One of the few people focusing on peaceful times during this intense final season of Sons of Anarchy is Wendy (Drea de Matteo), Jax's drug-addicted ex-wife who has cleaned herself up and dedicated herself to keeping her son, Abel, and Jax's other son, Thomas, safe and cared for among all the SAMCRO turmoil.
Wendy spent the early days of SoA causing nothing but trouble — and irritation for control-freak mama Gemma — but after several rounds of rehab and therapy, she's returned with "a toolbox of ways to cope," de Matteo says. The Sopranos, Desperate Housewives, and Joey alum talked to Yahoo TV about Wendy's relationship with Jax (Charlie Hunnam) — their history and their future — her bond with Jimmy Smits's Nero, how Abel may really turn out to be a junior Jax, and her hopes for actually making it to the SoA finale — an opportunity Adriana of The Sopranos, as we all remember sadly, was not afforded.
There's a moment in last week's episode where Jax tells Wendy she's doing a good job with the boys, and she was visibly touched by the rare compliment. Is she thinking there could be reconciliation for them down the road?
I think she was madly in love with Jax, and I think she's always been in love with Jax. I think she also knows that it's not healthy for her, based on what he does and the fact that he was always in love with Tara.
I think Wendy's whole purpose in being around this season is that there really isn't anybody else to care for those children. She's the only person who has no other agenda. She's not there to control anybody or claim any territory. She's there solely to make sure those children have some love and guidance and some nurturing.
Abel is Wendy's son with Jax, but she's taking care of Thomas, too. Does she see that as a way to repay Tara for the time she spent raising Abel?
I think it is. I think Wendy is the most genuine and the least complicated character in that way. Because of her drug addiction, and recovery, she is probably the only one who's done the hard work on herself, the hard emotional work and psychological work. She shows up with a toolbox of ways to cope and ways to deal, even though at times, she still retreats and runs off to the drugs. A lot of that is circumstantial, based on the craziness that surrounds her. She may be able to help save other lives, because she does have that arsenal, and it's not the same arsenal that the SAMCRO members use; it's not a gun, it's not warfare, it's going to be more psychological and more from the soul.
The friendship between Wendy and Nero (Jimmy Smits) has been one of the best things to evolve from the crazy SAMCRO family. They are both recovering addicts, but that's not the only thing bonding them, is it?
There is the drug history, but I think what leads people like them into this friendship is how open and sensitive those two souls are, and how much of an aversion they have to hurting people. Nero has that wild side, but in those moments he's like, "Holy s--t, I'm back in this." He's found himself drawn into [SAMCRO], sort of the way Wendy has. Those moments [of violence], it's not where he leads from. I think [Wendy and Nero's] connection is… Wendy is like a child to Nero. He looks out for her and that part of her that he knows is breakable, which is what he has, too. That's why he is so sensitive and loving and gentle with a character like Gemma, who normally would not be sympathetic. With him, it's the first time you really see Gemma without an agenda. When she's with him, lies start to fall, the whole facade starts to come down.
Last week, we saw that Abel has been paying more attention than everyone might have thought to what's going on around him, when he made it clear he was going to protect his little brother from anything bad. Is that something that's going to continue to play out?
I think so. I can't really say a lot about it, but he's Jax's child, and yes, he definitely has been watching everyone. The whole season is about all the chickens coming home to roost.
Adriana didn't make it to the epic finale of The Sopranos. What's your sense for Wendy? Will she maybe get to be a part of what promises to be an epic SoA ending?
I don't know. People do like to kill me. [Laughs.] I have no idea where this character is going to end up in the finale. That is all Kurt Sutter and his genius mind. Sometimes he does the opposite of what you expect, sometimes it'll be the obvious… really, who the f--k knows where Wendy will end up.
Sons of Anarchy airs on Tuesdays, at 10 p.m. on FX.