Warning: Sons of Anarchy Season 7 spoilers ahead.
The wild ride toward the series finale has begun, as the Sons of Anarchy Season 7 premiere picked up a little more than a week after the Season 6 murder of Jax Teller's wife, Tara. Jax used a brief stint in county jail to release some of his anger by carving up (and yanking out the teeth of) a fellow inmate. That earned him an alliance with white supremacist Ron Tully (guest star Marilyn Manson) — and Jax, on a path to avenge Tara's death and fully embrace SAMCRO's outlaw way of life, is going to need all the friends he can get.
The premiere ended with Jax's vicious murder of a Lin gang member, and he's got a long hit list to carry out with his club members. Sons of Anarchy executive producer Paris Barclay — who directed the season premiere — talked to Yahoo TV about where Jax and company are headed the rest of the season. Hint: Let go of those hopes for a happy ending.
That final scene was brutal, bloody, but very effective. Every little detail, from the guys standing around watching to Jax slowly pulling out the tools and the box of salt to Chibs taking the cigarette from Jax, added as much tension and heartbreak to the scene as the murder itself.
We had a lot of conversation about that. I thought, "If I'm really going to torture and kill someone, let's keep the lights out. Let's keep as little light on as possible." Paul Maibaum, our director of photography, said, "I like the idea of darkness, but can we have this one light on, the stove light? That would just give a silhouette-y kind of feeling to Jax and to [Dun]." Each person in the cast and the crew added something, refined that scene.
The cigarette was completely Tommy Flanagan and Charlie Hunnam. It was a great moment that I think Tommy topped by not smoking the cigarette, because it had Dun's blood on it. Then we spent a lot of time concealing the fork. Jax pulls it out, but we didn't show it. We didn't even film it, except on his back and out of focus, because I just wanted the real fans who were watching this superslow to catch it. I didn't want anyone to think, "Oh, here comes the fork. I know what he's going to do." Until the last possible minute. Great collaboration.
Jax is obviously not satisfied with the death of the individual person he thinks killed Tara. He'll settle for nothing less than bringing Lin's entire organization down.
We did the premiere screening at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Saturday night. When I watched Jax's face on the big screen, the act where he had killed Dun, poor innocent Chris Dun, I didn't see a feeling of satisfaction. I saw a feeling of emptiness and a little bit of "Now what?" I think he's not going to be happy until he gets to Lin, and that's going to take some time.
Jax makes it very clear to the club that he's no longer interested in making their businesses legit. Tara's death was really the end of his hope of having a different kind of life, for himself and SAMCRO, wasn't it?
That's a good analysis, and I think that a different TV show might have taken Jax's desire for redemption that blossomed a couple of seasons ago and developed it into something that could have ended the show on a "high note." Of him finally getting the club out of drugs and guns and having everything work out. That's just not the [Kurt] Sutter way. All of Jax's attempts to turn this into a legitimate business have led to, as far as he knows, the death of his wife. Now, all bets are off. Sadly enough, the poster is going to be really true this season, where Jax becomes the Grim Reaper… he is the Grim Reaper in this season.
How long is Gemma going to be able to keep it together? She's already talking to Tara at the very kitchen sink where she murdered her.
Gemma is having a struggle. I think that's another brilliant part of Kurt's writing. She says to Juice, "I'm not a psychopath." I don't think she is. She does feel the things that she does. You're going to see more of her talking to herself, and to Tara. I love the scene later on when Nero comes to her house, and she's still feeling guilty, and she just starts to break down. He doesn't know what's wrong with her. He's just holding her. She's kind of shaky. I love seeing that, because this is a real three-dimensional woman who, yes, does horrible things but is starting to really pay a price for it.
Gemma and Clay were plotting all the way back in the series premiere to get Jax to fully commit to SAMCRO. She's finally gotten him to do it, not by emotionally manipulating him, but by killing Tara.
And it's brought him even closer to her, which is what she really wants. There's a whole Greek tragedy thing that's going on here, where she just needs to have him near. She needs to be in control of him. Although it is taking its toll, she enjoys having Jax back in her power.
We see Nero reunite with Gemma and act as a friend to Jax, but he hasn't completely forgiven Jax for having Darvany killed and lying about it, has he?
He hasn't forgotten, but as he says in the first episode, he's trying to be the politician and forge some peace so that there can be less people dying. He is going to fail. I don't think it requires a spoiler alert to say that. He and Unser are like our two good angels right now, trying to find their way through this [mess] and save people's lives. I feel bad for them, because I know it's going to fail. The audience surely knows it's going to fail, but you have to admire them for trying.
And everyone keeps underestimating Unser's ability to figure things out. It will not be a surprise if he's the first one to figure out that Gemma killed Tara.
No, it wouldn't be a surprise. It wouldn't be, but I'm not sure he's the first person… I don't want to issue a spoiler alert. But he certainly is on the road to finding out, and it's great because he's smart enough to use the information that he discovers, as time goes on, to protect himself. Because he does start to uncover some things that would really put him in jeopardy.
Will Marilyn Manson's Ron Tully pop up again this season?
He's great, and I just got Episode 10, which I'm directing, and he's back for the fourth or fifth time.
Scoops & Sweets, the ice cream shop where the guys meet… Chucky keeps it stocked with ice cream and candy, and it appears to be fully functioning, yet…
It never has any customers.
Yes! Is it a functioning business?
[Laughs.] It is not a fully functioning business. It is truly a front, and it always has a sign on it that says, "We're closed." It does have ice cream and beer. And coffee and candy. I think there was one scene last season where kids came in, and we gave them ice cream and candy and stuff to make good in the neighborhood, but no, we don't actually sell anything there. We're not ringing up a thing in Scoops.
Sons of Anarchy airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.