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I just spent the better half of a month binge-watching all seven seasons of Sons of Anarchy for the first time. This show took me for a ride—more specifically, a motorcycle ride. The story was engaging, the action was intense, the drama was thrilling, and most importantly, the characters were what tied this masterpiece of a series together. Thus, I’m writing this article as a final goodbye to a show that had no business being as phenomenal as it was.
Before I begin, I would like to make some honourable mentions. I never really do this, but I struggled making this list because there are so many great characters that at the very least deserve a mention. So, the honorable mentions are as follows: Juan Carlos “Juice” Ortiz, Piermont “Piney” Winston, Wendy Case, Chucky, Edward Kip “Half-Sack” Epps, and last but not least, “Filthy” Phil Russell. That last one might come as a shock because Phil wasn’t relevant at all, but the guy was just so likable. From reading comics, to eating unnecessarily big bowls of cereal, to only loving the company of black women, and to playing Russian Roulette in order to prove his loyalty for SAMCRO, Phil was low-key great and the only man that can stop Thanos in Avengers: Endgame.
The one dishonorable mention goes to Dr. Tara Knowles-Teller. Tara is a character I love to hate. She’s just one of those characters whose intentions are in the right place, yet they still somehow annoy you. Like Skyler in Breaking Bad or Lori in The Walking Dead (wow, wives of the main characters really do suck, don’t they?). Her only redeeming quality is how strong of a mother she is and how much she keeps Jax sane through her loving support.
Now that all of those great characters have been mentioned, let’s take a look at the top 10 best Sons of Anarchy characters. If you disagree with this list, scroll down to the link to the official The Sessa Vocal Twitter. There you can find the post promoting this article and be able to comment what you agree or disagree with. So let's begin!
10. Robert “Bobby” Munson
Also known as Bobby Elvis, this member was the MC’s moral compass. Eventually becoming Vice President of the Sons of Anarchy, but stepping down because of his inner turmoil with Jax. On his spare time, he enjoys impersonating Elvis at parties. As the treasury secretary, Bobby was responsible for all the financial matters, which makes him an essential component of the club. Yet, the reason why Bobby makes this list is his undying loyalty to the Sons of Anarchy. Hardcore torture couldn’t even make Bobby turn against his brothers; all it did was make Bobby look cooler by giving him an eyepatch. Plus, the whole Elvis thing is really funny.
9. Happy Lowman
There’s not much to say about Happy because he doesn’t have a lot of development throughout the series. Yet, despite that, it’s still pretty entertaining when he’s on screen. Happy is the craziest among these outlaws. On numerous occasions, volunteering himself to do the dirty work. Even finding enjoyment in being held hostage by rival clubs. Tig feels normal next to him and Tig’s a wild man himself. Happy should probably be in an insane asylum and that’s why I love him.
8. Clarence “Clay” Morrow
One of the Redwood Original 9, Clay isn’t necessarily a great person. He’s selfish, abusive towards his wife, and had multiple people murdered throughout the course of the show. So why is such an awful person on this list? Well, in my opinion, Clay is the best antagonist of the show. He’s subtly evil, intelligent, Jax’s foil, and is a force to be reckoned with. Even in his old age, he still managed to handle Jax in a fist fight. Clay left his mark on the club, and even more so, on key events of the show. If you’re not with him, then you’re definitely against him.
7. Neron “Nero” Padilla
Does anyone else find it funny that Nero was just trying to live his life, but once he slept with Gemma, his life started to dramatically become more difficult? The point is, don’t get too involved with Gemma’s inconvenient ass. Anyhow, Nero is just a likable guy. He genuinely cares for the people around him and in some instances, complete strangers. I personally find his relationship with Jax the most touching. It’s almost like Jax views Nero as somewhat of a father figure. Thus, in the back half of the show, Nero’s presence is really influential towards certain decisions.
6. Gemma Teller Morrow
Gemma is an interesting character. She’s very inconvenient in that her lies constantly cause someone to be in conflict with someone else. It’s like when she should tell the truth, she doesn’t, but when she shouldn’t tell the truth, she does. She basically single handedly messes up John Teller’s, Jax’s, Tera’s, and Nero’s lives in really depressing ways. Yet, I somehow really like watching her. Maybe it’s her conviction and dedication to make the hard choices that will keep the family together. She’s also a victim of those choices as the show constantly abuses Gemma. She gets raped a total of three times, among other horrific things that happen to her throughout the course of the show That type of strength to move forward despite those tragedies is really admirable. Gemma is the definition of a flawed, but powerful female lead and that alone makes up for a lot of the things she ends up complicating.
