Post Mortems

Drea de Matteo Calls Sons of Anarchy's Upcoming Series Finale 'One of the Best' in Television History

In this week’s Sons of Anarchy, Drea de Matteo‘s arc on the FX drama came full circle when Jax at long last told Abel that Wendy is his real mom. The powerful scene was symbolic of how far de Matteo’s ex-junkie character has come over the show’s seven-year history. As series creator Kurt Sutter recently noted, “The woman who was probably the most damaged in the pilot is [now] the most self-aware human being in Charming.”

De Matteo believes Wendy’s drug issues played a pivotal role in that evolution. “She’s done so much work on herself being a drug addict and being institutionalized for four seasons,” the actress explains. “She now has more of a center — and maybe a little more self-worth — than the other characters.”

In the following Q&A, the Emmy-winning Sopranos vet reveals why Tuesday’s Jax-Abel-Wendy scene turned into a “f—ing mess,” offers an early review of the show’s Dec. 9 series finale, and shares her dream ending for her reformed alter ego (hint: Starbucks is involved).

TVLINE | How did you approach the scene?
It was very hard. I didn’t have any dialogue. I just had to be there. Also, being a mom in real life — and a mom who is separated from the dad — it was easy to go to that place. But, at the same time, it was pretty f—ing hard… It was a long time coming. And it happened three episodes before the end of the entire series. She finally gets to become a mom… I put a lot of time into preparing for the scene and, as actors, we’re like tigers in a cage. When the cameras started rolling, I really lost my s–t. Thankfully, they didn’t use those takes. They used a take after my sinuses and everything had dried up a little bit. [Laughs] I was very, very tame in the take they used. There were other ones where I really lost it.

TVLINE | I would think you would’ve wanted them to use one of your more emotional takes.
No, no, no. It was a quiet moment between a father and a son. It’s really about them. Also, you wouldn’t have been able to hear them talking over my sniffling and crying. I had snot all over my hands — I was a f—ing mess. [Laughs]

TVLINE | Is Wendy still in love with Jax?
Oh, hell yes. Wendy was always in love with Jax, but she knows in her heart of hearts that there’s nothing but danger there. She doesn’t have the kind of survival [instincts] that the other characters have in order to live in that world. Yet she will walk down any hellish street with any of those characters for the greater good of those babies.

TVLINE | Now she’s living with Jax and the kids, essentially playing house…
She’s only been there one night so far. [Laughs]

TVLINE | I have to think that’s going to start to mess with her head as we head into these final three episodes.
I can’t speak about the final episodes, but I know that when I read that script and when I was in that scene folding that laundry, all of that was going through my head. I hadn’t been on that [particular] set since Season 1, so it was the first time I was back in that space. Even when I was walking to set, I started walking to Gemma’s [house]. I was like, “Wait, I’m not going to Gemma’s, I’m going to Jax‘s f—ing house. What does that mean right now? I have to change my whole head space.” [Laughs] It was loaded, for sure.

TVLINE | Is that why she pulled away from him when he hugged her?
Yes. It’s just too heavy and scary for her. And she doesn’t want to get hurt. The goal right now is to just be friends.

Wendy NeroTVLINE | The Wendy-Nero friendship has been interesting to watch. Why do you think she’s drawn to him?
They have such similar sensibilities. They’re both there for one reason and one reason alone, and that is for love. And they also have that little demon in the back of their heads that doesn’t mind the insanity and the excitement that comes with that world.

TVLINE | Part of me thinks they’ll be the last two standing and they’ll end up raising the kids together.
[Laughs] I don’t know!

TVLINE | Wendy has always hated that her child was exposed to such a violent lifestyle, yet this season, she seems to be looking the other way and keeping her mouth shut. Why do you think that is?
She knows the rules, and she knows that she’s going to have to play by them in order to be closer to her son. She’s fully aware of how violent and ugly things are getting for Jax. But she’s not going to walk in there and say, “F–k you, I’m taking [Abel].” She’s going to come in and say, “I just want to help.” She has to play in the confines of that world and hope for the best.

