'Sons of Anarchy' Finale: The Good, the Yeesh & the Completely Maddening Ending

Sons of AnarchySo, who's been faithfully watching Sons of Anarchy this year? Who stayed up WAY past your bedtime watching the season 5 finale last night, even though it meant you had to watch it LIVE, with COMMERCIALS and EVERYTHING? (Uphill both ways! In the snow!)

Oh, you guys, that finale. I have many feelings about it. Hatred for Gemma (again). Sympathy for Clay (whaaaaat?). Anger at Jax (Jax!). Residual shock over the ... you know, the tongue thing. And SO MUCH IRRITATION about the way it concluded.

If you're okay with lots of spoilers, follow me past the jump to discuss some of the highlights -- and lowlights -- from last night's show:


The Highs:

• Tig and the dog. Oh, Tig. The look on his face when he was watching that dog fight ... man, he's just such an amazing character. I really and truly thought there was a good chance we were going to lose him in this finale, and Tig's dismayed "This is so, so wrong, brother" comment about the pitbull match is just one of the millions of reasons that would have been a MAJOR tragedy. (Also: the dog = a girl he could save. *sob*)

• Tig being played. I was totally falling for Jax's act right up until the moment when he told Pope to take Tig inside the building to kill him. I mean, that shit was legitimately tense. And then I hated Jax for putting Tig through it, and for the fact that it was highly unlikely that Pope would be all, oh, you have a suggestion for a better place to commit this long-awaited murder? Whatever you say, son. Sure, we'll go in this garage, thus allowing you to execute on your plan. Later, when we see Jax petting Tig as Tig holds his dog, we see their relationship for what it is. Damn you, Jax! Not even taking off your shirt can redeem you now! (Although ... we could test this theory.)

• Clay's betrayal. That scene in Clay's house when Eli showed up and Clay slowly realized that he'd been set up by the only people he thought he could trust? Holy crap, what a moment. After all of Clay's villainy this season, I legitimately felt sorry for him. Also, he totally should have pointed to Juice as his witness for where he'd been all day, because Juice would've folded like a house of cards. Instead, he chose Gemma, whose loyalties lie ... elsewhere.

The Yeesh:

• Otto biting off his tongue and throwing it at the glass so it slid down leaving a slimy trail of blood. OMFG THAT WAS INSANE.

• Tara's arrest. I really didn't like this part of the storyline -- I'll get to that in a second -- but wow, Tara's reaction when Eli arrived to charge her with murder was brutal. As Thomas started weeping back in his bedroom (this ratcheting up the tension even more for us parents who are biologically programmed to get twitchy whenever a baby is crying), Tara was shellshocked. "No," she said numbly. "He's crying." Was she thinking ahead to a future of not being able to be there for him? Gah.

The Lows:

• Tara standing up to Gemma. Okay, I call SO MUCH BULLSHIT on Tara basically confirming her exit strategy to Gemma. Even after Gemma punched her and said she couldn't wait for the satisfaction of knowing that Tara would be in jail "getting fist-raped until the boys are well into their 20s" (so incredibly low, by the way, given what Gemma has been through), Tara STILL called her bluff. "Do what you have to do, Gemma," Tara says. You mean like get you arrested exactly like she said she would? While you talk to Jax for the BILLIONTH time about leaving Charming? Which apparently you plan to do in TWO WEEKS, instead of EARLIER IN THE EPISODE WHEN GEMMA THREATENED YOU? How much smarter would it have been to simply back down when Gemma came in her office, say she'd had a change of heart, then sneak the fuck out the back door with her kids? I mean, okay, maybe it wasn't Gemma who actually engineered Tara's arrest -- maybe we'll find out it was someone else (Lee Toric?) -- but either way, the whole Tara-and-Gemma-endlessly-circling-each-other story has gotten old.

• Just ... the whole conclusion. There are OH MY GOD I CAN'T WAIT UNTIL NEXT SEASON finales, and there are Jesus, Really? finales. I'm filing this one in the latter category, mostly for the last five minutes or so. The show leaves us mad at Jax, mad at Gemma, and mostly disgusted with Tara -- so where's the part that leaves us with eager anticipation? You know what I mean?

Still, it's been a hell of a season, and while I may not be on pins and needles for season 6, I think Sutter and his team mostly did a great job this year. See you later, SAMCRO -- and please god please, let this season not be the last of Venus Van Damme.

What did you think of last night's season finale? Love it? Hate it? Somewhere in between, like me?

Image via FX

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