‘Sons of Anarchy’ series finale: Talking ‘Papa’s Goods,’ and the meaning of the title

Over the years, we have loved nothing more than trying to expound upon episode titles. Sometimes, it is just a word or two, but you can extract so much meaning from them, you can get a full sense of a creator’s vision. This is why we hate that shows like “24,” while good, just give you gimmicky names that are impossible to remember.

“Sons of Anarchy” has always taken great care when it comes to some of their names. “Black Widower” was the premiere, and that was a perfect explanation for Jax’s emotional state. Meanwhile, “Suits of Woe” for Tuesday’s episode illustrated perfectly the breaking of the facade for Jax, as it connected back to the parental relationships present in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”

Finally, we turn to “Papa’s Goods.” This is the title for the series finale, which is both written and directed by creator Kurt Sutter. We see this as a full original; it’s not a reference to Shakespeare, but it does sum up so much of the show: The nature of the ghostly father / son relationship between Jax and John Teller, and the sense of legacy. If Jax dies, what does he leave behind? Can he do good for his children before taking one last bow?

Even the title for the series itself has taken on a stronger meaning this season than ever before. At first, the Sons of Anarchy were just the members of the club, representing this wild, free lifestyle where they embraced no rules but their own. However, Jax has shown himself to be a son of anarchy in a different way, born into a messy finale, and experiencing more and more pain as time goes by. Gemma has become anarchy, and at times an unstoppable force in his life.

Abel and Thomas, meanwhile, are sons of anarchy in their own way, as well. Their father has murdered, lied, betrayed, and threatened; he may love them, but he clearly does not love himself anymore. These final two episodes are a chance for him to represent something else, knowing that he may die regardless after turning himself in to the club for Jury’s death. Does he want to stand for something, or feel the same level of anarchy in the afterlife?

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