As Sons of Anarchy fans continue to debate whether they love or hate Jax (Charlie Hunnam) after the series’ penultimate episode, there’s one character, Nero (Jimmy Smits), who most folks believe deserves to make it out of Charming alive. At the end of “Red Rose,” viewers saw Nero sitting on Gemma’s bed sobbing: No news from Unser (Dayton Callie), whom Nero had sent to Oregon to intercept Gemma (Katey Sagal) before Jax could put a bullet in her, was bad news. “I think there’s pain, there’s guilt, there’s remorse. ‘Did you do the right thing?'” Smits told reporters during a conference call. “I’m sure the scenes afterward that aren’t written, or maybe you won’t get to see in between the episodes, are full of maybe anger and trying to grapple with what’s the next move. You gotta remember with all of these people, there’s this bubbling kind of how do they deal with the feeling of betrayal, and how [do] they try to go about exacting, one might term it, vengeance or making things right for them or their point of view.”
Asked what would have happened if Nero had gone to Oregon instead of Unser, Smits had to laugh: “There would have been probably three dead bodies,” he said. “All of them would have gone down in some way. I think that was his big fear, that he didn’t want to have to try to make that particular choice [between Gemma and Jax]. I don’t think that the Nero character understood how profound and deep the relationship that Unser has with them also [was], or else he never would have [sent him]. I guess he thinks that because the police line in Unser’s character thread was there, that he would be able to exact some kind of calm out of the situation.”
Will we see Nero’s guilt? Smits laughed again: “You’ll see more than guilt.” According to a poll in EW.com’s “Red Rose” recap, 84 percent of voters expect Nero to head to his Norco farm with Jax’s boys. Twelve percent believe he’ll go there without Abel and Thomas. Only 4 percent expect him to retaliate against Jax.
All Smits will say about the Dec. 9 series finale is that he believes creator Kurt Sutter ended the final ride beautifully. “It has all of those elements that have been the signature of the show throughout the seven seasons,” he said. “I was a little surprised, specifically, about the way Nero ends up. But I totally get it. I totally get it.”