SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED ON THE SEASON FINALE!
The sixth-season finale of “Sons of Anarchy” was emotionally wrenching for viewers, who were shocked to watch Tara’s (Maggie Siff) death by drowning and carving fork! It was brutal not just for fans of the show, but also for Katey Sagal, who was the murderer, and for Siff, who watched the episode for the first time along with an intimate group of reporters, including xfinityTV. The end result of their battle to the death in the kitchen left the two ladies in tears.
“Shooting it was really hard because the character ends,” Siff said when she regained her composure. “My experience of shooting it was feeling everything around me, which was Katey and then Charlie [Hunnam]. That was painfully hard. The sense of loss is the people you leave behind. I was aware of their loss. It wasn’t about me. At the same time, it was very surreal digesting that this character I have been with so long is going away.”
Tara’s death has long been in the works, according to creator/executive producer Kurt Sutter, who says he knew early on that Tara would die before the final season.
"Probably as early as Season 2, I had a sense of that," he says. "I didn't know how it would happen in terms of story, but I knew from a mythology mile marker when it would happen."
In this Q&A with Siff, Sutter and Sagal, we learn why Tara had to die, why it had to happen the way it did, and we get a sneak peak at what lies ahead for “Sons of Anarchy’s” final season.
This episode felt like it could have been the end of the series because of the emotionality of the episode. Do you agree?
Kurt: Obviously, it is a major shift in the mythology. I knew ultimately where I want to take Jax [Hunnam] in the final season. I feel there needs to be this major psychic shift. What direction it will push him in, we will see next season [when we look at] what happens to a guy now that he has lost both people he loved the most, centered him the most and were his moral compass. With Opie [Ryan Hurst] and Tara gone, it is Jax completely untethered and on his own in the final season.
Can you talk about shooting Tara’s death scene in the kitchen?
Katey: I was nervous around it the whole time. I knew it was going to happen. I was just in denial. Actually, I thought maybe Kurt would change his mind. I think the biggest struggle for me was to remain with Gemma. The truth of that was she was not aware of all the things going on. I think that is maybe why it was so hard to watch, because it was so clear, but in the moments of Gemma, she didn’t know what was going on. All she knew was Tara had ratted, she had betrayed me, she had betrayed my son, and she was taking my grandchildren away. In that moment, there was a blind rage that went on. It is not a premeditated act. Gemma didn’t even know she was going to see Tara. In shooting it, Kurt reminded me: It is not Katey. This is a violent world. These are violent people. This shit goes on.
But certainly, it was hard. I love Maggie. We have been the female island in this testosterone world. As an actor, it is interesting to do things you haven't done. I have never killed anyone violently before.
Why did she die in that manner?
Kurt: I knew I wanted it to be simple and pedestrian and of Gemma’s world, not the club’s world. I didn’t want it to be a gun or knife. We see Gemma in that opening montage washing dishes, and we have no idea that something as simple as a tub of dirty dishwater and a carving fork would ultimately be used as implements of death.
Gemma is wired to react. Not unlike her son and clean up the pieces later. When she is doing all that and Tara is drowning and she is still fighting, to me, picking up that fork that is sitting in the strainer drying, there is a moment when Gemma looks at the fork, and it is almost a moment of: Where did that come from? Not even being aware of what she was doing.
Watch the “Sons of Anarchy” Season 6 Finale Here:
Do you think Jax would have made the deal to turn himself in if he hadn’t had the conversation at the ice cream parlor with Patterson [CCH Pounder]?
Kurt: The beginning of the episode and the journal entry were the most honest and revelatory we have ever heard Jax. I think that is the beginning of it. He has the awareness at the onset of the episode. Then a few things along the way cemented that choice — the conversations with Tara and Patterson… but for that possibility [to take place], he had to have it somewhere in his consciousness for him to become aware that it was the only option.
When we come back for the final season, will there be a time jump, or will we pick up where we left off?
Kurt: I don’t want to lose the weight of what has happened. It may be a little bit of time like it was this season, a few weeks, but not a vast jump of time.
Will Nero [Jimmy Smits] be back?
Kurt: We made a deal with Jimmy. He brings such gravitas to the show. It has allowed me to plug into that world. At this point, I don’t know where will go in the war of brown, yellow, black and white, but now I have somewhere to jump off of.
What will Juice’s [Theo Rossi] journey be now that he is on the outs?
Kurt: I am not quite sure where Juice is headed. Knowing that he betrayed Jax is not necessarily a place where you want to be in the outlaw community. People were asking me about the dynamic between Juice and Gemma in that scene. I don’t think it was a calculated move on Juice’s part. In the moment, he did what was expected of him. He brought down a law enforcement guy about to bring down a member, or the matriarch, of the club. That is a move that can be justified. But now the great thing is we get this rich dynamic between the two of them because now they are really tied with this secret and what does it mean for the two of them?
How does Gemma come back from this?
Katey: I have no idea. Is that a secret that she holds? Is that a secret that she self destructs behind?
Kurt: I think the interesting thing for Gemma this season is she made this decision to try to do things differently with Nero. It was almost like, “Well, the secrets didn’t work out so well, so let me try the truth.” She reveals a vulnerable side to herself. She was much more vulnerable in terms of letting people in… Now she has this secret. What does she do? Does she come clean?
“Sons of Anarchy” will return in 2014 with its seventh and final season on FX.