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‘Sons of Anarchy’ Finally Explains That Homeless Woman

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Sons of Anarchy's mysterious homeless woman

Sons of Anarchy’s mysterious homeless woman

(Note: This post contains spoilers for all episodes of Sons of Anarchy to date.) 

For a series currently in its sixth season, Sons of Anarchy has never quite been about payoffs to long-developed arcs. More often, especially this season, the series has been about sudden shocks, often of the super-violent variety. Take Tuesday night’s episode, in which the imprisoned Clay (Ron Perlman) interrupted a jailhouse chapel session in order to deliver a long, vulgar monologue about “pussy” before biting off a prison guard’s nose and spitting it out.

But this week’s episode finally delivered a payoff to something the series has been building up for years. I’m talking about that unnamed homeless woman who has existed on the fringes of the series for its entire run. Never named, and never having any dialogue, the woman has appeared a couple of times each season, usually at crucial times for the show’s main characters. She’s appeared a couple of dozen times, according to SAMCROpedia, and is played by actress Olivia Burnette, who as a child actress appeared on the old NBC sitcom The Torkelsons.

The homeless woman is usually in the hometown of Charming, but did show up once when the characters visited Belfast in the third season. Creator Kurt Sutter has implied in interviews at various times that the woman is either a guardian angel or “Jesus Christ.”

On Tuesday’s episode- awhile after the jailhouse nose-biting- we finally got some background. Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam) goes to visit a man who, it turns out, had a wife who was killed in the same car accident, years before the event of the series, that killed Jax’s father. Jax sees a wedding picture of the late wife and comments that she “looks familiar”- and yep, she’s the homeless woman. Who, it appears, is a ghost.

As usual, the series has about twice as many plots to wrap up in its last four episodes of the season as a normal show would, although I suppose FX’s willingness to allow Sutter to make ‘Sons’ a 90-minute show every other week makes it easier. However, how a series that has never before included supernatural elements will explain the presence of a ghost may be harder to figure out.

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  • DEBY SHERMAN

    KURT SUTTER’S CHEESE SLID OF HIS CRACKER MANY YRS AGO WITH THIS SERIES. I MEAN THAT WITH ALL RESPECTS!!! THIS IS A GREAT SHOW WITH ALL OF THE TWIST AND VIOLENT TURNS. JUST WHEN YOU THINK YOU’VE GOT HIM FIGURED OUT HE SITS IN HIS WRITERS/DIRECTORS CHAIR AND SAYS HAHA AND FUCK YOU BECAUSE HE KNOWS NO ONE WILL BE ABLE TO REALLY FIGURE HIM OR THE PLOT OUT!! HE IS A MADMAN WITH WHAT I BELIEVE IS A TRUE LOVE FOR WHAT HE DOES. HE HAS THE MOST CREATIVE MIND, WITH SOME OF THE BEST ACTORS/ACTRESSES AND WRITERS THAT ONE CAN IMAGINE. I AM A FAIRLY NEW FAN TO THE SHOW AND LET ME TELL YOU I WAS HOOKED BY THE SECOND EPISODE OF SEASON 1. THANKS SUTTER FOR ALL OF YOUR HARD WORK THIS IS INCREDIBLE SERIES.. >>A FAN<<

  • Roxanne

    Kurt Sutter always has me at the edge of my seat with SOA. Been a fan since the beginning. It will be sad when we have to say goodbye to our characters of Charming.
    Kurt is a mad scientist concocting his story lines for us crazy fans, I mean that in a good way all. Thanks for making me a diehard SOA.

  • Melissa

    The torklesons!!!! I knew I’d seen her somewhere before!! But she has had dialogue!!! Soooo I think you should probably re watch or re google that :)

  • luke

    Kurt has said before that one of the shows inspirations is the story of hamlet. in hamlet there are ghosts such as hamlets father who appears to him at distressing times. this could be the inspiration for the homeless woman’s existence in the show, i hope they never explain it as the mystery is what is most appealing.

