Life in Charming became anything but in Tuesday’s action-packed Sons of Anarchy.
After meticulously plotting out an exit strategy for both herself and her sons, Tara’s plan unravels — and is revealed in full to Jax — thanks to her relentless mommie dearest-in-law, Gemma. With the ill-conceived scheme finally out in the open, the hour leaves viewers with a haunting image: Tara, awaiting the arrival of her scorned husband, is rocking her son to sleep, all the while balancing a loaded gun in her lap.
Elsewhere in the standout installment, Clay takes a bite out of crime (literally and gruesomely) in order to put into motion his gun-running plans with the Irish, while a sweet B-story leads to the return of a mysterious fan fave.
Here, Sons creator Kurt Sutter breaks down the demise of Tara’s plan and reveals Jax’s emotional state when we next see him. The EP also discusses Gemma’s next move, Clay’s mental state and why fans should go easy on the SAMCRO king’s old lady.
TVLINE | I was shocked that Gemma was able to get through to Jax so quickly. I figured Tara’s plan would linger until the end of the season. What made you map it out this way?
The plan that Tara had come up with, like so many other moves within this world, was really put together quickly — although she painstakingly executed it over the course of what would probably be a couple of weeks in real time. And when I thought about how long we continued to play it, it felt like there were a lot of holes in her plan. She rested responsibility on very flawed allies, from Wendy to Margaret; I really wanted to get a sense that it was a plan made in a short period of time out of desperation. And like many things in this world, it unravels quickly… The elements of this were really desperate; it was a desperate, extreme plan, and that’s the point I wanted to get across. There’s a scene in [next week's episode] where it all hits Tara. She’s like, ‘What the f–k has happened to me?!’ It’s the realization of where she’s at and essentially what love has done to her.
TVLINE | Talk about plotting out that final scene with Tara and the gun. Would she actually use it on Jax? To the same point, why would she stay and wait for him?
She has this information from Lowen and she has the boys, but I don’t think she necessarily knows what her next move is. She’s smart enough to know that if she runs that’s a bad thing. It’s about waiting and finding out where it lands with Jax. The gun was somewhat symbolic in terms of what she may need to do to protect her family — not that Jax would walk in the door and she’d point the gun at him. But it’s a sense that she’s probably sleeping with that under her pillow… We thought about what Tara would do once she got that information: Would she really uproot the boys, throw them into a car in the middle of the night? The truth is, where the f–k would she go?! Her plan and how it unspools plays out in the next episode.
TVLINE | The way Charlie Hunnam played Jax in those final moments — at first angry and outraged but then pretty defeated. Where do we find him emotionally next week?
Tara’s betrayal was deep, but it’s a different kind of betrayal. It’s not the betrayal of an enemy or of a brother, it’s the betrayal of someone he loves and has loved his whole life — the mother of his child. I didn’t want it to be straight-up outward rage. A lot of what happens with Jax — and what will continue to happen this season — is the awareness of his part in all of this. The rage and anger that he feels, and not to go too Dr. Phil on it, is really about himself. The level of self-hate is probably greater than the sense of betrayal. So, that’s emotionally where I wanted to leave him, more crushed by it all than enraged… A guy like Jax really has to shut down and process this.
TVLINE | Some fans are demonizing Tara for her actions this season, and almost holding her to a different standard that Gemma and Jax. Would you agree with that? And what do you attribute that to?
In terms of the fans, obviously Jax and Gemma are favorites and anything that rubs against them people are quick to demonize. I don’t know if it’s a different standard, but there’s a level of expectation from Tara that she understands and reacts differently. The thing that I love about her plan, and I think we address this in a future episode as well, is that Gemma’s been her teacher. That was a plan right out of Gemma’s handbook! The extreme and the nefarious nature of it, that plan has Gemma written all over it. It’s continuing that education of Gemma and, essentially, the Frankenstein she’s created is coming back to haunt her somewhat. But as this all settles in with Jax and his awareness and upstanding of it, my hope is that same awareness also settles in on the audience and they come to understand what’s driven Tara and why she did this. Yes, it was extreme and f—ed up, but Tara is a somewhat rational and compassionate person, so what had to happen to someone like that where they’re actually driven to do something that heinous? And at the end of the day, who is really responsible for that?
TVLINE | Now that the truth is out about Tara’s plan, what role will Wendy play in the remainder of the season?
We’ll continue to play out the Wendy storyline. For me, I loved bringing back that character. We don’t do flashbacks on our show, but I have an opportunity this season to, in an organic way, reveal history of some relationships. At one point, Gemma and Wendy were very close and Gemma saw Wendy as a good fit for Jax… In typical Gemma fashion, now that Tara has clearly betrayed her, where does she go and what’s the next logical choice for her? I don’t know if she believes that Wendy will replace Tara, because she knows there’s too much damage there with Jax. But Gemma’s a person who needs to have something in play — even if it’s about cleaning up Wendy. Is helping Wendy all a way to undermine Tara somehow?
TVLINE | Clay biting that prison guard’s face off was very Otto-esque. What was happening there? Did he have to go that far to get where he needed to be?
It was an Otto-esque move. The shrink that Clay needed to get to was in the psych ward, so to get where he was going to have access to that phone he had to go 5150 on this guy and go off the ledge. Rather than just be thrown in solitary, it had to be crazy enough that he would need to possibility be sedated and brought to the psych ward… It picks up the storyline with the Irish and where all of that is going.
TVLINE | The homeless woman returned this week. Have all of her intermittent appearances been building to this specific storyline?
I don’t know if it’s been building toward this. I’ve had a sense of: Who is she? Is she a ghost? And who sees her? This episode doesn’t really answer that; it just keeps that magic quality, that Shakespearean piece of the puzzle in play. I’ve always wanted to give a little bit of that backstory, so it doesn’t quite seem so random. She will keep representing what she represents, which is: Is she an angel? Is she a harbinger of doom? It just keeps it all in play, but gives it a little bit of humanity and gives Jax some sort of connection to it with the young girl.