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Sons of Anarchy: The Reaper Takes the Night Off

Sons of Anarchy has put together one of the best 13-episode seasons of a basic cable drama in recent memory during its fourth season. Unfortunately, Season 4 was extended to 14 episodes, and last night's finale, the second half of a two-parter, was the worst episode of the season by virtue of it undoing so much of what was set up in the 13 episodes that preceded it. Jenga rules apply here: One piece too many was added to the pile.

Looking back, I would've been more than pleased if last week's episode had been the big finish. Exposing Romeo and the cartel as in-cahoots with the CIA was the twist no one saw coming, because we were all looking for things that make sense. So the CIA is okay with all the murder and gunfire that Golindo brought to U.S. soil? I always try to look at television from a writer's standpoint, and what bothered me about this twist is that it filed down the teeth that had been so razor sharp all season long. With the Golindo cartel untouchable thanks to its pact with the CIA, Linc Potter's investigation was forced to shut down, Juice was instantly a free man after weeks of mental torture, and the danger of the Irish-cartel deal was castrated because it now has federal backing. I was enthralled with these storylines all season long, only to see them erased by a "Surprise, we're working with the cops!" routine. As an entirely selfish TV viewer (the TV works for ME, dammit!), I found that exit pretty cheap.

Kurt Sutter had the chance to enter the pantheon of great, daring showrunners unafraid to take huge risks, but instead he backed off early in the episode with a huge misstep: The twist wasn't even saved for the end! Instead, it was thrown into the cold open, and its rotten smell lingered throughout the rest, where I couldn't escape it. It was a lazy move that magically resolved dangling threads that had been so well-crafted.

So frustrating, so disappointing.

Of course, the goal of the season was to see Jax park his ass in SAMCRO's head chair and bang the gavel, and that was accomplished, and accomplished well (the episode's saving grace). But to pull so many switcheroos and flip-flops in an hour was unacceptable. Clay is struggling, but he's still alive. And the reason why? Because the Irish won't deal with anyone but Clay. Tara changed her mind and decided to stay in Charming; I guess she was all talk? I've already mentioned this plenty of times, but I'll say it again: The stakes that had steadily risen all season were cut down so quickly that it was borderline insulting.

I'm okay with Clay being alive still, but the series would have benefited if he'd been taken out. Instead, he spent the last two episodes in a hospital bed when he should have been in Jax's face. I'm okay with Tara changing her mind, I just wish it had been done in such a way that respected her previous steadfastness over leaving. Hey, I didn't want Juice to die or go to prison either. But to have his emotionally draining personal struggle wiped off the board so easily was lame. And that big gun deal between the Irish and the cartel? Never went down. I didn't need to see a huge gunfight, or lots of blood spilled, or heads in duffel bags. But I did need the finale to address those topics head on. Instead, it pulled the rug out from under me and then tried to sell me a new rug. I wish I could be more eloquent with my disappointment, but I'm still stunned.

I get that this is Sutter's art. Sons of Anarchy is his baby, he can do what he wants with it. But there's some responsibility on his part to deliver for his fans if he wants to maintain this "keepin' it real" reputation. "To Be, Part Two" only showed us that he's bound by the same TV rules that dictate that a series should go on for as long as possible so all business partners can remain happy.

Notes:
– My thoughts on the first 13 episodes of the season have now—unfortunately—changed. I still think it was fantastic television in the moment, but with no satisfying resolution to the stories that were developing so well, what's the point? I guess this joins the first five seasons of Lost and first two seasons of Battlestar Galactica.

– The Niners storyline, which was such a big deal in the last episode, pretty much sputtered out. It's obviously set up for Season 5, but that time could have been better used to fix the end of Season 4.

– That "twist" explains why the hitmen Romeo hired to take out Tara were white.

– I won't even mention Potter's bag of sex toys. Oops, guess I just did.

– Oh look! Juice is watching The Shield!

– I did get chills seeing Jax take the head chair. That's one thing I've been wanting to see ever since the pilot. But the heavy-handed and weak attempt to make sure we understood the symbolism (we're not that stupid) with the Jax-Tara morph into young John-Gemma was a bit too much. The cold looks Gemma and Tara exchanged were more than enough.


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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Thought this was a great ending to the season, and by far the best season of the series so far.
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For me, Clay should of been killed. That would of been a satisfying end to what has been building up since he put a shotgun to Piney's chest. If Jax wasn't going to do it, a nice twist would of been Tara finishing him off, or even Gemma. Bring on season 5, hopefully then someone will get justice and kill Clay. Too many people want him dead for him to stay alive, Opie, Jax, Tara, Gemma... Are they all just going to forget about everything he has done? They can't. However I still think this was the best season yet.
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All i have to say to Tim Surette is you are full of s**t.

I cant belive people would like to see Caly dead.And then what,because in my book he is 50% plot.

