Damn, what a way to usher in the new television season.
At the end of Sons of Anarchy‘s second season, all the fissures in the SAMCRO and Teller-Morrow families had been put aside to face more external threats, ones that left Half Sack dead, Gemma on the run and Jax’s son, Abel, abducted. Most viewers (I say this because I just finished S2 a month ago) had nine months to let those revelations breathe and simmer, but when the series returned tonight with “So,” the characters didn’t have that luxury.
Instead, we drop right in only a few days after the tragic final events of S2 and everyone is suffocating under the weight of said events. Jax cannot remove himself from the floor of his son’s nursery while Tara cannot figure how she’s supposed to fix the situation. Gemma is literally trapped in a musty hotel room thanks to her murder charges. And Clay and the rest of the club are left attempting to keep it all together. In times like this, it’s hard to not feel trapped, but there needs to be some separation and time to digest and analyze the events. But these aren’t the kind of people who like to stay trapped or like to analyze events. As Jax says to Tara early in the episode, he makes rash decisions.
So, instead of really dealing with their issues, everyone just acts. Clay figures out the best way to get Jax out of his funk is to put him on the road to finding Abel (and he’s right), so SAMCRO takes a trip up to Watts looking for intel. Unable to see her current family, Gemma goes off to visit her old family: her father. And after taking the clichéd, “I can’t have you around me because it’s too dangerous” speech from Jax early in the episode, Tara fully embraces her role in the family and more or less tells him that she’s sticking around no matter what.
But even though Gemma gets that beautiful moment with her father (dude, seriously Katey Sagal FTW), Clay and Jax seem reunited in their goals to keep the club strong and Jax and Tara have embraced that their relationship isn’t going to be easy, the bloodshed and danger doesn’t look to be stopping anytime soon. Half Sack is still dead, Gemma’s still a fugitive, Abel is halfway around the world and those supposed weaknesses are going to open up Charming and SAMCRO as a whole to new dangers. There is blood in the proverbial water, as evidenced by the sequence outside the wake, as the entire club is attacked by masked gunmen and Hale, the new police chief-to-be, is apparently killed.
It’s at that point, where he sees a young, innocent boy bleeding out thanks to a stray bullet, that a new Jax Teller is born. For perhaps too long, Jax has spent too much time thinking about his actions and the ramifications of the club’s actions as well. Like I said up top, in most situations, thinking it out is the right call. But not in this world. Marinating in your own sorrow at the cemetery won’t bring back your son, free your mother or repair your fractured relationship with your step-father. Beating the shooter to death in front of everyone in your club just as they’re doubting you might not exactly solve any of those problems either, but it signals that while Jax might have some different and revolutionary opinions for the future, this is not the time for that. And perhaps there will never be a time for it in this world, and that’s why Jax’s father went mad.
Nevertheless, with an unhinged Jax Teller on the loose looking for revenge, mysterious forces coming after SAMCRO and the only moral compass of Charming now dead, things are only going to get worse. Last season was spent tearing apart the two families and it looks as though this season, tragedy is going to bring them together — at least momentarily — even if they are on the run, abducted or in a manic state.
- I know some people think of the series as some masculine thrill ride (I was sort of guilty of this before I watched this summer), but there aren’t many other dramatic series that can tough Sons in the real tearjerker moments. Case in point: Gemma’s reunion with her father. Katey Sagal and Hal Holbrook have wonderful chemistry and it’s fantastic that Sagal can vacillate between the tough Gemma and the wounded, almost younger version of Gemma that we saw with her father.
- Maggie Siff was also splendid in her two big solo scenes in Abel’s nursery and the operating room, respectively. If you’ve seen all the episodes, you can absolutely see how Siff has taken cues from Sagal’s performance as Gemma and brought them to her portrayal of Tara. Wonderful.
- We were given our first peek at the Ireland story as Cameron sneaks into a place with Abel. There’s going to be much more there this season and I’m glad they did some location shooting (though I believe it’s mostly exterior stuff).
- Spoiler alert: Stahl is still a major bia and it’s almost getting grating at this point. The character had a little more shading to her at first, but is now just flat out eeeeeeeeeeeeeevil.
- I’m actually disappointed Hale was apparently killed. I know the character felt out of place sometimes in a world of grey moralities, but I still enjoyed having him in the picture. I’m assuming that the scummy brother will now be more a part of things, however.
Anyway, a fine premiere episode, right?