‘Sons of Anarchy’ Season 6 Premiere Review

Published 11 months ago by , Updated September 12th, 2013 at 7:07 am,

Charlie Hunnam in Sons of Anarchy Season 6 Sons of Anarchy Season 6 Premiere Review

One of the most interesting aspects of Sons of Anarchy is the way in which the show juxtaposes the relatively normal, almost banal domestic situations and environments of its characters with the oftentimes extreme and violently reckless aspects of their daily or “professional lives” (if they can be called that) without explicitly calling attention to the discordant nature of it all.

On one hand, there is a sense of jarring normalcy in the way these characters live – when they’re not causing the kind of mayhem normally reserved for an afternoon spent lazily playing Grand Theft Auto – that’s also an interesting facet of what the show does best: make its characters feel genuine, even if the situations they’re routinely in are overly familiar or even outlandish. What stands out is how normal most of their homes appear to be, and how comfortable these individuals are existing inside them, as though they’re wholly unaware that anything they’re doing is out of the ordinary.

Looking inside the private lives of characters like Jax and Tara, it’s clear that these aren’t people trying to be hip or modern or chic (or, conversely live la vida SAMCRO 24/7). They are simple in their tastes, average even; they like what they like and make no apologies otherwise. Take for example the house that Clay and Gemma shared before they split, decorated in the style of a Midwestern housewife who just discovered the joys of shopping at Pier 1. It was all so average and expressive in its mundanity that it felt utterly convincing. And as a result, these characters lives, like their houses, began to feel impressively lived-in and, as is seen with Kim Dickens’ laundry-folding madame Colette Jane, sometimes depressingly so.

Kim Dickens and Charlie Hunnam in SoA Straw Sons of Anarchy Season 6 Premiere Review

But even with what little we know of Ms. Jane and her decidedly unglamorous and Peter Weller-protected brothel, Dickens manages to make her character feel instantly part of the Sons of Anarchy world – and not just by luring Jax into her bed. The same can be said for Donal Logue’s terrific performance as the emotionally scarred and horrendously flawed Lee Toric. In fact, of all the issues the series has with regard to its endlessly recursive, Möbius strip of a narrative that never met a dead end it couldn’t deus ex machina its way out of, the one thing that’s difficult to complain about is the manner in which the characters and their lives feel so realized and how well the actors embody them.

It’s a testament to the caliber of these characters that ‘Straw’ could use a divergent event to more thoroughly weaken the already thin barrier between the world of SAMCRO and the rest of Charming. By throwing in an element that feels potentially far more explosive (and possibly exploitative) than any of the more soapy elements the series has delved into in the past (crazy Irish kidnappers, anyone?), the season 6 premiere raises the question: How does the very specific and yet tangentially related violence of the episode touch upon the characters’ lives and give meaning to their actions in terms of consequence?

For the most part, it seems as though the activities of SAMCRO have only touched upon the larger world of Charming and its surrounding areas in a direct fashion. But now, as the season premiere ends with a depiction of a horrific school shooting (which will no doubt generate considerable buzz and interest), the implication seems to be that the violence perpetrated on a regular basis by SAMCRO and its other associates has led, in some manner or another, to this event occurring. After all, the group has been in the gunrunning business for some time. In addition to the dismay visited upon Jax and Tara, or Clay and Gemma, or even Otto (if such a thing could be possible), the episode visits the horror upon all of Charming.

Nico Nicotera and Theo Rossi in SoA Straw Sons of Anarchy Season 6 Premiere Review

In essence, the consequences of their actions have been largely confined to being revisited upon themselves and the people with whom they associate/do battle with. Collateral damage has been an aspect touched on before – it was, to a certain extent, the reason behind Damon Pope’s aggression against the club last season, but it has never felt as though there was some corollary between the rampant violence of the Sons and the community in which they are trying to preserve/rule.

As the series moves further into its third and (reportedly) final act, the start of the penultimate season looks primed to examine the more lasting and transformative effects of all its violence by introducing a more corrosive and far-reaching demonstration of it within the framework of the overall narrative. It’s a far cry from asking whether or not the levels of violence – some of which simply comes off as violence for the sake of violence – will touch upon the character’s lives in ways that may affect casting on the series; this event turns it into a more potent assessment of the true legacy of SAMCRO and the lingering gunrunning business that even Jax has kept going, though for reasons beyond simply making a buck.