Read this artical where the series creator Kurt Sutter explains everything,and then rate the episode and finale you b***on.

http://www.tvline.com/2011/12/sons-of-anarchy-season-4-finale-spoilers/
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This is yet another example why people are turning away from network TV. Make no mistake, this finale was 100 percent Network TV quality.



Protecting a character (Clay) superseded the Story.



Lame lame lame.
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The finale "twist" was weak, weak, weak...SofA has a bad habit of ending seasons with let downs.
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I see where you are coming from, and I can see how the finale might have been a let down. However, it was very satisfying for me. There were so many loose ends that needed to be tied up, and I think Sutter did it in a neat little bow. There are still PLENTY of questions left on the table for next season, we did not see them vote about the cartel, and there was no resolution to the Niners story- in fact, it may have sparked a whole new bad guy for season five! Roosevelt noted that the woman who Tig ended up running over in his vengeful drive by sidewalk adventure is the daughter of a major crime player in Oakland. An awesome spark for next season! Obviously that issue hasn't been resolved and I am hoping to get to see this superlord crime boss... it reminded me of the mention of 'The Dixie Mafia' in Ep4 of this season's Justified, but then we never got to see them.

As for Tara and her mind changing, it was a bit quick and drastic, but what other choice did she REALLY have? Leaving with the boys and not knowing if she will ever see Jax again? I'd make the same decision she did, usurping the matriarch role from Gemma in order to stand by my man. And I didn't mind the photo at the end, I didn't think Sutter used it as symbolism, but rather to show that things have come full circle.



In actuality, I enjoyed this finale much more than Breaking Bad's finale- both tied things up neatly, but Sons ignited a spark for next season. I am often more of a fan of a penultimate episodes than finales, and this year Breaking Bad and Sons reminded me I am.



Lastly, Lincoln rocked the last episode. Bringing in sex toys and tossing them in the middle of a court was outstanding. And his line when Hale asks him why he did this was brilliant- "Because I don't like you. And the good guys need a win."

I cheered out loud.



Again, I can see why this may have been a disappoint for you, but I think I braced myself for the fact that there would be no action and that things would get wrapped up after reading Sutter's tweet about how part was all about setting things up for the future. In tv, that typically means less action and more bow tying.
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I loved this season the finale worked for me coz i was very close on the twist.



Sutter made a brilliant work on the last seasons of The Shield (on all of them truly), so im expecting the Jax\Clay confrontation to be just as awesome. He has the talent of getting his characters into so many problems that his shows always keep getting better... Thats a very hard thing to do! Congrats!



Everyone whos been watching loved Jax at the head of that table.. i did get chills too, and the Jax-Tara morph into JT-Gemma, i dont think they put it there just so we could understand the symbolism, i think it was more like going full circle, sealing Jax destiny at the chair.



Tim, dont you compare Sons with Lost! Season 6 sure was the worst, but Sons will only get better, youll see...



One Question... When the next season airs???
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I actually thought the last episode was AMAZING and it served its purpose! I mean what did you expect, Clay to die? it would seriously effect the show plus for next season Clay will try and get his seat back in so many twisted ways (especially if these letters are laying in the garadge!!!)



I also loved the open endings of Opie not showing up and that made it more (realistic) as in not everything is perfect and back to normal.. more suspense for next season to see what will he be up to.



I wonder whats gonna happen to Bobby though. they should've let him go but he was still in.



my my I can not wasit for next season!!! Im just gonna download the entire season and watch it again to make sure I dont miss a thing.
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Maybe this episode was a little disappointing to some but maybe it had to be this way for the next season to make sense and be GREAT!! If things ended up the way we all kinda wanted next season would have been shit... I think it was the perfect cliffhanger...makes way for a great fifth season... seriously!! Think about it!!
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Tim I look forward to your blog just about as much as watching the episodes themselves but I feel a little more disappointed on your recap than my initial disappointment on the episode. I agree, splitting the episode from a 90 minute finale to 2 episodes hurt the story. Some things happened in the episode to set up next season story lines or asked more questions though. The girl Tig ran over, her father is a major player in Oakland, who is he and what does this mean? Is Opie out or will he eventually take his seat to the left of Jax? How does Linc's burial of Hale play into how Charming will look next season? And my favorite new question, how are the rest of The Sons going to react to Clay still having a seat at the table. Granted not many of them know he killed Piney and attempted to have Tara killed.
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I dunno, I think this was the strongest episode of the season, and that's saying something since the whole season was incredible. I didn't see anything from this episode coming (except Jax at the head chair) - the CIA thing blew my mind (and you can't say it's unrealistic, since we don't really know what the end goal is, the gunfire and shit IS believable cos that's the only way they can work undercover effectively without revealing themselves. Undercover officers also do all that shit, they just warn their superiors what is likely to happen so as to minimize casualties, example: Tara was gonna be de-briefed and moved to a safe-house, not murdered), the fact that Jax didn't kill Clay was surprising, and the way in which Clay lost his President position was intense and very effective (I mean, Jax spitting in Clay's face? Come one, that was a powerful moment). Overall, terrific episode because it went against what everyone was expecting.



