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Sons of Anarchy Season Three Premiere Review: "So"

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It's easy to refer to myself as a television critic when I review shows that I don't enjoy all that much (see: my weekly Hung reviews), but if I'm going to be reviewing Sons of Anarchy for the next 12 weeks, the correct term would be TV applauder. 

Hey, if Sons of Anarchy wasn't my favorite drama on television before this week's season three premiere, it certainly staked that claim with "So." A truly fantastic hour of TV concluded by yet another shocking event in the 27 episode history of the series.

Son of Anarchy

Sons of Anarchy has always been focused on the inner turmoil of its characters (think Tig dealing with Donna's death or Gemma and her rape), but it was never more evident than this week's episode.  Between Clay having to worry about how to deal with finding Abel and keeping Gemma safe, Gemma needing to stay hidden but wanting to get home to Charming after finding out about Abel, and even Hale worrying about becoming the new chief of police even though he has done some shady things for SAMCRO, everyone is trying to figure out what is best for their own current situation.

The two that had me on the edge of my seat though, were lovely couple of Tara Knowles and Jax Teller.  Jax is obvious.  He's the lead character of the series and he's been dealing with problems from every direction in almost every single episode.  Tara, on the other hand, is more of a minor character that really came into her own last season and continued her run of compelling story lines this week.

Maggie Siff is so good in this role. At the beginning of the series, she was a girl that wanted nothing to do with the SAMCRO lifestyle.  She got sucked in by that Teller charm and now loves the Sons like a family.  It was so great watching Tara ask Clay for help about talking to the ATF.  She wants to do the right thing by her new "family" but doesn't want to give up on doing the right thing like she has always done in the past.

Boom! Jax tells her that she should get out of Charming because he doesn't want her caught up in this life.  What a bomb to drop on the girl.  Now she has people from every side pulling her in different directions.  It's crazy that she can still do her job with all of this going on.  Oh wait, she can't.  Us witnessing Tara fail in the operating room just goes to show that she is going through some serious shit right now.

"I don't need a boy to handle my shit. You stay away form my family," she tells Agent Stahl.

Well maybe you do Tara. Not in the fashion Stahl was referring to.  But you say it yourself that you need Jax.  Tara claims it's because being with that person makes you a better human being.  Well if beating people up, lying to the feds and not being able to do your job is a better human being, then she's right.

Jackson Teller, meanwhile, is going through some major Don Draper-esque depression at the beginning of this episode.  Unlike the Mad Man, Jax gets out of his mopey act quickly and gets back in the game.  Sure he is dealing with things, but he's still out doing his job in the process.  The dude has to figure out how to get his baby back, whether to get rid of his girlfriend, and all the while be the future leader that this club needs him to be.

Charlie Hunnam does depressed but hard so well.  As Jax went from shooting up the boat to sadly sitting by his father's grave, it was oh so reminiscent of season one when he was drinking himself into a stupor but managed to crash Donna's funeral and make out with Tara in front of every body. 

One of the things I love about SoA is that they aren't afraid to have characters say what they're actually feeling.  Case and point was Jax explaining to Piney what has him all turned around.  By getting his true feelings out there, it leaves more room for action.  And boy did we get some action.

This was a fantastic episode up to the point of Half-Sack's wake.  I was ready to call this a great start to the season, and then the final scene happened.  I was holding my breath, yet nervously laughing at the same time while the drive by took out a number of people outside the church.  Just another epic moment captured perfectly by this series.

Where can they go from here?  Can the season get much better than this?  Can it sustain this level excitement for a third straight season?  Will the inevitable trip to Ireland put a damper on the season? 

Other Thoughts:

  • The way Sons uses music to create a moment could be the best on television.  This week it was extremely evident in the opening sequence.
  • Loved the shot of the late, great John Teller on the wall at the Club.  The man. The myth. The legend.
  • What up Roger Workman!  If you're not a Lost fan, that will make no sense to you.
  • Is Hale dead?  He looked it from my angle.

Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
  • 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 (62 Votes)

Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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@ last a show that is NOT AFRAID to keep you on the edge. i used to watch tnt because saving grace pushed the envelope, not anymore since they cancelled it, now fx is my fix. get real tv, these so caleed "reallity" shows BITE .

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Many people are wondering who was behind the drive-by, myself included. Mayans? Zoebelle's arian clan? the Irish? all are possibilities, but personally i believe who was behind it was Hale's brother. First off why was he even there. He said to Hale that people should see the SONS for the scumbags that they truly are. It might just be me....but when he ran over to Hale's body - he did not have the reaction of shocked grief to me...to me it seemed like an "oh shit, I fucked up" kind of reaction. He is running for mayor against Oswald the sons back oswald and if the people associate the SONS as "scumbags" who bring violence into Charming then there support for Oswald will not mean as much. However in the process he "probably" (hope not) killed his best supporter, his brother Hale. As for who Hale's brother hired to do the shooting.... that is anyone's guess.

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GREAT 1ST EPISODE FOR THE 3RD SEASON OF THE BEST SHOW ON T.V. LOTS OF THINGS GOING ON IN THIS 1ST EPISODE. WHERE DO I BEGIN? WELL FIRST, I DID CATCH THE FACT THAT GEMMA HAD LEARNED OF HER MOTHERS DEATH, BEING THAT ABEL IS NOT DEAD AND YOU COULD CLEARLY SEE THE OBIT PAGE IN HER HAND. SECOND, I WAS CURIOUS AS TO IF AND HOW HALF SACKS DEATH WOULD SURFACE INTO THIS 3RD SEASON. WE LEARNED THAT THE GUY FROM THE TACOMA CHARTER THAT TIG FOR SOME REASON DOES NOT CARE FOR, WAS ORIGINALLY A MEMBER OF THE REDWOOD (CHARMING) CHARTER, AND IS ASKING FOR TRANSFER BACK...SHOULD BE INTERESTING. NOW, THE DRIV BY...HALE RAN OVER, CHUCKIE SHOT, LYLA'S SON SHOT AND KILLED...WOW. AND LASTLY WHO THE HELL DID IT??? ZOBELE? RETALIEATION FOR WESTON???GEORGY??? ANY IDEAS? GONNA BE A GOOOOOOD SEASON!!!!

Danforcella

soafan, You are correct. Some of us (me) were so wrapped up in the idea of her finding out about Abel, that we (I) didn't even realize how simple it was that the article was actually her mother's obit.

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Now wait, I don't know if I'm wrong here, but I was pretty sure that the writers led you to believe Gemma found out about Abel, when the truth was that she saw her mother's obituary. That is why she fled to see her dad and asked about "Rose", which we are to assume is her mother. She still has no idea about Abel.

Danforcella

Thanks for the edits Dave.

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TV critic? It's the internet. You spelled the baby's name "Able" and said Jax drank himself into a "stooper."

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@Mike "We assume is Jax's brother." Uhh, ya think!? We KNOW its his brother, they explain it in the very 1st episode! You even watch this show??

Danforcella

Nice catch Steve! Dumb move on my part. When Gemma does find out about Abel, how crazy are things going to get for her?!? eak and Mike,
agree about the John and Thomas Teller stuff. It will get really interesting when that history comes to the forefront for some of these characters. Especially if it sparks up Jax's frustration with Clay.

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Agreed... the only thing I hate about this show is having to wait until the next week!! Another interesting point was the reintroduction of Thomas Teller's death, which we assume is Jax's brother... and where it drove his father. It was mentioned in a previous season casually as "Thomas's death", but I have a feeling its somethign they're going to come back to.