FX’s motorcycle gang drama Sons of Anarchy aired its final episode on Tuesday night and showed club president Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam) tying up loose ends for his family and his club before taking one final ride. ETonline takes a look at some of the most heartbreaking and surprising moments from "Papa’s Goods."
1. JAX BURNS EVERYTHING
The episode opens with 10 minutes without any dialogue. Bruce Springsteen's "Adam Raised a Cain" plays as we see Jax preparing himself for his final ride, packing up his notebooks and kissing his sons goodbye. He rides to the clubhouse and sets fire to the club’s memories: old photos, his notebooks, and his father's manuscript: The Life and Death of Sam Crow: How the Sons of Anarchy Lost Their Way.
2. TAKING OUT THE IRISH
Jax's father and Sons of Anarchy founding member JT believed that the SAMCRO's downfall began when the club starting trafficking and dealing guns through the IRA. Jax settles this problem in a major way, by murdering nearly every prominent Irish gangster.
The club leaves Connor alive to continue bringing in guns through the Sons' channels, setting up the Mayans to continue distribution in California. The gangster is grateful but warns Jax that he is a dead man for killing an IRA king.
"My old man tried to sever that tie 20 years ago," Jax smirks. "Better late than never."
3. HANDING THINGS OVER
Jax makes one last major move as the club's president, inducting the club's first black member, T.O. Cross, and giving him a full membership patch. T.O. is emotional, and thanks the club for taking a chance on him.
"Change is good, my friend," Jax replies ominously.
Finally, Jax confides in Chibs that the Sons of Anarchy leadership has called for a Mr. Mayhem vote to decide Jax's punishment for wrongfully murdering Jury. Chibs knows what the outcome of the vote will be, but Jax reassures him as he becomes emotional.
"This is how you learn to be a leader brother," Jax tells his right-hand man, "doing the shit that hurts the most."
4. FAMILY TIES
Jax meets Nero at Chucky's mechanic shop and instructs him to handle the upcoming legal paperwork, explaining that he is leaving everything to Wendy and that she is to sell it off and take the money to start a new life somewhere with his sons.
"When the time comes, she needs to tell my sons who I really am," he explains to Nero. "I’m not a good man. I’m a criminal and a killer. I need my sons to grow up hating the thought of me."
After saying a tearful goodbye to Abel and Tommy, Jax watches them drive off with Wendy and Nero before riding off on his father’s rebuilt motorcycle.
5. TAKING THE VOTE
Chibs gathers the SAMCRO members around the table to take the Mr. Mayhem vote. The members are emotional, some are overwhelmed, but all vote "yay."
"Jax Teller meets Mr. Mayhem," Chibs decrees.
6. COMING CLEAN
Jax's meeting with District Attorney Tyne Patterson shocked not only the audience, but the DA herself.
"I’ll give you everything," Jax tells her. "You might want to record this, I didn’t have time to write it down."
He confesses that his mother murdered Tara and that Gemma and Juice made up the rumor about the Chinese involvement to "set him on fire." He then makes her turn off her recording device and gives her a vague prediction of the events to come, saying that by the end of the day, the violence in Stockton and Oakland will come to an end.
"What happens at the end of the day?" Patterson inquires.
"The bad guys lose," Jax replies.
7. THE ANGEL OF DEATH
After (mostly) confessing everything to the DA, Jax goes into full mercenary mode, shooting crooked cop and SAMCRO traitor Charles Barosky in broad daylight at his deli. Jax then makes his way to the courthouse, where he has one last encounter with the "Angel of Death," a homeless woman who has recurred during many morbid scenes over the show's six-season run. She hands him a blanket, tells him "it’s time," and the camera lingers on a symbolic shot of her bread and wine.
Jax cloaks himself in the blanket and waits on the courthouse steps for drug kingpin August Marks, one of SAMCRO’s last remaining enemies. When Marks walks past, he shoots him multiple times, finally avenging Bobby’s murder, and leaves him for dead.
8. MISSING MR. MAYHEM
Jax meets the gang at the clubhouse, prepared to meet Mr. Mayhem. He cuts the president patch off of his SAMCRO vest and hands it to Chibs. Chibs, in turn, passes his vice president patch to Tig, whom Jax deems a "good choice."
The men gather around and Chibs points the gun at Jax, but pulls off to the side at the last moment, shooting Happy in the arm instead. The club members share an emotional goodbye before watching Jax ride off for the last time.
9. THE FINAL RIDE
Jax goes to the site of his father's death to talk to him one last time, confessing that the struggle to maintain the balance between his family and his club has overtaken him. A highway patrol car spots him, and Jax takes a few shots at the cop before riding off with the officer in pursuit, calling for backup.
"It’s not too late for my boys," he swear to his father. "I promise they will never know this life of chaos."
"Come Join the Murder" by White Buffalo plays symbolically as Jax rides off to join his fellow fallen crows. More and more highway patrol cars and bikes begin to tail Jax as we see the police taking away Gemma’s body, the club members solemnly mourning their departed leader and Jax’s eldest son Abel, worrying a "SONS" ring as he rides in the car with Nero and Wendy.
Finally, Jax sees his opportunity as a semi-truck -- driven by The Shield actor Michael Chiklis -- approaches. He pulls into the oncoming lane and lifts his arms from the handlebars, determined to go out just like his father. The final shot? A few crows on the side of the highway pick at a piece of wine-soaked bread, as blood flows across the pavement.
Learn what the Sons of Anarchy stars took with them from the set after the show wrapped in the video below.
Follow Meredith B. Kile on Twitter at @em_bee_kay.