Sutter didn't do the cliche TV tropes, cos EVERYONE though that Clay would die. Killing him would have been "normal," letting him live is brave.
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Are we to think anything of the fact that Opie didn't show up at the end?
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I was very interested about that as well. That and Gemma and Tara fighting over Jax.
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I have to admit, this was a surprisingly quiet season finale (in comparison to say, Jax's son being spirited away to Ireland by the IRA a couple of seasons back), but overall I'm satisfied with the way it was handled. Knowing that Kurt Sutter plans to get 3 more seasons of stories out of SOA (I believe I read that on EW's website, but I cannot swear to that), hitting the reset button on all the running storylines was pretty much inevitable.



Clay is a wounded lion, still very dangerous, as is Gemma. Lady MacBeth doesn't leave the stage quietly. I really don't want to wait till 2012 to find out how all this shakes out.
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Dude. I get how you feel, at times it did suspend belief and it was sort of a cop-out, but you're entire review (well, more lke RANT) makes you sound like a griping hater.



The whole point of this cop-out was to keep Ron Pearlman for another season, reveal Gemma to be a twisted devil in disguise, to keep Tara, the mother of Jax's children as his support and to prove that he really loves her, and to show the similarities between Jax and his father, John Teller. Everything's coming full circle and it only adds more suspense to Season 5 which WILL bring all of this to a head.



So relax and enjoy the show and commend it for what it's done right instead of completely tearing it down as "the worst episode" ever. Enjoy it for the RIDE. They need these guys around for another season.
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I dunno why there is so much negativity toward the finale but I loved it. It was more about the MC and how they are ready to rebuild everything. Some arcs were concluded pretty easily but the club took front seat in this episode. It was kind of a 'I am Spartacus' moment at the end. Sure there is no cliffhanger but is a positve (kinda) ending really that bad?
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I agree with pretty much everything you said.



My opinion on this show goes back and forth. I felt like the first season was stalling too much on pushing Jax in the direction of taking over the club, but the ending gave me hope. The second season was excellent television from beginning to end. Season 3 was pretty bad, except for the excellent season finale. I loved watching Season 4 on a week-by-week basis, but this finale really undermines the appreciation I've had for this season.



Other than Season 2, I've never really thought SoA was one of the greatest dramas on televison. I thought that it might be reaching that point by the half-way point of this season, but, again, the finale really screwed that up. This show is good, but I want it to be excellent. It just hasn't gotten there.



That said, I'm glad Jax has finally taken over the club and I look forward to the Niners storyline next year.



Plus, I loved that Lincoln crushed the Mayor's plans, even if that could have been built up better.
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This season has been a blast, but you have to admit, Sutter was writing himself into a corner. I have been thinking all season, how are they going to get out of this mess.

I have faith in Sutter. He will come through. We still have Gemma at Tara's mercy, Tara knows the truth. Jax and Clay obviously will still have a lot of play time with who is really in control. Gemma, will she team back up with Clay? She had a hand in killing her husband, who says she won't try to do the same to Jax. I was disappointed Opie didn't show, but he will come around and I hope he gets to take Clay out.

The Story to follow with Damon Pope and the Niners will be awesome.

Tig did go rogue and was responsible for bringing the the trouble with Pope. I am interested in how that plays out and he is Clay's right hand man!!! Although he has no idea what Clay has done, and his "affections" for Gemma just might put him as Clay's killer.

My confusion comes with why did they play a race card with Juice? Sons never appeared being racist. That storyline only left confusion. A cheap filler.

Sons is the best show on TV, I sincerely hope it has many more seasons to come!!
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i think the race card with juice comes from the first 9.. Its part of their bible or something.. but its really not something that the current member care about but in juices mind (a rule is a rule)
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Over the last episodes, I told yall : CLAY WONT DIE - unless its the series finale !!!



Its also a little CHEAP for the reviewer to miss the fact that Tiggs killed the daughter of the biggest, meanest Kingpin in Oakland - so its not only the niners coming for the club next season. Potter was one of my favorite characters of this entire series - blissfull lines he had in the end with Roosevelt !

And the CIA did A LOT WORSE throughout history . . . so maybe a little interest in (U.S.)history would do you good, Mr Surette ! But I strongly agree on the Juice matter - that was cheap, and I would have appreciated some revelation to Otto, that effing rat.

And in the end where was OPIE ? And why didnt Jax tell Opie all of the truth ?

