When I was a kid, one of the things I wanted to be when I grew up was a motorcycle club member. I romanticized it in my head, never mind that I'm scared shitless of motorbikes, I dreamed about the leather jackets, helmet donned over my pretend waist length black hair, bad boys with 6 packs, me zooming down the road on my badass motorcycle (I know nothing about bikes, but that didn't hinder me). Then I grew up and realized there were 2 types of Motorcycle Clubs; the actual outlaws that consist of mostly fat white trash or the wanabes with well paying day jobs who drive around together on the weekend and hang out at Starbucks. I was crushed. Not as much as when I found out that Pirated where actually dangerous somalis that you don't want to fuck with and not replicas of Johny Dep in Pirates of the Caribbean, but my little heart broke a little none the less.
Sons of Anarchy has given me the chance to retreat back into my fairytale world where crime is cool and bikers are the shit. The show is set in a town called Charming.. lol.. ruled by the outlaw club SAMCRO (Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original). Let the badassery begin!
Charlie Hunnam as Jax Teller
The main protagonist, Jax is the Vice President of the club, second to his stepfather who took over the club after Jax's father died. Jax is the show's best and worst character. Why? Because he's unreal. Surrounded by scumbags, Jax is the NICEST guy on the show. No, you don't get it. His junkie wife OD's when pregnant with their child and almost kills their baby and he visits her everyday and tells her everything is going to be ok... say whhaatt? Combine that with the fact that EVERYONE else in the show is a complete piece of shit and you know something isn't right. This character was created to be loved by the audience. The writer wants you to side with him, feel for him and like him. They might be trying a bit too hard though because sometimes his niceness just doesn't make sense. That being said, I totally fell for that trap. I'm on team Jax and he propels this show's success IMO, at least in this season.
Ron Perlman as Clay Morrow
Jax's stepfather and SAMCRO's (the club) President. He's got a sledgehammer for a face, no wonder he played the Beast on Beauty and the Beast (TV show). Anyway, once you get past the face and some of his piece of shit moves, you realize that this is a true leader and true leaders sometimes have to make tough decisions. I respect, even if I do not agree, with Clay's character. He's a guy that's trying to protect his club and his people in anyway he knows how and sometimes he just fuck ups but he has to move on for the rest of the club.
Kim Coates as Tig Trager
I HATE this guy. Biggest asshole out of the whole lot. I guess Coates does a good job with this character cause he incites in me such murderous notions. Wow, what a dickhead. This is your typical brawn over brains character. Thinks the solution to everything is murder and violence. He's the cause of 50% of the trouble within the club since he's such a fire fueler and all he does is spread his venomous and paranoid thoughts on to Clay. Hate this guy!
The rest of the club is divided into the oldies who usually take Clay's and Tig's side and the young ones who seem to share some of Jax's milder, less murderous personality. While they contribute massively to the plot, they don't really matter that much as the show is more about Jax and how the MC affects him rather than vice versa.
Katey Segal as Gemma Teller Morrow
Katey Segal, better known for her role as Peggy in Married with Children. It's not a massive change. As Peggy she's a manipulative harmless bitch in a sitcom and as Gemma she's a manipulative harmful bitch in a drama. Gemma's Jax's mother and her sole purpose is to keep him from straying from the club. I'm not sure if this is for his or her sake. She's not a very pleasant character in all cases. Katey's a good choice for this character as she just generally has a bitch face and pulls off badassery to a T.
Maggie Siff as Tara Knowles
What a whore. Jax's ex-girlfriend who ran off alone to Chicago 10 years ago after failing to convince Jax to come away with her. She shows up out of the blue, now a doctor, claiming that she just got a good job in Charming. Liar. She came back cause she was running away from someone and knew Jax would protect her. User. And of course, as Jax is set up to be the Martyr who's good to everyone, he helps her. I don't like her! She also has a constant furrowed brow look that I want to punch off her face.
There are a bunch of other characters like Jax's wife, the corrupt police officers, the good police officers and the ATF agents but I don't care about them.
The way I see it, there are 2 main parallel plots. The first is Jax's inner struggle with the club. There's not much backstory on that, which sucks. All we know is: Jax's baby was born in the pilot and he found a manuscript his dad wrote about his dreams for a lawful Motorcycle club. After that, Jax clashes with Clay about a number of things and tries to deal with stuff in the most peaceful manner. The other clubbers throw comments about him changing after his baby was born. So was Jax a heartless bastard before the Pilot?! Cause from his actions, I get the impression that he's always been a sweetheart. So a bit confused there, but meh, will forgo this. The second plot is the romance soap opera drama cliche. Whyyyyy, why do they have to do this to perfectly good shows?!?! Introduce stupid love triangles and romantic conspiracy theories. It was enough that they had Tara show up and stressed Jax's feelings towards her but why the convoluted plots involving his soon to be x-wife?! This isn't a soap opera, it's a gangster show god damn it! The first plot line is worth putting up with the lame shit though, so we're all good.
The Good Stuff
- Insane Soundtrack. This might look like an insignificant thing, but putting on the right song to accompany a scene just makes it a 100 times more effective. Love the soundtrack
- Well cast main character. Katey Sagal and Ryan Hurst got Golden Globes in 2011 on their performances. I did not see an award winning acting yet though, so maybe it's upcoming.
- I'm such a sucker for Bad Boy/Good Girl romances. So while I think Tara needs to crawl into a hole and die, I still enjoy the interactions particularly when Jax says things like this:
"You wanna know how many women I slept with over the past 10 years? Hundreds, maybe more, I don't know. I barely see their faces. I married Wendy cause I was lonely. Because I got tired of the endless disconnect. It was just a sad time out. Because when I'm inside someone there's only one face I see. When you came home it was like some kind of sign to me, like my past coming around giving me another shot to do this different, better. Now that chance is running back to Chicago."
It may not sound as romantic in writing, but TRUST ME, you had to be there to truly appreciate it!!!
The Not So Good Stuff
- As I mentioned above, it's mostly all about Jax. I mean I don't mind watching Jax but I like shows/literature that can build on more than one character at once. Other characters start to seem flat and single minded when you put all your efforts into one person. Especially for a show that's supposed to center around a club containing many people. Don't get me wrong, there's character development all round but it could have been more refined.
- Gemma's mystical powers. This is a handle that the writers rely on way too much. An extremely "observant character" ferreting out stuff to help move the plot along. It's good if used properly but they pushed it with Gemma.
Example 1: Gemma looks in Tara's bag and finds a gun. She then sees Tara at the fair looking distressed. With her laser vision, she figures out EXACTLY who Tara is looking at in the split second before Tara turns away and instantly suspects that this is someone Tara wants to protect herself from. Hence, the gun.
- The Mayans. A rival MC comprised of horrible actors. So much cringe. There are tons of Mexicans in Cali, I'm sure they could have found hundreds of better actors then the robots they cast.
This was a good first season. Started very slow, but by the last couple of episodes, I was hooked. I found myself pulling out my laptop at 3 am in the morning after coming back from a late night out to finish watching an episode. Now that is dedication! I guess I will be watching the second season, even after I ruined the whole show for myself by accidentally finding out what happens in the end.. Spacktard, I know :(.