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

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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.

Sons of Anarchy Season 5 Premier: This Means War

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When last season of Sons of Anarchy ended, Clay had been dethroned and Jax was sitting at the head of the table. The club said goodbye to Piney, Kozik and Miles leaving the club a few members short. Clay was outed for killing both Piney and John Teller leading to a brutal attack in his life by Opie. Trying to keep things a secret, Jax and Clay blamed a rival gang for the attack, and Tig promptly repays in kind. But instead of killing the leader of the group, Tig accidentally kills the man’s daughter. This leaves Jax with a very tension situation to try to diffuse.

On The Road Again

The episode opens with the crew making a run with an unexpected attack by a rival gang. This as well as a rash of home invasions is the local Niners trying to tell SOA they don’t approve of the death of the daughter of Damon Pope. Jax has more to deal with than just the Niners as the sheriff threatens the club and relations between Tara and Gemma become even more tense. Both of the ladies are on hard times imbibing in drugs, alcohol, and, for Gemma, black out sex with pimps. Opie has stepped back from the club letting the newly released Bobby to step up as VP. The majority of the first hour of the show is used to set up the season.

The King Becomes the Old Fool

Appropriately entitled “Sovereign,” the viewer sees what happens to the old king once the new one has taken his place. Even though Piney is gone, it seems there is a new fool to take his place. Fragile Clay is trying to deal with his diminished state and in a sad scene fails to hold up his bike. Clay is shrunken, slumped, and low voiced. When he comes to the table, plops his oxygen tank on the table and sits in Piney’s old seat, we’re left to wonder, is he going to loose it in alcohol?  He has lost his wife who, after a brutal beating and learning that he tried to have her daughter in law killed, can’t stand to look at him. His state proves he is only weaker without Gemma.

Clay makes the one power play he has left: confesses to Piney’s murder. When I say confessed, I mean the only truth was that he pulled the trigger. This sad tale of self defense he spun does three things: takes away any blackmail threat surrounding the murder, makes the guys feel sorry for him and therefore loyal, and screws with Jax’s head.

But Clay hasn’t just lost his position in the club and his wife; he’s also lost his best friend. When Tig finds out he killed an innocent girl, Tig starts to truly second guess his relationship with Clay. The split that has been building up from last season is c0ming to a head.

Getting Tiggy With It

It’s the last half hour when the episode that takes viewers to reaches only SOA will go as Tig struggles with the consequences of his actions. In fact, Tig is a running theme in the episode. At the beginning, he is friendly with Jax and there seems to be no animosity between him and Jax. Even the club as a whole doesn’t seem overly angry with him for killing Pope’s daughter. He goes from accepted to humiliated as Clay reveals his lie. Not only is Tig dealing with the fact he killed an innocent girl, but now he knows his best friend lied to him. He and Clay have a frank discussing that leaves the future of their friendship in peril.

Things really heat up when Tig gets a phone call from a detective saying that have his daughter Dawn in custody. Tig has to pick her up so she will not be charged. Instead of finding his daughter, he finds Pope’s men and a detective ready to escort him to jail. But when he is handcuffed, he is not taken in a squad care but chained next to a dumpster. In the dumpster is Dawn. As Pope’s men cover her with gasoline, Tig begs Pope to kill him instead. It’s heartbreaking to watch this strong man beg for his daughter’s life. And for a moment you think Pope might. But Pope’s henchman dowses her in flames, and Tig can only call to his daughter as she is burned alive. Pope then leaves him to mourn. Tig manages to get loose enough to kill the two men Pope left behind. Only once this is done does Tig let the rage dissolve into grief.

This Means War

With the death of Tig’s daughter, viewers know there can be no truce with Pope. The club will have to balance this war while three of their members are on the lamb. It seems that Jax, and Chibs have been fingered for the truck explosion, and the law is out for Tig’s involvement in the Pope murder. Jax will have to manage a club that has no idea where its loyalties lie as each member tries to understand the events that transpire. Things will become increasingly difficult as Abel’s mom returns (so looking forward to that), and Romeo puts pressure on Jax from the CIA deal.

With this as the premier, things can only get more mind blowing and violent as Kurt Sutter takes us into the farthest reaching of his mind. Who will make it out alive?

Five Fall Favorites

Sons of Anarchy

Last Season Recap: Last season saw the MC get out of prison and back on the road. Through the course of the season, we lost Piney, Miles, and Kozik, and Clay was removed from power after Jax found out Clay killed his father. Bobby and Otto are behind bars, Opie is MIA, and the development of Charming Heights has been averted.

What to Expect This Season: Tensions are high as loyalties shift with Jax taking the presidential seat. Tara and Gemma both seek peace through mood altering sources. Paris Barclay himself said not to get attached to anyone character. Hmmm…

Season Premier Date: Sept. 11

Criminal Minds

Last Season Recap: The group was re-assembled but at the end of the season Prentiss announcing she’s leaving. JJ and Will finally tie the knot, and Hotch and Rossi have both found love.

What to Expect This Season: More couplings for the BAU team, and Jeanne Tripplehorn comes in as a linguist expert.

Season Premier Date: Sept. 26

Dexter

Last Season Recap: Dexter struggled with the idea of faith while dealing with a religious-mission-orientated serial killer. Quinn goes on bender after bender when Deb breaks up with him, Batista’s sister is dating a homicide intern, and LaGuerta is promoted. The season abruptly comes to an end when Deb caught Dexter killing the aforementioned serial killer.

What to Expect This Season: Changes in the Deb/Dexter relationship as she pieces together his hobby.  Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck, Mass Effect series) guest stars helping Miami Metro with a case.

Season Premier Date: Sept. 30

Gossip Girl

Last Season Recap: Chuck’s daddy isn’t dead! Blair married and divorces Louie! Blair and Dan crashed and burned (well duh)! Serena pulled a scam that was Blair Waldorf worthy! Jack is back and on Chuck’s side!

What to Expect This Season: In this final season, expect past faces to re-emerge including Poppy Lipton and, of course, Georgina Sparks.

Season Premier Date: Oct. 8

The Walking Dead

Last Season Recap: Sophia goes missing. Lori tries to kill her unborn baby. Sophia is a zombie. Rick shoots zombie Sophia. Lori tells Rick to kill Shane. Dale dies. Carl is the idiot that let that zombie loose. Rick kills Shane. Shane is a zombie. Carl shoots zombie Shane. The barn catches on fire. The group runs. Lori gets mad at Rick for killing Shane. The group is now under a Ricktatorship.

What to Expect This Season: More character deaths. Plus two fan favorites (Michonne and the Governor) make appearances.

Season Premier Date: Oct. 14