns out, and I just feel there’s a lot more story to tell there. I equate it to a little bit of what we did on The Shield. When Vic found out that Shane was responsible for killing Lem, we played out a whole season with those two guys knowing that. It was so much fun to have those two guys [harbor] intense hatred and and yet they had to suit up every day and go to work together. That’s just really fun fertile ground for story.

TVLINE | The Tara-Gemma dynamic was forever altered, too. They’re essentially becoming the same person. Moving forward, what is the one thing that prevents Tara from truly becoming like Gemma?
That was always the idea to have Gemma kind of bring Tara close and ultimately create her own little Frankenstein there. Look, I don’t think we’re going to waste the arc that we built with Tara this season. Meaning, she’s not going to go back to the, “Am I in or am I out?” Tara that we’ve seen previously. But clearly Tara is not Gemma… Tara gives Jax that syringe and says, “This is how you [kill Clay].” Well if it was Gemma, she would have already done it, so there’s still an element of Tara that’s somewhat removed. I don’t thing Tara would actually be able to go up to Clay and put a bullet in his head or put the syringe in the tube. Is Tara really capable of becoming Gemma? And what happens if she’s put in a position where she has to make that ultimate sacrifice for her family and her club? Is she going to be capable of going that dark? So I do think they’re definitely some struggles with Tara yet to play out.

TVLINE | Tara and Clay now have something in common, in that they both know that Gemma is concealing the truth about her role in JT’s death from Jax.

Sons of Anarchy Spoiler Alert: Look Who’s Returning in Season 5

TVLINE | I have to imagine that that’s going to be a big story for next season.
I think so. It’s interesting — people have been asking me what’s going to happen with Clay and Gemma, and I’m not quite sure yet. I just know that they will always be intrinsically connected because of the secrets and the lies that they have together. And that’s an example of one. It’s why when Gemma sees Clay alive at the end [of the finale], that’s just a really bad thing for her. That’s a really big, dangerous loose end. So that will be something that we will definitely play with next season. And for Tara, that definitely gives her some leverage over Gemma. There are definitely still some loose ends from those letters — even though we see Gemma burning them. The physical evidence is missing, but Tara has enough weight with Jax that if she told him the truth, even without seeing the letters I think he would believe Tara. Perhaps Jax might not believe Clay, but I definitely think he would believe Tara. So I do believe there is some danger there even though she’s destroyed the evidence firsthand.

TVLINE | Is it safe to assume that the crime boss father of Leroy’s dead girlfriend will be a huge character next season?
Yeah. In terms of the level of participation, that always remains to be seen. But I definitely wanted to lay some track for Season 5 and put some complications already on Jax’s shoulder as he’s sitting at the head of the table. He’s already got a problem [going into Season 5].

TVLINE | Is it possible that we’ve seen the last of Opie for now?
I don’t think so. It was never my intention to suggest that he is away. To me, it was just too convenient and too soon for Opie to suddenly come back to that table with Jax. So much has happened to him and he’s such a thoughtful guy. I just think he’s the kind of guy that’s going to [need] a minute to put all this stuff in order in his head. And we’ll probably build some kind of story around that before he’s able to actually come back and be [at Jax’s side]. So that was just [a matter of] protecting the character and then to give me some story play for next season as well.

TVLINE | Given the pressing nature of the Irish deal, will Season 5 pick up almost instantly?
Fairly close. Obviously, there’s not going to be the huge break we did between Seasons 3 and 4. But I’ll try to [build in] a little time, maybe a month or so.

For Sons of Anarchy Scoop and Spoilers 24/7 Follow Ausiello on Twitter via @MichaelAusiello

TVLINE | Where do you stand on setting an end date to the show?
I’ve had a conversation with [FX president] John Landgraf and I look at [doing] potentially seven seasons. And, honestly, that’s really just coming from the model of the show and knowing that usually by Season 6 and 7 the above-the-line costs start to get pretty high and the show sort of loses profitability and it’s really difficult to continue to [produce] beyond that point. So my thought was that if I could get seven seasons, I’d definitely have stories to tell and a way to end it. So ideally, I’d love to be able to get another three seasons.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Fancie says:

    Let me just say I love this show. Two things I haven’t heard addressed. One when the show was ending Unser was sitting at the head of Gemma’s dining table?? Wondering what that will be about. Also what about the junkie mom? I see something playing out with her. Maybe that will be Tara’s test will she have the gumption to kill for her boys?

  2. Dan says:

    I wouldve liked to have seen Jax take Clay’s thumb…if you cant ride you cant lead..

  3. rushfu2112 says:

    They killed Kenny! Bastards!

  4. soafan says:

    Since Piney was dead it had only been a few days. Pay attention to the time line. The last 4-5 episodes were 2-3 days.

