'Sons of Anarchy' Recap: Controversial Final Moments Chose Violence Over Storytelling

TV Addict 28

Sons of AnarchyI've been so excited about tonight's Sons of Anarchy season premiere, I managed to completely forget that I was more than a little underwhelmed by the season 5 finale. In fact, I declared at the time that I was "mad at Jax, mad at Gemma, and mostly disgusted with Tara," and felt that I was left with virtually no reason to anticipate season 6. Fast-forward nine months and my goldfish brain is like, OH MY GOD IS IT ON YET IS IT ON YET OH MY GOD.

Well, forget my grumpiness about last December's finale, let's discuss tonight's premiere SoA episode, titled "Straw." We'd been warned it was going to be rough, but was it really as upsetting as some early critics claimed?

Short answer: definitely not for the first 85 minutes.

There were a lot of plot advancements in tonight's show: Tara's in prison where she refuses to let Jax see her (possibly because her hair looks like ASS, where's Orange Is the New Black's Sophia to work a weave when you need her?), Jax and the gang are fighting with Persians Iranians over their torture porn business, Gemma's playing up her loving grandma act while steadfastly refusing to acknowledge her role in putting Clay in jail, former US Marshal Lee Toric is making life super shitty for everyone, Tig drowns a guy in a bathtub full of piss, Chibs beats the living hell out of Juice then tenderly cares for his wounds, Peter Weller shows up in order to make us all marvel at how long it's been since Robocop was released, and we get a mighty fine look at Jax's rear view as he vigorously cheats on his wife (here's a little taste, Fifty Shades of Grey fans!).

(Also, there are now THREE Deadwood alums on SoA. Unser, of course, who was Charlie Utter; the madame Colette, who was head whore Joanie Stubbs, and SAMCRO's attorney Ally Lowen, totally unrecognizable from her amazing character Calamity Jane.)

The big twist came at the end, at the hands of the young boy we kept getting glances of throughout the episode. The boy sits in front of his Catholic school as the church bells ring, rolls up his sleeves to reveal cutting scars on his left arm, then pulls out a gun and walks inside where we're mercifully spared the visuals of the massacre that happens next.

It was grim, but not exactly unexpected, since show creator Kurt Sutter had previously revealed why he chose to include a school shooting in the premiere:

I've wanted to do that story for about three years. Obviously, I knew that it would be somewhat controversial, but I feel like, as much as I wouldn't do something because it was controversial, I'm also not going to do something because it's controversial. (...) The events that happen in the premiere are really the catalyst for the third act of this morality play that we're doing.

Personally, tonight's episode didn't really do it for me on a number of levels. I'm weary of Jax's inherent crappiness, which has long crossed the line from anti-hero to just plain asshole territory. I wish they wouldn't always include a big corny fight scene and a sad music montage. I cannot deal with Tara's hair.

As for the school shooting, I'm not outraged by it. But neither was I blown away or enormously moved. That scene felt ... well, I don't know if exploitive is the right word, but it felt like a gratuitous attempt at a big HOLY SHIT moment that fell short. I'm unclear how this will all tie back to SAMCRO (was the boy's mother Dave Navarro's old lady?), but this subject deserved nuanced storytelling. Instead, it got an episode mostly brushed with shallow strokes -- the masterful depth of earlier Sons of Anarchy seasons was nowhere to be found.

What did you think of tonight's premiere?

Image via FX



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c_gal... c_galvan87

Its going to get Samcro mixed up because it was on of their ILLEGAL guns used on a SCHOOL shooting. So of course people are going to want to see them punished plus it was technically on of their peoples son that did it. It was shocking for those of us that dont have to know the spoilers everytime

nonmember avatar Dana

I knew the school shooting was coming too, but I didn't expect it to be so young of a kid.

Basically didn't expect it to be just like sandy hook..

I went to bed after that. Didn't bother finishing the episode.

I went to bed with those kids screams in my head. Wondering if that's how the kids at sandy hook screamed.

Kurt was just trying to go for shock value here, and that he did, but it was way too far. I feel mostly disgusted...

I honestly don't know if I'll keep watching after this.

nonmember avatar Erica

You know that Kurt Sutter has said this is a modern retelling of Hamlet right? This is not going to have a happy ending. These are not good people. I think its getting to the point where there is no one left to root for. I kinda think that might be the point. Of course i could be giving Kurt Sutter more credit than he deserves. I suppose we will see.

nonmember avatar Michelle

How could they possibly redeem themselves after this?

Obviously the gun used in the shooting is one of their guns. But now what?

They'll try and cover up the fact the gun came from them, obviously.

So the viewer is supposed to get behind covering up an elementary school shooting?

Going up against rape porn producers is one thing. But this?

The whole thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

nonmember avatar Chris84

I live about 20 minutes away from Sandy Hook and I wasnt aware of the spoiler. That was shoking to say the least!

nonmember avatar LAXMOM

I was a little disappointed myself that they went there...I'm interested to see where they are going with everything...and I am NOT happy with JAX at all!! So feeling deflated I sit and wait for next week. Have to ask though...did anyone else shout at their TV's "We want Opie too Leilah!!" when she broke down after getting mutilated?

nonmember avatar H

I liked the show last night, but I agree with you about Tara's hair. WTF? (Similarly, did they hire high school makeup artists to apply the "wounds" to the beaten hooker? It looked like someone stuck blobs of strawberry jam on her face.) I am tired of a few of the standard SOA gimmicks, like the tough guys helping care for the babies. BUT, I'm interested in seeing where Tig's instability is going to take him this season, if he's not killed off. I loved the contrast between Otto and Clay in that Otto apparently won't turn on the club despite brutal rapes but Clay wimps out at the sight of the general population. Well, I get that Clay's a little pissed at the club, but it seemed he wasn't willing to flip until he was walking down the hall with his bedding. Anyway, it was nice to have SAMCRO back on Tuesday night.

LoriA... LoriAnn87

I know about the shooting in the show but didn't know when it was going to happen. Not suprise Jax's cheated on Tara but it was a nice view of him. But he really needs to leave his package in his pants.

Angela Hurst

I didn't now about the school shooting was going to be in the episode, but I wasn't shocked by it. I felt they were leading up to something with the creepy well dressed kid. I wasn't shocked or horrified, but it did make me cringe at how school shootings have become so common they now appear on tv shows and how those effected by shool shooting must have felt seeing that. But I'm sure a rape victim probably would feel the same after watching this episode as well. It is a show about bad people doing bad things, however we do need someone to root for. I originally started watching this a couple seasons ago cause I saw Jax trying to better himself and I rooted for him, I can overlook his cheating ass but not covering up a primary school shooting.



Justa... Justamom283

I was fine with last night's episode. I don't want to say it was entertaining because school shootings and children dying are not entertaining but including it in the story doesn't deter me from the fact that I love this show. Like another commenter said, Sons is based on Hamlet and its supposed to be a tragedy. Having these characters go thru these changes and be moody and brooding as the series go on is part of character development. God knows I'm tired of Gemma and her budding in and not letting go of her hold on Jax and the boys. But at the beginning of the series I loved her. Kurt is a good writer he knows that he has to get the audience to really buy into hating or loving a character so that we feel really happy or upset when he finally decides what their fate will be. As for the shooting, this is one show where I can see how it ties in. This isn't a show about happy people and all the sudden there's "a very special episode" and then we never hear about guns or death again. Sons is a show where violence is a character. The club has been running guns for 5 seasons now and there had never been any of the consequences shown unless it involved the regular characters. Having the shooting occur shows that there is a wider scope in this. Its mot just about the series regulars anymore.

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