What happens when a relatively normal and responsible surgeon falls back in love with her bad boy ex-boyfriend? The answer isn’t all rainbows and roses. It’s endless trauma and heartbreak. Which is exactly what happened to Tara Knowles on Sons of Anarchy.

Maggie Siff as Tara

Maggie Siff as Tara

Inside is my perspective on this incredibly divisive character.

Before I even get into Tara as a character, I just want to take a second to acknowledge that Maggie Siff has been doing incredible work this season in a role that has people very on edge. I say this to you all with love and respect and the understanding I’m one of you – Sons of Anarchy fans are a crazy bunch of crazies. When someone steps in the way of the anti-hero, Jax, getting what he wants, people tend to have no mercy. So you can imagine the reaction towards Tara’s actions in getting what she wants (a divorce and the boys away from the club life) have been less than forgiving. But Siff has approached the task with no holds barred. She goes full force for every beat, whether it is faking a miscarriage, manipulating (formerly) recovering junky Wendy, or having a complete meltdown as all of her work crumbles around her. No matter what you think about what Tara has done this season, I think we can all agree that Siff’s work has been a marvel to watch.

On to Tara. Boy, oh boy, is she hated this season. People are SO PISSED at her. She has mercilessly gone after Gemma, the club, Jax – Tara hurt them all with little abandon. She has blinders on and can only see one thing that she wants. To get out of the club life. People hate her for it. And that is understandable on a level. I mean she told her husband she was pregnant when she wasn’t and then let him believe his mother killed their unborn child. That is horrifying. It truly is. Like many a story on this show, it made me want to crawl up in the fetal position and cry for a bit because it was destroying so many lives. It was so very, very wrong.

Yet let’s remember her kids were almost blown up. Abel’s been kidnapped. Gemma crashed the car with them in it. There has been an endless parade of danger that has surrounded them – a dozen Lifetime Movie’s worth – and the oldest kid isn’t even in kindergarten yet. Beyond the kids – Tara has had her livelihood stolen from her while being kidnapped. Her mother-in-law has been raped. Her husband’s best friend’s wife was accidentally murdered by someone in the club, then her husband’s best friend was murdered. And I’m sure I’m repressing a laundry list of other things. Plus Jax himself was trying to get out of the life before he stepped up to be President of SAMCRO. The life is bad. I get why she wants out. And I also get why she felt she needed to go to extremes to get out because Gemma is such a strong presence.

HOWEVER, I also understand why people are frustrated with her. Actually, I take that back. I think people are frustrated with her for the wrong reason. Because I think most people are just annoyed that she went against Jax and Gemma. That’s not a good reason. The reason I feel to be annoyed with Tara is that she went into this life with her eyes wide open. Tara did not get married to a nice mechanic who led a simple and safe life. She married a high-ranking member of a motorcycle outlaw club, knowing full well that this was a club that was involved in drugs and guns and prostitution. Hell, she got married in a brothel! She was not blindsided by the life. She just went in choosing to be blind as to what it meant and could mean for her and her children.

Does that mean she doesn’t have any right to get out? Does that mean she doesn’t have the right to act to extremes like mothers tend to do when their children are involved? I honestly can’t answer that because that is a question with no answer. Some of the things she did were beyond morally reprehensible. But her reasons… they were based out of fear and a sense of helplessness. Two things that have only gone to further extremes as her plans have fallen apart.

Another thing that has come up is the inevitable comparison of Tara and Breaking Bad’s Skyler White. Besides the fact that they are wives of felons that audiences decided to throw all their hate at, I don’t think the comparison is entirely fair. First of all, as frustrating as I found Skyler’s often passive-agressive behavior to be, I didn’t hate her nearly as much as everyone else did (I don’t hate Tara as much as everyone else does either…). I don’t think they are necessarily comparable though for a reason I mentioned above. Tara walked into her marriage with an outlaw with eyes wide open. Skyler did not marry a meth cook. She married a chemist. Skyler’s issues in her marriage are not the same as Tara’s. I think bringing them together, as so many people seem to be doing, is just a way of saying “look, the wives are annoying shrews!” I don’t get it, to be honest.

As we head into the final episodes of season 6 of Sons of Anarchy, I’m not sure where Tara will end up. She has no one to help her and she no longer knows who she is or what to do. She has, in these 6 seasons, gone from strong confident surgeon to broken old lady. If that doesn’t give people reason to understand why she wanted to get out of the life at all costs, I don’t know what would.

Hit the comments with your Tara thoughts and what you think will happen to her.

Follow me on Twitter @serrae

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