Kurt Sutter did it again. Sons of Anarchy S02 was excellent. There was plenty of action, drama, and plot twists. I thought all the characters were well drawn and compelling.
Several interesting themes ran across the season. The gang rape of Gemma served as a catalyst for a heap of catastrophes for the sons. The fact that she didn’t say anything until E10 left everyone in the dark and yet the tensions between Jax and Clay were directly related to this event. It was a great example of how a traumatic event in a group, even when left unspoken, can have wide-ranging effects. I have a friend whose family is from a small village in the center of France. During WWII, as the Germans fled following the fall of the Reich, they performed a mass execution of the entire village in a church. One of his great-aunts was visiting someone in a nearby village and was miraculously spared the heinous act. Almost 60 years later, my friend rolled his car on the freeway and nearly died on the exact anniversary of this event. And yet, he was still relatively young and wasn’t yet aware of the trauma that his ancestors lived through – he learned about it some years later. It turns out that there is a shockingly high number of suicides from residents of this town even three generations later all happening on the anniversary of the massacre. The power of collective memory is impressively powerful. In Sons, the entire group is under tension throughout the season due to pressure from LOAN but also from the aftermath of Donna’s murder (the true killer only known to four of them) and the gang rape of Gemma (of which none of the gang members are aware). Things nearly spin out of control with the prison brawl between Jax and Clay. The scene in which Gemma comes clean with Clay, Tara, and Jax was powerful television and yet avoided becoming to melodramatic. This coming out served as a great catalyst for healing and even provoked Tig to admit to Opie that it was he who killed Donna. All in all, it was a fascinating way to show the devasting effect that collective memory can have and the importance of clear and open communication in the healing process.
The issues between Jax and Clay were also father-son issues. As in Hamlet, the Ghost of John speaks to him (and later Tara and Opie as well) through his book about the Club and drives a wedge between the two men. There is also a power struggle as the stepson tries to get in position to take Clay’s crown perhaps before he retires. The confession of Gemma was sparked by Jax’s decision in extremis to go Nomad in order to get away from Clay. Things are healed as I just mentioned following Gemma’s relating of her trauma but there is still a struggle to come I think. The other father-son relationships include that between Piney and Opie wherein Piney goes as far as attempting to kill Clay to protect Opie following Tig’s revelations. When Cameron hears Stahl’s lie about Gemma having killed Edmond, he flies into a rage and kidnaps Abel – Jax’s son. The scene where he takes Abel in his arms while morning the death of Edmond was well acted and moving. The relationship between Westin and his sons was not delved into but also curious. He did leave loaded weapons with two young kids in a house and he raised his sons as little Nazis and yet he was sincerely crushed when he lost them to the system. Lastly, there is the weird father-daughter relationship between Zobell and Polly – particularly in one scene where he kisses her on the mouth – maybe it’s a Hungarian thing or something. His seeming nonchalance at her death as he flees back to Budapest was particularly disturbing.
Now having heaped all that praise on the show, there were a few things that didn’t sit right with me. I thought that it was a bit of a stretch to have Tara and Abel returning with the Prospect to Jax’s house with the supplies fully knowing that they were under lockdown due to the impending gang war. This was necessary for Cameron to perform the kidnapping but perhaps a little unrealistic. Also, when Zorbell is all alone in the store, couldn’t they have just taken a shot at him before they zoomed off to help Tara? I thought Weston had two boys and yet he only takes one out of the detention center? And who goes off to get a new tattoo when he knows the Sons are out to kill him? When Cameron escapes on his boat, are none of the Sons good enough criminals to steal and hot-wire a boat so that they could pursue him? Also, Gemma had three rapists, wouldn’t they have exacted vengeance from all three? OK, I am nitpicking, but still…
So, done writing for tonight and on to Season 3! Let’s save Abel! With a little luck, I’ll finish S04 before S05 starts in February.