It’s the irony of anarchy.
Loyalty is the one thing the characters on Sons of Anarchy value most. Yet it’s loyalty that is in the shortest supply.
“That’s so true,” said Theo Rossi with a big laugh. “It’s the one thing they talk about the most.
“And when you think about it, Juice (Rossi’s character) probably is the most loyal of any of them, because he’ll do anything for anybody. He’s the most loyal. Isn’t that weird?”
It is weird. But then, Sons of Anarchy always has been weird, in a good way, a complex way, a terrifying way. And with the seventh and final season of Sons of Anarchy debuting Tuesday, Sept. 9 on Super Channel in Canada and on network-of-origin FX in the United States, Rossi’s Juice Ortiz literally is at the centre of it all.
“In the first episode of this new season, we start to see the full-blown unraveling for Juice,” Rossi said. “Well, it has been unraveling already, and now he’s just trying to get a hold of it.”
If you’re not caught up on Sons of Anarchy, which tells the story of an outlaw motorcycle gang in California, and you don’t want to know anything at all about the sixth-season finale that aired last December, consider this a SPOILER ALERT. But if you are caught up, you know that Juice and Gemma (Katey Sagal) share a big secret.
“What Kurt (Sutter, Sons of Anarchy creator) really has done so masterfully is, he has taken these two characters, Gemma and Juice, and they have to have this relationship now,” Rossi said. “You talk about sleeping with one eye open? These are two people who are forced to be together because they know something that is the greatest secret ever created in this charming world.
“Juice and Gemma know something that can so completely affect our hero (Jax, played by Charlie Hunnam). But how can they ever trust each other, knowing what they both have done, or what they’ll both do? They’re both survivors. Their only goal every minute is survival.
“Juice doesn’t think about tomorrow. Juice doesn’t think about dinner later tonight. Juice doesn’t think about watching the new episode of CSI. Juice thinks about being alive in 60 seconds from the moment he’s talking to you.”
There’s a child-like quality to Juice that actually makes him one of the most sympathetic characters on the show. This will sound like a bit of a stretch, but Juice’s journey reminds me of a quote by former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, who said (paraphrasing), the hardest part of being president isn’t to do what’s right, but to know what’s right.
“That’s actually really great, and a great quote by Johnson,” Rossi said. “Basically, there are never any ill intentions with Juice. He never, ever has done anything maliciously. He never aggressively has said, ‘I’m going to do this.’ He never says, ‘I’m doing this regardless.’ With him it’s always, ‘I’m doing this because I think this is the best way for everyone to be okay.’ And then it completely goes the wrong way, and he just spins the web bigger and bigger.
“What I love about Juice is, it’s truthful. Kurt writes him so truthful. It’s such a high-stakes world, and this kid – because he’s a kid, compared to the rest of them – this kid has to adapt to all the situations. He has done some heinous things. But you see him having to live with that in every beat.
“Juice thinks, ‘I have to be this way, I have to be like these guys.’ So externally, he is being like them. But in his eyes and in his soul, you see that he is not that person. There is no enjoyment in the stuff he’s doing. He’s lost. He’s just lost.”
I can’t imagine there could be a happy ending for anyone in Sons of Anarchy, could there? But you know, if anyone has even a remote chance for one, I hope it’s Juice.
Loyalty has to count for something in this cruel, crazy world.