WARNING: Minor Spoilers Ahead
Over the course of the first five seasons, we have seen turf wars, entanglements with international criminal organizations, intrigue, cover ups, hard line law enforcement, corrupt law enforcement, kidnappings, incarcerations, and enough murders to put the Manson family to shame, so how exactly is SONS OF ANARCHY going to keep the show fresh as it moves forward? Based on the season six premier, it looks to delve into the ambiguity that exists between good and evil, and while this may seem deeper territory than some of the fans are used to, don’t fret, there is still plenty of the hard edged violence and interpersonal subterfuge that the series is known for.
There is so much going on in this episode that if I tried to explain it all I would probably just ruin the premier for anyone who hasn’t seen it, so I am going to try and fill in the picture of the major developments, and let the lesser ones be a surprise. As I said before, it looks like this season is going to explore the shades of grey that exist in the realm of good and evil. The first instance of this is Lee Toric, the former US Marshal who showed up last season after Otto killed his sister. Toric’s desire for revenge against Sam Crow goes well beyond the legal lines: he takes steps to make Otto’s remaining time in prison a living hell, tries to manipulate both Tara and Clay into turning on Sam Crow, and also indulges in some personal activities that are less than legal. Another example of the blurred line of good an evil is Charles Barosky, a former corrupt cop from Stockton PD who controls a large swath of the waterfront. The Sons’ run into him after crashing his turf to get revenge for one of their girls who got ruffed up during a porn shoot. Its too early to say what role he will play, but he is one of the most interesting parts of the season opener. Collete Jane, a madam looking for some new partners, pops up as a consequence of the Sons’ run in with Barosky, and she has the potential to shake things up in Jax’s life as well as change the relationship between the club and Nero Padilla. Rather than any major new developments in the Sam Crow family, the repercussions of last season are the focal point of drama. Twig is trying to work through the loss of his daughter, Juice has to find a way to reprove his loyalty to Chibs and the club, and Bobby is trying to decide what his future with Sam Crow will be. There is also a young boy who appears sporadically throughout the episode, and while I won’t spoil his purpose, the repercussions will certainly play a large role in this season and the apparent theme of where the line between good and evil blurs.
One of the biggest highlights of SONS OF ANARCHY are the great performances, however, with such a large ensemble it is nearly impossible to give everyone the credit they deserve, so rather than try, I am going to focus on a few of the best or most surprising performances of the season premier. Charlie Hunnam (PACIFIC RIM) continues to shine as Jax Teller. He does an excellent job portraying Jax’s confliction as stress and temptation drive him towards actions he isn’t sure he wants to take. His performance further proves that no one else could make this character quite as endearing as he is, despite the crimes he commits. Tommy Flanagan (SIN CITY) has always been great as Chibs Telford, but this episode sees him take on a more prominent role in the club, and hopefully the show. He brings a subtlety to the show that is often overlooked, as his character is the quiet rock of the club, but his talent really shows through in the one on one scenes, and we get some of those in this episode, which is a treat. Maggie Siff (PUSH) plays Tara Knowles and her acting talent keeps getting more impressive as the show progresses. Watching Siff portray Tara’s transformation from law abiding doctor to biker “old lady” has been captivating, and she delivers a great performance in this episode that keeps me wanting to see where her character will go. Donal Logue (TV’s COPPER) delivers a great performance as Lee Toric. I’ve seen Logue in a many things, usually in small roles, but his portrayal of Logue is so cold and intense that it leaves an impression, and it has me very impressed. Lastly I want to mention Peter Weller (STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS) who made his first appearance on the show as Charles Barosky. Weller has had some time behind the camera, having directed six episodes of SONS OF ANARCHY, but this is the first time he steps in front of it. We don’t get to see too much of him, but he certainly has a commanding presence and I look forward to seeing more of him in the rest of the sixth season.
The season six premier of SONS is a bit chaotic, as there is so much going on, but the benefit is it gives the audience plenty to chew on. We get new characters, new developments, and some character reshuffling that promises to keep the show fresh and interesting for another season. There is more than enough in this episode to please long time fans of the show, but new comers may be a little lost and should find an easier starting point to jump in at.
Final Score: 8 out of 10