At the end of “You Are My Sunshine,” the penultimate episode of “Sons of Anarchy” Season 6, Nero (Jimmy Smits) was in a position no one could envy. His business ties to SAMCRO are hurting his street gang family, the Byz Lats, and his personal ties to Gemma (Katey Sagal) and Jax (Charie Hunnam) are bringing him personal turmoil.
Now that he knows the truth about Jax ordering the death of the school shooter’s mom, after Juice (Theo Rossi) confessed to doing the deed, Nero can’t help but feel betrayed. Still, he’s fallen into almost a father-son relationship with the SAMCRO president.
During a conference call, Smits spoke about his character’s evolution and the state he finds himself in, with the Season 6 finale less than a week away. He says Nero is “just where [creator] Kurt Sutter likes to keep all of his characters — off kilter.” Smits thinks the character is stuck between two worlds, one being where he started, with an exit strategy at the end of the day, while the other finds him being pulled deeper and deeper into his affiliation with the club.
It was clear in the final seconds of “You Are My Sunshine” that Nero was seething with rage at being lied to by Jax, however in that time of need, he was there to comfort the emotionally distraught president. “He’s definitely torn right there because, as Gemma has said in the previous episodes to the Nero character, there’s an affinity that Jax has for him,” Smits explains.
That doesn’t mean the anger is gone, though. “Kurt’s been really good about people getting their comeuppance and things that you do tend to come back and bite you,” he says. “That’s been this recurring kind of shade that he’s had going through all of the six seasons I think, and you’re seeing with the loss of different characters that that is a big thematic force with regards to the show.”
Even if Nero does have revenge on his mind, it might be harder to pull off than one might think. After all, he’s in love with Gemma, so taking up sides against her son wouldn’t go over too well. Over the two season he’s appeared on the show, Nero has brought out a side of Gemma viewers weren’t privy to before. “You’ve watched them kind of do this awkward different kind of courtship that’s happened,” Smits says. “I mean they’re saying I love you to each other now, and who would have thought that would have come out of Gemma’s mouth. Not just to her son and stuff, but to another relationship guy.”
If it does come to blows between the two, it won’t be the first time Jax and Nero have faced off. One of the more emotionally-charged physical altercations of the seasons had them fighting in the kitchen of Deosa while Nero tried to shed light on the favt that Jax’s wife faked a miscarriage to get away from him.
That particular scene was a special one for Smits, as he says, “There’s something that transpires between the two people that are involved that brings the relationship literally to another kind of level. That’s the only way that I can explain it. So I really feel much closer to [Charlie] as an actor and as a supporter.”
If the promo for the season finale of “Sons of Anarchy” is any indication, things between Nero and Jax are only going to get worse before they get any better, and any number of people could be caught in the crossfire.
“Sons of Anarchy” airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX.