Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Review - Sons of Anarchy Season 3 Episode 1 So

The first season of Sons of Anarchy works as primer, setting up the major conflicts, relationships, and characters that will continue on throughout the series. The second season is where the meat of the show starts, as the white nationalists came in and gave everyone--Gemma especially--hell. It's mostly a single, ongoing story where the characters are placed under additional strain, and, of course, there's the cliffhanger ending, Abel kidnapped.

The third season begins with "So" after a brief time skip. Abel is still missing, and everyone is isolated, both psychically and mentally, ruminating about what to do next. Jax is wallowing in sadness, Tara the same, though not as bad, Gemma is holed up in a hotel room, still on the run, and all Clay can do is smoke a cigar.

"So" is about the characters trying to live and move on in the aftermath. Sons of Anarchy has an uncanny way about character moments, in no small part due to the acting. Maggie Siff, Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, and the incredible Katey Sagal can be amazingly raw in their performances, bringing out more emotion than 99% of shows out there.

Not lost in the general angst is the plot, which is still rolling along. The search for Abel appears to have hit a dead end, as no one has seen him. It's revealed at the end of the episode that he's in Ireland now, which means the club will either have to go there themselves or do something drastic to get him back. Holed up by herself, Gemma stumbles upon a newspaper article which prompts her to reach out to her father played by Hal Holbrook. After her breakdown at the hospital, Tara goes home and makes things right with Jax. However, the hospital administrator who's been giving her trouble spots her in pieces outside the operating room.

Up until the end, "So" is relatively light on the action aside from the brief encounter with the black guys. Trouble comes, however, and in large doses. As everyone hugs each other at Half-Sack's wake, we see a van slowly pull beside and a masked man inside. They open fire with automatic weapons, hitting a few, including a small boy. And the final shocker, they knock down Hale! Unser rushes over to find him dead, and realizes," oh boy, I'll be sheriff forever."

Who were the shooters? At the end of the second season premiere, we had a clear idea who the enemy was, but these guys are never fully revealed. From the quick glimpse of the guy's face before he's slammed into the ground 50 or so times, I'd say he's white, meaning he's not a Mayan or black. Possibly further retaliation from the Real IRA?

It appears as though Jax follows Clay's advice and sets an example for the club, repeatedly sending the masked man's face into the ground. The shooting is not just an attack on the club; to Jax, it's personal and quoting Bad Boys II, shit just got real.

Sons of Anarchy is back and it sure feels good!

Score:  9.5/10
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