  • chaq686

    But Emma gave her 10 bucks and Jax his sweeter. And Jax had a blanket at the cementary.

    I know what she is. She is the anarchy made flesh :P

  • Anni

    I can’t get enough of SOA, bought the seasons, waiting on 6, too bad 7 will be the last one. It does have a lot of twists and turns. It be nice of John Teller suddenly appeared after spending years in hiding, fearing for his life. that would be a hell of twist

  • paddy

    The homeless woman is my topic of interest because it has been an on going sub-plot. She has a very serious moment with gemma when she mentions abels name nonchalantly out side of a store front during the kidnapping of Abel crisis and then a few more times when jax is at the cemetery writing in his pamflet,he is hungover and she tells him where a source of fresh water is. She has quite a few appearances actually and in the last episode of season 6 when juice is discarding the murder weapons of Tara,she walks by just as he is done. My heart sunk when I saw the photo of “her”? In the supposed widowed husbands house because I even recognized her just as jax did and I said “thats the homeless lady!” But if this IS her, why is she not actually dead? Howcome no one has seen or heard from her since the incident? As a part of a greater picture what purpose does this woman have in the plot of SOA? And if she is a supernatural character as some people suggest what does she know? I bet she has a real time story of what actually went down on the road that day when JT was killed and in the 7thseason (crosses fingers) she reveals her secret to him,because lets be honest… A character like this lingering around in ALL of the seasons with at least one appearance showing herself when jax or gemma is going through an emotional time definitely has a major part to play. It just isn’t her time to wow us yet.

  • henna

    I always thought she might be Death, the Reaper incarnate, lingering on the sidelines.

  • Lauren. P

    I always thought she was more of a death omen type thing, because she was always turning up at points when something was changing, like at Donna’s Funeral, and getting Gemma to give her money, and then in Bellfast too, and through out the other seasons. Then when we finally find out she was also tied into it with JT’s crash, it’s probably more, him projecting through her, as more of a guardian angel, keeping an eye on Jax, and showing when something big was going to happen, looking out for Jax in a way, like when she told him their was water at Donna’s and she gave him her blanket (which he probably found after loosing his hoodie)

    It was a really good twist, and I liked it, see how it rounded out in Season 6 was one of the most shocking reveals in the reason so far.

  • Troy

    This article is incorrect in stating the homeless woman never has any dialogue. She has a conversation with Gemma in her first appearance and speaks to Jax in the cemetery for example. As for who she represents, I think she is Jax’s real mother…. in spirit form, of course. I have a hunch that she may have been one of JT’s “other” women and at the time of the accident that killed her had just given birth to Jax, who may have been in her vehicle with her at the time of the accident. Gemma was also present, and either took the baby or adopted him soon after (I’m leaning more towards her stealing the baby from the scene of the accident). Remember the letters she removed from the folder before giving them to Tara? The letters probably reveal that the homeless woman was actually Jax’s mother…

    • Patrick

      That is a very interesting thought , I never even thought about her being a person who was actually in jax’s life , I always leaned toward her being a guardian angel or something of the sort, but seeing as how we are watching the Final season, our answer should soon be revealed, or it may not be, it might forever remain a weird mystery , I hope he writes a more detailed story and a previous generation story (JT as president and all the stuff they did leading up to the TV show) in a series of books. That would be great

  • Terri

    This article is lame! She has had dialogue with Jax and Gemma! With Jax in the cemetery and with Gemma outside a grocery store!

  • Jones

    In my opinion the homeless lady is a real person, she interacts with Gemma in a scene early in the series. At the end of Season 6 episode 9 she is seen in an alley rummaging through a dumpster. The scene is wildly out of place. While this is before Gemma’s murder of Tara I am wondering if this isn’t a foreshadowing of Gemma’s downfall for that horrific act. Remember, Juice disposes of the evidence of Tara’s death in a dumpster.

    I am probably of course wrong, but it is fun positing.

