Sons of Anarchy is full of moments of foreshadowing, and fans have found that the pilot episode subtly teased the series’ finale. In 2008, Kurt Sutter took viewers to California and into the world of motorcycle clubs in Sons of Anarchy. The series was very well-received by critics and viewers from the beginning, and it lived on for seven seasons, coming to an end in 2014. Sons of Anarchy was praised for its tone, the performances of its main cast, and the themes it addressed, such as corruption, racism, brotherhood, and more.
Sons of Anarchy tells the story of Jackson “Jax” Teller (Charlie Hunnam), VP of the motorcycle club Sons of Anarchy in the fictional town of Charming in California. The series begins when Jax finds a manifesto written by his late father, John “JT” Teller, one of the founding members of the MC, which contained his plans and vision for the club. These were very different from those of the current President and Jax’s stepfather, Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman), and these differences and more send Jax on a personal journey that leads him to question his path, role in the club, relationships, family, and more. Sons of Anarchy ended on a heartbreaking yet satisfying note, and it was subtly foreshadowed in the pilot episode.
As mentioned above, at the beginning of Sons of Anarchy, Jax was the club’s VP and Clay was the President, and the club wasn’t exactly in a good spot, as they had conflicts with other clubs, Charming’s authorities, and even among them. Jax saw Clay struggle to lead the club and the hard decisions he had to make from time to time, and in the pilot episode, he tells Clay that “it ain’t easy being king”, to which Clay responds “you remember that”. To those watching the show for the first time, it seems like Clay is simply referring to when Jax becomes President given that he was already the VP, but for those who have watched the show more than once, it’s a subtle but dark foreshadowing of the finale and the tone of Sons of Anarchy season 7.
Jax went through a lot of tragedy and heartbreaking losses throughout Sons of Anarchy, such as the death of his best friend Opie Winston (Ryan Hurst), which was a turning point in his arc, but the one that sent him on a downward spiral was that of his wife’s, Tara Knowles (Maggie Siff). Sons of Anarchy season 7, then, saw an apathetic and angry Jax succumbing to the power of being President of SAMCRO and all the horrible things he had to do to earn that spot, which included the death of Clay. It’s an interesting parallel with the Jax seen in season 1 delivering the “king” line, who was more laidback and optimistic, showing that it truly isn’t easy being king, more so of a “kingdom” like SAMCRO. Going deeper into Sons of Anarchy and the inspirations behind it, the line is also on-brand with William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, one of Sutter’s main influences for the show, as Jax represents the title character: a young prince haunted by the ghost of his father and who suffers the consequences of the actions of his mother and stepfather.
It’s because of all these details and Jax’s actions throughout season 7 that his death in the Sons of Anarchy finale wasn’t exactly a surprise but was very fitting with the character and the show, and it was even satisfying as he not only paid for all his horrific actions but he was also freed from all the pain he went through since Opie’s death. As mentioned above, Sons of Anarchy is full of small details and pieces of foreshadowing, beginning with the pilot episode.