Kurt Sutter Talks Pivotal SOA Finale
'Sons of Anarchy' Season 7: Find Out When the Final Episodes Premiere on FX
Tuesday night's Sons of Anarchy finale marked an explosive end to a fantastic season. Jax cemented his place at the head of the table by brilliantly wrapping up all the of challenges facing the club, but meanwhile faced perhaps his biggest difficulty yet -- seeing his wife be led away in handcuffs. Showrunner Kurt Sutter downloaded with a select group of journalists on the season five finale.
After the shocking death of Opie early in the season, is it difficult to build to a season finale that lives up to that?
Kurt Sutter: That's always a challenge, doing something larger in the beginning. I really wanted to do that with Opie, I didn't want to drag out it out… [have the audience] see it coming because of the natural progression of the world. I really wanted it to be shocking and come as a complete surprise. … What I was able to do really with the death of Opie, and not so much worrying about having the rest of this season be a letdown, really what it gave me was such a life-altering circumstance for my hero, that really allowed me to accelerate his journey. I really wanted to have a situation that would force his hand ... so we could organically push Jax to the edge to see what kind of man, what kind of leader he would become. It really kind of opened up my story possibilities rather than hindering them.
Was having Otto bite his own tongue off a way of having him exit from the series?
Sutter: It was my way of writing myself out of having to learn dialogue. As Otto comes back it will just be grunts and me [scribbling notes on paper]. ... My pitch on the first day in the writers room was that I want to find a way for Otto to bite his tongue off so I don't have to learn any more lines… [But] I thought, with a guy that's as f***ed up as Otto, what a better way of saying, "I'm not talking."
How do you find that balance between Gemma being completely despicable, and yet, still making us root for her in her relationship with Nero?
Sutter: It's always a fine balance with any of our major three characters, Jax, Gemma and Clay, that trilogy, such familial, strong characters who have won over the audience. ... Some of [their] decisions are really bad, reprehensible decisions, so it's always difficult trying to find that balance. I try to let the story be my guide, I try to make sure things happen organically. Gemma, and I mean this in the most flattering way, Gemma's just a cockroach, she's just hard to kill. She was really adrift at the beginning of the season, she was f***ed up, she hit a bottom and she crawled her way back up and she made some very defining decisions. I think at the end, my intent for her was to sort of have her balls back, and I think we got there at the end of the finale. It's hard to cheer that on, but at the very least, there's always that sense of -- she always lands on her feet. And her justification is always, "I'm taking care of my family." That's what allows her in her mind to do the things that she needs to do.
We've seen Jax develop into a leader… where would you say Jax mentally is at the end of season five?
Sutter: I really wanted to get to a place with Jax at the end of the season ... where he realizes that he's better at being an outlaw than he is at being a husband and a father. ... He does one incredibly well and one incredibly bad.