(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.