Written by David Oliver
Not that I had many doubts about how violent this final season of Sons of Anarchy would be, but this season premiere does in no way, shape, form or method of murder disappoint.
Following the events of last season’s finale, one wonders exactly where all these characters go from here. Tara (Maggie Siff) is dead, Gemma (Katey Sagal) did it and the only two people that know are Juice (Theo Rossi) and Unser (Dayton Callie).
I was actually sort of hoping this secret would come out in the premiere, in an unexpected twist that would course correct this final season into a true mother vs. son cat and mouse game. Unfortunately, Jax (Charlie Hunnam) doesn’t even realize how little he should trust his mother, especially considering she lied about who killed Tara and let Jax exact revenge (but more on that later).
The first scene features Jax cutting up a man in prison, signaling his first for blood from the start. D.A. Patterson (CCH Pounder) and Gemma both come to visit Jax, Patterson letting Jax know they’re letting him go since they cannot connect him to either murder – but not before revealing her feelings regarding her son’s death to gang violence, one that could not come to fruition in her world but certainly could in Jax’s.
Meanwhile, Juice has been hiding out from the club at Wendy’s (Drea de Matteo) and the club meets upon Jax’s return. Jax compares himself to his dad, rationalizing that they both selfishly wanted to keep the club clean of violence to appease their own demons. Jax decides getting out of the illegal trade isn’t the answer anymore. “I already lost the woman I love. I’m not gonna lose my club,” he says.
The real sickening part of this episode is watching Gemma go about her way with such little guilt. “I’m the only thread holding this family together,” she says, thinking she is justifying her actions. What’s even more gross is how truly jealous she’s been of Tara this whole time. She could barely handle how much Jax loved another woman besides his mother in that creepy Freudian way reminiscent of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, granted this show really is just Hamlet with motorcycles.
Patterson offers Unser a consultant job, preparing for the violence to escalate. He really should take her up on this offer – he is not in the best position right now, and when Jax finds out he knew the truth about Tara’s death, heads will roll, literally.
Later, Jax and the rest of SAMCRO accidentally kill two pastors engaging in group sex, because this is Sons of Anarchy and if about five people don’t die an episode something is off.
Side note: Which team is Nero (Jimmy Smits) on? Does he really love Gemma? He really is like a politician, as he says in this episode.
Jax invites the Mayans and Chinese toa club party at their porn business (now deemed Red Woody, Inc.), where Gemma points out one of the Chinese men as Tara’s killer. She has a conversation with him, ironically about death. “Didn’t expect to be alive this long,” he says. “Tell me about it,” Gemma says – seriously though, I think the only reason Gemma is alive is because Katey Sagal is married to the show’s creator Kurt Sutter. Nepotism, anyone?
A haunting acoustic cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody” plays as the episode’s final scenes play out. Unser figures out Juice is at Wendy’s and Juice ties him up at gunpoint out of desperation. Gemma hugs Nero and cries, finally showing some guilt – but will she come clean before someone else figures it out?
Jax tortures the Chinese man with various weapons and kitchen items where Tara was murdered and literally pours salt in his wounds (ouch) before stabbing him in the head with a meat fork. Sound familiar?
Whew, what a jam-packed premiere – keep in mind this episode was approximately 74 minutes long.
Quick side note: Is the young SAMCRO couple featured both toward the beginning of the episode helping out with Jax’s children and slow dancing at the party supposed to be like Jax and Tara, and Gemma and John Teller? Because if so, this show is even more full circle and chill-inducing than it already is.
I truthfully don’t know how this is all going to end, but it’s safe to say I’m in for one more ride through Charming, Calif.