  • raq

    If not- they might explain her when they do the prequel to SOA, which is going to be set in JT’s time

  • Nicky

    I would have to agree with you..maybe she did steal jax!?!

  • dan davids

    you people are stupid
    the show was cancelled

    lame

    • Deanne

      The show was not cancelled…Sutter did the best thing he could…end it while they are still on top…end a show when the ratings are still at the top….he didn’t let the show run into the ground like so many others do….cancelled..what news are you following..

  • Stephanie

    You, dan davids are the one who’s lame….the show wasn’t cancelled, by far it was Sutter’s decision to end it with the 7th season, to go out on top. Learn ur facts

  • http://Facebook Larry Nunn Sr

    I would enjoy watching the 90 minute episodes, bring it on, Y’all, wish I could get a small part to play if I could get a chance, I’m a big fan of the S.O.A.

  • Frankie

    The whole theory of Gemma stealing Jax as a baby is ludicrous, as he had a twin brother who died during labor.

  • bre

    My husband said the same thing

  • melissa

    I thought the same it was so stupid but in season 7 episode 12 she tells the truck driver she had no children maybe it’s be cuz she didn’t want to go into detail or is it be cuz she’s really not his mother makes u wonder

  • Barbara

    I think the letters that she removed were the ones that referred to her participation in JT’s murder or accident. Tara read all the letters – if Jax wasn’t Gemma’s son, trust me — she would have told him!

  • Bobby

    She just showed up again at the truck stop, just before Jax shot Wayne and his mom. When you look back at when she appears, it seems to be when, either before or after, there’s some sort of deep personal tragedy for one of the main characters…I think she represents death.

  • Jessica Karri

    does anyone really know he had a twin who died at birth? Have we ever seen evidence like a birth certificate of both boys side by side to compare dates ect? I think Gemma had a baby who died at birth, JT got the married homeless lady prego, JT & Gemmas baby died. JT & Gemma, well probably just Gemma decided to “kidknap” Jax which caused a high speed chase between the 3. 2 died, now it’s Jax birth mom watching over him, the club and Gemma.

    • adb

      Curious:

      http://www.reddit.com/r/Sonsofanarchy/comments/2ow4t0/jaxs_birth_certificate/

  • Mo D

    Love it. Or, if the homeless lady is Brooke’s Mom (now the ghost of) and JT was her lover, then Brooke would be his half sister. Notice how Brooke is involved in these final episodes. Wendy mentions to her, “No, I’ll pick up the kids.” Why is she around right now, in these crucial final episodes?
    Homeless woman also said to Gemma once, “Abel will take care of our boys.”

    btw, Gemma mentioned the birth certificates are in the storage locker…

  • Hazy

    Yes I remember Gemma giving her money outside a convenient store, she said sonethibg about needing it for her baby. Does that sound familiar seems so long ago.

  • Taylor

    He had a younger brother that died at birth, not a twin, his name was thomas and thats the reason jax named his 2nd son thomas.

    As for the homeless woman, with one episode left, i highly doubt she would be revealed to be Jax’s birth mother. That doesnt make much sense to me, it’s more realistic for her to be either, a guardian angel/jesus christ, or the reaper/death. Maybe even the ghost of john teller, or maybe we’ll never know.

  • Amy

    What twin??? Jax had a brother called Thomas who died when he was 6 from a heart condition…

  • Lori Levy

    Before Gemma got the bullet, she told Jax where his & his brothers birth certificates were. So I guess that answers that.
    The homeless woman, who knows what she represents. Guess we’ll see on the final episode or maybe not.

  • http://None Barry

    I think she is a grim reaper devil type person. Always showing up just before a character either dies or something very bad will happen to them

    • Rick

      I think you have it right Barry. I just watched the finale for the second time and she always seemed to appear at critical moments. The tip off was the blanket that she gave to Jax as he looked like the grim reaper sitting on the steps waiting for Marks.

      • secret

        I think you’s are right. That’s what I thought when I seen the crows at the end when jax got hit eating the bread or cake or whatever she had at the courthouse.