TVLINE | How would you characterize these final three episodes?
I haven’t seen the episodes put together yet, and I haven’t fully read them, but the little bit I do know… it might be one of the best series finales of all time. The final episodes are f—ing beautiful.

TVLINE | What’s your ideal ending for Wendy?
Kurt said on Conan that his dream ending would be for Jax to wake up from a dream and be driving his Vespa into a Starbucks. And my continuation of that is that Wendy would be the barista. [Laughs] And he asks her out on a date.

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. Kar says:

    “But she’s not going to walk in there and say, “F–k you, I’m taking [Abel].” She’s going to come in and say, “I just want to help.” She has to play in the confines of that world and hope for the best.”

    This shows Wendys smarter than Tara. If Tara did that she’d be alive and wouldnt have been arrested.

    • Cate says:

      How does that make Wendy smarter than Tara? Wendy is a weakling. Tara was strong. She wanted to get her kids AWAY from the violence. Staying put and allowing her children to be exposed to the brutality of that world would have been stupid. Tara was arrested because she DID play within the confines of the world. She was working at the prison trying to get Otto to recant his RICO statement — to help the club. That is what led to the Pamela Toric murder and her getting arrested as an accessory. So, actually playing within the confines of that world effectively ended her career and sent her to jail. That’s when Tara got smart, and stopped thinking with her heart and put her love for Jax aside. She used her head and put her children first. That’s not what Wendy would do. Keeping them in Charming is the worst case scenario.

      • Jax&Juice's Girl says:

        Tara always put the kids before her, in S5 she helped the MC out w/the Otto situation (which got her arrested) cause she ”thought” it would speed up whatever business they had so Jax can leave WITH TEHM out of Charming. Wendy has been a weak link since day 1, but I do give her CREDIT for trying and now being there for both Abel and Thomas at a time like this w/ Tara gone. Can’t wait to see this final episode this show has been insane and I don’t want this sh*t to end!!!!!

      • LORI CASTADY says:

        Sutter’s compassion for Wendy is obvious since she survives

    • abz says:

      Her playing in the confines of the world only makes her weak. Tara was strong and admirable and put those kids before herself, something Jax never really did. She wanted a better life for them and she tried to give that to them and unfortunately, she was murdered by a psychopath in the process. She deserve her fate and the only reason Wendy isn’t doing anything other than being a babysitter is because she’s scared after what happened and her involvement with Tara in the first place.

    • Lisa says:

      I agree with you, Kar. Tara should’ve never come back, she wasn’t made for that lifestyle. I don’t mean that as a bad thing, she was too good for Jax and Wendy isn’t. She knows he would never change and so now she has to settle. And like she said, there is something in the back of Wendy’s mind that does enjoy the violence and wildness of that world. Unlike Tara, Wendy was made for that world. Jax/Wendy >>>

    • vesa says:

      Great interview of Drea de Matteo. About time Jax told Abel who his real mother is. Tara was a good “second mommy” sometimes and step-mommy, but she wasn’t his real mother. Wendy always retained her parental rights but did give guardianship to Tara within the last couple years. Tara had absolutely no reason to despise Wendy as Wendy never did anything to her. On the contrary, Tara pretended to be friendly to Wendy multiple times to use her, slept with her still-husband Jax in season one, and then tried to keep Wendy’s son from her permanently in a display of irrational possessiveness in season 4. I think no one besides Wendy has learned to love people, especially the kids without possessing them. Even Gemma, Jax, and Tara have done this repeatedly. They were so fixated on “keeping” the kids almost like ownership of them even to the kids’ detriment. Wendy never did that. For the last five years, she has been doing right by Abel first in becoming a much better person while everyone else in contrast was going to hell in a hand basket. She also stepped away from her rightful place as mother allowing Tara to have guardianship for a time when she needed to clean herself up and better herself for her and her child’s future. Even though it must have been hell being away from her son, she put him first or at least thought she had. (In truth, she shouldn’t have quite trusted either Jax, Tara, or Gemma with him given how badly Abel fared during the whole time that trio raised him). It’s really refreshing to see a character rise over time, redeem themselves, and also never stoop to murdering, violence, and crimes like every single other character. Good on her–Wendy deserves this now.

