In my years of writing about 'Sons of Anarchy,' I don't think I've had the opportunity to write these words yet: This episode belonged to Maggie Siff.
Don't get me wrong, I've always known what a good actress she is, but 'SOA' is mostly the story of the SAMCRO guys, with a few subsidiary stories for Gemma and, to a lesser extent, Tara. Those stories are usually fit in around the contours of the club stories, and not always elegantly. But Tara's attempt to leave the orbit of the club got the time and attention it deserved in Tuesday's gripping episode. In that hour, Siff got her most challenging scenes to date and absolutely nailed them.
If 'Sons of Anarchy' is roughly following the shape of 'Hamlet,' then Charming's Ophelia just went mad. Or perhaps she began to see things clearly for the first time, and we all know what honesty and clarity get you in the world of SAMCRO: Blood, pain, heartbreak.
We hear the word "patch" a lot on 'Sons of Anarchy,' and it's interesting to think about how its various meanings are applicable to the current state of the club.
Of course, to wear the SAMCRO patch means that you're a fully vested member of the club. But there are deep divisions within the club, as well as differences of opinion and temporary alliances with various non-member too.
'Una Venta' did a good job of showing us how those problems have been patched over, but underneath that temporary fix, things are really starting to fester.
This episode provides textbook examples of what I think is working -- and wobbling -- this season on 'SOA.'
The long-term tensions, alliances, goals and conflicts that are being set up among various club members are gold, as far as I'm concerned. One thing I especially like about this episode is the variation on a theme we've seen explored in the past -- the idea that when Clay and Jax are allied, they're actually more dangerous to the club than when they're at each others' throats.
That's not to say that the alliance is smooth sailing all the way. Far from it. Jax felt blindsided by the deal that Clay had made with the cartel about transporting coke, and Clay couldn't believe that Jax would really and truly walk away from the club forever. Both men were forced, not willingly, to accept the situation as it is, and given their parallel goals -- to make money before leaving the club's leadership positions -- they had to grudgingly get over whatever problems they might have with each other's actions.
The first few minutes of season 4 were shown before the panel (by the way, spoilers ahoy). Would it surprise you to learn that the clip ends with club members on their motorcycles, flipping off the prison that they just left after 14 months of incarceration? No, I do not think it would.
One of the best scenes of the season, perhaps the entire series, occurred in episode ten, 'Balm'; it was the culmination of an arc that actually began in the season premiere, 'Albification.'
But rather than savor these moments all by ourselves, we've put together a round-up to share them with the world. Although they're numbered from one to 10, we think all of these guys are equally sexy. See if you agree with our choices.
(S02E10) I'm filling in for Danny, who experienced a DVR malfunction, so be gentle with me, as I've been a bit here and there with Sons of Anarchy this season. Last winter, I raced through season one for Jane After Dark, and fell in love with the gritty characters and edgy storyline. But to tell you the truth, I had trouble watching it after Gemma's rape this season. It was really disturbing, and I wasn't sure I wanted all of that in my head all the time.
But the fact is that Sons of Anarchy is a great show and -- like many other FX shows -- unlike most of what you see on TV these days. So I'm happy to have this chance to get caught up a little bit with season two.
"Pull the trigger man. That's the only way this leather is coming off my back." - Jax to Alvarez, the head of the Mayans who orders him to give up his club jacket
Jax is supposed to be the hero of this little modern day Shakesperian epic, but he's starting to look more and more like the enemy in each episode.
I don't mean that he'll be the one in the end who has been scheming the whole time behind SAMCRO's back with the white power. This is a well-crafted, slow paced, high caliber drama, not a badly written Schwarzenegger movie with a thrown together twist ending (cough, Total Recall, cough).
Jax is more of an enemy of himself. He might have good intentions at heart, but his moves are nowhere near his brain. Maybe his loyalty to his family runs deeper than he ever imagined. Logic and family hardly make a decent cocktail. Anyone with a brother-in-law can tell you that.
The thing that surprised me most about this week's episode are the number of times it made me laugh. That's hard to do for a show that cracks more skulls per episode than a plastic surgeon.
It doesn't do so by sacrificing the things that make it great. It's still just as hard-edged, emotional and violent as before. You're just chuckling for all the right reasons, this time.
I paid a visit to the show's sweltering North Hollywood set last week as series creator Kurt Sutter (The Shield) and his cast were putting the finishing touches on the show's second season.
In fact, the show's writers were so close to revealing its final secrets to the cast that my PA and FX PR tour guides slammed a door in my face lest I wander into the writer's conference room and see the white dry erase board full of plot points for season two's final episode.
Evidently, if I'd have seen the final, bottom-right panel on that wall-wide white board, I'd have been chained to show star Tommy Flanagan's motorcycle and taken for a drag around St. Joseph's Hospital in Burbank.
The thing I'm starting to love about this show is the way it switches gears on just about any incline. They are so swift and sudden that the law should go totally "nanny state" and require me to wear a helmet during each week's episode.
For example: in this week's chapter, we see the aftermath of Gemma's rape and the toll it takes on her as she tries to keep it from the club. Then the very next shot is of Tig, played by Kim Coates and some random fishnet whore slowly waking up with hangovers that could stun an elephant, together in a spent 69.
And I ain't talking about a broken down '69 Chevy.
How do you turn a group of gruff biker outlaws who deal potent drugs to street trash and hardcore hardware to ruthless killers into a likable group of huggable stud muffins?
That's easy. You make a group of radical white supremacists into their enemies. It's the old "lovable by association" tactic of TV writing. Is the audience not buying your childhood version of Darth Vader? Then throw in a wise-cracking alien that sounds like Pee Wee Herman with Down's Syndrome.
However, in the case of the second season of Sons of Anarchy, it's a pretty sweet power play for a show that already packed more punch than an Absinthe smoothie.
I've been hearing about an awesome new show on FX since it aired last year, and finally got around to watching season one of Sons of Anarchy this week for Jane After Dark. Being a motorcycle babe myself, I love any show where bikes or gangs are the central focus.
But even if you've never mounted a bad chopper, there are plenty of reasons to love this badass show about the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Originals (SAMCRO). They run a legal automotive business while dealing arms, battling rival gangs, and working with the cops (sometimes) to keep their town of Charming, California a pleasant place to live. You can see all the irony at work here.
Apparently I'm not the only one. In five short weeks, Sons has managed to not only retain 3.5 million viewers in the adults 18-49 demo, but it's retained 97% of its total audience since the premiere. Which is why FX decided to pick the show up for a second season.
Well now, if you were having trouble deciding between the competing biker shows in development, perhaps this news will tip your TV watching scales. FX has signed up Ron Perlman (Beauty And The Beast) to take over the role of Clay, president of the motorcycle club, and step-father to the main character Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam), in Kurt Sutter's Sons Of Anarchy.
The part was played by Scott Glenn in the pilot, but the powers that be chose to recast it after deciding to make the series more of a dark comedy. I'm not exactly sure what that means, because I could go for Glenn in a dark comedy, but adding Perlman does heighten my interest in the show, to be sure. If you just can't wait for the show to premiere to get your Perlman fix, he'll be showing up at your local multiplex with Hellboy II: The Golden Army in July.
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