‘Sons Of Anarchy’ Season 5 Premiere Review

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Charlie Hunnam Sons of Anarchy Sovereign FX Sons Of Anarchy Season 5 Premiere Review

Season 5 of Sons of Anarchy begins with Jackson “Jax” Teller (Charlie Hunnam) passing on to his children the single most important thing his father ever granted him: knowledge. As Jax scribbles away in his pocket-sized notebook, wistfully recounting the ways riding equates freedom and matter-of-factly listing what in life may imbue a man with strength, it becomes clear that heavy, indeed, is the head that wears the crown.

Not much time has passed since ‘To Be, Act 2‘ placed Jax (somewhat reluctantly) at the head of SAMCRO. Enough time, perhaps, for bruises to fade and for wounds to begin mending – but, on the whole, the MC remains unaware just how fractured it really is. As a result, Jax finds himself at the bottom of a very large pile of problems that have names like: the IRA, CIA, Galindo Cartel and, thanks to the hotheaded driving skills of Tig (Kim Coates), the Niners now have a full-on vendetta with the Sons.

But if season 5 is, as Kurt Sutter suggested, the beginning of Sons of Anarchy‘s third act, then ‘Sovereign’ is truly the beginning of the end. Time and again, it’s been made clear that Jax was always intended to ascend to the throne, but the kingdom he currently overlooks is not the one J.T. Teller had wished for his son. SAMCRO should not have been delivered to Jax in such disarray, and because of that, the first order of business is just maintaining the club’s grip on whatever it has left, while avoiding the plummet into oblivion. So for the time being, circumstances mean that it’s going to be business as usual for SAMCRO – with unsanctioned Niners hits on the club’s guns and cocaine shipments thrown in for good measure.

Jax works to convince everyone (even himself) that this is progression – things are headed in a new direction. But really, SAMCRO and all of those caught in the club’s wake are simply in a holding pattern until things miraculously turn around or become even more perilous. Jax, and now his new VP – the recently released Bobby Munson (Mark Boone Junior) – are the only one’s really in the know, and even that’s a dubious assessment, considering what little actual knowledge anyone has about their own situation on this show. Sure, Jax has been empowered to act by the realization of what Clay (Ron Perlman) did to his father, and by finding out the CIA’s sponsoring Romeo Parada (Danny Trejo) and the Galindo Cartel, but he still remains in the dark about his mother’s role in J.T.’s death and just how badly Damon Pope (Harold Perrineau) wants to see him dead.

And if Jax is making decisions based on too little of the right information, Opie (Ryan Hurst) has ostensibly stepped away from SAMCRO after finding out the truth about Piney’s death and being unable to do anything about it for “the good of the club.” As Opie puts it, he’s not afraid of Jax turning into Clay, he’s afraid of seeing himself turn into Jax: Someone compelled to time and again put his life on the line for a club more or less responsible for the destruction of his family. Opie’s always been something of a wildcard when it comes to the MC. He sees the door as swinging both ways, beckoning him to come and go, as his emotional tangents grow as wild and unruly as his hair – which, if he’s not careful is going to result in Opie being taken out by some Bigfoot enthusiast the next time he heads up to Piney’s cabin.

Ron Perlman Sons of Anarchy Sovereign FX Sons Of Anarchy Season 5 Premiere Review

Others, too, are motivated to convey a sense of progression, but to what ends remains unknown. Tara (Maggie Siff) unceremoniously prepares to train her replacement at the hospital, while a broken down Clay strikes a genial, penitent tone with his soon-to-be ex-wife and the club, confessing to Piney’s murder, but (yup, you guessed it) lying about the circumstances leading to his filling the old man’s chest with buckshot.  Gemma (Katey Sagal), meanwhile, wakes up in the bedroom of Nero Padilla (Jimmy Smits), only to find out he’s a pimp – or as Nero calls it, a “companionator” – and that he’s taken with Gemma enough to offer a temporary hiding place for Jax and Chibs (Tommy Flanagan) once things begin to get dicey.

