Katey Sagal on Gemma’s Sons of Anarchy Exit: “I Thought It Was Beautiful” (Spoilers)

Katey Sagal as Gemma Teller on Sons of Anarchy
Katey Sagal's Gemma was killed off Sons of Anarchy by her own son Jax in the Dec. 2 episode. James Minchin/FX

WARNING: Major Sons of Anarchy spoilers from the Tuesday, Dec. 2 episode ahead. Please stop reading if you have not seen this episode and don’t want to be spoiled! 

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Jax finally got his revenge — and, boy, was it disturbing. In the penultimate episode of the seventh and final season of FX’s Sons of Anarchy, three major characters (who have all starred on the show since season 1) met their demise. 

Sons of Anarchy motorcycle club member and confessed “rat” Juan Carlos “Juice” Ortiz (Theo Rossi) was first to bite the dust in a prison cafeteria at the hands of white supremacist Ron Tully (Marilyn Manson). After slipping Tully a scalpel, Juice asked only to finish his cherry pie before Tully slit his throat. (Tully, who had read him Emily Bronte poetry in creepy slammer scenes, obliged.)

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As anticipation built, Jackson “Jax” Teller (Charlie Hunnam) confronted mother and SoA matriarch Gemma (Katey Sagal) at her childhood home for murdering his beloved wife Tara (Maggie Siff) with a meat fork in a fit of rage. Former police chief Wayne Unser (Dayton Callie), who burst in to save Gemma, the woman he loved, was rewarded with a shot to the head from Jax.

Charlie Hunnam on Sons of Anarchy
In the Dec. 2 episode of Sons of Anarchy, Charlie Hunnam’s Jax shot his own mother Gemma (Katey Sagal) and killed her. Byron Cohen/FX

Knowing that her son must avenge his wife’s death, Gemma asked Jax to visit the garden in which she’d spent many happy hours as a child. There, she turned her back and gave her blessing to her son: “You have to do this,” she said. “It’s who we are, sweetheart.” Teary-eyed, Jax pulled the trigger.

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Following the episode, Sagal and her husband, series creator Kurt Sutter, appeared on the Anarchy Aftermath show to discuss their seven-year labor love. 

“I thought it was a beautiful the way it all came to an end with her,” Sagal, who won a Golden Globe for the role in 2011, said. “[Jax] had been so hell-bent on revenging Tara’s death that it was almost like the ultimate gift she could give him.” 

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For Sutter, Gemma’s death had deep meaning: “Even in expediting her own death, she still was fulfilling the role of a matriarch and coaxing him and guiding him and saying, ‘Ok, you need to do this now, even if it means pointing the gun at me,’” Sutter explained. “To me that’s someone who’s been able to come full circle.” 

So what happens to Jax? Sons of Anarchy’s series finale airs Tuesday, Dec. 9 at 10 p.m. ET on FX.

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