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TV Review: ‘Sons of Anarchy’ Episodes 6-8
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Jack Bauerstein83   |  
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AnarchySons of Anarchy
Episodes 6-8
Starring Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, Katey Sagal
Wednesday @ 10 FX Network

When I watched the first five episodes of Sons of Anarchy, I was a torn on whether on not to stick around. On one hand, there was plenty of untapped potential and decent acting for the FX series but on the other hand, the show really did not have much to offer. The storyline had this feeling of been there, done that but this has not stopped audiences from tuning in. The series has just been picked up for a second season. Thanks to the wonderful folks at FX, I was given the opportunity to find out with a preview DVD of last week’s episodes along with two upcoming episodes.

For those unaware, Sons of Anarchy revolves around life in a motorcycle gang of the same name. Set in fictional California town Charming, the gang is led by Clay Marrow (Ron Perlman) and his step-son/Vice President of Sons, Jackson Teller (Charlie Hunnam). When Jackson finds his father’s old journals in storage, he discovers that his father’s original concept of Sons as a peaceful organization does not match up with the current incarnation Clay runs, which is knee deep in guns, drugs, and violence.

Those who have seen the first 5 episodes and loved it can expect the same with the next three episodes. With the exception of episode six, involving menopause and AK-51s, the other two episodes are pretty solid in terms of writing and acting. Episode seven — entitled “Old Bones” and airing tonight — in particular really caught my eye. Focusing around the discovery of three sets of bones buried in the area, the episode continues to add to the mystery surrounding Jax’s father’s death. Was Clay more involved in John’s death than Jax realizes? And how involved was Gemma (Katey Sagal), Jax’s mom, in all this? The episode addresses this in a subtle manner with no clear answers but one thing is clear: The question is not who is innocent but rather who has the most blood on their hands? The episode also pays a slight homage to the Shakespearian play the series is loosely based on with the “pouring of poison into the ear” line by Jax (Fans familiar with Hamlet would know that Hamlet’s father was killed when his brother poured poison into his ear).

As always, the cast of Sons adds to the writing with some great acting from the cast. Hunnam’s Jax has a good TV presence and it is fun to watch his slow progression from motorcycling hood to slightly reformed motorcycling hood. Perlman really shines in these two episodes, giving viewers the chance to realize that like in life, no one is really a good guy or a bad guy.

Another highlight among these three episodes is the stellar and creepy performance of guest star Jay Karnes, best known for his role as “Dutch” on The Shield.

Introduced in episode three as a Federal agent and abusive ex-boyfriend of Jax’s ex girlfriend Tara, I was impressed and horrified by just how crazy Karnes could be. It’s truly a performance that needs to be seen.

My only problem with the episodes is that much like the first 5 episodes, the series relies too much shock value rather than improving the storyline. With so many shows out on television that constantly push the envelope, there is little to be seen that hasn’t been done, leaving viewers like myself jaded. So, when Sons depicts a couple having sex in front of a dead body, it doesn’t come off as innovative or even shocking. It just comes off as silly and ridiculous.

Overall, Sons of Anarchy is a decent show and so far has continued to build on its potential to be a must-see show. My only suggestion would be to dial down the shock value scenes when it doesn’t advance or elevate the storyline.

6 Comments »

  1. Glad they’re owning up to Hamlet…knew from the first episode that was the underlying plot…personally I really like the show – the acting’s amazing with solid writing…just worried about dropped plot lines (what happened to Drea Demattio)?

    Comment by Bastgirl — October 16, 2008 @ 1:31 pm

  2. The story of Wendy (Drea deMateo) wasn’t dropped; she went off to rehab – it was clearly stated. Kurt Sutter has been very upfront about using the model of Hamlet as the basic interpersonal structure of the principals. I heard him say that in an interview before the show first aired, so they’ve always ‘owned up’ to it.

    As to the sex scene – I didn’t even see it as shocking much less silly. To me, it made complete sense. Not in a traditional romantic sort of way of course, but it made sense in a consuming, drug-like, need to connect kind of way. It’s obvious these are two people who remained in love with one another despite moving on. She tried to escape the MC life and he felt his life was bad for her. But now her life has just brought hell down on both of them. The shock and enormity of what happened stripped away everything that separated them and all that longing and need was released along with a kind of fatalism. I was struck by how lost their lovemaking felt. It felt like two people drowning together; surrendering to the weight of everything they had failed to escape. They’re wedded now by this horrific crime and it was a consummation of the dark pact between them. It didn’t seem gratuitous or shocking at all — it seemed dramatic, raw and painful. People use sex as a drug and escape in times of overwhelming stress and this was ignited by shock and fueled by years of suppressed longing, rising hysteria, and despair.

    To me, it DID enrich the storyline. It’s all in the eye of the beholder.

    Comment by rose — October 25, 2008 @ 12:09 am

  3. I thought the scene was masterful.

    First, you have the irony. Agent Cone was laying there dead who wanted to be with Tara more than anything else in the world. His crazy actions designed to get her back actually push Jax and Tara back together. His dead open eyes bear witness.

    Second, as the post-shooting scene develops, you see Tara’s emotionally cathartic response to the horror. Her high school boyfriend (who doesn’t have a soft spot for their first mad love) who has just saved and protected her again, is literally “there for her”. The deep connection which they have is reawakened and strengthened beyond measure as they realize that there is nothing they wouldn’t do for each other. The pent up passion (which starts tentatively and then goes fast) they’ve carried for years for each other is released in a tidal wave which ignores everything else around them. Nothing else matters as they surrender to their feelings for each other.

    It is a very primal scene relating to protecting one’s mate. Giving her a sense of security and safety in his presence. I personally believe that this is one of the fundamental desires of a female for a male partner which obviously makes sense from an evolutionary perspective.

    Comment by Sterling — October 25, 2008 @ 11:19 am

  4. Wow, a lot of psycho babble, just as a reminder IT’S TV.

    Very cool show…. hope it lasts

    Comment by JBAR — November 5, 2008 @ 4:09 pm

  5. Need more women. No cloths just women.

    Comment by Nellis — November 26, 2008 @ 9:54 pm

  6. Need a CD of all music in the series.

    Comment by Carolyn — December 21, 2008 @ 2:38 pm

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