Since the boys of SAMCRO have been engaging in more than their usual MC shenanigans as of late, it means that, in addition to being under the watchful eye of Eli Roosevelt (Rockmond Dunbar), they’ve been designated enemy no. 1 by Damon Pope (Harold Perrineau, Lost) and his right hand man, August Marks (Billy Brown, Dexter). What’s most interesting is watching how Pope conducts his business, and how that is in stark contrast to the way SAMCRO handles things like personnel changes and revenge. While the Sons are reluctant to remove anyone (they put Clay’s future with the club up to a vote), and tend to handle disputes with guns blazing, Pope doesn’t even have so much as a three-strike policy for his employees – as in the case of Laroy, and then Darnell, it’s one mistake and most of you ends up decomposing in a rail yard pit. Moreover, Pope has a two-part plan for revenge against the Sons that depicts him as a far more calculating entity than the various gangs or individuals SAMCRO has dealt with in the past.

As far as Pope’s nefarious plans to illustrate he’s not an individual to be trifled with, well, it may go down in Sons of Anarchy history as the most gruesome act of violence perpetrated by a single character. Part one of Pope’s plan entails watching Tig suffer as his daughter Dawn (Rachel Miner) is burned alive, while he remains shackled and helpless, mere feet away. Meanwhile, part two has Jax and Chibs going down for the highway shooting involving the Niners that took place at the end of season 4. Though it’s not a decisive strike against the club (Jax and Chibs go into hiding and Tig manages to kill Pope’s crooked cop and cleaner), the message is undoubtedly clear and season 5 is off to a dark and certainly dangerous start.

Harold Perrineau Sons of Anarchy Sovereign FX Sons Of Anarchy Season 5 Premiere Review

The drama in the premiere is strong, and presents the series with some interesting new characters and an unassuming, yet terrifying, villain in Harold Perrineau’s Damon Pope. Yet there’s evidence that much of the storytelling still hinges on the same deus ex machina approach of seasons past. Instead of springing the influence of the CIA on the viewer at the last minute, the entity looks to be a constant throughout the season, and the supposed god-like omniscience the CIA wields is dangerously close to becoming not only a guiding force, but also an easy get-out-of-jail-free card for Jax and the rest of SAMCRO.

Right now, it’s good to see that the status quo has been shaken a little, but for the most part not too much has changed. After last season’s somewhat divisive season finale, it would have been more impressive to see Sons of Anarchy take larger risks and present its characters with situations they won’t get a last minute reprieve from. It’s early in the season and there’s plenty of conflict to come, so hopes are high that some more powerful storytelling is on the horizon.

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Sons of Anarchy continues next Tuesday with ‘Authority Vested’ @10pm on FX.

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  1. Dumbest show EVER. It’s so terrible it’s painful to watch. Samuel Strange expresses perfectly what I’ve always thought of SoA but was unable to put into words.

    • you might think that its the dumbest show ever but its sounds like you have watched it all and that it kept you interested in it or you wouldnt be saying this. Ive waited for this night for along time and personally its my favorite and wouldnt miss an episode.

      • I’ve TRIED to give it an honest watch, but couldn’t stay interested. As the son of an actual biker, I find the characters silly and unrealistic, the writing to be repetitive and asinine and the fact that Jax can apparently only read and absorb a paragraph at a time of his dead dad’s journal- and said paragraph always seeming to be relevant to what’s going on in his life- to be simultaneously laughable and sad. I mean, why not just read the whole thing and maybe gain a little insight into their former leader’s perspective about the folly of their gunrunning ways rather than be blindsided by every little twist that comes along? However, it DOES have entertainment value for me and some buddies as we rip on it MST3K-style once in a while.

        • I believe he has read it all through at least once and is shown rereading sections that seem to hold levity with what is happening around him at the time.

  2. If clay is not dead by the third episode ill be pissed.come on if it was real life s*** and someyone hit my mother id dismember them and feed them to the lobsters.so get some balls sons,beforw I get board.

    • He can’t kill clay bc the CIA would then take the whole club down. Besides, it’s even more interesting to see what clay is scheming. It’s quite obvious he isn’t going to give up his seat without a fight.

      OAN. This episode had me on the edge of my seat. Damon Pope was nothing short of scary. I’m looking forward to this season.

  3. Im 81 years old and I’ve been waiting all summer for season 5 to start….thanks Kurt!!!!!!!9

  4. Great job, glad your back. Keep Opie in. Don’t lose Ron & Katie. Characters are as much of the show as the show. Can’t wait to see this season. Hope it promises to keep you interested. Thanks!

  5. Pope has no idea what he has unleashed in Tig…and I can’t wait to watch it play out. After such a long wait, the season opener was everything I had hoped for. Amazing show–best on TV!

