Sons of Anarchy
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.