After Sons of Anarchy‘s Sept. 30 West Coast airing, #TigandVenus was trending. (Read our postmortem with Walton Goggins, who returned as transgender escort Venus Van Dam.) Still, there were other huge developments in the episode as well.
The Chinese not only blew up Scoops—they also staged a massacre at Diosa Norte, after Jury presumably ratted to Lin about SAMCRO having hit his guns and heroin shipment in episode 2.
Here, creator Kurt Sutter, Jimmy Smits, Charlie Hunnam, Mark Boone Junior, Katey Sagal, executive producer Paris Barclay, and Tommy Flanagan answer a few burning questions.
EW: How do you think fans will react to the slaughter at Diosa? We’ll find out 16 people were killed—the highest single body count ever reported to the San Joaquin County sheriff.
Sutter: I think it’s one of those things where it can’t be ignored. Obviously it impacts Nero deeply. I think it’s the game-changer for Nero, it’s what pushes him to that point of, “I know I’ve threatened about getting out before. But I have to get out.” It impacts Nero much deeper than it does Jax. We see in another episode, Jax talks about, “We’re gonna clean the place up and hire some more girls.” And Nero says, “Really?” For Jax, it’s business. I think that it f–ks with Althea: Here she is, two weeks on the job and she’s dealing with this. We really begin to see the ramifications of Gemma’s lie—not just impacting the club, but impacting Charming, impacting the community at large. One of the things I’m very conscious of is, as pulp and as absurd as this show can be sometimes in the violence, that it never happens in a vacuum. We always see the ramifications. That’s definitely the case with Diosa.
So we’ll be hearing more about Nero’s exit strategy?
Smits: [Laughs] He’s so sick of talking about his exit strategy that never works. “Exit stage right.” “No, I think it’s exit stage left.” When I read the script, I said, “Whoa. This is it. The boy’s gotta make a decision.” But you know, love and motorcycles can be a powerful thing, I think.
What’ll happen if or when Nero finds out that Gemma killed Tara, and her cover-up is what led to the season’s escalating death toll?
Smits: When we read an episode, we just look at each other like, “Let’s hug now and really mean it, because we all know this is not gonna end good.”
Why won’t the Diosa massacre affect Jax as deeply, since his retaliation is what prompted it?
Hunnam: It’s almost like Jax is just numb at this point. He’s never going to be more evil than he is right now. I think he’s really at capacity. There’s moments where it starts to feel as though it’s going to consume him, but in terms of regret, or sorrow, or the trauma that he has been sustaining, I don’t think it’s going to get worse: The one-two of losing Opie and then Tara—I think his heart’s broken as much as it can be broken.
How does the massacre affect the club’s resolve to follow Jax?
Boone Junior: It’s more fuel for the fire than it is a rude awakening, because we didn’t do that, somebody else did that. We know it’s the Chinese, so we’re already hot on the trail of the Chinese.
Gemma really did believe that Jax would get closure killing the man she claimed put the carving fork in Tara’s head? That that’s all it would take?
Sagal: Oh yeah. She cannot believe that what’s happened has happened. I think in her brain, she’s exploding. I think each time, it just gets more, “This happens because of that, because of that, because of that.” She’s just fraying in her Gemma way.
Now that Lin knows Jax is after him—though he may still not know the real reason—how does this affect Jax’s plan?
Sutter: He’s sort of forced to make an adjustment, but the story of Lin will continue and play out. It won’t be a straight line to Lin. It will get complicated by the street, by the information law enforcement has. It’ll definitely get messy.
Are we going to have to wait until the series finale for Jax to get a clue about Gemma?
Barclay: I’m not sure you’ll have to wait till the finale. [Laughs] In true Sons fashion, the response is not going to be what you imagine it would be. Because Kurt knows what you imagine will happen, and he’s always found a way to make a credible left turn. And this might be one of the situations where a credible left turn is in store.
We’ll save Sagal and Theo Rossi discussing Juice’s breakdown for a separate item, but here are a few bonus Burning Qs: What will be the impact of the Aryan Brotherhood taking out at least one of Jarry’s deputies during the meet with SAMCRO?
Sutter: Sh-t like that is definitely going to blow back on Charming, and it will affect Jarry, Jarry and Unser, Jarry and Chibs—it definitely has ramifications throughout the rest of the season.
It’s easy to forget that August Marks made his bones being the deadliest guy on the street. But we shouldn’t?
Sutter: We’re reminded who August really is: He’s a coldblooded killer, no family, no friends. He’s the perfect outlaw machine and doesn’t fall trap to any of the things that have brought down other outlaws.
What was up with Gemma’s “mommy fetish” crack to Jax?
Sagal: Well, she’s always had sort of an eye out for Colette, who happens to be older [than Jax]. I find Gemma and Jax have this mother-son bond that borderlines a little bit sometimes, because it’s a very touchy-feely, sexual kind of world. I mean everybody, they’re all hugging and kissing and whatever all the time. So I think she’s a little bit threatened by Colette—or not threatened, but she’s sort of like, “That’s weird”—and I think she’s just trying to school her son. She loves to give a little dig.
Is this shaping up to be Chibs’ juiciest season?
Flanagan: I think so, yeah. I get my bare ass out and everything, for God’s sake. Can’t tell you more than that, but my ass was out. What an ass!
For more on Sons of Anarchy—including the fate Hunnam predicts for Jax and what Sutter hopes to accomplish with the Dec. 9 finale’s final frame—check out this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands Friday, Oct. 3.