It's the ending that many of us didn't see coming. Sons of Anarchy aired the fifth episode of its last season, "Some Strange Eruption," and there was a strange eruption in deed. Gemma finally let her guilt lead her somewhere, the only problem is that that somewhere was a dark road where she planned to kill Juice Ortiz. But when Juice realized what Gemma was up to, there were still a few minutes left in the episode: ample time for Juice to wreck Gemma's SUV, chase her into the woods nearby and hold her own gun on her. The episode delivered the signature SAMCRO logo before we could see what happened after that, but I'm not sure I'm ready to find out if Juice would really kill Gemma, so maybe that's for the best.
That being said, it really did look like Juice could do it. He proved, this week, that he has snapped completely without the comfort of his SAMCRO family. (He seeks a weird sort of comfort, but hey, to each his own.) Before Gemma picked Juice up to take him on an ill-fated ride to the desert, Juice was already losing it at his motel. After finding a newspaper with Lin's murder rampage at Diosa, Juice is certain that the Chinese are coming after him (despite the fact that he's no longer wearing SAMCRO gear and hasn't be involved in what feels like eons). When the manager of the hotel, who just so happens to be Asian, tries to check in on Juice, ol' Juicey murders him in cold blood only to find out that he racially profiling the guy and he's not with Lin's gang.
Unser gladly steps up to the plate to clear the motel room of blood and evidence (it gives him some intel to give to the Sheriff) and Gemma takes Juice upstate. But somewhere along the way on that drive, Juice falls asleep and something changes in Gemma's mind. Perhaps it was the part where she flat-out lied to the man she loves, extending her libel against Lin's gang to his court, and perhaps it was Juice showing that he's may be the old yeller of the SAMCRO boys, but Gemma decides it's time to end things.
Yet, Juice is the one holding the gun in the end. We know Gemma deserves to die after what she did to Tara and it seems pretty clear she isn't going to survive this final season, but is her killer really going to be Juice?
On one hand, Juice is just mad enough to do something stupid. And we all know how he likes to do stupid things. It would certainly throw the show into a direction no one anticipated: Gemma's secret would pass solely into Juice's hands, which he could deliver to Jax as a manner of getting back into his good graces. If that happened, things wouldn't go smoothly, because Jax would probably assume Juice was lying and let's be honest, he'd figure out who killed Gemma.
On the other hand, if Juice kills Gemma, it might feel a little like he's stolen the inevitable emotional turmoil Jax must face when he finds out Gemma killed Tara. In a way, Juice offing her in the woods is getting off easy. She wouldn't have to face the wrath of the person she loves most in the world. She wouldn't feel the pain of watching Nero leave her for all the pain she's spun. And if there is anything this season of Sons of Anarchy is angling for, it's punishment for misdeeds.
Juice won't kill her. That wouldn't be punishment enough.
Image: James Minchin/FX (2)