      • vesa says:

        (Posted before I could switch to the area. My comment wasn’t meant as a reply to anyone, just giving my opinion of the character and interview.)

    • vesa says:

      Agreed, especially about the not being smart comment. Tara strangely thought she was untouchable it seems and could act contrary to that world she knew and all the rules would not apply to her. She couldn’t change the system. Maybe no one could. Tara for all her false bravado of assuming she was smarter than everyone, actually ended up being the most “stupid” of all. Tara should have gotten those kids out a long time ago. I don’t have a problem with Tara wanting to get them out of that life, but I had a huge issue with HOW she ultimately went about it in the most stupid, irrational, and mass-casualty way of handling the entire situation. Her actions could have killed and destroyed many people and nearly did. It was on her partly how everything went down and it’s a shame. I do think the writers took Tara to insane levels out of character the last two seasons she was on the show. I think they had to do that in order to destroy Tara and kill her off, but it seemed really ludicrous and in moments out of character. Not happy how they handled the character overall, but mostly the last few seasons. Seems ilke they could have planned the character better especially setting up her end. On the contrast, Wendy has risen and become the best person on the show while Tara and everyone else just fell further and further. I guess that was intentional and first obvious in season 4 the huge contrast between the two women and their shifting journeys almost in exact opposite directions.

  2. wrstlgirl says:

    Now that she’s no longer a druggie I wish they’d tone down her make up. She’s much prettier without all that dark stuff around her eyes. I do think Wendy will survive what’s coming and possibly end up with both Thomas and Abel. I know everyone is rumored to die but I’m thinking Jax may survive also and possibly Gemma. We shall see. I really hope no spoilers get leaked.

    • Dysturbed says:

      I’ve been thinking that once the other chapter of Sons comes back into play and things continue to bite Jax in the butt, that Jury’s assumption that John Teller killed himself will turn out to be foreshadowing for what Jax ends up doing to himself.

    • Jeff L. says:

      Drea always wears her makeup like that, not just on SOA. I think she looks fantastic.

  3. the girl says:

    Wendy will live, thank goodness, because someone has to take care of those two boys. I doubt very highly that either Abel or Thomas will die before series end. My dream final shot is her and Nero and the kids getting the heck out of Charming and away from that life. Gemma is definitely dead and Jax might be too, but Chibs is totally still alive.

  4. Simone says:

    Whoever does her makeup on the show should be fired. She is always over done – SO much eye makeup and lipstick. She looks so much older than she is. Also, I think it’s sweet that she still loves Jax but ummm this dude violently shot a speed ball into her arm and has threatened to essentially kill her on multiple occasions if she came close to his kids. Jax was always very very romantic and sweet to Tara and understandably so – he loved her more than anyone or anything. But he was heinous towards Wendy. She should have some self respect and not go back to him. I really hope that doesn’t become a thing. He instantly friend-zoned her when he was telling Abel that she was his first mommy, so I doubt it’s going to happen. Plus, Jax doesn’t have the capacity to ever love anyone again so I just hope he puts all of his energy into raising his children. But… that is unlikely to happen.

    • TJ says:

      She’s in her 40’s – she’s older than Charlie/Jax. But yeah, her makeup is pretty terrible on the show. I really don’t like Wendy but I’m glad she is off the drugs and helping out. I don’t ever see Jax and her getting back together. Remember Jax told Tara that he married Wendy because he was lonely and called it a “sad time out.” He has only ever loved Tara.

    • Funny how all the women want to trash her looks. Actually, Drea wears her makeup like that off set, as well as on SOA, as evidenced by her Facebook selfies. It’s the style she prefers. I think she looks absolutely beautiful, no complaints here !