  5. Arlo says:

    Poor Tara. She reminds me of myself with dumb choices in men. Jax is way hot, of course, and he loves her. But he is nothing but trouble and has been from the start. Tara is a surgeon for Chirst’s sake. Or she was, until she put herself at so much risk by being involved with Jax.

    I am getting smarter about men, but Tara’s choices make for better TV. Mothers, tell your daughter’s not to do as I have done. (IE Run like hell from men like Jax.) Tara should find herself a nice male nurse in Oregon. But for the sake of the show, I am glad she is sticking around.

  6. Daniel Gutierrez says:

    This was the best season if you exclude the last 42 minutes of show which erased all the climax accumulated through out the season. Making the whole season a waste of time if you take one step forward after taking one step back. They pulled a “bait and switch”, which is the corner stone of every good drug dealer, in this case writers looking to sell more product next season. P.S. Opie’s wife, dad, and unborn fetus have been killed and he always says “thank you sir may I have another.” What an anarchist, man of mayheim.

  7. Kelly says:

    Why does kurt keep blowing up Kenny Johnson’s characters? Anyone remember the sheild. The writers of SOA are the bomb. I love this show. The only thing I didn’t like was blowing up Kenny Johnson’s character. I thought he could have been a grEat ally for Jax

  8. megann says:

    I love this show! I enjoy watching every tues nite. My fav is jax hes hott n brave! I still think clay shouldve got wat he deserved!!!! Cant wait for next season!

  9. S.O.A.lover says:

    To all that dont like the finale or this season, you must understand in every great show there is always one season where things are slower strictly becuase at some point the story line must come out. So while i was upset that there was not as much action i was more then glad to get a better understanding of the storyline. So for those of you who had a problem with the season or the last episode maybe you should go buy every season from season one on and you might be happy to enjoy another truly american classic series. Or, if this is two complicated for you to appreciate there is always the cartoon network

  10. Chad W. says:

    I think it’s really funny how all these people who are saying that this season sucked or that it was disappointing to them or that the finale sucked or are complaining still watched and followed it right to the end. If it sucked so bad or was so disappointing then why didn’t you change the channel? You could’ve watched the Biggest Loser or Extreme Makeover Home Edition. I’m sorry if it was over your heads or that you just couldn’t wrap your little brains around the plot or the story arc. I felt it was brilliant. For those who think that Jax has become whipped well it’s like this. Remember I think it was the second show of the fisrt season when Jax was asking Gemma about his father’s vision for the club. He said it wasn’t outlaw it was more like a Harley commun. She said that that was when they were kids. You’re father became a man and men take care of business. That’s what we are seeing with Jax he is growing up and becoming a man and taking care of business. He is realizing that ther is more to life now with two young boys. And that trying to screw everything with legs and treating his club and life like it’s one big party is over. It’s time to step up and take charge and try to undo the mess that Clay and Gemma have made of his father’s ideals. If you don’t like they way the story is going or if it’s just too complicated for your little minds to comprehend then quit watching it’s as simple as that.

  11. BS No, really... says:

    I liked the way the season closed. Makes for very fertile storytelling lines and quickly. I thought going into season four was dragging a bit but it soon picked up. Then again, I didn’t watch the show until this past summer. Got spoiled watching all three seasons consecutively and always wanting more ASAP.

    I don’t think it’s easy for Kurt Sutter to get backed into a storyline corner, not with his wild imagination. Even if he should, or has with SOA he just takes us down yet another unexpected path. As long as they keep producing the show I think I’ll keep watching. It is my favorite. Why? Mostly because I have tremendous respect for the man and his talents. And for that matter, I think FX has some of the best written and produced shows anywhere on the planet.

    Thank, Mr.Sutter

  12. Hogg says:

    Lincoln potter is John teller. Am I the only one to notice that. He’s not dead folks he will kill clay. Look at the resemblance of johns old pics and potter

  13. jo siebert says:

    I want to see more of tiggy

    • Betty says:

      I agree,Tigg has become the most interesting character on the show. For all the weirdness Sutter is beginning to turn him human which may end up to be bad news for Clay and Gemma.

  14. BCFAN says:

    I thought this season was brilliant and so intense! A lot of brutality; the killing of Piny, Clay trying to kill Tara, and the hard to watch scene of Clay beating up Gemma! The dynamic between Tara and Gemma is something I look forward to seeing next season. Mr. Sutter your thougtful and passionate writing has made me truly care about the characters and want to be a part of their family. Maybe I’ll get on a Harley, ride down to Charming and become the next prospect or hell, if the Son’s want a BC chapter…

  15. cyndi says:

    This is the best show I’ve ever watched. I wish it went on constantly and never ended. We should get at least 10-11 seasons mash and Seinfeld got that.
    Also just curious is Jaxs life modeled after u?
    lastly my father is a Pres of an MC and we love this show.