  • anonymous

    Well said buddy

  • RACHEL

    ya, but JT was in belfast having an affair with Maureen Ashby when Jax’s brother died. so I can’t see how that would have happen. JT would have had a baby with Maureen Ashby, the homeless women and Jemma all around the same time frame. Jax also has a half sister in belfast.

  • Joe

    I am very intrigued about the identity of the homeless woman. However I highly doubt she is Jax’s mother. Gemma was Jax’s mother. He was 13 when JT died not an infant, and he had a younger brother Thomas, not a twin. Also Gemma had a heart condition, Thomas his younger brother died of said heart condition right before JT passed, and Abel has the same heart condition, all passed down from Gemma. I do really hope we get some sort of explanation of the homeless woman in the last episode, but I have a feeling Sutter is going to leave us hanging on that one. I know it was mentioned she is the ghost of Brooke’s mom, but that just doesn’t add up enough. She has to at least be still alive and know something of significance.

  • jax

    Actually he didn’t have a twin who died at birth.

  • jax

    He had a brother but not a twin and he didn’t die at birth. He died young from heart problems. Same thing Gemma has.

  • Teresa Lawson

    Don’t remember what season but when Gemma was going into a church at the same time as the homeless girl Gem asked her, “Who are you?” The girl.answered “You know who I am.”, and smiled.

    • Kitty

      Because Gemma had helped kill JT

  • Josh

    the fact that Gemma specifically referenced the birth certificates makes me wonder. There just might be some validity to the theory that Gemma is not his mother

  • brenda sedgwick

    The article said that she didn’t have any dialog. Wrong, she did is several scenes. Once outside a store with Gemma and once in the graveyard with Jax. Those two are just off the top of my head. Maybe more, if I re-watch the show. Get your facts right.

  • Jill

    Jax and Thomas were not twins

  • marilyn george

    Why not leave her as a regular bag woman.

  • Sharron

    Perhaps it is JT sort of reincarnated…..she seems to be around when heavy club business is about to go down…

  • Anna

    Okay yes. Clay was hiding birth certs & marrage certs. That is a VERY good point Bobby. I betcha she is Jax real mom. Then it will make sense in Our Kurt Sutters mind of who she us. Def has domething to do with JT death. And never have i heard about Jax having a twin bro!! Guess we will see on Tues. Just hope Sutter does bor leave us hanging!!!!

  • Tam

    Yes, the homeless woman is the ghost of Emily Putner…and yes, I am convinced that she is Jax’s biological mother. But Gemma did not steal the baby from the accident scene. The timing is off. Jax is older than that. I think Gemma got Jax when he was an infant in a situation very similar to the Jax/Wendy/Abel/Tara story. Gary Putner mentioned that his wife had mental problems…possibly substance abuse issues too. Emily would have been very young when she gave birth to Jax…probably before she was married to Gary (Brooke’s father). As I said, I think the story of how Gemma ended up with Jax closely mirrors the way Tara became Abel’s mommy. I have looked into this theory extensively…and there is nothing concrete to disprove it. Every argument that I’ve heard/read is based on something that Gemma said…duh! not credible arguments! And to the person who said the conversation about birth certificates before Jax shot Gemma proved something….what??? Yes, Jax did have a brother…Thomas. The conversation itself proves nothing…but it does hint that there are secrets in those documents that will be revealed in the finale.

  • darah schilly

    i believe that the homeless woman many or could be a ghost, angle or Jesus??? has anyone thought she could be the reaper they all fear “fear the reaper” who knows it is just a thought i had.

  • sam lanz

    I think you are on the money!

  • Michelle White

    Gemma is not jax mother, so it was a little easier to kill her,.i think he no this,but he has gone a little crazy ,lost it,

    • Diane

      Hold on a sec…. Am I reading this right ? Did you write Gemma is not Jax’s mother???

      If you watched even one episode, you know Gemma is Jax’s mother….. it was HARD for him to Kill her; that is why he CRIED before pulling the trigger.

