“Sons of Anarchy” and its evil lesbian

Sons of Anarchy is a show I didn’t watch until recently, but friends with the same taste in dark drama as I kept telling me what I was missing, so I started catching up. Wow. I have to say that the show (a biker drama based on Hamlet!) is unlike anything else on TV.

If you’re an SOA fan, you already know that. But if you’re not caught up, stop reading: Season 3 finale spoilers ahead.

As we told you a few weeks ago, Ally Walker, who plays lesbian (or possibly bisexual) ATF agent June Stahl, has been cast on a new Lifetime series, Exit 19. We wondered at the time what that would mean for Agent Stahl. Now we know: Buh-bye.

Stahl was on a downward spiral, to be sure, and once she made a deal with biker Jax (Charlie Hunnam), she sealed her fate — and was killed after double-crossing him in the finale.

Walker was not surprised. “Once Stahl and Jax were in business, it was kind of over, and I knew that,” she told TV Guide. “She’s such a bad, bad person that it’s really hard to go anywhere else with her.”

Yes, another evil lesbian character has been killed off a series. But this time, she was not killed because she was a lesbian; she was not evil because she was a lesbian. She was a corrupt cop who got killed after betraying one too many people. And it had nothing at all to do with her sexual orientation.

Stahl had relationships with women from the beginning of Sons of Anarchy, although we didn’t see evidence onscreen until this season. Walker filmed a scene in bed with a female lover in last season that was cut. Still, she incorporated that knowledge in her portrayal of the character. In other words, this was not a case of seeing a character come out and then get killed off.

Equally important, Stahl’s sociopathic behavior did not suddenly appear. From her first appearance, the agent did anything she thought necessary to get what she wanted. And, as the series progressed, she became more and more evil. Stahl murdered her girlfriend Amy earlier this season to protect herself from exposure, but, again, sexual orientation had nothing to do with it. Stahl needed a scapegoat to exonerate Gemma (Katey Sagal) of a murder Stahl herself committed. She killed Amy and pinned the murder on her. Nice girlfriend.

I know celebrating a lesbian character’s demise is a little strange and, honestly, I’m not happy that Ally Walker is leaving the show. But our quest for visibility includes having all types of lesbian characters, both bad and good. Sons of Anarchy succeeded in presenting Stahl’s lesbianism not as a stereotype, but as a sidebar — just part of who she was. And what led up to her execution was organic and story-driven; she was killed because that was the only thing that could happen.

Granted, Stahl’s story is an odd depiction of progress. But progress it is.

Who else watches Sons of Anarchy? Do you agree that Agent Stahl’s lesbianism was incidental? Or did sexual orientation somehow affect the story’s outcome?

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