Maybe youre right Tim. It was kinda frustrating.
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Posted by said reviewer: "The Niners storyline, which was such a big deal in the last episode, pretty much sputtered out. It's obviously set up for Season 5, but that time could have been better used to fix the end of Season 4." Read before you jump my friend!
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No , I wasnt referring to the Niners, instead I meant DAMON POPE, the father of the Niners boss GIRLFRIEND - according to Roosevelt the "most dangerous gangster in Oakland". This guy is new, dangerous and WITH the niners and the needy "cartel" the biggest threat for the club. I am excited who is going to play him - maybe Forest Whittaker ?!
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Ahh ok. Gotcha. I think he didn't get into vivid detail of that particular story line bc it wasn't worth mentioning.
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Wow. I really loved it, right from the beginning. I was wondering about Romeo, telling Jax to go ahead with the deal, and when I saw that white guy in the van, I was all like "Who the heck is he?" Although I did feel that because of that twist the entire season was almost for naught, it totally brings Samcro into a whole new ball game, which is in a new ballpark. In a different state. When Lincoln was told he was an odd guy, it seemed like the writers were telling him that on behalf of the audience. It also seemed that people were asking each other "Why?" a lot in the episode, because we as the audience want to know "Why" what we watched all season was all jumbled up. Before I continue, I would like to point out that if you know me personally, you could see that I would grow up into Ray McKinnon as Linc almost to a T. Same hair, facial hair, both tall, don't like people and odd. I want to take a picture next to him. Moving on, once I saw Romeo and his Number 2 with their badges, it all made sense to me why Number 2 seemed to American Operative. Like I said before, I loved the episode, and I am glad I heard negative things between my friend and the one sentence I read next to the article thumbnail. My favorite scene must have been Unser smoking his doobie at the table. Was that just to have him in the episode, or setting up what seems to be Unser at the head of his own table, taking charge over something. (I am kinda just joking, I just really love Dayton Callie and his character {loved him in "John From Cincinnati [and upon research, see Dayton is only a year older than Ray ]}) As for the transformation of Tara-Gemma, I thought it was executed nicely, foretelling the Dark Descent of Tara (who I wish left the state/show, but if she is going to be joining the Dark side, I will give her another shot, but she better be Dark meat, extra crispy) I felt pretty bad for Tig, but Chibs is closer to Jax. Happy to see Happy at the table, and he showed it! Such a Happy Guy! But it makes me wonder why Juice was at the table past 4 seasons when he just got his Men of Mayhem badge, but Happy was always in the background. Can someone help clear that one up please? All in all, I did not delete the episode right away from my DVR as I am always in a hurry to do so. One last thing, has no one mentioned the special version of "House of the Rising Sun" that played at the end? Rising "Son" is more like it.
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the reason why juice has always been at the table is due to he has always been an official member of samcro however happy has not, he was a nomad (meaning no affiliations to a charter) coming into this season, then this season they voted him in along with buddy who got blown to pieces, while clay and jax were in locked up (off screen)
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The CIA is perfectly OK with that kind of violence if they can control a region. The CIA lets a lot more than that die in other countries due to their actions. The CIA doesn't care about anything but "the big picture"
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I was so disappointed with the finale. The whole season was almost perfect (Juice's suicide attempt turned out lame when he survived it) and this episode just ruined it. After S3 finale I was expecting something even better to close all the threads. So much bad things piled up and they deserved some epic resolution. Golindos being in bed with the CIA was a cheap shot and spoiled the rest of the episode for me.
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I agree that the twist was a little too easy of an answer for much of the problems brought up this season, but the end scene with Jax finally taking the head was absolutely perfect, it was the only way to end the season, and it was beautiful. I just wish that they didnt do the morph to the pic of Gemma and John, they sould have just let the audience make that connection on thier own.
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Loved it. Best thing about Sons is that ya never know what they will do. Cant wait for season 5.
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First off I wanted Clay dead, but then I sat and though it would be to easy for him if he died in that bed he would of died as a hero and a martyr and with his president patch in tact. It's way to easy and it would of given Clay what he wanted. He needs to be stripped of his identity and with his friends and his club hating him.



If they had closed the Niners storyline it would have been to easy as well. And next season would have suffered greatly. There was also tuns of satisfying resolutions this season.



1. Jax knows about what most of the letters said and what Clay did to his father and the mess he got the club into it.



2. Tera is now 100% in line with Jax, she loves him and is not all wanting to run away anymore. She doesn't trust Jemma and knows what the rest of those letters said. Who knows what they are or say but it must be bad enough for Tera to be holding back. Jax has enough on his plate without worrying about the women that birthed him.



3. Clay and the Irish. Don't know why this is so hard for people to understand. Nobody has dealt with the Irish like Clay has. Next to John who is dead and all the internal strife with SAMCRO wouldn't you act the same way?. The IRA has their own issues and problems without getting into SAMCRO's problems.



4. Hale and the Bag of sex toys was weird. But Potter was right he doesn't trust most people and what Hale is trying or was now trying to do was wrong. Building those homes for rich people will kill the town. And I think it was a way of just ending the hole Hale thing anyway. And most of that never made much sense so he seems to be trying to get rid of that part of the show.





