In Defense of Sons of Anarchy

Spoilers of the Season 6 Premier

Last night’s Sons of Anarchy premier contained standard SOA fair as well as a shocking ending leaving fans reeling. sons-of-anarchy-season-6-premiere-strawResponsibility dictates that I inform you that this essay contains massive spoilers for the Season 6 premier.  There is a lot of material in the premier episode including Chibs getting straight with Juice, Tig’s remorse about his daughter’s death, and Tara’s transformation in jail. But it is the school shooting that is at the heart of the controversy. Many say the show has gone too far. But I’m going to tell you why the event is just right.

Creator Kurt Sutter did not use the scene as a stunt. If you watched the promo for next week, the shooting has a huge impact on the club and on Jax. It seems the club has indirectly supplied the gun that was used in the shooting. Sutter told Entertainment Weekly, “My desire to do this story just felt very organic to the world: These guys deal guns, and there’s a certain amount of disconnect once you put those guns out on the street not really knowing whose hands they’re gonna end up in and what violence that they create…And to have a father who’s struggling with boys of his own and questioning the violence of his life, and is this right for his kids — it just seemed like a very organic story to tell”

The emotional implications of this are huge for character development as well as the show’s end game. “I knew if we did it, it would really have to be at the end and, ultimately, I realized it was a good way to take us to the end,” Sutter says as the show plans to end after Season 7. “It’s not being done arbitrarily. It ultimately becomes the final straw in their relationship with the gun business and the domino that takes us to a fairly tragic and epic conclusion.” The events move the story; it’s not there just to drop jaws.

-sons-of-anarchy--seSecondly, the scene was very well done. Sutter kept the depiction of the violence to a minimum. The scene focuses on the child and his mental state. The child is shown looking through a notebook. He rolls back his sleeves breaking the illusion that he is a clean cut boy in a school uniform. He has cuts up and down his arms, probably self-inflicted. The boys pull a gun from his back pack leaving his journal on the bench. The viewers see drawings of a very disturbed mind. The scene cuts to guns shots and flashes through a school window. Viewers never once see him actually shoot anyone. The scene is done tastefully keeping any actual violence shown to a minimum.

The scene depicts real life and this is why it hits so hard to viewers. For those like me, it’s an emotional impact that I know will change every aspect of the show. For others, it’s linked to a personal past experiences that can be very emotional. This is not his first instance that SOA has dealt with such emotional topics. Season 2 dealt with Gemma being raped, a violent affair that happens to thousands of women every day. In Season 3, Jacks son is kidnapped. These three events are all very real but have been used in other shows as plot points. Even Buffy the Vampire Slayer dealt with the issue of schooling shooting but the episode was cut because soon before airing Columbine happened. Criminal Minds has also dealt with the after affects from school shooting victims. It’s not taboo; its real life presented in art.

The events of the premier will resound through the last two seasons changing Jax and bringing the club to its eventual demise. Powerful, tasteful, and though provoking, the shooting is the epicenter of everything that the club does now. Like in the real world, it will change every life it touches.

 

 

Read the original Entertainment Weekly article here.

Sons of Anarchy Mid Season Check In

FX

Contains Spoilers

When the explosive first episode of Season 5 aired, fans were shocked as Tig watched his daughter being set on fire. This episode set the bar for SOA to be more brutal not allowing Jax an easy transition.

After that fateful bon fire, things got murkier for the club. Damien Pope was not done taking vengeance on SAMCRO. Jax and Chibs are arrested for a Niner started assault on the Sons, and Tig is brought in for murdering Pope’s daughter. In an effort to stay close to Jax, Opie assaults Sheriff Roosevelt, and goes to county with them.

Meanwhile, Tara and Gemma are trying to figure things out. Tara and Jax planned a secret wedding ceremony without

Gemma’s knowledge. This only strained an already tense relationship between the two women. Tara is trying to shut Gemma out of Thomas and Abel’s lives. This causes some go between with Wendy, the now sober and desperate to know her son biological mother of Abel. Wendy learns quickly she is a pawn and pulls out but not without making it clear that she wants to know her son no matter what.

Gemma and Tara both have taken to drugs to calm their stress. But Tara hasn’t hooked up with a call girl pimp whose crazy half-sister decides to kill herself in front of them. In a scene reminiscent of Nip/Tuck his sister forces Nero and Gemma into bed and to commit sexual acts at gun point. When they refuse, she puts the gun top her head and pulls the trigger.

But there isn’t lost love between the sister and Gemma. Nero’s sister had already sold out the club almost getting Jax killed. In a very Gemma like move, Tara knocks the her around for threatening her family.

Tara’s family is not the only one in danger. It seems there has been a rash of home invasions culminating in Roosevelt’s pregnant wife being shot and killed. While viewers may have guessed the three new SAMCRO bikers are behind it, they don’t see coming is that Clay is in charge. The new recruits are loyal to him a well as Juice who thinks Clay is still incapacitated. It seems, though he lost Tig, Clay has other minions.

Tig and Jax learn where their loyalties lie in prison. Pope wants a son dead, though he doesn’t want it to be Tig; Jax has to choose between himself, Chibs and Opie. Pope also wants in on the drug deals. Jax is torn apart by the idea that he has to choose. Tig offers himself up for sacrifice, but is turned down. Jax tells him for his life, Tig must exchange his loyalty to Jax and to never ever vote against him. Ultimately it is Opie who gives himself up as a token, and is brutally beaten to death.

Jax and company do not leave this vendetta unclaimed. Once out of prison, the three and Bobby head to the warden’s house who arranged for Opie’s death. Tig mercilessly kills the man’s wife when she walks in, and Jax beats him to death with a snow globe evening the score.

Jax also has other ideas for club business. He votes in the Pope drug deal as well as running coke for Pope as well. This will make the club a pretty penny but lines break down the center as some are loyal to Jax and some loyal to Clay. Jax is also taking a new stand on CharmingHeights, helping Hale blackmail members of the community to make sure the deal that the club squashed earlier comes into play. Jax is proving that he has totally different ideas than Clay.

Tonight’s episode will hopefully answer a few questions as well as give clear paths to both Clay and Jax’s visions. Will Gemma be able to keep herself from Nero? Will Tara’s transition as a powerful old lady cause her to falter more? What’s going to happen with the CIA investigation? Viewers can be sure that Kurt Sutter will amaze and blow the mind of viewers every where when answering these questions.