  • Nick

    Yes She is a Ghost of some sort.Will see if it come,s out,Will Jax ride off a cliff ? Will he make it to the Farm for the big battle with Nero ? Will see what twist and turns are this TuesDay.Great job to all that made SOA the show it was Meant to be.

  • tshane

    Who is Emma? I only started watching Sons this season so I don’t know this character. But…. I suspect, because of many other misspellings in your post, that is a misspelling of Gemma??
    Sweeter?? Sweater.
    Cementary?? Cemetery.

    • kay

      The character Gemma is Jax mother, JT & Clay’s widow, and the matriarch of the MC family.

  • lewis

    I had a feeling she was a ghost are something. And had something to do with John Teller. Because she always showed up when jax had a to make a hard decision to make

  • Chris

    A lot of people are missing one thing. Who says….who actually died? “She died” could have meant she became “dead to us” meaning her husband and her daughter. As often happens to people with mental illness’s. Whose to say she actually did die? What if she was present at JT’s accident and his final wish was “watch over my son”

    • Soafan

      That is definitely not it.

  • T Pless

    I want to know what Nero went into the garage to find. Not tools, as he told Wendy. He was being secretive. Maybe Gemma told him something about documents?

    • Jen-neh

      He was looking for Gemma. He knew Jax was going to kill her

  • Sherri

    Jessica, I can see all of that!! That sounds so good!! Last week before the ‘got it’, Jax asked where JT’s journals were and Gemma said in the storage boxes with the birth & death certificates. I believe the homeless woman is the mother of Rat’s girlfriend, the girl who busted the ice cream shop window, so she would be Jax’s half sister…

  • cherie

    I too would like to know what Nero was getting in the garage?

  • cherie

    Nero said he needed tools and there were lots of things to fix but really….what was he getting….I mean he was being pretty shady

  • Ann McDonald

    Before Jax shot Gemma she said, “Jax, my baby boy, I love you etc. I thought Jax was older than Thomas, his brother who died???

  • glenn

    You know I believe your right

  • Lil

    Kurt Sutter already answered this question…he said the homeless woman is Jesus Christ. Hence the bread and wine at the end.

  • soa lover

    I love this show…for a 7 season show..he did a good job at keeping our attention.thats a hard thing to do…bts im still clueless who the homeless women is because in the finale…they show her again at a soda machine , in the scene with gemma and milo..and milo speaks to the homeless woman so if she was a ghost..well milo was able to see her so I think that idea goes out the window

  • Jim Bertuca

    I think she was the Angel of Death, when she told Jax it’s time

  • Susie

    There are a few things that are being missed here. Remember what was sitting on the concrete where the homesless lady was sitting after she told Jax, It’s time and gave him the “robe”. She left wine and bread sitting there. These are the sacraments of Christ. At the end, as Jax sees his “out” he stretches his hands outward and and closes his eyes…then on the road, his blood runs into the bread laying beside the road. As Gemma’s father told her when she confessed to doing some really bad things, he says. God forgives everyone, and she says, I hope so. She gave her life to Jax, he did not take it, and he gave his life, it was not taken. So it looks like the theme of forgiveness ends the show. Blood willingly shed and running into the bread, which Christ said in Luke 22:

    17 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:

    18 For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.

    19 ¶And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

    20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

    21 ¶But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table.

    Just sayin’

  • Jim Bertuca

    She was the Angel of Death, the half eaten bread that was on the wall with the red wine vinegar was on the road in the last scene with the black birds!!

  • tina

    I think it’s the ghost of JT. The show is loosely based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, so it’s not strange to have a ghost lingering. Since at the beginning of Hamlet his fathers ghost comes to him and sets things in motion. I remember her saying something about having to take care of her boys when she spoke with Gemma outside of the store. The last episode shows her eating wine and bread (the blood and body of Christ). It’s also left behind at Jax death. I wonder if that means flesh and blood. I read somewhere that Sutter hinted that she represents Jesus but I don’t think that’s true. If anyone knows if Sutter has made that statement please let me know.

