‘Sons of Anarchy’ — This Was the Most Painful Moment

    The Big Picture

    • Sons of Anarchy remains one of the best dramas because it fearlessly killed off characters and shattered fans’ hopes for the future.
    • Tara’s violent death in the series was particularly devastating because it not only took her life, but also destroyed Jax’s chance at redemption.
    • Tara’s death led to Jax’s descent into darkness and unhinged him completely, ultimately leading to his own tragic demise.

    While it’s been almost a decade since Sons of Anarchy aired its finale, the series still lives rent-free in our minds as one of the best dramas ever. The reason is that Sons of Anarchy never pulled any punches when it came to killing characters and destroying fans’ hopes about the future. However, despite dealing with explicit violence, the series never did things for shock value alone, using its most painful moments to explore the grim nature of villains or to show the distressing consequences of a criminal life. Still, while every brutal scene of Sons of Anarchy served the story and the characters, we would be lying if we said some of these moments didn’t scar us for life. While there are many painful plot developments in the show, from Opie’s (Ryan Hurst) sacrifice to the murder of Tig’s (Kim Coates) daughter, Tara’s (Maggie Siff) violent death still hurts us more than anything else — because in that moment, it is not just Tara that gets killed, but also Jax’s (Charlie Hunnam) hopes for redemption.

    Sons of Anarchy

    A biker struggles to balance being a father and being involved in an outlaw motorcycle club.

    Release Date
    September 3, 2008

    Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, Tommy Flanagan, Mark Boone Junior, Kim Coates, Drea De Matteo, Dayton Callie, Jimmy Smits

    Main Genre


    Jax and Tara’s Relationship Timeline in ‘Sons of Anarchy’

    In the first season of Sons of Anarchy, we learn Tara and Jax had an intense romance in their youth before she left Charming to become a surgeon. Tara knew how toxic SAMCRO could be and wanted nothing more than to leave the club behind, even if that meant giving away her relationship with Jax. When Tara returns to Charming, running away from an abusive ex, she gets pulled toward Jax as a magnet. There’s something beautiful about Tara and Jax’s love; they both feel they were meant for each other and no one else. Unfortunately, Tara’s inability to cut ties with Jax eventually leads to her death.

    While Tara’s heart keeps pulling her closer to Jax, as soon as she becomes once more part of the M.C. community, she shows her unhappiness about SAMCRO’s criminal endeavors. In fact, for the whole series, Tara acts as Jax’s north, trying to guide him on a better path instead of being consumed by the neverending cycle of violence of the club. That turned Tara into the most unfairly hated character of Sons of Anarchy, as fans idealized the M.C., much like its members. Still, while Tara knew that the M.C. most likely couldn’t be saved and that its members were doomed to prison or violent death, she remained by Jax’s side.

    Tara loses her job after her hand gets smashed due to the club’s violence, preventing her from operating on patients, but even that isn’t reason enough to quit Jax. She even tries to support him when he promises to make the club go legit and abandon gun trafficking, only to see SAMCRO get involved with drugs. However, by Season 6, it’s clear that Jax is as much of a threat as the other club members and is walking a one-way road to self-destruction. What’s worse, Tara realizes that her sons will have the same fate as their father if she doesn’t try to take them away from Charming.

    Alone and desperate, Tara considers going to the police and ratting on the club, something that would put a death sentence above her head. When Jax discovers this, he is furious. Then, he realizes Tara is right, and he should do what is best for his sons. So, Jax decides to turn himself in and pay for SAMCRO’s crimes, sacrificing his freedom to give Tara and his kids the opportunity of a better life while still refusing to betray the M.C. It would be tragic for Jax’s story to end like that, as he would rot behind bars and never see his sons grow up. Even so, that move would allow Jax to clean some of the blood he had on his hands and take responsibility for his actions. Unfortunately, fate wishes otherwise, as Tara falls victim to one of the bloodiest murders of the series.

    How Does Tara Die in ‘Sons of Anarchy’?

    Mistakenly believing Tara is going to rat out the club, Gemma (Katey Sagal) corners her daughter-in-law inside her home and murders her. There’s no sugarcoating it — Tara’s death is brutal. Gemma bashes Tara’s head before pushing her face into an overflowing sink. Afterward, Gemma grabs a barbecue fork and perforates Tara’s skull multiple times to ensure she will never say another word. While Tara also had her ups and downs, she mostly tried to shield her family from all the dirt leaking from SAMCRO. As such, she didn’t deserve to meet a bloody end like she did. However, what makes Tara’s death even more painful is the timing of it, as it also robs Jax of a chance at redemption.

    Before Tara’s death, Jax was ready to pay for his crimes. Furthermore, while Jax wouldn’t rat on the club, losing their president would shake SAMCRO and force them to rethink their choices. In short, Tara convincing Jax to turn himself in would allow everyone to become better people and maybe do some damage control. After Tara’s death, however, Jax is entirely unhinged. Without his wife, the president of SAMCRO embraces the darkness he has always carried with him, leading the club to become more violent than ever. Tara’s death didn’t just erase a life but also removed any sense of fairness that still remained inside Jax.

    We all know how the story goes now. Jax ends up killing his own mother, completely tarnishing his soul. In addition, his actions take SAMCRO so deep into the criminal world that the club is forced to vote for his execution. Finally, Jax takes his own life, the last choice he gets to make after ensuring his sons would leave Charming, just like Tara wanted.

    We couldn’t anticipate everything that would happen by the end of Season 6. Yet, as soon as Gemma murders Tara, we know Jax is destined to die and Sons of Anarchy will end in tragedy. Tara deserved to be mourned, and her death alone hurts like hell. Still, Tara’s demise is so painful because Season 6 of Sons of Anarchy gave us hope before taking it all away with the stroke of a barbecue fork.

    All seven seasons of Sons of Anarchy are available to stream on Hulu.

    Watch on Hulu


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