Seriously alot of people are being hyper critical of the season finale. But think of it this way had he ended every plot hole and lose string in the show. What the hell would we be watching in season 5?. And the imagine of Jax-Tera morphing into John-Gemma seems like a stupid thing to get all huffy about.



All and All the ending this season was great.
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finale made me sad!! :(
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I don't see what the problem was. maybe my expectations were lowered by all the negativity online, but i found that to be a pretty good episode. it seemed like maybe they were writing something that could have doubled for a series finale as well "just in case"...but overall i thought it was good (not great) and well done as always.
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I don't see how people can not have an issue with the finale, especially with all of the throw-ins that were poorly executed:



- The entire Hale storyline

- The fertility with Roosevelt

- Roosevelt in general

- Roosevelt's wife/Gemma

- I was expecting much more interaction with The Hoff - don't they still own the production company?

- The Mayans have disappeared

- No Niner retaliation in the finale?

- Lincoln just taking his ball and going home



They bit off more than they could chew for a cable season
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I admit, I was surprised that there wasn't even a drive by or some kind of retaliation. I didn't expect much, but I did expect that.
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And please try to remember, this episode was actually part of last week's episode as a single entity, a 90 min episode that got cut in half, so keep that in mind when judging this finale, it was all part of the suspense and momentum from last week's part 1 epi.
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The Niner storyline was set up for next season, and if you missed that then you were not paying attention at all to the first part of the finale, or the scene with Roosevelt and his wife in his office.
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Notice I said retaliation, not resolution. But thanks for trying.
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Still, they could have made some cliffhanger out of it imo, instead of just talking about it.
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I think its Kurt Sutter's show and he can pick and choose what he wants to show and when he wants to show it. Have a little patience, you act like this show is completely boring lol. Wait for next season when all is revealed.
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After season 3's finale this season's finale left me very unsatisfied. My mind keeps going to so many other scenarios that could have played out. How awesome and shocking would it have been if Jax had injected the poison into Clay's IV?



RE the failed abduction of Tara, I remember at the time I was wondering why a hitman would bother abducting someone when a sniper rifle and 5 minutes would do the job.
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It would have been cool to see, but at the same time it was to easy for Clay. He wanted to die with him being the maryter of SAMCRO. Which isn't enough he needs to have everything torn away from him. Dying is far to easy.
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I agree completely. Killing Clay would have been easy way out. Watching him in torment next season will be much more satisfying.
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Sometimes ya just gotta not kill anyone and talk things out!
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I had no Problem at all with the Season Finale in fact I was Impressed and I think that the Full circle scene at the end awesome way to end it.
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I don't get why everyone's so put off by the finale.... I thought it was great! It did what it meant to do and that was wrap up the character arcs that began this season.



I get that ppl wanted to see a big conclusion of the SOA/IRA/Cartel by Potter's RICO case, but the twist itself did not take away the RICO case. Instead, the RICO case became the leverage/blackmail that the CIA used to get Jax to stay and take the gavel, and to keep working to get the Irish on board (which meant keeping Clay alive). The CIA twist is believable because, as some ppl mentioned below, it is something of a reality. This is just the beginning of the Cartel storyline, not the end.



Back to the character arcs... let's get Juice's arc out of the way. I also had a hard time with that arc since it started and to see it resolved as such seems disappointing. But what I see come out of this arc was that at the beginning of the season Roosevelt was very hateful towards the MC, but seeing the road he led Juice down and what it did to Juice (remember he even saw Juice's neck injuries from the suicide attempt), I think by the end Roosevelt felt sympathy/empathy for Juice and he even showed a bit of that to Jax outside of Tara' hospital room. Also, we know now that Juice can be easily persuaded to become a rat and that he has more issues with his lineage, than I think the MC would. Anyway.. haven't we all experienced something of this nature where someone came into our lives, put us through an emotional rollercoaster and then just left.



Anyhow, the important arcs are those of the 4 main characters-Clay, Gemma, Tara and Jax- and all 4 characters lost what they tried so hard to maintain/achieve this season. Clay did everything, even kill Piney, to make sure he stayed at the head of the table and he lost that. He even lost whatever bit of trust/love that was left between him and Jax and even Gemma. Gemma lost her place as the head matriarch, but in a way she also lost Jax (from him pulling away from her hug in the hospital to Tara defiantly standing behind Jax at the head of the table). Tara lost her way out with Jax. Throughout the whole season, the plan was for her AND Jax to get out together and when she realized that he may never leave, she realized that if she'd leave she'd lose him. Finally, Jax lost his dream of leaving Charming and taking his family to a safe place, while the club went on without him. He had to give that up in order to save the club. My favorite scene throughout the whole episode was Jax and Tara in Thomas's bedroom. Jax's defeat and resignation were so beautifully portrayed by Charlie Hunnam. He makes two painful decisions so that he can save his club (he stayed) and his family (he was willing to let his family go).



