August 24, 2012 at 6:48 pm #249194August 24, 2012 at 6:50 pm #249195
I am beyond excited for this season, even though last season ended with a total cop-out
The performances and the writing, keep me coming back!August 24, 2012 at 7:13 pm #249196
That cop-out of a finale really diminished my view on the series, despite terrific performances from Hunnam, Sagal, and Siff. In Season 2, the show wasn’t afraid to push boundaries, but the finale plot resolution of Zobelle getting away and never being resolved should have been a warning sign. Season 3 wasn’t as bad as some claimed, and the finale was top-notch and redeemed the slower portions. However, Season 4 was supposed to be building to some big climax, and the finale undercut everything. No real consequences for Juice or Clay, the latter of whom should have died when Opie shot him POINT BLANK. The MacGuffin letters still remain in play, most of the club still doesn’t know about Piney’s death many episodes after it happened, Gemma refuses to reveal the complete truth to Jax and the club despite being physically abused by Clay, the cartel is revealed to be in league with the feds and undercuts of all of Lincoln Potter’s work etc. I might give the series 1-2 episodes to win me back, but I doubt it is going to rise to the heights of Season 2 (the show’s peak).August 24, 2012 at 7:34 pm #249197
Yea the season 4 finale was somewhat of a cop-out but the performances last season were pretty top-notch.September 10, 2012 at 7:44 am #249198
Entertainment Weekly’s review:
Sons of Anarchy (2012)
Reviewed by Ken Tucker | Sep 05, 2012
Start Date: Sep 11, 2012; Genre: Drama; With: Mark Boone Junior, Charlie Hunnam, and Katey Sagal; Network: FX
The ongoing project known as “Sons of Anarchy” continues apace. Now in its fifth season, “SOA,” created by Kurt Sutter, is a feat of filmed mass hypnosis, convincing a large viewership that unkempt, violent, hog-straddling, gun-running whore enjoyers are sympathetic enough to inspire intense devotion. And by gum, Sutter has managed to inspire award-deserving performances by Katey Sagal, Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, and Dayton Callie.
The first three form the essential tragic trio of “SOA”: Sagal’s Gemma Teller Morrow is mother to Hunnam’s new SAMCRO (the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original) president Jax Teller and currently estranged wife to Perlman’s ex-president Clay Morrow (after Clay put a beating on Gemma from which a lesser soul would have expired).
The season gets a jolt of fresh energy with the introduction of Jimmy Smits’ Nero Padilla, a pimp—excuse me, a delightfully self-described ”companionator . . . . I’m all about the love.” You have to enjoy a procurer of prostitutes who talks like this, especially since, compared with nearly everyone in SAMCRO, Nero comes off as fastidiously virtuous. Smits, whose guest arc on “Dexter” in 2008 fizzled due to poor writing, positively glows on “SOA.” Sutter and his staff really know how to write for this charming lawbreaker who’s so smooth, he seduces—then proceeds to protect and fawn over—Gemma, who’s not usually susceptible to such blandishments.
“SOA” is pretty straightforward in its appeal: SAMCRO members fight with one another but band together to beat up anyone who threatens the club. In this, it’s like your family, if your family rode motorcycles, did recreational drugs, and indulged in the favors of women whom, in an earlier era, we might have called ”loose.”
The other prominent new guest star this season is “Lost”’s Harold Perrineau. His Damon Pope is a gangster whose daughter was run over and killed by SAMCRO stalwart Tig Trager (the ferocious Kim Coates). Based on the first two episodes, Perrineau’s character isn’t as fully formed as Smits’, but the former does a wise thing on a show as majestically melodramatic as “SOA”: He lowers his voice and assiduously underacts, which only makes you want to listen to and watch him more closely. And paying close attention to “SOA”’s array of outlaws makes the series an even more richly detailed portrait of self-righteous villainy.
Grade: A-September 10, 2012 at 7:49 am #249199
Season 4 was almost perfect…except the finale…i would have let Clay die. That would be better storywise. and then end with Jax vs Gemma in season 5September 11, 2012 at 8:35 am #249200
Episode Title: “Sovereign”
Synopsis: In the season five premiere, Jax Teller takes the reigns of SAMCRO from his dethroned stepfather as new obstacles start to brew in Charming.
Guest Stars: Harold Perrineau, Jimmy Smits
Discuss.September 11, 2012 at 11:14 am #249201
Review: “Sons of Anarchy” returns for season 5 with same strengths and weaknesses
Lots of great characters matched with lots of goofy plots for the motorcycle club drama.
by Alan Sepinwall Monday, Sep 10, 2012
Creating television is not an exact science. For every show that debuts as a fully-formed entity (“The Shield,” “The Sopranos,” “Arrested Development”), there are plenty that struggle early on but improve dramatically over time, usually when they return for their second seasons, having had a few months to examine what worked and what didn’t in the debut year. For some shows (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Breaking Bad,” “Parks and Recreation”), that creative leap taken in year 2 is one that sticks, while for others (say, “Chuck”) it represents an early peak, where all the elements consistently click in a way that didn’t often happen before or after.
I had hoped “Sons of Anarchy” was one that made it to the next level and stayed there, but as the motorcycle club drama enters its fifth season tomorrow night at 10 p.m. on FX, it’s clear that incredible second year was the exception and not the rule.
