SAMCRO is a criminal organization, but more importantly, a tribal organization. Each of the members is covered in tattoos, and leaving the MC entails having them blacked out – as Reggie SAMTAZ had done which we learn mid-season – or having them burned off – as the unfortunate Kyle Hobart had done to him by Clay&Co in Season 1 (or was it Season 2). Similarly, the patches are earned by blood. From what I can see, there are about 6 different ones: President, Vice President, Sgt of Arms, Secretary, Men of Mayhem (for the crew), and Prospect. Oh, there is one all important one more: First 9. We learn and see in S04 that Clay has killed 3 out of the First 9: Teller, Piney, and McGee. Quite a trail of blood. And that doesn’t count Lowell, the hit of Tara, and the beating of Gemma. It is a cruel twist that Jax’s hand is held by the CIA from killing him in E14, but I suppose that will be part of the suspense in S05. The patches and tattoos just reminded me once again of the tribal aspect of the Sons – this is also underlined by their alliance with the Wahewa tribe and the use of both their bullets and their land for dealing and crime.
The other undercurrent in S04 is truth and the death of innocence. The letters that were sent back with Jax set off a firestorm of backlash all during the season and are ultimately the cause of Clay’s downfall. Also, they get Piney killed and nearly Tara as well (unless we believe the CIA that they were only going to question and detain her). Gemma almost comes clean with Jax but, she can’t really help it, she holds back hers and Unser’s involvement in John Teller’s death. Opie learns the truth about Piney and nearly kills Clay. Opie, of course, lost his innocence when he went away for five years and again when Donna was killed. The more devastating death of innocence in S04 is naturally when Jax learns about the “real” Clay. We see that something goes stone cold inside Jax. We fear that he will become a bit like his father – the question is, which one? Will he follow Clay’s lead with the gun-running since he is against the wall with the CIA and the Feds? Or will he try to go the way of his father and distance himself from the dangerous cat and mouse game? More suspense coming in S05.
And along those same lines, Kurt has also left the door open to a broader drug war due to the running over of the sister of the big Oakland drug dealer by Tig. I also think we are not quite done with the cartel business.
As for acting quality, Dany Trejo was excellent as Romeo turned CIA operative. All the main cast played well other than Opie at times who seemed a bit wooden – particularly at the end of the season. Another open question for S05 is whether he is coming back. The touch of the sex toys by Lincoln Potter at the end was cute if a little bit predictable. And, I suppose FX network wouldn’t be satisfied with a pseudo war scene like in E12.
Overall, it was good television. Not really better than S03 or S01 but still strong. Kurt himself does a fantastic Otto – the touch of asking to move up his sentencing was great. I didn’t quite understand why he got Lenny visitation rights – I suppose it was his way of warning the other guys once Bobby had been put away.
I guess all that is left to say is that I am looking forward to where they go with the story in S05.