I don't know, maybe I'm more into the drama of this show than the actual action. For me this show is about the love and politics that govern the ppl associated with the MC and how each of their decisions and actions affect those individual relationships and the club as a whole.



Few more thoughts...

- The Mayans are also involved with Cartel... they obviously don't know the truth either.

- Juice's storyline can still lead to future plot points. The Bobby/Luann relationship of S2 resulted in fueling the RICO case this season.

- I'm guessing next season we'll see a significant Tig character arc. Though his daughters have been mentioned in passing in previous seasons, we actually met one this season. He killed the daughter of next season's new big bad so I'm guessing that the big bad will not just go after the club, but will somehow connect the attack to Tig personally and go after his daughters. I think that would be a good story arc for Tig, in addition to being cast aside by Jax and dealing with the new leadership.



Sorry for the long post... just don't get why so many ppl who raved about the show the whole season, say they hated this episode. I can't wait to see where this leads the next season.
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Wonderfully put! I am in agreement:)

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Thanks for saying what I thought exactly. Now I don't have to type long paragraphs to get the point across. It might have been void of action but that isn't what it's about. I loved it.
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I was disappointed with the finale in certain aspects but in no way did it lessen the awesomeness of the season as a whole.
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This is exactly what I thought,and I agree, Jax and Tara in the bedroom, when he left and Tara cried, "He's mine," it was perfect. They both knew that they had to do something, and it was so beautifully written and acted. I liked the way it turned up, and I think there is much that can happen. I also am sure that Clay won't be standing too long.
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I agree that this season was about loss particularly for our big 4.



Also, Jax keeping Clay alive is far crueler than killing him.



Finally, that brief moment of Wayne sitting at the head of Clay/Gemma dining table was interesting.
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Perfectly said. Thank you!
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Yeah, I was ready for the drama I have been expecting and was curious how the club could weasel out o what was about to happen. But they did not weasel anything ... how lame.



Also the scene with Gemma watching Jax and Tara as the new Alphas was a bit overdone.



But really, amost an all is good happy ending was a bit too much. Club saved, personal affairs saved, town is saved, criminal activities are now with "official backup". All just a bit too good.

On the other hand this was planned as 2 episode finale and it might work different if you watch the 2 last episodes as one.



I predicted a few weeks back that clay would pay the fallout - getting busted for the club (how is it called pawn sacrifice), to redeem what he has done to the club. And yeah I would have held it more believable than the guy torturing, slitting up throats, being in a warfare scenario with rpgs automatic weapons, mines who turn up cooperating with the cia ... come on ...



The season as a toal was pretty amazing, just the end could have used a bit more drama.
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Hey Tim,



Although I agree wholeheartedly with a lot of your more scathing points of view (fundamentally), I think the intensity with which you're proclaiming them may not be totally warranted.



Not moments before reading your review, I read this piece by Michael Ausiello. It's a sit-down with Creator, Kurt Sutter.



http://www.tvline.com/2011/12/sons-of-anarchy-season-4-finale-spoilers/



I think he does a fair to good job of illustrating the methods behind some of the finale's madness, and highlights how some of his story-related choices impact the future of the story at large.



Food for thought!
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Spot on review.
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I was thoroughly content with the finale and so I was surprised and then a bit annoyed at the amount of people knocking the episode for the lack of violence, action, blood, sex....etc.



We had that before the finale and now we get a wrap up. This is nothing really new to the series, and it's why I appreciate this show so much. This isn't 24. It can be exciting and a "page-turner" without the need for constant action and explosions.



As for the way all the RICO and Clay stuff was handled.... yeah.... they renewed the show remember? What were you expecting? I was actually thrilled that they wrapped the whole thing up so early and in such an unexpected way and then immediately moved on to the character conflicts I wanted to see. The Club already did their jail time last season and so of course they wouldn't pull that again. As for Clay, it would have been predictable for them to knock him off when everyone was declaring him a dead man halfway through the season. Clay as a weak and broken man at the foot of the table is necessary, at least for another dozen plus episodes. It also sets up an Opie vs Jax season storyline that wouldn't have existed otherwise.



We've reached a point now where it's all been done before. Short of half the main characters dying and the rest going to jail for the rest of their lives, no season finale will be something you haven't seen before.

More+
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The whole time I was waiting (hoping) it would end in the first 15 minutes. This 'extra' episode was so disappointing I found myself cheated and kinda angry. I also dont need to see Jax crying. While Juice watching Vic Mackey give his wife a verbal tongue lashing on the tube, it made the episode worse. Sutter we know you played a big part in making The Shield the greatest achievement in cop drama (tv drama in general) history, dont cheapen it by tossing it this terrible episode. Of course I will continue watching but...



Clay should have been killed off by Opie in a hail of gun fire while resting in the hospital bed.

