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October 7, 2015

'Sons of Anarchy' Season 4 Premiere Recap (VIDEO)

by Maureen Ryan, posted Sep 6th 2011 11:30PM
'Sons of Anarchy' - 'Out'

I offered some general thoughts on the new season of 'Sons of Anarchy' in my review of the new season, but I'll throw out a few more observations in the episodic review below.

The club is out of prison and back in Charming, so everything's right with the world, huh? Yeah, not so much. What else did you expect?

I don't know about you, but the last sequence of scenes, in which the club slaughtered the Russians, gave me pause. I know these Men of Mayhem have been involved in murders in the past, but it was the sheer scale of what they did that made me take a step back. They just killed a lot of guys, and what's more, they calmly went back to Opie's party and didn't appear to have the slightest problem or qualm about what they'd just done.

I know, I know, this is their world and this is what they've always been capable of. This isn't the first time they've had blood on their hands. But the killing of the Russians indicates that it's a new day for the club: Things are going to be on a bigger scale this season. And the club's reactions and actions indicate a new level of commitment to the cause (and what is that again? Living free or making bank? It's hard to tell).

This was the coldest we'd ever seen the club act as a group, perhaps. A number of the killings we've seen in the past have carried some kind of moral consequence or weren't carried out with what felt like such clinical remorselessness. Tig's murder of Donna almost ripped him (and the club) apart, and Opie himself was resolute yet sad and restrained as he killed Agent Stahl last season. When Clay threw Irish SOA member Keith McGee off that Belfast roof, he seemed as though he wished he didn't have to do it.

The organized elimination of the Russian problem was a whole different thing, and it may well indicate that we'll see a much graver level of mayhem than ever before.

As I said in my review, the show is in dicey territory here. It's potentially exciting territory, of course -- many of the best shows in the history of television feature characters who we're fascinated with despite their terrible actions and choices. Can 'SOA' turn the club members into casual, cold killers and still keep us emotionally invested in these characters' journeys? That's the challenge this season and beyond, and we'll have to see whether the show is up to it.

Having said all that, I like the newly resolute Jax who emerged from prison. He's learned what he can from his dead father -- which is to not be as passive as John was. Jax has a plan, but, let's face it, how realistic is it? The proposal scene between Jax and Tara was great -- I liked how she was presented as a woman who completely accepts who Jax is and isn't intent on changing him or nagging him into a different lifestyle. Yet when he presented his proposal for "making bank" and then getting out of the life, why didn't she roll her eyes, at least a little? Hasn't she seen the hundreds of TV shows and movies in which the whole concept of "one last score" all goes terribly wrong?

Honestly, Tara is right -- with her resume as a doctor, she could get them established anywhere. Heck, given their non-luxury lifestyle, she's probably making decent bank right now as a pediatric surgeon. There's a certain old-school nobility in Jax's desire to be the main support of his family, but his decision to stay in the club is also, I have to admit, kind of arrogant. Why not just skip town now? If he really cared about his family so much, why not eliminate the part where he gets in bed with much bigger and more dangerous criminal elements, thereby putting his old lady and babies at much greater risk?

But if Jax didn't want to leave the club his way, at the time of his choosing, there wouldn't be a show, so here we are. And given how enjoyable the season premiere was, I can't protest Jax's stubbornness too much. In this 90-minute festival of Things We Like About 'SOA,' we got Opie's wedding, we got some kinetic road action, we got former fugitives Gemma and Unser hanging out, we got the introduction of two compelling new characters, U.S. Attorney "Linc" Potter (Ray McKinnon) and Sheriff Eli Roosevelt (Rockmond Dunbar), both smart, interesting (and in Potter's case, charismatically strange) men who would like nothing better than to wipe the club off the Charming map.

Between the two of them, they seem to have a pretty good idea of how to do just that. And unbeknownst to the members of SAMCRO, in taking care of their Russian problem, they murdered an undercover federal agent. That's surely going to come back to haunt them.

Welcome back to Charming, boys.

A note about these recaps: I'm not 100 percent sure I'll be doing 'SOA' recaps every single week. I'll try to do so for at least the first few weeks, but we'll see how it goes. The last thing you or I want is me repeating myself in these weekly reviews. I'm truly not fishing for compliments here, but I want to gauge your thoughts on whether you think these reviews need to be weekly, or if you're okay with me checking in on the show every few weeks. Thoughts? P.S.: Welcome back!

Follow @MoRyan on Twitter.

'Sons of Anarchy' airs Tuesdays, 10PM ET on FX.

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Tony Da Homie

Weekly!!! Please!!!

September 11 2011 at 5:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


September 11 2011 at 12:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I see where you're coming from for sure. I took all the actions from this premiere as just as Jax had time to think, so did everyone else. The club went to jail one way and came out another. Circumstances may have dictated that (shanking in jail), but all that time to think and plan on the future had some effect too. I assume the jailed club members are probably hurting for cash, hence the one/last big score. Which Jax is ok with and I understand. Its the forays into other areas, that I think will be the ultimate undoing. (Per the previews for the season)

Loved the new Sheriff and Potter. There is something mesmerizing about Potter for sure. Could it be that Hal and Associates and the Mayor will be the thing that saves the club and Jax? Not sure. Or will we have two MCs at the end of the season? Jax vs Clay or vs Opie, who may not be ready to give up the life.
BTW, Jax you're married to a Doctor! Get over yourself my man :) Love ya anyway.

I'll read whatever you can post, but if you can't keep up week to week, so be it. Do a podcast, it may be easier.

September 08 2011 at 12:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lynn Mathis

Weekly, Mo. Yours is the first review I look for on Wednesday.

September 08 2011 at 10:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I want weekly reviews! I've been an avid reader of your reviews for years (and not just for SOA, but BSG and so many others too). I look forward to reading them every week. I hope you'll continue.

September 07 2011 at 3:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm with everyone else - I watch the show religiously, but I love to read your reviews/recaps for things I might have missed, or things you attach a different significance to. They are always fantastic and interesting :)

September 07 2011 at 3:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I want weekly reviews please. I don't have anyone I can really talk to about this show and I enjoy reading your reviews. Thanks for listening!

September 07 2011 at 1:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Mo Ryan recaps are an absolute must!

September 07 2011 at 1:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would just like to say that I love your recaps..for sure I don't miss an episode of SOA but your recaps also give light to different things on the show that I might have not caught or looked at in a different way. I can understand if you don't want to do one every week, or make long reviews...I just wanted you to know that there is people out there like me who have found your reviews to be entertaining and gives another view to the show! So please when you can share your opinion! It gives another joy to the whole SOA experience!! Good job on what you do!

September 07 2011 at 12:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

my vote is for the weekly recap!

September 07 2011 at 11:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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