There has never been an episode of Sons of Anarchy that has covered this much ground or this many emotions. At this point in the final season, the story is rich and relentless for every character. Just when you catch your breath, another bomb goes off. By the end of this episode—when Abel asks Jax if Gemma killed Tara so “first mommy” Wendy would be with him—we understand what Peter Weller meant when he said the next episode, 711, would be the climax: “Number 11 is always the end of the second act where everything falls apart, where things are revealed, where people die again,” he said, speaking to Sons history. “So 711 just about destroyed me.” With that to look forward to, let’s dig in. (Update: Read our postmortems with Walton Goggins, Mo McRae, and the show’s head of makeup, Tracey Anderson.)
The sex montage: We open with what has been affectionately dubbed “the f–ktage” at FX—everyone essentially trying to f— away the pain of Bobby’s death. Charlie Hunnam promised EW we’d see his ass again in season 7, and the man delivers. (Inbar Lavi, who plays Winsome, was also correct when she assured us it’d be “glorious and delicious.”) Jax and Winsome seem to enjoy themselves more than Gemma and Nero, who just go through the motions. Venus and Tig get their first love scene, while Jarry and Chibs are hotter in bed than they were in the parking garage. Rat screws someone who isn’t Brooke (a sad right of passage, if you think back to Jax doing Ima), and Happy takes a blonde on the hood of a car. You feel sad for Wendy, who’s all alone in flannel sheets, until you hear the buzz of a vibrator—so she’ll be just fine, thanks. Then there’s the shock of seeing Juice under Tully in his cell. How much more can Juicey be put through as a character?
Jax rolls off of Winsome in tears. She’s afraid she did something wrong, and you can hear in her voice that she’s worried about what he might do. But there’s also a tear falling from her eye when she tells him the other girls told her what happened to his wife. She assumes he wants her to leave, but he asks her to say. “Please,” he whispers. “Is this okay?” she asks while cuddling in next to him. He smiles as he wraps his arm around her and strokes her face: “It’s nice.” Some fans will be pissed that Jax took comfort in Winsome roughly a month after Tara’s death, but lying close to him with her long black hair, she looks like Tara. She’s a very different woman, but she’s still someone who wants to trust him.
The men make their exits: Still at Diosa, Nero finally tells Jax he’d like to sell his half of the business to Alvarez, who will let Oso and his crew run the house in Stockton. Jax isn’t thrilled, but he knows Nero has a right to use his exit strategy. Winsome interrupts to say she’ll head over to Red Woody so Lyla can help her with the computer. She’s smart, Jax tells Nero, even if she doesn’t know what “data” is—and she’s unstable, but in a good way apparently. In the end, Jax says he’s cool with Alvarez—he’s just not ready to lose Nero as a partner. Nero seizes the moment to tell Jax he’d like Gemma and the boys to spend time on the farm. Jax seems fine with that, too—though Nero makes it sound more like a vacation than a permanent residence.
Rat emerges and tries to explain to Jax that he was just blowing off some steam, but Jax doesn’t need to hear it. Jax shares his weed—they’re smoking a lot more this season, right?—and we learn it’s been three days since Marks was arrested and he’s still in county awaiting a hearing. The DA wants to make him sweat. Something is set to go down today with Rat and TO, and Jax expects it to get messy. Rat goes on his way when Winsome reappears with those records she’s taking to Lyla. She says she and some of the girls are going to get a place together, “you know, before we all get gunned down by Chinese gangsters.” It’s good to know she’s aware of what she’s gotten herself into. Jax thanks her for “hanging out” with him, and the way she lingers when he pulls away from a kiss makes you worried she’s getting a little too attached to a damaged man. She calls him back to tell him she can see he’s in pain, that she knows how hard it is to look past the things they do—she’s hurt people and disappointed them, too. He’s been decent and kind to her and kept his word—she hopes he can see that he’s a decent guy. He doesn’t speak; he just walks out.
Venus comes out of the shower in her robe, and Tig is already drinking straight from the bottle. He’s headed to Stockton and says he’s not sure if he’ll see her again later. She touches his chin like she did before their first kiss, and he tries not to be uncomfortable. When he leaves, Venus runs her fingers across her face and you can hear the hint of stubble. She knows Tig might balk at her without all the makeup and hairspray.
Abel Watch: Adding to the growing sense of discomfort, Abel comes to breakfast with cuts around his left eye and claims Thomas scratched him. Ever in denial, Gemma is satisfied when Brooke says she’ll trim Thomas’ nails. Gemma drops Abel off at school, and Ms. Harrison immediately asks Abel if an adult scratched him and explains that the person could get in trouble with the police and the school. Is Abel going to frame Gemma?! He’s just 5, I told myself. But then I remembered how my 5-year-old niece lied and told her mother that I promised to get her a real cell phone for Christmas…
NEXT: RIP, Leland