Jax should have told the Irish to go pleasure themselves

Juice serves time and is the club proxy in prison.

The Cartel/CIA continue to hound SoA for misdeeds and hardily trying to convince them they are SOL.

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I listed Romeo working with the Feds as a possibility in the forums.... I'm sad that I was right. First time in a long time I've agreed with a tv.com writer, this was easily the worst episode of the season. By a mile.
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Funny, I thought the twist was a novel way to resolve the year, so that the show could go on with our anticipation for next year fully ignited. I really felt there was no way it could continue with those story lines if Tara and Jax were so determined to get out.



Now we have a fully matured Jax (and Charlie) to take over the reins and continue his ambivalent journey under an even more intense spotlight. It took us 4 long years to get here, and now here we are. I can't wait to see what develops. I know Opie will be back, and the realization of the truly monumental antagonism about to occur between Gemma & Tara is all I could want to look foward to...from absolutely one of the best shows on TV.
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Well, I was satisfied. I can see that Clay has to return, cant really kill him off. Will be interesting to see the Opie storyline!!!!

All in all, it was a great drama episode, and sometimes you just have to have these when no one gets killed.
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No mention of the letters? Love the show and the twists but the handling of the letters has been the hardest thing to swallow. First they were hidden (why) but for Jax to find and surprise! Tara finds them. Then the originals being so important when multiple copies could exist. Then Tara giving them to Gemma out of the blue almost as an afterthought (should have been some reason and a hard decision involved). The hardest to swallow is Tara deducing that Gemma excluded some pages and not mentioning it to Jax. Oh yeah, the final non-sequitor was Jax nonchalantly putting them in his toolbox with Gemma just happening to be watching. Suspending belief is a necessity in the TV world but you need a bungee cord to take the letter twists seriously.
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"Oh yeah, the final non-sequitor was Jax nonchalantly putting them in his toolbox with Gemma just happening to be watching."



Haha, yeah, I really didn't like that scene; it just felt more than a little stupid. Here is Jax, having recently been told that Clay, Gemma, Tara, and Piney were all in this very serious and harmful plot with each other throughout the season because of those letters, and he just places them in a tool-drawer in the garage? Okay, I guess I can believe that, but I really can't believe he didn't see Gemma staring and watching from the office. She's like 3 feet away and the blinds are almost all the way open. I think they could've done that way better.
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They weren't hidden, Maureen put them in Jax's bag, which he didn't get to unpack, being arrested. Of course Tara foumd them. She unpacked his bag. And the reason she gave them to Gemma was to save her life. (Gemma lied and told her she was going to give them to Clay, so Clay wouldn't kill Tara.) However, I think that the only reason that Tara gave them up so quickly is because she knew that she had made another set of copies off camera. Jax locked them in his toolbox, in a place where no one touches the other's stuff. I don't think he would care (nor would Gemma) if someone read them, because then they would just kill Clay. And he was just as nonchalant with JT's book. Tara knows Jax pretty well. If he didn't believe Opie when Opie said that Clay killed Piney, then it would have done no good to mention the missing letters... at least not yet.
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It was definitely the worst episode of the season, but with so many awesome episodes back to back, it wouldn't take a bad episode to be the worst of this bunch. And after such awesomeness, I have to admit I expected this one to be a partial reset of the game. I'm just happy they didn't try it in next season's premiere. Now, it would be awesome if a few months passed by the opener of next season and we at home had to play catch up. Mostly, I'll cry foul if Opie is behind Jax without making the viewers unravel the why of that change of heart.
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"with the Jax-Tara morph into young John-Gemma was a bit too much. The cold looks Gemma and Tara exchanged were more than enough."



