Sons of Anarchy could easily be considered the most important show FX has ever produced. It was the most popular, after all, and fans are still discussing it to this day. It was a show wrought with symbolism, tragedy, and great drama. It will certainly be examined for many years to come—even if all the depictions of the outlaw biker lifestyle weren’t as realistic as one might think.
The full-throttle drama created by Kurt Sutter exposed the biker subculture of SAMCRO, the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Originals. The club began as a social rebellion by John Teller (father of main character Jax), who returned from Vietnam in the late 1960s as an outsider, disgusted with civilian culture. He sought the same culture and freedom that he’d found in war.
Though John Teller paved the way for the club’s rebellious ways, it was his son who really explored all the options on the table, including the prospect of going completely legitimate. Jax was a bright spot among the constant violence and was always looking for new ways to make the MC profitable. But in the end, not everything depicted was as truthful as it might have been in real life.
Jax was unable to save the club from its deeply rooted history, though he tried. For seven seasons, the club wreaked havoc on the small town of Charming (a fictional town located near the Bay Area in California), and we were eventually left with many unanswered questions and unresolved mysteries.
Here are 25 things that made no sense about Sons of Anarchy.
25 The Helmets Were Novelty Helmets
Yes, the helmets that SAMCRO members wore were pretty dorky looking and technically, they weren’t legal. To be legal, they’d have to be approved and endorsed by DOT, and they’d have to have at least an inch of padding between the shell and the head. So a lot of bikers wear these “novelty helmets” that aren’t very effective in a crash but give the illusion that they’re wearing a legal helmet. The statement they’re giving is that if they have to wear a helmet, they’ll wear as little as they can get away with.
24 SAMCRO Didn’t Have A Lot Of Interest In Motorcycles
For a show about an outlaw motorcycle club, Sons of Anarchy would often go many episodes without showing anyone on a bike—especially as the plot got more convoluted. In reality, the mainstay of MCs are their proclivity to always be working on their bikes during their off-time, but that’s not the case in SoA. There are certain seasons where the club only rides their bikes three or four times during the entire season! Charlie Hunnam (Jax Teller) certainly rides his 2003 Harley-Davidson Dyna Super Glider more often in real life than he did in the show.
23 The Club’s Ranks Don’t Make Much Sense
As a rule of thumb, the ranking system of SAMCRO is pretty accurate to real life, but that doesn’t mean it makes much sense and it gets confusing. Also in the show, there are rarely more than 10 members of the club in Charming at any one time, which makes the club’s hierarchies quite a mystery. As seen on their patches, members have titles such as Sergeant-in-Arms, Enforcer, Secretary, Treasurer, Road Captain, and more. The patches highlight different members’ responsibilities, but are so many positions needed for so few members?
22 The Club Hurts Each Other So Much
Despite the “no snitching” rule and the brotherly vow of camaraderie, SAMCRO members throughout the series hurt and betray each other nearly at every step! It also makes you wonder why anyone would want to work with SAMCRO when so many people associated with the club end up in a coffin. Sons members going against each other is clearly against the club’s brotherly code. Some betrayals are heartbreaking and reverberate through the seasons, while others don’t seem to matter as much. Jax, for instance, ordered Juice’s liquidation in Season 7 with little fanfare or remorse. But that decision should not have come lightly.
21 They Hardly Ever Clean Up Crime Scenes
In real life, this would get SAMCRO shut down in an instant. There’s no way that, considering how many crime scenes they cause, the club could get away with not cleaning up after themselves. Famous horror novelist Stephen King shows up in Season 3 as a professional “cleaner” who cleans up crime scenes. Besides during that episode, there are only a handful of times when Sons members are shown cleaning up a crime scene. Many more of them should have been in jail because of this constant lapse in judgment.
20 Hardly Any New Initiates Make It Out Alive
The initiation of prospects is typically a grueling process, but with how many prospects end up six feet under, so to speak, it’s really a mystery why anyone would want to join SAMCRO at all! The newest recruits of the MC are given trivial tasks to prove their trust, typically, though hardly any new recruit ends up making it out alive. Half-Sack Epps, Phil Russell, and Eric Miles are just three such examples. Since initiation is probably a years-long process, it makes it that much more surprising that so few of them made it out alive.
19 Jax’s Emotional Stances
Jax Teller tends to take a very emotional stance on the decisions he makes for the club, as opposed to using logic, despite what he might say to the contrary. For instance, Jax’s ex-wife, Wendy Chase, is a recovering addict, which causes Jax to be vehemently against being involved in the substance trade, because of the harm it’ll cause the community. But firearms dealing is arguably more dangerous, and he uses his connections with Ireland and local crews to supply weapons. This isn’t a very logical stance—either trade on both, or on neither—but he’s obviously powered by emotion.