“Sons” creator Kurt Sutter and the team he’s assembled continue to do many things very well. The strong and deep ensemble cast gets ample time to shine, with Charlie Hunnam as conflicted club leader Jax, Kim Coates as the brutal Tig, and Ryan Hurst as the mournful Opie getting especially strong material in the two episodes I’ve seen so far. Sutter also introduces a pair of intriguing new characters, and great actors to play them: Harold Perrineau as a terrifying Oakland crime lord who’s not exactly what you’d expect, and Jimmy Smits as a local pimp (or “companionator, as he calls himself) who befriends Jax’s mother Gemma (Katey Sagal).
But the character work gets buried under an avalanche of plot, all of it designed to simultaneously get Jax and the Sons into trouble while also providing some kind of well-disguised escape hatch.
Last season, for instance, sunk the club into a quicksand mess involving a ruthless Colombian drug cartel, a stack of old letters written by Jax’s late father, and the increasingly evil machinations of reigning club leader Clay (Ron Perlman). The year built and built towards the inevitable moment where Clay would have to either die or be banished for his misdeeds, where Jax would skip town over his disillusionment with the Sons, and where one or both of Opie and Juice (Theo Rossi) would also have to make a permanent exit from the series, given things done to or by them. Instead, at the last minute, the club’s cartel contacts were revealed to be secret CIA double agents, who in one fell swoop were able to preserve Clay’s life, force Jax to stay (and take over the club), spare Juice, etc.
The CIA revelation played not only like a cheat (there was no earthly way a viewer could have guessed that ahead of time), but an easy out for a show that wanted to create the sense of danger for its characters without having to actually get rid of anyone people cared about. (Clay murdered Opie’s father Piney, so the body count wasn’t zero, but Piney had always existed on the series’ margins.)
That said, the CIA maneuver also landed the series in a potentially interesting place. Jax, who had spent the entire series trying to either reform or leave the club, was now trapped as both its leader and facilitator of a deal to transport guns and drugs for the cartel. Clay was alive but badly injured and removed from power (he’s the new Piney, right down to the oxygen tubes he has to wear), and Gemma has also been marginalized now that Jax’s lover Tara (Maggie Siff) is the new queen of the club.
The way the fourth season ended, coupled with a season-long misstep the year before where the Sons became pawns in a game involving IRA leadership in Belfast, significantly lowered my expectations for the series going forward. But I still held out hope that the way Sutter had reshuffled the board (even if he’d kept nearly all the pieces) might rejuvenate “Sons” a bit as it moves closer to its endgame. (Sutter has said he has seven seasons worth of stories to tell.)
But no matter who’s in charge of the club, the problems are the same both for the bikers and the series: a never-ending string of violent encounters, legal hassles and mortal jeopardy where characters are placed in a tight box before being offered the chance to escape into a slightly bigger box, and then a bigger box than that, and so on. Even Clay’s diminished role doesn’t feel like it will last for very long.
Late in the season premiere, Jax gets what feels like the 17th piece of bad news he’s had in the last day. He turns to Tara, stone-faced, and she asks—unintentionally turning into a surrogate for viewers who may be weary of one plot twist after the next—”Oh, God. Now what?”
Sutter has said that he never intended for “Sons” to be analyzed on the level of an HBO or AMC drama, and that his goal was to make a fun, pulpy, adrenaline-fueled show. And if you’re not meant to think too hard about what’s happening, then “Sons” largely succeeds at its goals, particularly given the performances, the direction (led by Emmy winner Paris Barclay) and Sutter and his writers’ talent for crafting gut-wrenching individual moments. But if you ever held out hope for “Sons” to be more than that—smarter and more consistent and not as married to overly-complicated plotting—then the start of the fifth season suggests you will continue to be disappointed.September 12, 2012 at 6:56 am #249203
Kurt Sutter ain’t right! LoL. This guy’s on something else entirely. He never gets the credit he should for his top-notch writing. I guess the pulpy, low-class material he’s exploring doesn’t do him any favors with the Emmys (or his profane mouth in general). Jimmy Smits made a good first impression (and that first scene, goodness), but Harold Perrineau was the real surprise. Poor Tig! That scene was incredible. I’ve never seen anything like that before. This looks like the beginning to another explosive season with Jax in charge and snakey Clay just waiting to make a return to the gavel. The new Gemma storyline could be good, and her escalating tensions with Tara could take things to some interesting places down the line. I hope they don’t sideline Ryan Hurst too much. He’s far too good to be benched. Strong premiere.
Grade for “Sovereign”: A-September 12, 2012 at 9:15 am #249204
Don’t bout u guys, but the Tig scene couldve been acted waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better, sorry!!! Pretty much what expected….violence, awesomeness, montages…..Jimmy Smitts may give SOA their first EMMY nom or maybe win..(i doubt that LOL)
Sovereign – B+September 12, 2012 at 9:36 pm #249205
Smits was definitely the scene-stealer tonight, playing against type but doing it in a different way than he did on Dexter. Hopefully he can get some heat for a Guest nomination.September 12, 2012 at 9:59 pm #249206
If Hal Holbrook, Emmy and Oscar winning legend, couldn’t get in for his arc in 2011 (and I predicted he would get in, along with Katey Sagal riding her GG win to a nomination), then I doubt Smits will either. Four years in, it’s clear the Academy doesn’t like this show. In addtion, Sutter shooting his mouth off and burning his bridges in earlier years probably doesn’t help the show either. In any case, Smits and Perrineau both made solid impressions last night. Hunnam, Coates, Hurst, and Perlman also got to shine last night. But I think the Emmy ship has sailed for SoA. But considering SoA just got series-high ratings last night, as well as the highest ratings for ANY single FX telecast, I doubt FX is crying. They (and the cast and crew) will make enough money off the show to wipe their tears away