    • Does anyone else think that Laroy is still alive? He could possibly be the guy and the end with the bionics foot that kidnapped Unser could very well be working with Clay?

  6. WOW! Talk about an epic season premiere. Damon Pope looks like someone you do not want to mess with. Talk about an eye for an eye. 100% Tig will have his mind set on Damon Pope until he is taken down.

    So glad SOA is back!

  7. How calm pope is reminds me of Gus on Breaking Bad.

    • Well why wouldn’t you put a character that resembles Gus. He was a brilliant villain, and let’s face it, Breaking Bad is the best show around. Maybe they are taking a leaf from the success of Breaking Bad.

      • So strange to me, these folks that “wait all summer” for a tv show.Rather sad.
        Agree Breaking Bad sets the bar high.
        And agree with an earlier poster,this show has become laughable.

        • Almost as sad as message board trolls that feel the necessity to judge others comments. Maybe someday we’ll all aspire to reach your lofty height of superiority.

          • why am I troll for posting an opinion? Thats what messageboards are for. Not everyone LIVES for a tv show but can watch and like or dislike.
            Please, leave moms basement and get outside for some fresh air.

          • Wooster, by judging others’ comments yourself, you already have reached that lofty height of superiority… and hypocrisy :P

  8. Well why wouldn’t you put a character that resembles Gus. He was a brilliant villain, and let’s face it, Breaking Bad is the best show around. Maybe they are taking a leaf from the success of Breaking Bad – they need to after the lame end to season 4.

    • >implying that gus was the first calm and collected villain in tv history.

      • He is not a villain, Tig killed her daughter so he just got his revenge.

  9. Awesome season premiere. I’m glad SOA is back. Miss Jax :)

    I’m catching the season premiere of SOA online @ http://bit.ly/TJEMVw

    • Charlie is a fine actor with amazing screen presence.
      I think he has a long career ahead of him.
      Dayton Callie, hmmm,dont get it.
      I agree with others that say he is the same in every show he has been in.

  10. Amazing episode. The final scene with Tig was incredible/horrific. Kim Coates really pulled it out of the bag. I cannot wait to see what happens with Tig the rest of the season. I do wish Tara would get a little less screen time though. I’ve gone from loving her to really disliking her over the course of the last season. And Gemma was amazing as usual. The whole cast really should get more recognition.

  11. I hope that some other viewer can help me figure out the bit that’s bothering me. Charming has suffered two home invasions, both targeting SOA associates, and the police chief implies that they are part of the Niners’ retaliation against the Sons for Tig’s running over their leader and his wife. The last scene shows a third home invasion, this time of poor ex-Chief Unser, and the third black-swathed figure is shown clearly to have an artificial foot. This detail was shown so prominently that I felt certain that I was supposed to recognize the person, that the series has shown some person who has lost a foot and I am forgetting who it is. Who lost a foot and has a serious grudge against the MC? I’m racking my memory to no avail. Help?!

    • Remember the new guys who came to the table?
      One put his prosthetic foot up on Phils shoulder.

      • Ohhhh man. I was wondering about that too. Good catch! Great epsiode to set things up for the season.

    • The people doing the break-ins are the Nomads, Chuck Zeto and the other two guys. Hows making them do it is the question. Could be Clay throwing a wrench in Jax’s plans.

  12. I have to admit that the premiere left me a little cold.
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of the show and I’m nowhere close to saying that I’m going to stop watching but…
    The whole Tig storyline just felt like a big trick to get us to feel bad for a guy who really doesn’t deserve it. Granted the killing of his daughter could be viewed as his punishment for all he’s done wrong but like I said it just felt like a trick to keep him around just like the CIA twist of last season that gave Jax a reason not to kill Clay.
    It’s only episode 1 and I’m sure I’ll enjoy the season it’s just that IMO moments like these are what prevents SoA from becoming a great show like Breaking Bad or Boardwalk Empire.
    I know Kurt Sutter claims that’s not the show he’s trying to make but I’ve got to call his bluff. Because if it wasn’t he wouldn’t go on his rants about the Emmys when they don’t recognize the show…

