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Sons Of Anarchy 6.1, Straw Review

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The penultimate season of Sons of Anarchy has exploded onto television in bombastic fashion, featuring a shocking scene derived from the Sandy Hook’s massacre that is sure to split opinions around the world, torture porn (the literal kind), more characters addicted to heroin, and some shots of Charlie Hunnan’s ass to tide women over until 50 Shades of Gray hits theaters. Accounting for all of this and more though, series show runner Kurt Sutter has painted a poetic picture of themes that symbolize all hope, trust, and friendship are gone; something that you can bet will pave the way to a Season full of more betrayal than ever before.

Two weeks have passed since the climactic ending of Season 5 that left SAMCRO’S Redwood Originals’ friendship in shambles and hanging on by a thread. Jax is lost and still torn between his mother Gemma and wife Tara (whom was arrested for unintentionally aiding Otto in killing a nurse), while the club itself lacks any direction on where to go,or who to trust.

All of the falling out has caused Bobby to relinquish his duties of club Vice President while Chib’s is now shown to have taken up the mantle. It’ll be interesting to see if throughout the Season he too cracks under the constant internal struggling that is sure to only expand within the titular motorcycle gang. Chib’s is easily one of the most likeable characters on the show too with his Scottish accent and more humorous dialogue, so here’s hoping he can maintain order but I get the feeling that in the gang’s current state, a Vice President badge doesn’t mean squat.

Multiple characters are still jailed including Clay, Tara, and Otto (whom is still on death row) and while they don’t have any interaction between each other, it’s some of their individual scenes that stand out among the highlights of the episode. The aforementioned highlights include a graphic prison rape scene on Otto as U.S Marshall Lee Toric continues to have him tortured by other inmates for the intentional death of his sister (he brutally murdered her with a cross if you forgot). Afterwards though we see that he’s not perfect himself as in an isolated bedroom it’s revealed to us that he is a heroin user; a revelation that is sure to spice up the arc even further. Admittedly however, it does feel like a randomly generated topping to further dramatize the dilemma. Nevertheless, the execution is what will truly matter and obviously remains to be judged.

Shifting back to our other inmates, Tara learns how to attain some prison credentials by fighting back after some inmate bullying, but what’s most tantalizing about her arc is how she willingly distances from her husband Jax, requesting that he cannot come to court hearings. She essentially feels ashamed of her current predicament and even utters something along the lines of “Jax can’t see me like this”. Meanwhile, Jax is practically handed on a platter from his mother Gemma that she is the one responsible for Tara in jail, causing Jax to become visibly upset with her for the never ending plotting and scheming that never fails to stir controversy. Nevertheless,Jax abides by his wife’s wishes and stays away from her but his inability to cope with being pushed away sets him down a path of adultery. The elements for a compelling arc are most definitely being planted here in what will inevitably unfold into a primary story arc.

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Other quick tidbits involved a scene of Tig giving Juice some good old comeuppance in the form of repeated closed fists as a long-awaited response to his Season 4 betrayal. An involvement of a new rival gang in the background of Iranians crops up with a shootout over their torture porn side business. It’s not too clear where the arc is heading yet but the shootout is broken up by a police squad led by a Peter Weller cameo. Finally, there is a reminder that Tig is still wanted dead and not off the hook for killing Pope’s daughter.

What anyone reading a review for this episode wants to have elaborated on however is the school shooting from a clearly disturbed and bullied child whom was seemingly injected into the show without explanation or dialogue. It was an absolutely incredibly racy and cruel scene to shoot, but for something so despicable it was tastefully executed in a way that will further the core narrative of Jax’s wish to distance himself from all of the violence, especially when you consider the gun came from somewhere within his band of outlaws. This is a plot point that could have come off sickening (and to some it probably did) but Kurt Sutter and FX filmed the scene with enough necessary restraint and precautions by not showing us the actual shooting. Instead, filming was wisely done from the school’s outside perspective with the distressing cavalcade of bullets audible, allowing you to reach the obvious conclusion of “people got mowed down”. In the end, Season 6 will benefit with engrossing television moving forward from treading on such a touchy subject. You know what they say, “Go big or go home”

My only real nitpicks are that it was a very disjointed episode constantly shifting not just from story to story, but character to character to character. It just never settled down into a logical flow and instead felt like a composition of scenes edited together randomly. And once again, I hope the decision to make Toric a drug addict from seemingly out of left field is handled more carefully than the writers saying “he takes heroin and gazes into a mirror naked, deal with it”. We need some believable exposition and back-story on that one.

It’s ultimately a solid opener though as some very interesting seeds were planted for the episodes to come. We were embraced with quite a bit of shock and mystery from events and key characters. The happenings should keep viewers coming back for more betrayals and twists, provided the school shooting scene didn’t rub them the wrong way of course. I have high hopes for this penultimate Season and feel that things are kicking off with a swift and relatively exciting bang.

What did you think of the Season 6 premiere? Let us know below!

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