18 Charming Citizens Don’t Care About SAMCRO’s Actions
Charming is supposedly a very small town—so to have such an aggressive MC headquartered there seems like it would get national news. With a population of 14,679, Charming is only 23-square-miles wide. Its citizens are mostly middle-class workers, farmers, ranchers, and lumberers. With all of their illicit dealings and means of income, you’d think Charming would care more about the damage SAMCRO brings to their town. The citizens seem to care little about the corruption brought to their homes by the Sons or their town’s police department.
17 Everyone Seems To Have Money Problems
For how much money it seems SAMCRO is bringing in, no one ever seems to be financially stable. On the contrary, everyone always seems to be hurting for money. It also begs the question of why people would be so loyal to the group when it’s clear monetary rewards aren’t there. One particular character always hurt with money woes is Clay Morrow, who enters into a lucrative trafficking deal in Season 4, with the Galindo Cartel, after realizing he doesn’t have enough money to retire comfortably. This leads to a bloody aftermath. Also, if members are hurting for money, how are they supposed to take care of the families of Sons they’ve lost?
16 SAMCRO Doesn’t Care Much For Their Imprisoned Members
Typically speaking, when MCs have members that go into prison, their families are taken care of—in return for keeping quiet and taking the years—as are they themselves, when they get out. But for SAMCRO, that’s not really the case. For instance, Otto Delaney gets six years and during his imprisonment, he stays devoted to the club and even carries out crimes on the inside. For his unwavering loyalty, the club protects his wife, Luann. But then a member has an affair with Otto’s wife, and a hit is ordered on her. When Otto comes out, the Sons showed him little love.
15 What Happened To Opie’s Family?
One of the most popular and likable characters on the show was Opie Winston—Jax’s best friend and bunkmate in prison. In Season 5, SAMCRO suffered a detrimental loss, as Opie was sacrificed for saving Jax from a beating. This drove the Sons to retaliate against kingpin Damon Pope, but the question of what happened to Opie’s family is never solved. Before his own demise, Opie lost his wife and father, leaving only his children and new wife, Lyla. After being sentenced, he asked Lyla to watch his kids, but once he passed away, we never hear about his family again!
14 Most Inept Police Department In Cinematic History
The police department at Charming gets outsmarted by SAMCRO at every turn. In real life, that just would not be the case. With all their shenanigans and business dealings, SAMCRO would have gotten shut down and made national headlines with the destruction they caused—especially in such a small town. Some of the characters tasked with intervening on the Sons' plans: Agent June Stahl, Attorney Lincoln Potter, the heads of the San Joaquin Sheriff’s Department, Eli Roosevelt and Althea Jerry—but they all get outsmarted by the club, all the time.
13 SAMCRO Members Look Too Clean
This is partly because it’s a television show, we suspect, but the gear and merchandise that the Sons wear are entirely too clean looking. So are the members themselves—they don’t give off that grungy vibe, despite the many beards, because of their sleek jackets and vests. Jax’s bright white sneakers are rarely dirtied, for instance, and any time they are, they’re magically white again next episode. Does he have a stock of these white shoes? Also, who runs the merchandising department for the club? (Merchandising is a huge piece of revenue for real MCs, though this doesn’t seem to be the case for SAMCRO.)
12 Despite Her Constant Scheming, Gemma Is Blindly Trusted
One of the number one complaints that real-life bikers have with the show (according to Reddit threads), is with the character of Gemma Teller Morrow. In real life, she would have no power: MCs are male-driven and rarely give women any type of power, treating them more as subjects and sometimes as property. Gemma is an expert at manipulating people to do her bidding, and her Machiavellian scheming even ends the life of Jax’s love, Tara Knowles, and results in an all-out war with the Lin Triad. In real life, she would have been stopped by SAMCRO in the first season, the first time she even looked at a member the wrong way.
11 The “Club Comes First” Rule Is A Lie
The mentality that the “club comes first” is not only a lie, but it also is broken all the time. This goes along the lines of the numerous betrayals that club members carry out on each other. As fully-patched members of SoA, strict adherence to the club’s rules aren’t an option, and they must pledge their loyalty above that of their own families and lives. But the biggest rule breakers here are Clay and Jax—the leaders!—who consistently put their own interests in front of the club’s. Clay enters into a deal with the Galindo Cartel for his own profit, while Jax constantly takes advice from Tara and Gemma over that of the club leaders.
10 The Real Life Of A Biker Is Much More Mundane
George Paczolt is a former patch-holder and 40-year-rider, and he told Quora that the life of an MC member is much more mundane than it’s depicted on SoA. He said the real life of a biker is much quieter and too boring for TV. The average weekend is spent either a) traveling to other clubhouses for meetings and to bar hop, or b) working on his bikes with other club members. He did admit he was 35 when he first joined an MC and wasn’t young and dumb at the time.
