Kurt Sutter’s “Sons of Anarchy” was hands-down my favorite new show of last year – not much of a surprise considering my undying loyalty to “The Shield” – but I never actually got around to watching the first episode until a few days after it aired, and as a result, I wasn’t able to blog the series like I had planned. This year is a little different, however, as FX has hooked us up with advance copies of the first few episodes. I probably still won’t be blogging every week, or even as in-depth as my other TV blogs, but I’m going to try to discuss the show in some aspect whenever I can, and tonight’s season premiere is the perfect jumping off point.
A lot went down at the end of Season One, but nothing quite as shocking as the death of Opie’s wife, Donna. Though Clay and Tig are still trying to play off the murder as retaliation from one of their rival gangs, Jax and Piney know the truth behind the botched assassination attempt. Piney wants to take action immediately, and rightfully so, but Jax warns against such hostility because it would only set Clay off and cause further damage. For the time being, they both have to accept Clay’s decision to pin the murder on some unsuspecting Mayan, and Jax even accompanies Opie to help kill the guy lest he learn the real truth. Obviously, this is going to play a huge part in the upcoming season, but I’m betting Sutter will let it just sit there and simmer for a while before acting on it. In fact, considering it’s a subplot that could prove to be a real game changer for the make-up of the series, I wouldn’t completely dismiss Sutter pushing it off until next season. After all, he has plenty to keep the Sons busy for the time being.
Not only do the Sons have to rethink their gun-running business now that they’re on ATF’s radar, but a new group of Neo-Nazis have arrived in town, and they don’t like that SAMCRO is selling guns to the black and Latino gangs around Charming. Though their attempt to win over the support of Deputy Hale doesn’t go over quite like they imagined (my guess is that he’ll end up helping the Sons more than he’d like), they’ve already stirred up trouble with Clay and Co. by crashing Bobby’s welcoming home soiree. Sure, the leader of the group, Ethan Zobelle (Adam Arkin), seems to be little more than a slimy, Aceveda-esque politician, but his right-hand man, AJ Weston (Henry Rollins), looks like a real force to be reckoned with.
It certainly helps that Rollins plays the guy like an emotionless pit bull that’s been restrained by a heavy-duty chain, but he eventually shows he has a mind of his own when he goes on a rant about how he pulled his son out of Tee Ball after he learned they were encouraging equality by giving trophies to everyone. He then follows that up by telling Darby to cover up his swastika tattoo – not because he should be ashamed of wearing it in front of his Latino workers, but because, get this, he hasn’t earned it yet. Talk about your hardcore skinheads, this guy is pure evil. And as if hasn’t already proven to be a thorn in Clay’s side, he’s about to really heat things up now that he’s kidnapped Gemma and gang-raped her. I’m still not exactly sure what the point of them wearing masks was (other than a cool shout-out to “Halloween”), since he eventually gave up his identity by telling Gemma to pass on a message to Clay, but one thing is for sure: these skinheads are definitely not leaving Charming in anything other than a body bag once Clay catches wind of what they’ve done. Are you paying attention Emmy voters? This is how you start a season off with a bang.