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The Biggest Mistake Juice Ever Made On Sons Of Anarchy

Some rules apply to everybody. It doesn't matter how tough the gang of amoral antiheroes you run around with may be and what level of murder, mayhem, and illegal weapon import you get up to, there are still going to be times when those things your mother always told you turn out to be correct.

Take Juan Carlos "Juice" Ortiz (Theo Rossi), member of the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club's Redwood Original chapter. Though his familiarity with technology comes in handy, Juice is neither the toughest nor the brightest SAMCRO member, and, perhaps worst of all, he knows it. He's insecure about his position in the club, and that insecurity reaches a head in the show's fourth season.

Juice is targeted as a weak link by U.S. Attorney Lincoln Potter (Ray McKinnon) and Eli Roosevelt (Rockmond Dunbar) of the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Department. The pair learns that Juice's father was Black, which according to some still-on-the-books bylaws of the SAMCRO charter make Juice ineligible for membership in the club. They hold it over his head, attempting to get his cooperation with their investigation into the club's activities in exchange for withholding the information from the club.

Why Juice should have come clean from the beginning

And Juice goes along with the investigation, ignoring the old adage about how it's always best to come clean early. That option is later proved to have been infinitely preferable; once he tells people the secret of his father's heritage, it becomes a non-issue. Chibs (Tommy Flanagan) tells him it doesn't really matter. Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam) tells him he'll change the bylaws forbidding the club from having Black members.

That advice goes double when the alternative is getting yourself maneuvered into a position from which you might be blackmailed or having to stack lie on top of lie to keep your story straight. Instead of trusting in the judgment of his friends, Juice puts himself at the mercy of his, and the club's, enemies. His efforts to stay both in SAMCRO's good graces and on Potter and Roosevelt's good side lead to him killing club prospect Miles (Frank Potter). Feeling stuck in a no-win situation, Juice even tries to commit suicide more than once, but the attempts fail.

How Juice's insecurity leads to more trouble

Juice's arc for the rest of the series bends around his betrayal. Once the secret is out — thanks in no small part to Juice's own guilty conscience — it becomes a new point of leverage, this time that the members of the club hold over him. Jax uses it to force Juice to help him incriminate Clay (Ron Perlman), who has been something of a father figure for Juice. In season 6, he kills Darvany (Samaire Armstrong) on Jax's orders to prove his loyalty. Yet, later he implicates Jax in the crime while recovering from his second suicide attempt, which Jax takes as a betrayal. 

In season 7, after spending time on the run from SAMCRO, Juice is brought back into the fold and tested again, this time getting sent to prison on purpose so he can get close to and kill Henry Lin (Kenneth Choi). He thinks this will get him back into the good graces of the club, but when he tells Jax the true story of the murder of his wife Tara (Maggie Siff), Jax decides there's no coming back for him and orders his death.

Juice probably wasn't cut out for the life of a criminal in the first place, but he definitely wasn't suited for one on the knife's edge between the criminals and the corrupt law enforcement chasing them. If he had stayed on one side or the other, if he had trusted that his SAMCRO crew would accept him regardless of their dumb, racist rule, his story might have had a happier ending.