“A true outlaw finds the balance between the passion in his heart and the reason in his mind. The outcome is the balance of might and right.”– Jackson “Jax” Teller
[reading from his father’s unpublished manuscript]
“I got no answers, my family plan is right out of the Sid and Nancy handbook. I’m so used to shit movin’ in the other direction, I don’t know what I’d do if something actually hooked up.”– Jackson “Jax” Teller
Harley Davidson Super Glide Sport? Check. Club leathers? Check. 9mm in shoulder holster? Check. Kiss son on forehead before you chase a Mayan down, shoot him in the head, desecrate the body and frame him for a drive-by? Check. Check. You betcha fuckin’ ass check.
Jackson “Jax” Teller, vice president of the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original (SAMCRO or, as they are otherwise known, Sam Crow) suddenly finds himself conflicted. On the one hand, Jax is a tattooed one percenter, an ex-con, a member of the Men of Mayhem (meaning he has killed on behalf of the club), the second-in-command of a group of bikers who make their money selling guns to whomever has the cash, primarily the drug gangs. On the other, Jax is a new father to Abel, who was born premature because his mother (Jax’s ex-wife) was a voracious meth addict. And that birth has got Jax re-examining himself, the club and his place in it.
In the first season and coinciding with the birth of Abel, Jax found his father’s journals and an unpublished manuscript titled The Life and Death of Sam Crow: How the Sons of Anarchy Lost Their Way. In it Jax’s father, John, club founder and Viet Nam war veteran, lays out the club’s manifesto – a club formed as a form of social rebellion by men who no longer wanted to live by society’s rules. The birth of Abel, his father’s journals and the rekindling of a romance with high school sweetheart, Tara, appear to be having a profound effect on this brutal anti-hero.
In one scene, we find Jax sitting next to his son’s incubator and gently adjusting the Sons of Anarchy beanie perched on the small baby’s head. In another, Jax brutally beats a biker on a crotch rocket with biker’s own helmet after he is disrespectful to his girlfriend in Jax’s presence. The two extremes – the tenderness he shows his son and the lightning-quick violence he visits upon others – are at war. Admittedly, we don’t see much of Abel episode to episode, but his presence is certainly implied (and felt) as Jax tries to reshape the club and starts to establish his role as “father” to the other bikers – urging the club to get into producing porn as a “legitimate” business for example, contrary to what the club president and surrogate father wanted – taking it more in the direction John Teller initially intended.
As vice president, Jax is second only to Clay, his step-father. The Hamlet theme runs deep in Sons of Anarchy (Clay married Jax’s mother, Gemma, after John Teller died for starters) – and need not be explored too much here. But it is plainly evident that there is a struggle at play: control of the club and control of Jax’s soul. Having become a father himself, as well as the “conversations” he has with his own father through the latter’s writings, Jax is plainly trying to recast himself and the club. In short and to the extent that it is possible, Jax is trying to be a “better” man and better father to Abel and to the club. And though that transition may at times be fantastically violent and brutal, it is no less noble an undertaking.