  16. Bullet B says:

    OK… So I have a theory and please tell me I am nuts, because if I am not, this could definately happen or I can see it being there. If you are a show producer/writer, take note :)

    John Teller is not dead… John Teller is actually Lincoln Potter. Think I am crazy? Take note of some very small things that add up to the possibility that he is alive.

    In season 1 while Able is in the hospital, Gemma makes a comment to Jax. It doesn’t really mean anything at the time, but it does or could add to the theory. She states that, “Teller’s are fighters, your father lived for 2 days after being hit by a truck and drug 50 yards.” I am not sure that is the exact phrase, but it is pretty close. So JT did not die on the scene that was covered up by Unser.

    Through all of the seasons you are always shown a mug shot of John Teller on the wall in the club house. Why? he is dead… right?

    In an episode in season 4, Lincoln Potter see’s gemma, he went out of his way to meet her in front of the flower shop. Gemma’s 1st question was, “Have we met Before?” potter replies, “No”. You know what they say, you can cover up anything you want, but your eyes tell the truth. Gemma was JT’s 1st true love and the mother of his son.

    Potter never meets anyone in the club except Juice and Otto, niether of which were in the club when JT had his “accident”.

    Potter NEVER removes his jacket. why is that? Is it because he is covering up scaring or tats?

    Potter and Otto have a very short conversation in the prison right before they are to bring in Bobby to Otto. which by the way, potter excuses himself and Bobby never see’s him. Potter asks Otto, “why is Lenny so imortant to you?” or something to that matter. Otto replies, “you wouldn’t understand”. Potter’s response is, “you’d be surprised”

    Potter is a ver excetric person and so was JT. Potter does look similiar to JT, plastic surgery after the accident? I do agree the voice is a bit different though, but is similar.

    so my theory is simple… JT is still alive, he was put into protective custody or put into the witness protection program. reconstructive surgery was performed in part to save his life. He has now come back to exact his revenge on the club that tried to have him killed and kill the club that decided to do the wrong thing. In life, JT seemed to have been a good man and to want to do the right thing the best he could. He wanted SAMCRO to be the exact opposite of what it turned into and will stop at nothing to set things right.

    It’s just a theory, but if the writer’s didn’t intend for someone to think of this, they sure did put some things in there for someone to just sit and think about it for a bit and come to this theory. Am I wrong and completely off key? Only time will tell I suppose.

    • Ol' Lady81 says:

      No, I don’t think you’re wrong there, at least not entirely. I agree that there is something up with who Potter is or was or will be; he’s more than just an attorney. However, I doubt he’s JT reconfigured, so to speak. That would be too easy for this show. My theory is that he’s a former hangaround or prospect for the First 9 that even then was an undercover for the FBI (if memory serves, SOA was founded around 1968 & the ATF wasn’t around until 1972.) I kinda think that JT was a rat and that maybe Potter’s entire investigation is somehow being fueled by old files of info JT gave up. Plus, there are still many of the First 9 that we know very little about: Wally Grazer, Thom Whitney, Chico Vellenueva and Otto Moran (different from Otto Delaney). There’s a lot of room there for Potter to somehow have some association with any of them. But, I do think that we are subtly, but purposefully, being lead to suspect that perhaps Potter and JT are one in the same. The clues you’ve pointed out cannot be denied. The only thing that doesn’t quite fit for me is how Sutter has been so careful to always shoot Potters characters at odd angles in an effort to make us subconsciously associate Potter with creating imbalance. Go back, if you have the chance, and pay attention to the camera angles of the scenes that Potter appears in. They’re always cockeyed or sideways or he’s always standing on something other than the floor. I’m not sure that imbalance deal can be directly associated back to JT in a way that can only insinuate that Potter is JT.

      As for the recurring shots of photos of JT, I personally interpret that to be the whole “ghost of the king” deal from Hamlet, just like the journal was in earlier seasons. We’re supposed to always have JT in our minds even if he’s never technically been in the show.

      And yes…time will tell, that is a definite! :-)

  17. Tobias says:

    I love this show so much. I wonder if, by season 7, FX decides to can the show due to profitability reasons, they could come up with a way to get more money to keep it going. I’ve never really loved a TV show before but this is one I don’t ever want to end. Set it up where it’s a dollar or two per season? The show has over 3 million likes on Facebook. If even half of those people were willing to send a dollar or two then we could help keep it on the air. I don’t think this has ever been done but holy crap, if ever there was a show that was worth saving, this one is it. I’ll surely be purchasing the full box set of however many seasons the show ends up running for. Thank you for an amazing show, I hope it lasts for a long, long time.

  18. Marty says:

    We’ve practically seen every actor from “Lost” land on their feet somewhere on TV. It would be great to see the actor who portrayed Sawyer to land on Sons of Anarchy as a lost member of the MC!
    GetER DONE!