9 In Real MCs, Women Have No Power
This goes back to the Gemma comment, about how she would have no power among SAMCRO in real life. According to George Paczolt, she would have been taken out back and “corrected” halfway through the first episode. Women have no decision-making positions in real MCs, and he says any patch-flying club that allows women full colors isn’t taken seriously by other clubs. The fact is, MCs are very male-centric—and the clubs also wouldn’t have all the members working at the same place, owned by one member, as they do in SoA.
8 The “Hit Counts” Would Never Happen In Real Life
When all is said and done, Jax Teller has something like 45 hits under his belt (people he’s had snuffed out). This is incredibly unrealistic and no law enforcement agency would ever allow that thing to happen or go unnoticed. The reality of body counts in the show goes wildly off the rails as the series progresses—and this isn’t helped by Charming having the most ineffective police department in the history of mankind. Multiple characters on the show have body counts in the dozens, which begs the question, how is anyone still alive in that town? How isn’t SAMCRO front-page, national news?
7 Who Was The Homeless Woman Supposed To Be?
One recurring character that never has her loose ends tied up is the homeless woman who appears randomly throughout the series. After seven seasons, viewers aren’t given any hints as to who she was or what she represented. We were given her name—Emily Putner—and the rest was left a mystery. Was this intentional, or did the showrunners simply not have enough time to cover everything? We see her in a crucial moment in the finale, when Jax finally asks, “Who are you?” And the only words uttered by her are, “It’s time.” We’ll never know the answer to Jax’s question.
6 What Happened To The Land That Was So Hotly Contested?
The show is constantly surrounded by drama because, well, it’s a drama. The violence, rivalries, betrayals, relationships, and family are always in turmoil. The last season of the show saw the plot mainly revolved around a dull land development deal. The SAMCRO boys got caught up in a church land deal and things got messy. Revenge came center stage and characters lost their lives. Jax eventually went after August Marks and came out a winner, but afterward, we never got a follow up as to what happened to the land! Why was it made such a big deal of in the first place?
5 What Happened To Tig And Venus?
One of the only positive outcomes by the end of Sons of Anarchy involves the relationship between Tig and Venus. There were a lot of odd relationships in the show, and this one was very unconventional but still sweet. Tig was hypnotized by Venus Van Dam and, surprisingly, the relationship never had any bumpy rides. All relationships on the show ended with one or both of the parties in the dirt, except for these two. We don’t know if they got a happily-ever-after, though, because Venus sent off her son to live with family after Jax got rid of her ex-wife—so why was Venus happy at the end?
4 SAMCRO Would Have Been Shut Down Long Ago
One overriding theme throughout this article is that SAMCRO would not have been able to get away with all the debauchery they were able to get away with, at least in real life. The town of Charming was not so charming as it seems, after all. And in such a tiny town, would it have made sense for the SAMCRO members to get away with all the harm they caused? We never saw any protests, media coverage, nationwide manhunts, or anything of the sort, especially in the last two seasons when the body count rose to astronomical levels.
3 Jax Was Not A Great Leader, Though He Was Treated Like One
For most of the series, t seems like everyone in SAMCRO thinks Jax has a good head on his shoulders and is a good leader. Most of the club is loyal to him until the end. He’s the one positioning to take the club into the future, with his ability to outmaneuver his enemies. Due to his intelligence, he gains respect and is seen as a great leader. But during his tenure as President, SAMCRO is always in the crosshairs of other clubs, law enforcement, and everyone in between. He hardly ever delegated anything of note, preferring to handle everything himself, which isn’t a sign of great leadership.
2 What Was With Jax’s Random Limp
For a short while, Jax developed a random limp that seemingly came out of nowhere, and was never questioned or answered. On the penultimate episode of SoA, his limp is so severe that it’s noticeable from a considerable distance. But what caused it? It might have struck viewers as being symbolic, and in later scenes in the episode, he drops the limp completely. Eventually, it came out that Charlie Hunnam had suffered a broken foot and the limp was not planned but SoA producer Paris Barclay said he found it “interesting and provocative” for Jax to have a strange injury while approaching his final destiny.
1 Would Nero Really Have Had So Much Affection For Jax?
One fan-favorite character that managed to squeak by was Nero—a kind, understanding father figure for Jax Teller. The new man in Gemma’s life suffered betrayal after betrayal at the hands of Jax, though, even after giving Jax some stellar underworld advice. For instance, Jax put an end to Darvany Jennings’ life, going against an explicit agreement he’d had with Nero. He also ended up dispatching Gemma. But in the end, Nero agrees to take Jax’s kids safely out of Charming, and he’s never seen again.
Sources: IMDb, Quora, and Wikipedia.