I don’t watch a lot of television. Frankly, I need to devote what precious time I have after work for cultural consumption to whatever books, video games and films I can get my hands on. Sons of Anarchy has, however, proved a worthy exception. What a show this has been. Really great storylines have been crafted around characters that are for the most part utterly irredeemable. The show seems to particularly relish building up some form of sympathy for a character, some sign of decency that we can hold on to, just so that it can remind us that all of the characters in this show are real, concrete, and products of this community defined by violence and crime. You know. They’re jerks.
It’s been a lot of fun. I’ve been totally fine with a bunch of weaknesses in the overall show. The whole Irish storyline has been a bit all over the place. Admittedly, it’s a bit difficult to get too upset with the decision to completely over-estimate the role of the Real IRA in present day Northern Irish politics (or even criminal politics) and international gun running, when it’s a fantastic example of pretty impressive creative license. No, my main issue with the Irish storylines is the puzzling decision to have actual, genuine Irish actors on the show with good accents, and then very important and central characters played by actors who couldn’t do an Irish accent to save their lives. I still don’t know what Jimmy O was talking about half the time, and I grew up about ten minutes’ drive from his character’s main turf.
I’ve even put up with the whole Tara thing. Really, they could have just killed Tara off a long time ago. I mean, does anybody REALLY care about Tara? Wouldn’t we all prefer to just see Jax off doing his biker thing without having to stop once a show and either express adolescent declarations of love or cry? Sons of Anarchy is at its best when the guys are doing insane things. Also, Tig should probably be the main character. In fact, Kim Coates should share top billing with Ron Perlman. Perlman is the reason I came to the show in the first place. If it were up to me, I would have had Jax and Tara killed off in some kind of huge explosion, leaving Tig and Clay to travel the back roads of California, solving mysteries and beating the crap out of bad guys. Like an incredibly violent hybrid of the A-Team and Scooby Doo, with bikers. And Ron Perlman and Kim Coates.
Look at this picture: Ron Perlman is awesome. Thanks to him, and a great cast in general, I’ve watched the SAMCRO boys run around with automatic rifles, set off massive explosions, travel to Ireland and somehow settle a major dispute within a (supposedly) well established terrorist organization and generally be bad ass in as many different ways as the writers could imagine. It’s been great. Over the last couple of weeks though, things have gone too far.
I believe Clay is a dirt bag. I do. I also understand that he’s motivated by fear, that he doesn’t want to lose his club, and that greed is a lot closer to the motives for these guys than any of them will admit. However, his recent turn to villainy has been way, way too direct and doesn’t make a ton of sense. Perlman is doing the best that he can, but I can’t help but feel that the writers are trying too hard to finally work in this whole “Hamlet” thing they’ve been going on about for the last four years. I really feel like we’d all moved on. Meanwhile, rather than just kill Tara, thus answering my prayers (relax everyone, this is fiction), the writers have crippled her thereby giving the character the opportunity to grandstand and cry and generally be annoying. Yes, I get that she is messed up in the head right now, but bashing her own hand to pieces in a fit of rage was ridiculous. I understand the concept of being self-destructive. I was 16 once as well. It’s why I like the show. This is getting out of control.
I don’t know. It’s infuriating. Things are hopefully taking a turn for the better. Opie’s transition into the Angel of Death could be pretty good. There’s always hope for Jax. Lord knows the writers haven’t been shy about making radical U-turns with his character before. At the end of the day though, that bloody diary is going to persist as a plot device. I liked it in the first season because it gave me a reason to root for Jax, before I realized that this show either doesn’t want you to root for anyone, or wants you to root for everyone and feel guilty about it. I also like that Kurt Sutter continues to give himself one of the best characters in the entire show, but keeps his involvement tasteful. That face-off with Lincoln Potter was pretty sweet. I have to respect a guy who writes himself a bad-ass part like that but keeps it low-key and doesn’t let it derail the rest of the show.
So, will I keep watching? Yeah, of course I will. I watched the entire run of the Sarah Connor Chronicles for God’s sake. Maybe we’ll get a spin-off. Tig gets arrested and put away, but he’s let out on condition that he help the police solve crimes. In San Francisco. With a shabby overcoat. Kim Coates is the next Columbo, is what I’m saying.