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Spoilers of Anarchy abound if you haven’t seen tonight’s episode.
Tonight, FX’s Sons of Anarchy returned for its sixth season, and while it began with the whimper of a recently defiled Otto, it ended with a bang of a mass murder. Well, it actually began with Jax’s narration and ended with a music montage, as this show is known to do, but that isn’t very dramatic. And besides those two points, this episode had just about everything else fans have come to expect. Gemma busts a whore’s nose, the Sons busted up a faction of torture porn filmmakers, and there was quite a bit of nudity being flashed around. But it was of course the school shooting which resonated longer than anything else, and it is somehow the one crime that has happened in this series that could find the club in the deepest, darkest waters yet. It also threatened to take the show from “dramatically violent” to “completely gratuitous,” but it’s kind of been that way since day one.
Written by creator Kurt Sutter, “Straw” was an exercise in foreshadowing. From the earliest moments, we see the unfamiliar blonde boy (Tate Berney) blend into a shot of Jax, perhaps letting us know from the beginning that this kid was bad news. He kisses his mother goodbye for the day without waking her, and also doesn’t speak to his possible father, played by Dave Navarro. (I’m not sure why they changed Navarro’s character name from Primo to Arcadio.) We see the boy several times in the episode, never quite knowing what he’s up to. Jax’s sons and Nero’s son both have their moments, the latter receiving a water gun as a gift from Gemma, and we see how happy these children all are, even though their fathers are ruthless criminals. But not all children get to be so happy.
When the blond boy sets up on the bench outside of his private school (assumedly Catholic), we know something is up. For one, it’s the middle of the day and he’s just getting to school. Two, he takes his jacket off and rolls his sleeves up, displaying a left arm full of scars, probably self-inflicted, since we see he’s right-handed when he writes in his notebook full of disturbing imagery and religious text used in a pathological manner. And then he pulls out the KG-9, the same automatic weapon that the Sons gave an old shipment of Nero’s crew last season. We don’t even need to get into what follows, save for the fact that I’m so grateful that they decided to pull back the reins and didn’t graphically get into the shooting itself, merely alluding to it from outside the building with the sound of gunshots and screams. Yes, it was just as tragic and disgusting, but for a show that never skimps on the bloodshed, it was a nice and unexpected touch. Having heard about the shooting before the episode, my gut was twisted the entire episode waiting for it.
And so, SAMCRO’s effect on outsiders has always been detrimental, this is the first time the death of a group of children can be tied back to them. Even though they weren’t directly responsible, the ramifications will still affect them, but it remains to be seen how hard. I’m not sure if this is Sutter’s snide view of America’s debate on gun control, given the elementary school setting, but it didn’t really feel that way. It definitely felt like a recent tragedy was being used for dramatic effect, but I don’t think there was too much of a one-sided political agenda behind it. That said, the politics in Charming are almost sure to change from this moment on, and the cops are going to be breathing down Arcadio and Nero’s necks to find out where that weapon came from. And I’m going to be glued to my TV the entire time.
Stuff That Fell Off the Back of the Bike
Chekhov’s bathtub is a dramatic principle that states, “If in the first act you have set a bathtub full of piss and vinegar, then in the following one it should be used to drown someone.” This may have been my favorite death in the series, as it was both truly deserved, and it was pretty damned creative. Having Tig enter a brief psychotic break while singing “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” was a great touch as well.
“Zero Dark Shithead” is one of the show’s less refined racial slurs, but I laughed. And fuck those guys for running that porn “studio” anyway.
Let’s hope Sons utilizes Peter Weller, who has directed multiple episodes of the series, in a better way than Dexter, the last series he was a regular on. The more Robocop references, the better.
Is it just me, or does it seem like Jax’s memoir that he’s writing for his own sons is going to be presented on a long, rambling scroll like Jack Kerouac’s On the Road? Only without any good parts.
Lee Toric is a mad man. Depressed about his sister’s death, yes, but he’s off the deep end in a whole other way. I can’t wait to see what’s waiting at the bottom.
Gemma and Nero's flirting got me all hawt. I wish somebody would pay for my lunch.
I don't think a simple ass whipping from Chibs gets Juice off for all his bad behavior, but I'm glad that he took it like a man, and that Chibs didn't go farther than he had to.
Fuck Clay, still.