Series Review: Sons of Anarchy (Season One)

SOA

I decided to watch Sons of Anarchy on a recommendation from my sister – she claimed it was very violent and serious, but good. My friend Zoë’s opinion was that the show had good moments, but ultimately could lead to a fail. I decided to try it out, to break up the absorption I have in my reading challenge, and I am still not certain how I feel about it. It is good, but not as violent as I thought it would be (there certainly are moments that are gruesome) and serious (that is certain). It is really intense – no dozing off while watching. My basic conclusion is that it is a show written for men, and well done so.

Background

The Sons of Anarchy is an outlaw motorcycle club. The show focuses on its original chapter, Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original (SAMCRO). SAMCRO is stationed in Charming, California. Their clubhouse is next to the Teller-Morrow mechanic shop.

The club is led by Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman) and Jackson Teller (Charlie Hunnam), respectively the President and Vice-President. The club protects Charming with their vigilante justice, which includes bribery and intimidation. They are very dedicated to keep the hard drugs, and their drug dealers, out of Charming.

What happens?

At the beginning of the season, SAMCRO’s gun warehouse is torched by the Mayans, a rival gang. They also steal the guns in the warehouse. Joaquin County Sheriff Trammel (Glen Plummer) finds the bodies of two dead illegal immigrants. Jackson Teller’s, VP of the club, wife Wendy (Drea deMatteo) collapses after a crank injection. Their son is born ten weeks premature, with a heart and liver defect. They name him Abel.

Jax finds a manifesto that his father, a founding member of SAMCRO, wrote about the club as he collects some baby clothes at the storage unit. He is tormented by the thoughts that the club is becoming something completely different from what the original members planned.

At the hospital, Wendy overdoses on crank after Gemma (Katey Sagal) tells her Abel will never call her mother. She is saved, and goes into rehab. A high school sweetheart of Jax, Tara (Maggie Siff), is a doctor there and suspects Gemma’s involvement in Wendy’s overdose. There is no love lost between Tara and Jax’s mother, as Gemma hates Tara for dumping Jax eleven years ago to study medicine and get out of Charming.

Tara receives a phone call from an ex-boyfriend – ATF agent Josh Kohn (Jay Karness), who she has a restraining order against. He shows up in Charming to investigate SAMCROs criminal activities, but Deputy Chief Hale (Tayler Sheridan) realizes that he took extended vacation from ATF, and is there on his own agenda.

The SOA head to patch over the Devil’s Tribe Motorcycle Club. Previously, Prospect Half Sack (Johnny Lewis) commented on how attractive Gemma, Clay’s wife is. To get back at him, Clay sleeps with a girl named Cherry (Taryn Manning), who actually likes Half Sack. Kohn trails the SOA and sees them in a shootout with the Mayans. Tara receives images of Jax and another girl’s lovemaking, and deduces that Kohn is behind it.

Clay is arrested after a triple homicide where SOA guns were used. Gemma ends up behind the bars as well when she hits Cherry with a skateboard for sleeping with Clay. Tara tells Jax that she is being stalked by the ATF agent, and that is why he is in town. Jax damages Kohn’s car, and eventually throws him through a parlor window. The shop’s owner covers for Jax by saying that he only retaliated after Kohn stabbed him with scissors. Kohn is arrested for breaking his parole, but returns to Tara’s house and attacks her. She manages to shoot him and calls Jax, who kills him when he calls Tara a “biker slut”. They sleep together with the dead body in the room, and afterwards Jax burns his corpse. He tries to burn his father’s manifest, but saves it from the fire.

After his return from prison, Opie’s (Ryan Hurst) life at home is shaky. He returns to work for the club to save his family from losing their house. He is commissioned to kill someone in a favor for the IRA, but when he isn’t able to perform the assassination, Bobby (Mark Boone Jnr) kills the man. There is a witness, and Bobby is arrested. The club thinks Opie turned against them, but he is actually being kept captive by ATF agent Stahl (Ally Walker), who hates the club. She tries to make it look like he is the rat. He is released from prison, and Clay and Tig pretend to believe his innocence, knowing that Jax will revolt if they dare hurt Opie. Police Chief Wayne Unser (Dayton Callie) tells Clay that Opie is innocent, but Tig (Kim Coates) is already on the way to go kill him. He ends up killing Donna (Sprague Grayden), Opie’s wife, who was using his truck at the time.

Clay makes it look like a gang related attack, but Deputy Chief Hale tells Jax that Agent Stahl from the ATF set Opie up. Jax realizes that Clay is behind the shooting. Tig, Happy and Chibs find the real witness, and Tig wants to kill her, but Jax shows up, threatens her, and sends her out of California. Jax is angry and unhappy to remain at the club under Clay’s rule, knowing now that he is immoral.

Rating: 6/10

Season One was good, but it really isn’t as good as season two. If I hadn’t watched the second season, I might have mentioned that it isn’t addictive. It is very addictive. Season one is still good though. Very serious, but a solid back story provides basis for a plausible tale.

The best character portrayal definitely goes to Katey Sagal, who plays Gemma Teller-Morrow. She is fiercely intense, and I would hide under the counter if I ever met someone like her. Her devotion to the club is unshakable, and she plays the part of domineering mother to the hilt. The only other show I have seen her in was in 8 Simple rules for dating my Teenage daughter, and even though she played a mom there as well, she went a completely different direction with Gemma. She really did well.

The story hosts a compelling mix of drama, violence, humor and love. The character whose love relationships are explored the most is Jax Teller. Perhaps the most significant form is when he becomes a new father to a seriously ill baby. He obviously isn’t ready to be a father, but it is interesting to see where he starts to develop a sense of duty.

The relationship between Jax and Tara was surprisingly well done. It showed real issues – the fact that they are of completely different social classes, and that she saves human lives, and he is responsible for destroying it. I found the love making scene with the dead Kohn in the room completely nauseating. It was so macabre. I sometimes just want to message him and to keep his pants zipped.

My love-hate relationship towards Clay turned to hate-hate when he ordered the hit on Opie, and got Donna murdered. Yes, he thought Opie was a rat, but couldn’t he make absolutely sure before being so willing to take out one of “the club”? Tig is also such an ass. He is this perverted, messed up man, and has a nasty temper. I just hope Jax pops him one soon. Really, I do.

Opie may be my favorite character of the show. He is this sad, calm, sweet man who loves his wife and kids, got imprisoned because of a fellow member’s mistake, kept his mouth shut about his club, and even then he still doesn’t rise (or barely does) to his wife’s anger. I have to sympathize with Donna – I would have left long ago. At the end I was cheering for her because she turned around and chose him above the ATF. And then Tig killed her. Naturally I hate Tig now.

Another thing mentioning is my appreciation to their attention to detail. The jackets with all their different patches fascinated me enough so that I went and researched what it all means. It is a really decent read, and I suggest you do so if you plan to watch the series.

It really is a good show. I wouldn’t recommend it if you are susceptible to violence. I would mostly recommend it as solid watching material to guys.

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2 thoughts on “Series Review: Sons of Anarchy (Season One)

  1. Yeah, definitely not a violent story friend! Spartacus, that is violent, but a fantastic story to it. Sons of Anarchy has its moments. Season one was ok, season two was excellent, season three was ok.

    I must say that it is appealing, not bad, but sometimes loses some things. I really like how you laid out this review, so awesome!

    Opie was really my favourite, and I enjoyed the Prospect, too.

  2. Pingback: 5 Things Friday: 5 shows to watch | Life of this city girl

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