    • Katerina says:

      He wasn’t always horrible to Wendy, in the beginning he actually forgave her for her drugging. He told her that it was his fault too, he did the speedball to her arm for Tara. He loved Tara & she feared Wendy would take Abel, so Jax put the speedball into her arm so she couldn’t. Legally she would look like a junkie. Just like he brained Ima because Tara was upset she came into the clubhouse with Opie since Jax cheated on her with Ima after Tara stood by while Abel was kidnapped (I get it she was pregnant & scared but she still froze as understandable as it is). Most of his horrible acts via the club weren’t to women or children, it was why he fought with Tig & Clay. Violence against criminals isn’t the same as violence against women. That is truly heinous & honestly the few times Jax did it was because of wanting to appease Tara who isn’t so different from Gemma.

  5. Netty says:

    I’m very indifferent to Wendy. But Tara was very level headed and realised that even though she despised Wendy, she (Wendy) was the next best option to raise the boys if she had ended up going to jail.
    I hope Wendy and Jax do not get back together, I’d rather the series end with Jax all alone than with Wendy. But I also wish Wendy has her own happy ending with the boys and Nero.

    • abz says:

      I want the ending as well. No one can replace Tara, but at this point, Wendy and Nero are the most sensible two people left on the show. I don’t want to see those kids growing up with Jax. As much as Gemma needs to get her comeuppance, so does Jax. He isn’t innocent in anything that’s happened. If he remains with those kids all he will continue to do is bring danger and destruction to their lives at some point. Those kids need safety and stability.

      • Lisa says:

        Well said. I hope Jax gets his own comeuppance, too. I hate how much they’ve villanized Gemma when everyone on the show has done their fair share of terrible things. Remember Tig killing Donna? Jax physically hurting multiple women and also killing people? Clay during season 4? Juice being a rat and killing innocent people? Yeah, Gemma isn’t the only bad guy here….

        • Stormie says:

          I loathe Gemma but I agree with you in that all of these people deserve death. I would just save Thomas,Able,Opie’s kids,Lyla and Margret the rest of them can burn in a hell of their own making.

  6. Cassie says:

    My dream ending is same as kurts in a sense but it’s when he and tara are together at the house preparing to “get out” in s4 Out. They succeed!!!

  7. Maryann says:

    The show lost me when Tara died, and the total nail in the coffin was when Jax became irredeemable. The only possible reason to watch now is to see Gemma get what is coming to her.

    • Marie Black says:

      Agree, I stop caring for this show from season 4. Too much killing and making out the people who brings the show any life and meaning out to be the bad guys. Where is the fun in having all our dream turns into a nightmare. Season 1 to 4 is all the seasons I need to build my own story ending.. Good luck!!

  8. Lisa says:

    I love Wendy, I love Drea. Great interview.

  9. Eliza says:

    I have missed Maggie Siff during every episode this season thus far. Worse SOA death for me.
    I wish the woman who used to work with Tara (I am drawing a blank on her name) would come back and help with the boys. But I could only see her doing that if Jax and Gemma are out of their lives for good. She knew what Tara wanted for those boys.

    • Stormie says:

      Margaret is her name and I agree. Someone who loved and knew Tara should be in the kids lives especially Thomas. I find the term real mother offensive and demeaning. Wendy had sex and reproduced that doesn’t make her a mother. Tara loved and took care of him from day 1. That is an actual mother. As of now Wendy has done no more for Able than Brooke has.

      • Tara deserved what she got, I hope Gemma dies too!!! says:

        If that’s the case Tara’s dumb … should’ve left long after having Thomas while she was taking care of Abel. She should’ve taken both boys & never subjected them to that lifestyle. If she was so smart she would’ve found a way long before marrying Jax, instead of trying to be another Gemma. She wasn’t much of a mother either because no matter how much she loved Jax those boys should have NEVER been in a situation where they lost a mother. Wendy may have made more mistakes then one but she’s alive & is making up for them.

