Tuesday, 18 May 2010

(Sons of) Anarchy in the UK

I’m currently enthralled by Season 2 of the gritty as hell Sons of Anarchy which I’m watching at UK pace (and by UK pace I of course mean: about 7 months behind the US).

So for anyone getting revved up for season 3, which is now only a couple of short months away from airing in the States, I apologise for how dated this feature must seem.

But as behind as we are in the UK I can’t go through three months of this Shakespearean tragedy in leather without talking about it and extolling its virtues on anyone who will listen.

So after three sublime episodes of Sons of Anarchy’s sophomore year, here are my thoughts on the undisputed best show on TV:

Where we’ve been:

Season 1 ended with bitter ATF agent Stahl setting Opie up as a rat (to be fair, you’d be bitter to if an incarcerated club member blacked both your eyes and broke your nose from inside prison).

With Clay and Tig privately conspiring on how to deal with the ‘rat’ in their midst they ultimately came to the conclusion that Opie need to be taken out. A case of mistaken identity led to Opie’s wife Donna taking the bullets meant for her spouse and SAMCRO was sent spinning into turmoil.

A handful of people know the truth about Donna’s murder: Jax, Hale, Gemma and of course Clay and the man who pulled the trigger: Tig.

Elsewhere at the end of that fantastic first season, Tara and Jax finally decided to make a commitment to each other which has overlapped into season 2’s storylines, with Tara trying to adjust to life as an “old lady” and discovering that its not going to be easy.

Season 2 kicked off with a group of White Supremacists trying to muscle their way in to Charming and using the horrific and harrowing rape and assault of Gemma as a means of causing SAMCRO to implode.

They didn’t bank on the strength of Charming’s resident Lady Macbeth though and although struggling with her ordeal, Gemma is yet to spill the beans to her son and husband.

I mentioned it in an earlier blog but that rape scene at the end of episode 1 was about the most disturbing thing I’ve seen on TV in recent years. It wasn’t that graphic, but the way it was played and shot was just eerie and really had an effect on me.

Opie returned from some me-time and is now concerning club members with his cavalier behaviour – it certainly would appear that the most emotionally complex character on the show has developed a death wish.

The Sons have now joined forces with Otto’s old lady Luann in her porn business, with Bobby Elvis now on board as a book keeper – which should at least serve as some light comedic relief.

But the main focal point of season 2 is the White Power gang, with their leader Zobelle out to destroy SAMCRO at every opportunity and having now seemingly got to Hale things could get very dark very soon for SAMCRO.

Where we’re going:

Obviously, the Elephant in the room at the moment is Gemma’s rape, which she has kept mostly to herself at the moment. Although visibly struggling psychologically, she has yet to spill the beans to anyone.

With her son and husband at increasing loggerheads maybe the most masterfully manipulative woman on the show is just waiting for that moment when this bombshell can have the exact opposite effect that her attackers had hoped and actually bring Jax and Clay back on to the same page.

If and when Gemma reveals all to Jax and/or Clay you know that things are going to get very ugly, very quickly for everyone who had a hand in the attack.

Gemma’s attack has helped her to finally bond and at least find, what for now I will call mutual respect, with Tara. Given how adversarial the two leading ladies of Charming were in season 1 it’s been nice to see them find some common ground.

Tara is a great character and I like seeing her getting more involved in club matters, it has to only be a matter of time before she finds her inner bad ass and really stands up for herself. Her confrontation with the porn star who was throwing herself at Jax last week was definitely a new side to the lovely Doctor, and with Gemma now showing her the ropes as an ‘old lady’, she couldn’t really have a better teacher could she?

Opie’s mindset of getting in deeper than ever in club matters couldn’t be more tragic or heartbreaking. It was his indecision about whether to be in or out that made Clay et al suspicious of him in season 1 and ultimately led to the death of his wife.

With his actual family now destroyed, Opie is relying heavily on his surrogate family – the club, completely oblivious to the fact that some of his ‘brothers’ caused his heartache.

Whenever it finally comes out who was responsible for Donna’s death, and eventually I don’t see how it can’t, I dare say there will be bloodier retribution than for Gemma’s attackers.

Hale’s possible defection to the dark side is another interesting plot thread this season. It seemed as though he and Jax had possibly put their differences aside and found an understanding at the end of season 1/ beginning of season 2, but now after initially shooting down the offer of friendship from Weston and Zobelle he now looks to have sold his soul to finally get one over on SAMCRO.

Elsewhere, Tig’s guilt over what he did to Donna and vicariously Opie seems to be bubbling to the surface, the porn sub plot has allowed us to see Tom Arnold turn up being as brilliantly sleazy as possible and SAMCRO’s perilously poised relationships with the different gangs they deal with remain ready to explode at any moment.

All in all, we have the ingredients for one hell of a remainder of the season and I can’t wait to see how the best damn show on TV unravels.

Sons of Anarchy Season 2 airs on Wednesdays @ 10pm on Bravo in the UK

24 Day 8 Death Counter:

Hour 20

Bledsoe – shot in the head by Jack Bauer (JBK)

x2 Bledsoe’s henchmen – shot and killed by Jack Bauer (JBK x2)

Bledsoe henchman – shot by Jack Bauer (JBK)

Bank employee – shot and killed by Dana Walsh

Random person on the street – shot and (presumably) killed by Dana Walsh

Dana Walsh – shot at point blank range by Jack Bauer (JBK)

Episode Death Total = 7

Cumulative Season Death Total = 88

(Ongoing) Jack Bauer Kills (JBK) Total = 26

With Jack hell bent on revenge I can only see the body count increasing and those Jack Bauer Kills racking up as we head into the home straight of the season and, sadly, series.


  1. Any ideas what is going to happen regarding Series three in the UK now that bravo has been shut down by SKY?

  2. No official word yet that I know of. Most Bravo shows are getting distributed across Sky's other channels though so one would hope Sons will find a home somewhere - it'd be a crime if we lost it.

    Positively, on the Sky 'Never Miss' page if you click on Sons of Anarchy it says Season 3 is 'coming 2011' so that would seem to suggest we'll be getting it eventually, as always though it's just a question of when? Sons would be a perfect fit for Sky Atlantic when it launches so hopefully it may land there and be treated with the respect it deserves.


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