Sons of Anarchy's Maggie Siff: Tara Is 'Out of Options' – But There May Still Be 'Hope' With Jax
Under the watchful eye of Jax’s various henchman, Tara spends most of this week’s Sons of Anarchy dealing with the continued fallout from her meticulous (but ill-advised) exit plan, all while still attempting to somehow secure a future for both herself and her sons.
Be it clashing with Gemma, attacking Wendy (or that madame Colette!) or finally coming to blows with Jax, Tara is most definitely put through her paces — and she doesn’t come out the other end better for it.
Here, Tara’s portrayer Maggie Siff details her character’s descent into desperation and possible defeat, but offers up some hope for those believing that she and Jax still stand a fighting chance. The actress also touches on what we’re calling “The Skyler White Effect” — aka the ‘visceral’ reaction some fans have had this season to her character.
TVLINE | “Hands” aside, this episode showcased some of your most moving work to date on this show. Was this a strenuous hour for you?
It was a strenuous one. I so often on this show come in and out; I’ll have one or two intense scenes in an episode. But this one was set up to be exhausting for the character because everywhere she turns she’s knocked down, so it was a rare shooting experience for me. I was there all the time with one difficult scene after another, and all with psychological consequences. And shooting things out of order was more complicated, but I enjoyed it.
TVLINE | I posed this same question to Kurt Sutter last week, but I’m curious how you’d respond… Some fans are demonizing Tara for her actions this season, and almost holding her to a different standard than Gemma and Jax. Would you agree with that? And to what do you attribute that?
Yes, I think she is held to a different standard. The role that the character plays in the show and as she’s been written by Kurt is that she is a stand-by-your-man kind of gal, so her taking her fate into her own hands and doing what she has to do to protect herself and her children violates that principle. People have a really strong reaction to that because the man she’s supposed to be standing by is Jax. You’ve seen that a lot culturally; actually, you know, the whole conversation that was happening about Skyler on Breaking Bad and how many Skyler haters there were. So, this lives in the same world as that. We have this anti-hero who does terrible, terrible things week-in and week-out, and yet there’s this carte blanche for him, and why that is I’m not really sure. I don’t want to make a big political statement about it, but I think there are gender politics involved.
TVLINE | That was actually my next question: Did you read Anna Gunn’s New York Times op-ed about having “a character issue”?
I did read it. I think Gemma avoids that whole thing because she’s kind of like a man, in a way. [Laughs] The way that she’s written, she defies all gender stereotypes, where Tara does not. It’s fundamentally a romantic story, and so it taps into a lot of our expectations about what women and men should be and how women should be alongside their men. In that sense, it does reverberate a little bit with the Skyler/Walter White conversation because, again, that’s a more conventional relationship and a marriage and everything else.