        • abz says:

          Tara tried her best to keep her family together for as long as she could. She was also promised by Jax, her partner and the children’s father, that they would all get away from the MC life TOGETHER. She tried to be like Gemma in an effort to fit into the life while Jax dealt with the things he needed to deal with before they could move on. However, when she finally realized she couldn’t put her faith in Jax anymore she tried to put matters into her own hands. She wasn’t a perfect woman, but she DID NOT deserve that gruesome death.
          And are you really blaming Tara for being murdered? Why not blame the psychotic mother-in-law or the husband who endangers his wife and children? (Did you forget that their child was almost bombed at the club?) Those kids never should have been in such a situation, that is true, but it isn’t on her that they lost a mother. She was in a dangerous environment and she tried to escape it as best as she could and with a crazy mother-in-law and a dangerous MC environment she was desperate.
          It really baffles me how people can actually say she got what she deserved. Whoever thinks that must be really twisted or lack any sort of empathy whatsoever. I know it’s a TV show, but TV often imitates life in many aspects.

        • cas says:

          This is dumb. The fact that anyone thinks they would have just let Tara leave shows you clearly don’t watch the show enough. No matter what they would have come after her. As far as your comment she should have NEVER been in a situation where they lost a mother, well I am sure she didn’t think her own mother in law would murder her. Also, saying that then we shouldn’t have police, fireman, people in the military because mothers work those jobs and so do fathers and those are all people putting themselves in positions where there kids could potentially grow up without a parent.

  10. vesa says:

    Okay here’s my input on something, because there seems to be some confusion. Just because someone has guardianship of another person does not make them suddenly that child or person’s “mom” or “dad”. Tara did not adopt Abel. From all we know, Tara had limited legal rights. What she had was arranged unselfishly BY WENDY. Since Wendy did not terminate her parental rights (and neither did the court) – Wendy voluntarily arranged for the guardianship, so she could either ended the agreement at any point or petitioned the court to do so and in all likelihood custody would have reverted back to Wendy or both Wendy and Jax since they were married when Abel was born. Also a legal guardianship did not mean Wendy didn’t have rights for visitation, because she absolutely still did. She unselfishly stayed away believing it was for his own good until she found out about his kidnapping. Also, Jax and Tara had let Abel know that he was different than Thomas by not having been carried by Tara, but didn’t explain why and how he was different. They should have told him years ago that Wendy was his birth mother and he wouldn’t have been confused. So it was a long time coming and Jax finally did right by his son in that way so that he knows he still has a mommy and who that real mommy is. That was one of the rare unselfish moments from Jax.

    And on a final note, Tara did not raise Abel from day one. Gemma with the help of babysitters and Jax did so. Tara over time began to help a bit, but it was not until the last two years that Tara part-time actually “raised” him. So to sum it up, Wendy has always been the “real mother” and Tara was a guardian/step-mother that told Abel to call her mommy. (She could have helped in his care without doing that. A lot of people do). Let’s face it, the only reason Wendy wasn’t raising Abel for the last several years was because of Gemma, Jax, and Tara’s irrational possessiveness and hiding behind the strength of the club to intimidate Wendy to keep quiet. She should have been raising Abel since she got her act together years ago, had a career and stable life. He would have been far safer at that point with her than in the club life. Maybe he will finally get that stability and love of a reformed and good person that he deserves. He couldn’t have that being raised by any of the others. Real love isn’t about possession, something Gemma, Jax, and to extent Tara didn’t really understand. Wendy did and she put in her time, remained kind when she could have been cruel like the others, remained loyal when she could have been a rat, and deserves it now as long as she stays her course.

  11. Stormie says:

    Wendy has only been in 3 seasons out of 7. She simply hasn’t been on the show long enough to be screwed over by bad writing like every female character besides Gemma. We don’t know when Abel would habve been told because the actress wasn’t there.