  • CCRN

    Gemma is Jax’s biological mother. Abel inherited her heart defect, the same one that killed Thomas, Jax’s brother. Jax carried the gene from Gemma and passed it on to his son.

    Emily is a metaphor for death and destruction caused by the Teller family. Yes, she has dialogue, but that doesn’t make her real. It is a Hamlet-esque tool used for artistic foreshadowing and to make other emotional points.

  • Leslie Bailey

    Kurt has repeatedly compared SOA to Hamlet. There is a ghost in Hamlet. There is a ghost in SOA. Not sure where the confusion comes in (other than the fact it is a supernatural element in a show that has nothing to do with the supernatural). In Hamlet, the ghost is his father. The episode in which the Brooke’s father reveals that his wife died in the accident that killed JR only further illustrates this. As does the fact that she appears in random spots just as a major character is offed or makes a difficult decision. Even as far away as Ireland. People are reading waaaaay too much into it. Kurt Sutter did say that he never won’t definitely answer the question: she is whoever you think she is based on her appearances in the show’s mythology.
    Whether she is the angel of death or Mercy, Jax’s dad, Jesus, etc is up to the individual viewer. The only thing that is true is that she is not “real”. Her final words to Jax, “It’s time”, let him know that it is time to finish up his vengeance and get to the business of dying/coming full circle. Her bread and bloody drink, also at the end, attest to this (“drink this in memory of me” before Jesus sacrifices himself for mankind)–Jax is sacrificing himself to save the club and his children.

    I also don’t think she was supposed to be Jax’s real mom. Nothing suggests that, not even Gemma’s comments referred to by a few commentators. She was telling Jax where to find his dad’s manifesto–in storage with birth certificates and other papers. He did burn the papers but clearly stated that they were his own journals as well as his fathers because he didn’t want his kids to find them someday and glamorize/humanize anything about him. exactly what happened to Jax when he found and read them, discovering his dad was not the bad guy his mother painted him out to be.
    Gemma was a lot of things but, as she says over and over, she loves her boys and everything she does is to protect them in the way her of her criminal world. Even developing a powerful hatred towards JT for the way he disappeared when her other son was sick. And she made sure Jax grew up thinking his dad was a bad man…until he read the journals. Ultimately, she was the strongest, most brave, scariest character on the show. And she did it all for love. A primal , consuming, crazy kind of love (as does Tara). She will love you (aka Clay) until you cross Jax. Then you are toast.

  • Leslie Bailey

    Eek! Didn’t proofread my comment before hitting send. My apologies!

  • John

    Gemma is Jax mom if you pay attention to the birth certs on the finale Abel and Jax’s are pretty much identical even John and Gemmas age are the same as Jax and Wendy. Which is funny because Jax is supposed to be 43 when he had Abel and Wendy was 27. Its basically his life mirroring John’s and he hoping to break the cycle as John tried to. Thats why he burns his journal/past hoping Abel will never follow in his foot steps.

  • Erik Leogrande

    She was drinking wine and eating bread when she was sitting in the wall …….

  • Michael Nicholas Pasquarella

    Let’s look at all the theories. She is not a ghost, they haunt places and since there was no rattling doors that theory is out. She is not a heavenly angel because they protect and she neither helped nor protected anyone, she’s not Jesus Christ because she didn’t preform any miracles so to me that leaves two options. One she was the angel of death which is plausible OR she is Mr. Sutter himself collecting his characters as they meet a gruesome end. Think about the irony of the only words she spoke…”it’s time” on the last episode of the series meaning ” it’s time for me and everyone else to let go and move on”. It brings a knowing and peaceful smile to jax face. She gives him the blanket as a way to provide the protection his character needs in order to end the mayhem. Sutter gives us the clue when he protrays her as the young girls dead mom, a parent to the show which Sutter is. He is the father of all the characters because he created them. He gave them life and he was there in the shadows when he took them away. She was his collector of souls.