    • Kevin, I’m confused by a lot of your comment. First off, why would we need a reason to keep Tig around? When was he ever going to go anywhere? Are you talking about instead of Pope just killing him right off the bat for killing his daughter? That to me would have been EXTREMELY anticlimatic and would have made for some boring, albeit momentarily shocking, television.
      And you say the whole story line is a trick to make you feel bad for a guy who doesn’t deserve it… I take it you’re not a very big Tig fan, which is fine, but I love the character. You’re putting everything in very black/white context and Tig just isn’t black and white. The whole club isn’t like that. They’re criminals, they do bad things, sometimes really bad things, but the point of this show is to also show the humanity in them, too. The whole show is built around “making you feel bad for someone who doesn’t deserve it.” There’s not a character on this show that doesn’t deserve bad things to happen to them – they’ve all done bad stuff. So I’m curious as to why you’re just singling out Tig.
      To me, the whole story line was a device used, not to make you feel sorry for Tig, but to show you exactly who Damon Pope is and who the Sons are going up against this season. To put you on your toes and realize anything can happen.
      And you’ll notice Sutter stopped going on rants last year about the Emmy’s. It has nothing to do with not wanting the show to be like Breaking Bad or Boardwalk Empire (a quote I’ve never heard him make, btw, and I’ve read/watched just about everything he’s ever said), but about the recognition that he feels he deserves for this amazing show he’s put together. But he also readily admitted he acted like a whiny baby and stopped.
      It’s not going to please everyone and that’s okay. Not everyone is going to like everything – that’s why there are so many options out there.

      • @ Kristin
        1st off I want to say thank you for a rational response rather than the stock rumblings that you’ll get on the net when you have an issue with a show that someone else disagrees with.
        I agree with your reasoning of why Pope chose to kill Tig’s daughter and what purpose it serves for future episodes. I just think the same thing could have been accomplished by killing Tig. I know that makes it seem like I don’t like Tig but that’s not the case. Far from it actually because he’s one of my favorites. It’s just a small issue I’ve had with the show that happens from time to time where you’ll see things headed a certain way only to have a sudden shift that doesn’t feel earned. Small potatos in the bigger scheme and I’ll admit it’s just me spending to much time thinking about a TV show when I should be working. :)
        So while I disagree with certain things like I said in no way am I going to stop watching. I really like the show and respect Sutter and Company for the world they’ve created and I’m excited to see what’s next it’s just that from time to time there’s moments that IMO prevent it from being truly great.
        Cheers,
        Kevin

        • PS,
          From time to time I say from time to time to more than I should. :)
          That’s what I get from commenting on my iPod from time… Wait, I caught myself.

        • I’m pretty sure the story line is also going to go into Tig and Clay and Tig doing what he did because he thought they were responsible for Piney and then come to find out it was Clay….That was a huge scene of Tig and Clay after Clay admits to killing Piney, I believe the death of Dawn will also include some serious Clay and Tig issues, another reason they cant kill Tigs off yet…..

        • If they just killed Tig, than thats it? the Pope arc is done? No, he wants Tig to feel the pain of having his daughter killed. Otherwise there would have been no reason to kill her(Popes Daughter) last season, or have that random eppisode of Tigs daughter showing up last season.

          What makes it even better, IMO, is that Tig now has to come with terms that Clays lie from last season is inadvertantly they reason that his daughter is dead.

          If you watched the Shield, which Sutter mostly wrote, he could have kiiled of Shane right away, but kept him around for 2 seasons after he kills Lem. Keeping Tig alive give story arc we the viewer nnever thought about. Cant wait to see where it goes.

          On another Note, this past summer I finally got around to Breaking Bad and i am all caught up. I dont see what the big deal is with that show. Its cool and all but SOA is way better.

          • While I agree I was a bit shocked watching Tig’s daughter get burned to death, I was really dissapointed Pope let Tig live…It would have made alot more sense to murder Tig right after he watched his daughter burn to death. But now instead hes set himself up to be hunted down and murdered by Tig and company later.

            The death of Tig would not have ended the Pope plot line since he has setup Jax for a murder, which is a much more interesting storyline imo.

            Sorry but this story arc is in no way similar to Shane on the shield…

  13. Best show ever seen in a long time it has to be the number one show in america.

  14. I cant wait to watch in 20 times till next Tuesday. Best show on TV, def better than Breaking Bad.

    • Yeah your right BB is garbage compared to this show… Nevermind all the awards its won and the great acting and solid storlyine.. But yeah.. Sure I can see how if BB had great story arcs SOA, especially like the CIA subsidizing the cartel and the cartel telling the main characters “hey get us access to guns or else” it would surely be just as good.

