This short overview of the television series Sons of Anarchy, focusing specifically on Jax Teller’s influence on the series and the influences in which force his hand to action. Kurt Sutter has a knack for creating expansive worlds that are ever changing as each season packs with it first introducing the audience to SOA’s home of Charming, California; an imaginary town created by Kurt. From this town Sons of Anarchy must travel across the west side of the United States and all the way to Ireland, each containing their own influential characters. Along every stop in their journey there is a new conflict introduced to different characters within the Sons with each character dealing with it in a multitude of ways. While these are all important parts to the series I will be focusing on Jax Tellers character evolution across the seven seasons.
When approaching the TV series Sons of Anarchy I was somewhat oblivious to the adventure I was about to involve myself with, what I uncovered was a unique labyrinth of character storylines intertwined into events created by their “biker fan club,” Sons of Anarchy. The club is presented as a brotherhood created by the Redwood Original 9 members who were all Vietnam veterans. From this the club expanded into a gun-toting group attempting to protect (depending on your perspective) the city of Charming from racists, rival gangs, and corrupt politicians. Each member of SOA deal with their own personal loses from being a part of the Sons, some merely losing business while others must pay the price with their lives because either you live or die for the club. Only a lucky few have merely walked away from the club but not without losing their cut (their defining apparel worn) and having the ink removed from their bodies through fire for those that leave the club do not deserve the Reaper to be tattooed on their back.
As the man who leads such devoted individuals, he must delve deeply into his own philosophy of what the club means as a whole, its mission to Charming and the way the club conducts its business. This is a reoccurring theme illustrated by influential character models even if they have a lesser role in the overall show. As the show kicks off, Clay Morrow is the president of SOA while Jax Teller remains as Vice President. The stepfather, son combination creates for an interesting environment when the Sons gather around the table to discuss events pertaining to the club. Early in the series development Jax continues to support his stepfather’s decisions as Clay strives for financial freedom for the club all while Clay’s past begins to haunt him after Piney shares his knowledge of Jax’s actual father. Jax is instantly thrown into a whirlwind of emotions as his estranged wife collapses while pregnant and is forced to give birth to their son ten weeks prematurely but not before Jax’s past girlfriend bursts onto the scene
After being reunited with his high school girlfriend, Tara Knowles, Jax begins to question his life choices as both a father and the vice president of SOA all after Wendy, his estranged wife, collapsed while pregnant. This series of events mixed with the Mayans (a rival gang) torching their gun-assembling warehouse forced Jax and the Sons to get their lives in order very quickly. The audience soon finds out that Tara returned to her Charming because of her stalker Agent Kohn and hoped that Jax could protect her as he once did. This is exactly what Jax did after Agent Kohn entered into Tara’s home hoping to rape her but was shot once in the stomach by Tara who had recently received a gun from Gemma, Jax’s mother. After Jax arrives at Tara’s home he attempts to allow the police to handle the ATF agent until he called Tara a “biker whore” which drove Jax into a violent rage and in which he shoots him in the head. Throughout the series this uncontrollable rage will almost take over Jax’s life in deciding how he develops as a man, father, and son.
Upon realizing Tara had returned to Charming, Gemma had decided to pay her a visit and does not take kindly to her until later in the season. This relationship transformation takes an interesting turn in the way that Gemma wishes to help her become an “old lady” to Jax. The end of the first season concludes with Clay ordering Tig to murder Opie (Jax’s best friend) but instead murders Opie’s wife Donna. Tig and Clay continue to develop their relationship as a Sargent at Arms and President of the club as Tig questions the individual in which he is committing horrific acts for. The first season allowed for viewers to get a grasp on what it means to be a loyal member to the Sons of Anarchy and the way in which they go about their business. Season 1 also sets pace for Jax as a character and the violence he is willing to commit for his loved, no matter their occupation.