5. Wayne Unser
Sheriff Unser is the only cop I’ve ever seen smoke weed like it’s as necessary as drinking water. Like Tara cornly said, Unser is this watcher that sees everything that happens in Charming. Although he seems pretty irrelevant, if you look back to every key moment in the show, Unser is somehow involved in it. Other than his importance, he’s such a likable character. Unser gives off this friendly vibe whenever he’s on screen. His love for Gemma is also so adorable and the ultimate definition of being trapped in the friend zone. He basically reminds me of the Lorax. The only difference is the Lorax protects the trees and Unser protects Charming.
4. Harry “Opie” Winston
If there ever was a SAMCRO Hall of Fame, Opie deserves to be on it. Even after his death, the show still kept his legacy around by adding an “In Memory of Opie” patch on the Sons of Anarchy Redwood Original Cut. Son of one of the Original 9 members, Piney, Opie starts off trying to distance himself from SAMCRO in order to be a better husband and father. Yet, he discovers he isn’t happy with his life unless he’s riding a motorcycle. Opie is fan favorite, and personally I believe it has to do with how tragic of a character he is. Besides Otto, I’ll argue Opie has lost more than anyone on the show due to the club. He served five years in jail, his wife was murdered, his next marriage results in a failure, his father was murdered by the same person who ordered the hit on his wife, he loses faith in his club, and eventually sacrifices himself by getting brutally beaten to death in order to keep Jax, Chibs, and Tig safe. All the man wanted was peace and he finally found it in his final moments. Opie not only rocks a beanie, but rocks every scene he’s in.
3. Alexander “Tig” Trager
Tig is one of those characters that is so quotable. Mostly everything that came out of his mouth was top quality dark humor. Yet, you can always feel a sense of pain behind those jokes. Those type of layers really make Tig such a compelling character, rather than just being the one note loyal to his club badass. There’s two moments that made Tig one of my favorite characters in the entire show. The first being when he stepped down as Clay’s number two due to Clay beating Gemma. The second being when he went out of his way to save a dog from being murdered. These moments highlight the humanity behind such a bizarre and violent human being. Plus, both domestic and animal abuse are awful things. Tig also finds love in his transgender soulmate, Venus. Which basically proves that Sons of Anarchy was progressive way before it was cool. Basically, Tig is a loyal, crazy, and unique individual that earned his third place spot.
2. Filip “Chibs” Telford
“Jesus Christ Jaxie!” Chibs possibly has the greatest comeback story of all time. He had practically no lines of dialogue in season one. In season two, he got put in a coma which means he wasn’t in a lot of episodes. Then in season three, he started to get an arc which culminated in the incredible season finale. Finally, Jax promotes Chibs to Redwood president. That’s one hell of a journey. Despite that, where Chibs really shines is his undying loyalty to the people he holds closest to him. Whether it’s Jax, Gemma, Tig, Opie, Bobby, etc. Chibs is always ready to kick some ass for their honor. He also has a pretty tragic backstory in regards to his family leaving him for a man who literally scarred Chibs’ face. Thus, Chibs is reminded of that everytime he looks at himself in the mirror. Like, Tig he also has a lot of quotable lines. My personal favorite being “I was raised Catholic. Everything’s a worry for me,” which is a lot funnier given the context of the show. Anyhow, Jax made the right choice electing Chibs to carry out his legacy and there’s no doubt in my mind that he will.
1. Jackson Nathaniel “Jax” Teller
I’m sure it isn’t much of a surprise that the main character is also the best character of the entire series. He’s just such a tragic character that it’s hard not to say he isn’t compelling. From birth, Jax never really had a say in his destiny, and by the end, he did the best he could with the hand he was dealt. He tries so hard to be a good man, but being a badman is almost a part of his DNA. This is a man who wanted to take his family far away from Charming and ended up becoming president of the Sons of Anarchy. Even when he thinks he can move past SAMCRO, someone’s death just throws him back in. Starting with his dad, John’s death trapped him. Opie’s death changed him. Tara’s death broke him. Gemma’s death destroyed him. Jax’s arc concludes in the final moments of the show as he commits suicide in the same way his dad did. The closing images of the series show crows eating bread near Jax’s blood. This is symbolic since it illustrates that Jax died for the Sons of Anarchy’s sins. Therefore, breaking the violent cycle plaguing the club. Jax Teller’s death set himself free. I haven’t felt that content with the end of a main characters journey since Walter White in Breaking Bad. Jax Teller is one of the ultimate anti-heroes and I’m glad I got to witness his evolution over seven fantastic seasons. Rest in peace...
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