A dark, deadly secret resurfaces in Tuesday’s penultimate Sons of Anarchy — the repercussions of which will reverberate throughout next week’s Season 6 finale, previews Jimmy Smits in the following Q&A.
The big reveal is set in motion when a guilt-ridden Juice attempts to ease his pain by overdosing on Oxycontin (great advice, Bobby). Nero comes to his rescue and, while attempting to revive him, finds himself on the receiving end of a startling confession. A groggy Juice admits that it was Jax who instructed him to kill Darvany — aka Nero’s late cousin’s junkie girlfriend and the mother of the young boy responsible for that school shooting.
Harnessing every ounce of restraint at his disposal, Nero resists taking out his rage on Juice — even as the ailing Son pleads for a death as swift as Darvany’s. And once face-to-face with Jax, Nero again bottles up his anger — opting instead to console the King, who’s reeling from the discovery/assumption that Tara not only made off with their children, but ratted him out to the DA.
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Here, Smits breaks down Nero’s splintered mindset in that episode-ending moment, and reveals why his Charming alter ego has not forgiven Jax (not by a long-shot). The Emmy-winning actor also teases next week’s shock and awe-inducing season finale.
TVLINE | What was going through Nero’s mind in that final moment of the episode when he’s holding Jax’s head in his hand?
This all goes with that running cord that [creator] Kurt Sutter hits with all of this characters, and that is, what happens when you feel betrayed? The information that Nero gleans from Juice, that Jax so blatantly lied about, and the outcome of that really runs deep… So, I hope what was conveyed was that you didn’t know what was going to happen when he walked through that door… That moment when he goes to Jax, once he’s found out what happens, he sees another level of betrayal — it almost trumps what Nero is feeling because this kid has been betrayed by his wife and he’s had his kids taken away; Nero relates to that because he’s got this thing with his son.. Nero doesn’t know if he’s going to comfort this guy or choke the hell out of him.
And then what you see in that final image of those three people in that room is that nobody in there — Gemma, Jax or Nero — is on firm ground. They’re in turmoil, and that’s the way Mr. Sutter likes to leave his audiences [Laughs] … We’ll see in this final episode those feelings of betrayal and how enacting revenge comes about. Is it going to be an immediate act? Is it going to be something that takes a whole other season, like it did for Clay’s character?
TVLINE | So, Nero has not forgiven Jax in that moment? It’s just fleeting empathy?
TVLINE | We see Nero tucking Juice in after his big revelation. Does that mean he doesn’t blame him for Darvany’s death?
Juice, in that moment, is an appendage to the larger problem that Nero sees, which is his involvement with this club. This business has blossomed now and, because of it, Nero has this relationship with Jax, who is a brother/son/business partner/stepson — what is he? And, of course, there’s this awkward courtship between he and Gemma, two people who have these cuts on their chests for a reason — both literally and figuratively. They both have these voids that they awkwardly found a way to [fill]. So, that’s one pull. And then you have the pull of, in Kurt’s world, ‘the streets’… Those are all counterbalancing. And Nero is teeter-tottering in a big way.
TVLINE | Is Nero’s love of Gemma strong enough to withstand this latest revelation?
That’s exactly what he’s grappling with. As Jimmy, I never really thought that they’d be uttering the L-word, but that’s happened. [Laughs] And it’s not in a phoney way; they’ve been through things. Again, going back to Kurt’s world, that ‘betrayal’ word trumps a lot of cards and a lot of feelings and relationships and family ties. It supersedes a lot.
TVLINE | There was so much truth to Nero’s line a few weeks ago about all of Gemma’s husbands ending up dead. Why is he still with her?
They both have a profound understanding of hurt, and they have their pain because of the choices they’ve made. I have an interesting perspective on each of their worlds… The acceptance of what he does for a living and his understanding of where she fits in, they’ve found a way to navigate that. When I first read that Gemma had that conjugal visit with Clay and then what that turned in to, I had to step back and go, ‘No freakin’ way, man!’ [Laughs] But I really had to reset and realize what this guy does for a living is deal with different women’s psyches — he’s a companionator! [Laughs] He has an understanding about relationships and love that is very different than I do.
TVLINE | Nero has been resisting the Sons at every turn this season, but still he’s remained fiercely loyal. So, why did he agree to meet with the Mayans?
Again that’s the way that Kurt and his writer’s room write: They juxtapose these posts that each one of the characters present the audience with when they first start…. One of the best lines this week is Emilio’s line: ‘There’s no Switzerland in the hood’ — I wanted to make a t-shirt of it! [Laughs] It’s really true; it’s boiled down to making a decision .
TVLINE | The Mayans had a huge presence early on in the series and now they’re back in a big way in the penultimate episode of the penultimate season — that feels pretty full circle, no? Might we be gearing up to see the return of OG Nero fighting alongside that gang in some big, final season battle?
Well, we’re assuming he’s going to make it out of the final episode… [Laughs]
TVLINE | Yeah, that is my hope.
I don’t know about that. Let me put it this way… Because of where we are right now and the revenge factor with these characters, when the s–t goes down, it ain’t gonna be pretty. [Laughs] That’s all I can say.
TVLINE | Does next week’s finale do a good job of setting up the final season?
I really think it’s brilliant in terms of the way it leaves viewers… It really leaves you breathless. You’ll wonder, “Do I have to hold my breath now until it’s back again?!” Yep, kind of. [Laughs] I [was] shocked.