Don't let the name fool you: Charming, California, the setting of FX's "Sons of Anarchy," is one of the deadliest places on television.
"Sons" concludes its sixth season tonight (December 10), bringing one of the bloodiest years of the notoriously violent show to what will surely be a bloody end. How can it end any other way? With the hail of bullets and the endless betrayal that's characterized the season, the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club - Redwood Original's latest chapter can only close with a devastating thud, not a whimper.
Ahead of the finale, here are some season six essentials to keep in mind:
1. Gone With The Guns: After years of running guns in partnership with the True Irish Republican Army, the Sons spent much of season six trying to exit the firearms business. Their decision was fueled by a season-opening school-shooting, perpetrated by a disturbed child who shot his classmates with a weapon acquired through the Sons' activities. But in order to leave guns behind, Charlie Hunnam's Jax Teller had to resort to backhanded and violent tactics that left several members of his own club dead or in danger. Ultimately, Jax and his brothers killed high-ranking members of the True IRA, and handed the vocation over to Oakland crime boss and reluctant business associate August Marks.
2. Moldy Clay: Part of Jax's exit-strategy from guns involved setting up his step-father, Clay Morrow, for the death of True IRA member and "Sons" antagonist Galen O'Shay — then murdering him immediately after. That's right: After six seasons of mischief and mayhem, Ron Perlman's Clay finally met his maker, his life ended by a bullet to the throat. It wasn't just Jax's way of closing business with the Irish: It was a personal act of vengeance for Clay murdering Jax's father so many years earlier. Now, Jax's reign over the Sons can move forward free of Clay's shadow — but whether Jax has learned from Clay's mistakes, or is destined to repeat them, remains to be seen.
3. One Mad Mama: Even as Jax's plans for freeing the club from guns went off with only a few bloody hitches, the man's personal life is in shambles. With a possible prison sentence hanging over Jax's wife, Tara Knowles-Teller, the good doctor spent the season plotting ways to free her children of Charming's corrupting and destructive grasp. Eventually, Jax caught on to Tara's plans, and stopped her from leaving. But in the penultimate episode, Tara took the boys and hit the road, leaving Jax in a rage. Fans have had plenty of reasons to fear for Tara's safety over the years, but never more than right now.
4. The Crow Flies Crooked: Jax's marriage isn't the only thing on the rocks. Indeed, just about every member of the Sons family is in jeopardy in some way, shape or form. Juice is reeling from his destructive actions over the past couple of seasons, resulting in a near-fatal drug overdose in last week's episode; Bobby nearly died in a hail of gunfire as part of the plan to break away from the True IRA; Tig Trager is still suffering post-traumatic stress after watching his daughter get burned alive; and friend-of-the-club Nero Padilla (played by Jimmy Smits) is livid with Jax, now that he knows his surrogate-son and business partner was responsible for the death of a friend. As if the situation wasn't dangerous enough already, the fractures within the club itself are threatening to bring the whole house down.
5. The Road Ahead: It's difficult to say where "Sons" will go next. Creator Kurt Sutter has frequently discussed the biker drama in relation to Shakespeare's "Hamlet," but the comparison isn't quite so clear anymore, now that Clay, the traitorous King to Jax's noble prince, is gone. Does a similarly grisly fate await the "Ophelia" of the story, Tara? And what about Jax's mother, Gemma, the "Gertrude" of the piece? It almost doesn't matter who's still standing after the finale: After all, there's still one more season left after tonight, and history tells us that everyone will meet with Mister Mayhem sooner or later.
The "Sons of Anarchy" season finale airs tonight on FX at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
What are your predictions for the "Sons of Anarchy" finale? Let us know in the comments below!