  12. marie says:

    Abel wad little. Do its not like it was easy to tell him Wendy was his mom. Tara was great. And I miss her. Don’t get me wrong I’m had Wendy it’s with the boys cause Tara can’t pertect them now. But she can

  13. Cynthia says:

    Wendy is finally putting the kids first & being the mom she couldn’t be during her drug induced demise of earlier seasons.
    She is not weak at all! She was before don’t get me wrong, but she could’ve easily slipped while she was helping the preacher’s wife or she could’ve stayed just a little bit longer in Jax’s arms … C’mon ladies we all know we all would do that if we could, she does pull away & puts distance there to protect herself.
    She’s become what those boys need. Is she going along with things of course, but being away from the heart of the club could mean even more danger than staying there. Wendy would lay down her life for those boys, Nero or Jax. I hope she makes it out alive with the boys.

  14. Gia says:

    I love how Saint Wendy is being for 2 weeks… when Tara saved Abel’s life and took care of him and anyone else when Gemma was raped. Please Tara all the way she always made sure the boy’s were safe it’s like anything she did was just forgotten.

  15. Jen says:

    i agree. Nero and wendy will be in that farm with the boys. Only way they won’t know that world is to have jax gone. He’s gonna die and so is Gemma! Christ I love this show. I wanna walk down the street in that set… Now that should have been some kind of contest for the finale!!

  16. Drea no matter what they say about your make up I think your a beautiful person inside and out on the show or with your personal life. Being a single mom at home prob helps you with your role on the show but I know it has to be hard to turn your head and keep your son in all the chaos of Charming. Keep up the excellant work.

  17. Cas says:

    Wendy is a pushover. If only Gemma had killed her in season 1. I do enjoy her scenes with Nero and wouldn’t mind seeing them together. However, her ending up with Jax is just lame and not what I would call the best ending on television.

  18. nancy says:

    First off people this is a TV show, not real life. And even as much as I love this show, this year’s violence was so gratuitous and body count was soo high, it lost its shock value after the third massacre. One death is much more impactful than 20. The first three seasons, Jax was boarder-line redeemable, thank God. This season, no. That was a drag. He lost his humanity and I get it. Go out with a bang. But it hit me more when Opie was stabbed than when the entire whore house was blown away. It would have had more emotional impact if maybe the ‘madam’ was shot and one girl – but everyone?

    Kurt, you are brilliant and by a millionaire ( if not more) and I am a poor working TV watching slob, but I think that going out with “ a “ bang versus going out with 2000 bangs would have been more effective?

    BRAVO with the scene between Jax and Juice. BRAVO wit the scene between Gemma and Nero! That’s what I am talking about. The murder scene of just that ONE person, ( yes a very important one) Tara and Gemma was as graphic and heart pounding as any of those mass murder scenes this year. Powerful –power hitting quality not quantity.
    Just wish there was one person left with a modicum of decency, but EVERYONE is a murderer on some level.
    Would have been better to have at least ONE… human being remained human. A final note saying humanity is WORTH saving but with who is left, not so much 

  19. Dwight Clark says:

    Wouldn’t it be a good storyline, if Jax and Wendy got married again?

    • Tamra says:

      No because a) Jax has treated her like crap for a long time and openly hated her. It’s been just a few weeks (or maybe a month tops) since she waltzed out of rehab, and Jax needs someone to take care of the kids since he’s too busy being a murderer and criminal so he’s being nice since he has very few options left. If Tara was alive, Wendy would have zero chance of being in those boys lives (and NOT because of Tara but b/c Jax would not allow it) and b) he told Wendy in Season 1 he never wanted to be married (to her). This is before he openly hated her so the fact that he was brutally honest while she was in the hospital goes to show how terrible of a person he could be and also how much he never wanted to be with her to begin with.

      Also, I find it hard to believe a guy as good looking and charming as Jax would EVER settle down with a woman who looks like Wendy. Even in her post-junkie phase. But the fact that he married her while she was a junkie and looked certifiably terrible (and probably had no career), makes me question his judgement from the beginning. Tara was the best thing to ever happen to him and he always worried she would wake up one day and realize how much better she was than him (that’s why he asked her on multiple occasions if she ever regretted coming back).