Tongues are wagging over a graphically violent scene in Tuesday night’s season finale of “Sons of Anarchy” on FX.
In the scene, a government witness contrived a dramatic way to demonstrate that he had come to a decision not to testify against his former gang: He bit off his own tongue.
It was one of the most arresting scenes of violence we can remember seeing on a TV show — even one as violent as this FX series about a northern California motorcycle club. And it was the first tongue-biting we could remember since Titus Pullo (Ray Stevenson) bit off an adversary’s tongue and spit it dramatically into the air some years back on HBO’s “Rome.”
The character who committed the self-tongue-severing was “Big Otto” Delaney, who happens to be played by the guy who runs the show at “SOA,” executive producer Kurt Sutter.
In a telephone news conference with reporters on Wednesday, Sutter insisted that it wasn’t his intention to shock viewers with the bloody tongue-biting (not that he minds shocking them), but it was a device for Otto to communicate that he won’t be talking anytime soon. And while most of us would figure out some less painful way to make that point, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that a guy like Otto would make this choice, Sutter said.
“I thought that for a guy who was as damaged as Otto was, what a better way of saying, ‘I’m not talking,’ literally removing the organ that articulates speech,” Sutter explained.
Elsewhere on the season-ending episode:
1) Like Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi), the kingpin of “Boardwalk Empire” who violently reasserted his leadership in the Atlantic City underworld in the “Boardwalk” season finale last weekend, “Sons of Anarchy” gang leader Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam) also took care of his gang business as “SOA” ended its fifth season. Most notably, Jax engineered the murder of the seemingly invincible northern California crime boss Damian Pope (Harold Perrineau) and framed his chief rival for his gang’s leadership position — Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman) — for the killing.
2) But Jax couldn’t tie up the loose ends in his own family. By the end of the episode, his wife Tara (Maggie Siff) was being arrested for her alleged part in a gruesome murder committed by the deranged Otto in a previous episode. In addition, Tara was the loser in her ongoing competition with Jax’s mother, Gemma (Katey Sagal). In one of the episode’s best scenes, Gemma sucker-punched Tara in the stomach, the best stomach punch we could recall since Angie Dickinson punched Dana Delany in the stomach almost 20 years ago on “Wild Palms.”
It was unclear from the finale whether Gemma’s relationship with the Latino gang leader Nero Padilla would continue next season. Sutter said he doesn’t know yet whether Jimmy Smits, who played Nero, would be available to return next season.
“I would love to bring him back,” Sutter said of Smits. “We left it sort of open-ended because I wasn’t sure about his availability. I feel like there’s enough emotional weight on the table, there’s enough relationship weight on the table for us to continue that storyline. And yet, I was careful not to pin any major story arc to his character,” just in case Smits could not return, Sutter said.
As for two of the other guest-stars seen this past season, Donal Logue will be back, and Drea De Matteo is, like Smits, uncertain, Sutter said. De Matteo plays Wendy, a drug addict who is the mother of one of Jax’s sons.
Logue’s character, who is retired after a career in law enforcement, appeared in several episodes this season. His sister was the nurse Otto stabbed to death with a crucifix Tara gave him in a prison hospital room. As a result, the Logue character wants the gang to pay for the murder.
“The [Logue] character will be a big character next season,” Sutter said, “and probably the most dangerous threat that the club’s ever had.”