A new season of television shows are beginning this month. I had the difficult choice of picking a show that’d replace my True Blood reviews. Being that I hooked myself on Sons Of Anarchy over the summer, I decided I’d review the new season, which kicked off with a nuclear explosion last night on FX.
Typically I loathe shows and movies that start off with a guy writing a letter or reading a letter. It’s played out, boring. I’ve seen it done so many friggen times that I actually cringed when I realized SoA kicked off with Jax writing in one of his little notebooks–a sort of homage to his biological father, who wrote a book before his untimely death aimed at Jax. Jax is doing the same for his two sons. It’s kinda cute.
Anyway, the monologue is good. It made me forget that the show opened with an over-used story device. It was so good, I went back and transcribed the god-damned thing to share in my review.
“Something happens at around 92 miles an hour–thunder-headers drown out all sound, engine vibrations travels at a heart’s rate, field of vision funnels into the immediate and suddenly you’re not on the road, you’re in it. A part of it. Traffic, scenery, cops–just cardboard cutouts blowing over as you past. Sometimes I forget the rush of that. That’s why I love these long runs. All your problems, all the noise, gone. Nothing else to worry about except what’s right in front of you. Maybe that’s the lesson for me today, to hold on to these simple moments. Appreciate them a little more–there’s not many of them left. I don’t ever want that for you. Finding things that make you happy shouldn’t be so hard. I know you’ll face pain, suffering, hard choices, but you can’t let the weight of it choke the joy out of your life. No matter what, you have to find the things that love you. Run to them. There’s an old saying, ‘That what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger’ I don’t believe that. I think the things that try to kill you make you angry and sad. Strength comes from the good things–your family, your friends, the satisfaction of hard work. Those are the things that’ll keep you whole. Those are the things to hold on to when you’re broken.”
See? The writing on Sons of Anarchy is solid. I find very little fault in the way it has been handled. Each episode is consistently good and pushes the plot forward with unforgiving force. There are no punches pulled. Ever. Time and time again I’ve been left gaping at the screen, unable to believe that the show runners went as far as they did and still have a show on basic cable.
The acting is solid, too. Ron Perlman’s character, Clay, was shot at the end of last season. (I sweat to the gods, if anyone yells spoiler, I will feed them my shitkicker boots. Get with the times, already.) That healing injury forced Perlman to play his character in a completely different way. He’s gone from hardcore badass, to broken man who lost everything. And yet, you know the badass is lurking just underneath the surface, waiting for his body to recover before he lays the smackdown on everyone. Clay still plays his games better than Jax. But not nearly as well as Gemma.
Katey Sagal as Gemma is… gorgeous in a seriously screwed-in-the-head sort of way. I swear, the woman found the fountain of youth and bathed in it for about a week. Aside from that, some of the most difficult scenes are when Gemma is faced with the harsh reality of life as Clay’s old lady (wife). They’re done honestly, flawlessly. The emotion is right there, dragging you into the moment. She never cheapens the tough shit. And it is all tough shit. There’s been very little happy-happy-joy-joy for these characters.
The rest of the cast is well-rounded and the new cast members they’ve brought in for the season so far have my interest peaked. Namely, Pope. That sonofabitch has deep reaches and a serious hard-on for hurting Samcro. What he did in this episode was a shot across the bow of their ship. It was horrible, gut-wrenching, but I have a sick feeling that Pope is just getting started in his revenge for his daughter’s death last season.
What I love about Sons of Anarchy is you can’t assume ANYTHING. At the beginning of the episode, I was convinced the 9’ers were the ones cutting Samcro at the knees by attacking the Cro-eaters and garage staff. But that last scene…gods damn it. Someone else is stepping up to the plate to make their life hell.
The lesson here, kiddies? Being a gun-running, drug mule biker isn’t all bitches, Harleys, and booze.