  15. While I love this show, with the last season and the premier last night I’m finding it a little upsetting to watch. Story lines are as they are… And violence is NOTHING new to this show, but do we really have to so blatantly show EVERYTHING? I’m almost offended that the producers and the directors think we’re so simple that we can’t put two and two together and use our imaginations when it comes to the brutality in such scenes as Dawns death. Whatever happened to the old days where the pan in on the gas can, pan in on the match, and let our minds do the rest. The content of the storyline is deep enough that we don’t need the shock and awe of “seeing” the result of gas meeting flame… I’m not crazy, but I see this as senseless.
    I don’t blame shows like this on the downfall of society, but I sometimes feel that this desensitizes our more impressionable viewers to the violence and atrocities that are happening in our world today. With that being said, the show is still great, just wish they’d let US use our imagination more instead of being so graphic.

    • it would not be a good show if it wasnt graphic. That is what makes the show even better. I dislike shows that make you think and use your imagination. If you had to use your imagination on every show than tv would suck. SOA is the best show ever. I have all the seasons available i am waiting for season five. I cannot wait. I hate waiting a week at a time to watch it. I can watch this show over and over and never get tired of it. IT’S GREAT! I just hope they dont drag out the show like they do with other shows that would be boring. But, if it keeps going the way it is it will never get boring. Big fan and i will always take up for the SOA. Their the best. I love Jax, oooo boy he is such a hottie.

  16. While I love this show, with the last season and the premier last night I’m finding it a little upsetting to watch. Story lines are as they are… And violence is NOTHING new to this show, but do we really have to so blatantly show EVERYTHING? I’m almost offended that the producers and the directors think we’re so simple that we can’t put two and two together and use our imaginations when it comes to the brutality in such scenes as Dawns death. Whatever happened to the old days where the pan in on the gas can, pan in on the match, and let our minds do the rest. The content of the storyline is deep enough that we don’t need the shock and awe of “seeing” the result of gas meeting flame… I’m not crazy, but I see this as senseless.
    I don’t blame shows like this on the downfall of society, but I sometimes feel that this desensitizes our more impressionable viewers to the violence and atrocities that are happening in our world today.

    • I forget. Is this the daughter that came to Tig last season asking for money? It’s been so long. Or this is his other daughter?

  17. But with that being said, I still love the show for its actors and story lines, I just wish they’d give us a chance to use our imagination, sometimes the violence in SOA and B BAD is overkill.

  18. But with that being said, I still love the show for its actors and story lines, I just wish they’d give us a chance to use our imagination, sometimes the violence in SOA is overkill

  19. But with that being said, I still love the show for its actors and story lines, I just wish they’d give us a chance to draw our own conclusions

  20. Tig wont just go after Pope now, he will HATE Clay for lying about Piney, hence the reason he ran Pope’s daughter down, and I think he will blame Clay for his daughters demise as well…..

    • Thats an interesting thought.. It doesn’t sound overly rational, but hey Tig isn’t the brightest character on this show so maybe..

  21. It has been an amazing season premiere, i don’t know how people can criticize this show especially after this episode. Sutter and all your crew, sincerely, thanks!

  22. I’m also curious to see where this Nero storyline goes as well. I’m sure Jax will be asking how Gemma exactly knows this guy. But he looks to be someone who obviously has connections, not only with his escort business but other gangbanger activities. I wonder if he’s taking the place of the Mayans this season. Now you have Nero and Romeo. Who’s next, Julius, Cassius, Caligula??

  23. Jaw dropping season opener! It was much more than I was hoping for, can’t wait for the rest of the season. Great Job Sutter and the rest of the cast and crew.

  24. I thik it is a good show since i have known hard core bicker through out my life. The guys can be hard or they can be the nicest guy that you ever met. So bring season 5 on and let there be many more seasons.

  25. I think it is a good show since i have known hard core bikers through out my life. The guys can be hard or they can be the nicest guy that you ever met. So bring season 5 on and let there be many more seasons. Hard to believe that is Katey Sagal. She plays the part as a biker b**** very well. I think SOA is a interesting show once you figure out the characters. Bring on the new season.

  26. Not Opie..

  27. Wow….. Opie….. I hope pope dies…. And that cop too….

  28. I love the show, The Sons Of Anarchy. All the characters are great please try not to kill off anymore main characters.

  29. #SAMCROW

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