  19. jacks wife says:

    cant wait for season 5

  20. b from philly says:

    I love the show!! I hate harleys.. but watchin the show def makes me wanna go out n get a harley n a cut (biker vest) and start my own MC!!! Btw.. i just found out that otto is also the creator of the show lol.

  21. dogtracks39 says:

    I just started watching two weeks ago and I am hooked–have now watched all four seasons.

    I would like to see a little more intelligence in the show. Who kills three guys and then thinks the other camp has not been alerted, set up an abush and put in a mine field. Many of these guys are Vietnam vets and they walk right into abushes all the time.

    Leaving one prospect to guard the warehouse–if a gang attacks they lose everything–let’s see more security awarness. We kill the daughter of a big time gang banger but we do not add extra security??

    We upset a lot of people and then walk around like nothing has happened.

    I would just like to see a little more intelligence with the bikers.

  22. Ol' Lady81 says:

    I’ve watched this show since the first episode, and other than my intense hatred of Jaxqueline (because he’s a ridiculous, pretty boy, PMSing bitch character who wouldn’t last in the actual Life) I loved SOA. But this past season…well, I’m so disappointed. I don’t feel that Clay was shown to be turning into this reckless, desperate and deceitful son of a bitch in a way that made it believable. I felt like he got out of prison and he was just some other, new person that we hadn’t met before and we just had to accept that Clay was that way now. I hated that. There’s a big rule in any kind of writing of “show, don’t tell,” and I feel like in seasons past, we were “told” Clay perhaps killed JT (who was another ridiculous pussy)but we were never “shown” the influences or transition of the Clay we first met to the Clay in Season 4.

    Also, I love Tig…and where the hell was he in Season 4? He’s a great character and was under-used in Season 4…sucks!

    But mostly, my biggest problem with SOA has always been and always will be, Jaxqueline! He and Tara are the antithesis of what the 1% is and I can’t help but find both of there characters insulting.

    • corey says:

      could not agree more i quit watching cause of tara and gemma just awful characters and of course Jaxqueline, awful writing man show went from Sopranos on Harleys to Days of our Harleys just ridiculus again SUTTER YOU SUCK!!

  23. Owen says:

    Awesome season!!! Just started watching them last month and became hooked. Not exactly sure what to do with myself now that I am all caught up and stuck waiting. I’m sad but extremely excited for next season.

  24. Benji says:

    Please dis reframe from using “Hells Angels” name with the soa tv show. Our MC has no basis from this show. Unless you are part of the MC you have no idea what similarities there are. Thank you

  25. Kblo says:

    SOA is by far my fav show. I can’t wait for the next season to start and hope Kurt goes beyond season 7! Brilliant writing! I don’t think it’s geared towards a male audience at all, Kurt’s drawn in a huge female audience! Best show ever.

  26. Big country says:

    You obviously haven’t watched a minute of Sons you dumbass, he never ratted he only took a sample of the coke they tried to get him to rat but he didn’t don’t talk about shut you don’t know

  27. Big country says:

    Chibs is the freakin’ man

  28. Katie says:

    I am STUPIDLY addicted to SOA!!! I am still dreaming about it constantly!!! Come on Season 5, 6, and 7!!!!

  29. *Nicole* says:

    I love Soa. I think they cast was hand picked personally and I couldn’t be happier with it so far……except……I really miss the “hair”. But I understand it was based on the jail time And showing a form of maturity in Jax Teller. But now that some time has gone by, maybe it has grown back out for season 5. Wink wink.

  30. corey says:

    this was a man’s show but it has quickly become a womens soap Son of our lives! its awful the cartel actually being CIA wow deux ex machina awful writing i mean just awful and no realism at all , I mean i saw Jax flying down a packed highway shooting a gun in broad daylight and somehow he manages to hit a guy and kill him I mean thats murder!! how would he not get busted??what a joke SUTTER YOU SUCK BUD! qquit putting emphasis on your haggered wife and that jew tara

  31. brittany says:

    I’m sitting here reading all the comments I believ season 4 ended where it did. The one thing I love about SOA is it leaves me on the edge of my seat wanting more I can’t wait till it comes on next month I’m counting down the days. But one thing is for sure I think three people should put a bullet in clay. He needs to die

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  34. I absolutely LOVE SOA I can’t get enough of it.. I being a female an all. I wish y’all would show more of SOA and not have this a seasonal one time a year show!! This is the best show on TV ever!! I own every season and hope that y’all can figure a way to keep more seasons coming. I for one am gonna be devestated to see this show ever come to an end. Me and my husband both live this show and I’m sure y’all can see by all the viewers that plenty others live the show as well. Please give us more. Much more. We need more especially now more than ever. Thanks.

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