You see, the fun-loving SAMCRO stud of yesteryear is most definitely no more — a fact that should have become abundantly clear in this latest installment of the gritty FX juggernaut. In his place, explains the actor, stands an “animalistic” and “violent” man who is merely “trying so hard to show everybody that he’s here” to be part of this club, by whatever means necessary.
Here, Rossi breaks down Sons of Anarchy‘s Juice-y twist, from what’s causing his alter ego’s transformation to where this change is (very unfortunately) going to take him.
TVLINE | You told me back at the premiere party that I should be scared for Juice, but now I’m actually a little scared of him.
If you think that’s dark, Meg, you’re in trouble. [Laughs]
TVLINE | This week was definitely the start of that more violent side you’ve hinted at.
And I said that before I knew a bunch of other things! So, yeah…
TVLINE | So what we’ve seen so far is really just that violence bubbling on the surface?
What’s so brilliant about our show is that nothing is ever [left] unresolved; we always delay something…and then all of a sudden we lay something else down. The beginning of the season, where Juice had to kill the girl with the pillow – or where he killed the girl, whether he had to or not – was the beginning of a different time for Juice. And what you start to see in this week’s episode is him trying to figure out how he’s going to fit into this [club]. Does he have to become this violent, animalistic-type character? Is that what the club wants from him? Because if it is, he’s going to do that. But his innocence is always going to be there, and you’re going to see this complete battle within him. Episode 6 is just the beginning of how that all starts to play out and the repercussions that [will eventually] come from it. That’s the best way I can say it.
TVLINE | You also told me recently that you think Juice’s fight with Chibs made him snap. That’s mentioned briefly this week, but will we actually see more of that issue come to light?
That beating is a factor, among a couple of other things that have occurred. The Clay thing was also huge for him. Sitting in that house with Gemma [last season] and being the one who planted the gun and got Clay’s fingerprints on stuff – his involvement in that has a huge [impact]… Chibs cared for Juice greatly and then beat him senseless, and what Juice came to realize in that moment was that maybe there’s nobody. Maybe nobody cares. And maybe the only person who did care was Clay. But then I go back to that Juice is super gullible, and he wants to believe that everybody is doing the right thing for him and never questions if they’re using him. What he’s battling here is what he’s been battling since Season 4, which is [trying to find out] where he fits in. The way Episode 6 goes, it’s Juice trying to be this guy. He’s never been this guy. And when Jax tells him to slow down, he thinks, ‘OK, well then what guy do I be?’
TVLINE | Even when Juice was just in the background this week, he had a seriously deranged look in his eyes. What was happening there? Just adrenaline from that police chase?
[Laughs] A couple of different things: You’re completely correct about the adrenaline high. He’s thinking, ‘This makes me feel good in the moment, this violence.’ And at the same time, how much of it is that he’s snapped? I believe in my mind, and I believe that it was shown in a brief moment on that couch in the second episode, that Juice has gone to a different place. I don’t think he’s the same guy anymore. At all. There are moments of him… Somebody saw a preview of the chase scene from tonight’s episode and said how nice it was to see Juice laugh again. [Laughs] And it’s funny because it’s true. He was this innocent guy with this lapdog humor to him; he was just so happy to part of everything. And then obviously in Season 4 everything went down the tubes. Juice has fought before and killed before, sadly. [Laughs] But this is different.
I just have to echo what [Sons creator] Kurt [Sutter] said recently in tweet, something like, before you want to talk about this season or judge this season — in a good or bad way – watch the entire season as a whole, and then talk about it. This truly is one of those seasons where it almost has to be watched as one piece – and sadly that’s not the way it works on television because you have to wait every week. [Laughs] But to watch it all as one piece, this whole story that Kurt has created this year is absolutely masterful and I can’t wait for everybody to see it. I really can’t.
TVLINE | Will any particular Son confront Juice over his behavior?
Everybody right now knows everything from Juice’s past, so every move he makes is in the spotlight for every member. And that’s why he’s really trying so hard. He’s trying so hard to show everybody that he’s here to do this.
TVLINE | More generally, can you talk about the dynamic within the club now that Bobby’s back with these new members?
Jax said it to August Marks: ‘Our club is anemic at this point. We don’t have anyone.’ We need to strengthen, especially being the original Sons of Anarchy club. What Bobby does by bringing them in only strengthens us. But at the same time, just like anything, change is always something people have to get used to. Or at least try to figure out.
TVLINE | Overall, this was a lighter episode with a noticeably lighter ending – is all as well as it seems with SAMCRO ending its gun run?
Well, that’s always the most dangerous thing on our show, right? [Laughs] When things end on a lighter note? Kurt has said this is the most violent season, and it is. I’m not saying that in a way of, ‘Ooh, it’s so violent! Watch what happens!’ It’s just a violent season because this world has been set up for five seasons now. We don’t have a lot of time left in the show. A lot of things need to be answered. So, when things end on a lighter note, I mean, we both know that’s not a good sign. [Laughs]