is this stone cold fact that the girl in these morphs are meant to represent Gemma? This is how I took it when I saw it in the first episode where this flashback/morph occured. Can't remember which episode the first time it happened was but my partner seemed to think it was not meant to be Gemma but the Irish girl JT was seeing. I still personally think it's meant to be Gemma but my gf (Gemma lol) seems convinced its the irish girl and backs it up by saying the morph at icey looks at the end of the finale was to symbolise the fact that Gemma is seeing her power slip away once more to a new head old lady of the club and maybe symbolises that Gemma will try and bump off anyone who threatens her place as head lady of the club... granted it was not the Irish girl but JT that was bumped off last time but my gf does seem to make a credible point.
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If you look closely at the photo you can see Gemma's scar. Looked like a pretty fresh scar in that picture too, not as muted as it is now.
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thanks for settlling this for us I hadn't noticed the scar.
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It was my favorite episode of the entire series. I find it hilarious how Clay's actions accidentally saved the club and turned Jax into a lifer. I knew the entire season something was up with Romeo and his 2ic. I thought maybe his 2ic worked for gov, though I never saw the CIA thing coming. I can't wait to see what happens to the rat now that his deal is gone. They set up some fantastic ground work for season 5. Anyone who did not like this episode would have disliked anything because obviously have the mind set to hate anything.
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I felt the same way as most here through that final episode. That we had been cheated out of the great episode that this could have been to mark what would have to rival Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones as the best series on television this year. The build up to the finale had been as perfect as perfect can get and the anticipation and emotions the show has put me through has been superb. Some highlights to mention Piney's death, Opie finding Piney and what proceeds, the Galindo involvement up to the final episode was superb, the Juice suicide attempt and murder of his Sons brother to cover his own ass breathtaking. The Clay, Gemma, Tara triangle involving the letters also brilliantly done . However unlike Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad, SOA failed to deliver on a fantastic finale episode to wrap up the good work that had gone into the previous episodes and now sadly falls some way behind Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad for series of the year imo. Too bad because this had been by far the best SOA series of all time.
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I liked the twist with Galindo being CIA, cause now Jax has to deal with them even though he wants out. And the scene with Tara and Gemma at the end? Awesome! But i dont really like that clay is still alive, i was hoping to see him dead. And why didnt just Jax tell Opie the truth?? And last but not least, it is truly weak that the Niners-storyline was just dropped completely even though it will come next season. All in all a dissapointing epsiode, but ill be back even tough!
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The Niners stpryline was not dropped, how does anyone think that? Both episodes of the season finale take place on the same day, Niners just did not have time to make a move.



As for Clay well I have wanted him dead since season 1. However I actually rather have him sit and watch Jax lead the club after Jax put him in his place.
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dissapointing , all i have to say....
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The CIA reveal was a cheap way out in my opinion. It was almost as if Sutter had written himself into a corner, and this was the only way out.



There were some redeeming moments. The scene between Jax and Clay. Jax sitting at the head of the table and telling Tig the right hand spot wasn't his anymore, and the glare between Gemma and Tara.
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I actually liked the twist, but maybe he planned on this season ending (being the finale), and that was his corner he wrote his way out of. (what a terrible sentence)
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Tim! Are you kidding me? What is that review? What? YoU,re looking for some finale that you already know the ending? Can't you see that SOA is all about never-before-seen scenes and twists???



What is that question? "So the CIA is okay with all the murder and gunfire that Golindo brought to U.S. soil?" YES THEY ARE! What the hell do you think is Fast and Furious Scandal??? What the hell do you think is happening at the border? 50 000 DEATHS for the drug control!!!!

The US government works with cartels like Los Zeta, they f**king trained them! Just like Zbigniew Brzezinski did with Al-(CIA)-qaeda under the Carter Administration.

The US government through the military, are growing the opium in Afghanistan, and it's not new... What the hell do you think was Air America in Vietnam??? All for the drug control! Get a clue!



What you wanted, and blah blah blah. You're the BEST reviewer, but this one review is crap from you!



Here we go again... another one who doesn't like the last season of Battlestar Galactica... because like all these haters, you know NOTHING about Mystery Schools symbolism, about gnosticism, transhumanism and alchemy.... sigh.
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Not to forget the thousands of deads in South-America due to political and economical assassinations throughout the second half of the 20th century, and on and on ...

And NOW the CIA is defacto controlling the world wide market for HEROINE by the old silk road . So yeah, the few dead criminals and a kidnapping of a biker-braut is far fetched and hard to believe...
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I was with ya right up until the point you said Tim was the best reviewer. Change "best" to "worst" and I got your back once again. He is a person who needs to be spoonfed everything. This was obvious with his whines and complaints over Lost. Keep that in mind when you read more of his drivel and you'll see it clear as day. Such a hack. I always feel bad for cynical and over-critical reviewers who take their "job" too seriously, they miss out on a lot of great TV!
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I am glad somebody pointed this out. Most people need to open their eyes with this stuff.
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I could have point out a LOT more... but that's enough.

People really don't know anything.

I loved that episode... like all the season, it's better each years.
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I also forgot to mention how great Ray McKinnon was all season long as Linc Potter, and how even though his character got screwed, he had a nice exit to the season.
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Tim their was nothing wrong with this episode not one thing, everybody expected Clay to die, everybody said he had to die, I didn't, and for you asked why the CIA involved with drug..........



A few sources indicate the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) might have been involved in several drug trafficking operations. The claims go that the CIA worked with groups which it knew were involved in drug trafficking, so that these groups would provide them with useful intelligence and material support, in exchange for allowing their criminal activities to continue[1], and impeding or preventing their arrest, indictment, and imprisonment by U.S. law enforcement agencies



So Jax is forced to stay, Lincoln did not see the CIA coming, but I thought it was great what he to Hale "good guys had to win one" Juice is free and clear for, just as long as Jax plays along Bobby will be too, I knew Tara was going anywhere, poor Gemma she is out and doesn't even know, but the best part when Eli got the info on what Tig did, Leroy is a coming great!! TIM I said this before stop reviewing shows!! you can't



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