With my Leave of Absence from work earlier this year, I began devouring TV shows and movies on Netflix by the pound, powering through series upon series until I was all caught up with each individual selection. I originally did this when the 5th and final season of Breaking Bad was about to premiere, and sitting through all four seasons on Netflix was like a religious experience for me at the time , and made me realize what I was missing out on. I soon realized binge watching doesn’t always turn out to be so enlightening, but as a completest I always feel the need to finish what I’ve started.
Before I picked up my own subscription to Netflix earlier this year my friend Ashley let me borrow her login information, and within a short amount of time I had plowed through the first five seasons of Kurt Sutter’s Sons of Anarchy. Watching SOA was a bit different than Breaking Bad however. It was a huge favorite of Ruy’s (I was still living with him at the time), so I ended up catching various fifth season episodes out of context while he was still living with me. When the sixth season premiered last fall I caught a random episode here and there (especially when Tuesday’s exclusively became SOA night for FX with their extra special, super-sized extended editions for each episode) until I saw the final three episodes including the finale in “real time”. Knowing where things would end heading into their final season, I was intrigued to see what came before. Now all caught up, I figured watching it at the same pace as the rest of the American viewing public would challenge me and my thoughts on the series as a whole.
For what it’s worth the first three seasons were my favorite, with each season fantastically building off the previous with it’s trashy and over the top stories. Apparently not many people enjoyed SOA: Ireland but I thought it was very bold and a welcome change of pace to the first two years. Season four was uneven, but had some amazing Clay moments that truly turned him into the “Big Frigging Bad” he was always meant to be. Sad he eventually went down the way he did. And sad is how I would generally describe the last two seasons. Jimmy Smits has been a tremendous addition to the show, Robocop has seemingly done jack and shit since arriving on scene, and the impending GANG WARZ bores me to no end. But, moving on…
Sons of Anarchy Season 7: Episode 1- “Black Widower”
- I think the hard truth for me with this series is that season one clearly established two incredible storylines with huge, huge potential, that being Tara/Gemma and Jax/Clay. The dynamics, Shakespearean theatrics, and soapy twists and turns could have propelled this series to incredible highs (then again, what do I know since the season seven premiere debuted to HUGE numbers), but in my estimation they dropped the ball very early on. And with season six leaving both Clay and Tara dead, the final inevitable confrontation between Gemma and Jax just seems academic rather than explosive. Unless there’s some late, third act twist where Gemma reveals that Clay is Jax’s biological father and hid it from both Clay, John Teller, and Jax it all kind of falls pretty flat. The power in the early scenes of Jax reading his father’s words no longer holds any water, and that’s too bad.
- I feel like Juice should have died back in season four, so to see him still playing a role in things (and from the looks of season seven’s preview also ratting out the club) screams of them not knowing when to close out one storyline for another.
- Wendy. Meh… I don’t know if I was ever on “Team Tara” more than I was during the first and second season, but the loss of Maggie Siff on this show is huge. Katey Segal may be the lead female, but Siff killed it (pun not intend… eh fuck it. Intended all the way) in a very thankless role.
- Will any of the other club members (Bobby, Tig, Chibs, Rat Guy, Happy) get to be anything more this year than cannon fodder for the eventual war with Jimmy Smits and the Smits Boyz? Probably not, which is a shame because they also do a lot of great character work without any story to tell.
- Speaking of Jimmy Smits, I kind of want him to win this whole gang war. He’s the most altruistic and honest person on this show, which means he will soon be dying a horrible death at the hands of grief-stricken, inconsolable Jax.
- Man do I not care to see angry Jax all year, but that’s what we’re going to see whether I, hoarding binge watcher give a shit or not. Losing Opie (stupidly in the middle of S5) and now Tara, he has no center. He’s going “dark”, and while that’s all well and good Jax’s whole arc from the beginning was that of a redemption arc and avenging his father’s wrongs. Again, the only way this current direction works is if Jax is Clay’s real son, becoming a monster just like his Ol’ Man.
Till next week…