How does this affect the characters who seem unable to reconcile their love of committing acts of savagery with the notion that they’re ostensibly responsible for impressing upon another generation the idea that “might makes right” and that violence is the solution to any quarrel that may otherwise find them on the losing end? Can a show that sells atrocities and acts of violence as compelling portions of its narrative seriously add anything to the discussion of violence in popular culture without feeling like it’s merely being gratuitous and exploitative?

Right now, the answers are unclear, but perhaps what’s most important is that, with the end on the horizon, Sons of Anarchy has actually asked these questions at all.

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Sons of Anarchy continues next Tuesday with ‘One One Six’ @10pm on FX.

Photos: James Minchin & Prashant Gupta/FX

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21 Comments

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  1. This show is so bad… The theme song at the beginning is bad enough.

    • Best show on TV deals with real world issues, sorry if it’s too hardcore for you Big Baby Jesus, go hang around somewhere else

      • Selling guns to the IRA is not an issue I am emotionally attached to.

        However, putting criminals that roll in gangs six feet under IS something I can get behind.

        By the way, best shows on television don’t have this as their theme song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naf35VgbXiA

      • not any more hard core than real life – club members of motorcycle assoc. they know– I am an old lady and i have seen a lot in my lifetime— this is the best show for me this one and breaking bad love it!

    • All a matter of opinions

  2. It’s a testament to the caliber of these characters that ‘Straw’ could use a divergent event to more thoroughly weaken the already thin barrier between the world of SAMCRO and the rest of Charming.

  3. These ads really suck.

  4. This is one of the best shows on TV. This episode was real good. Things are going down, like always.

  5. Although I love this show it’s starting to get predictable now and going into that “Dexter” path where it’s starting to drag. I think this series either needs a new writer with a fresh perspective or they need to end the series next season. Last season was good but it just hasn’t been the same since Season 2

    • I think it’s already determined the it will be the last season. I think they had an article here a couple weeks ago

      • They are contracted up to Season 7 but is not determined yet if that will be the last. With the way things ended last season I was kind of expecting this season to be the finale but it seems they are going to try to milk it now. We shall see though. So far it’s off to an okay start but I just don’t want it to run into the same issues it’s had in past seasons where it starts off okay, stalls in the middle, and then hits its peak the last 3 episodes. I think if it was more consistent then it would be among the top shows like a GOT or a Boardwalk Empire.

        • Nothing is being milked. Creator Kurt Sutter said from the beginning, his plan was to have the show run 7 seasons and then end it. That has been his idea since the first season, the event that happned in the premiere is a catalyst for the final act of the series. I loved the episode, and can’t wait to see how the rest of the season plays out!

  6. I personally hope they make a spinoff/prequel after the show wraps about First 9

  7. I’m getting tired of “The Gemma Show featuring Sons of Anarchy”. I know Katey Sagal is Kurt Sutter’s wife but jeesh, enough already!

    I’m still not sure why Tara’s hair is chopped off. Did I miss something when I stepped away from the TV?

    • Um, she got it chopped off between the season 5 finale and the season 6 premiere?

  8. Never really got into this show, don’t believe its transcendent like Breaking Bad, but im sure there’s an audience for this show.

  9. So……..If the Sons stop running guns then the bike clubs only income will be pumping then? They won’t move dope so what’s left?

    • Pimping. Damn big fingers….

  10. Strange how the haters still feel the insecure need to read the “SOA Season 6 premiere review” page, then comment about how awful they think the whole show is…

    Great episode to hopefully another well written season, the school shooting will hit close to home for some of the audience as well!

  11. The new Premiere sucked. Otto raped, Jax sleeping with a whore, all dark no light and no fun. Bikers do actually have some fun sometimes, but you wouldn’t think so. No runs no parties no break for Jax and Tara just doom and gloom. I can get that including school shootings on the news.
    I have had about as much darkness as I can or will put up with and if it stays this way I’m bailing. I own the first 4 seasons but don’t plan to buy any more if this is what we get

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