Let’s chat about the Sons of Anarchy season 5 premiere, shall we? Those who haven’t watched the episode yet should probably stop reading and come play in the sandbox later on.
Some of my observations: we already know from the opening montage that there’s going to be a lot going on in the 90-minute season opener. Jax has acquired the gavel and now seems to, partly anyway, be following right in his father’s footsteps. Beautiful wife, two sons and keeping a journal for his sons to read some day. Of course, the club was much more manageable back in the John Teller days.
As for SAMCRO, we notice some new faces: newly patched in members, Filthy Phil finally made the cut, we also have some new blood welcomed in. Nomad “Frankie Diamonds”, Chuck Zito, “Gogo”, played by Chris Browning (who you’ll recognize if you’ve seen some of the bigger westerns in the past 10-ish years) and “Greg the Peg” played by Kurt Yaeger, and yeah, that is a real life prosthetic leg as a result of a motorcycle accident. (oh, and if you’re on Twitter you should really follow Kurt (@kurtyaeger). He’s a genuine NICE guy!)
Then there is the disgraced former SAMCRO prez, Clay. Only a few weeks have passed since the season 4 finale, so he’s still on the mend and Gemma wants nothing to do with him. A broken man, with an oxygen tank, he’s essentially the new Piney, but much more devious. Props to Ron Perlman’s physical acting for taking Clay to this new place. I couldn’t tell if he actually lost weight or if the clothes he was wearing helped make him appear so withered. While Clay’s body may be broken, his mind is still tack sharp. It’ll be interesting to see how he tries to undermine Jax’s authority all season. He’s already off to a great start with the lies he told his brother’s about Piney’s murder and how he killed him in self-defense.
Speaking of Gemma, that was a hell of a way for all of us to be introduced to her new man, huh? Enter Jimmy Smits as Nero Padilla, former gang-banger, current ‘companionator’. I’m not normally a Smits fan, but I admit I’m already liking his character. I sort of love the dynamic that Nero and Gemma have going on. And he won me over with the line “I like a little patina on my precious metal” when she asked why he hooked up with her.
And let’s talk about Damon Pope (Walter Perrineau, who you’ll recognize from Oz, Romeo + Juliet and Lost), the newest and quite possibly baddest gangster we’ve met on SOA thus far. He’s a slick Oakland gangster with expensive suits, fancy cars and a big time vendetta against Tig, who accidentally murdered his daughter in some misplaced vengeance. And while he’s at it, he figured he might as well take out the Sons while he’s at it.
Ok so here is probably where I should also talk about the Niners going off the cuff. They hit the SAMCRO chaperoned box truck in the beginning of the episode and Sheriff Roosevelt informed the club that some home invasions of SAMCRO associates have been happening, presumably at the hands of LeRoy and the Niners.
Back to Damon Pope’s vendetta: this guy is smart and calm, which makes him pretty dangerous. In subsequent scenes it’s revealed that he’s dispatched LeRoy in a grisly fashion for ignoring direct orders to lay low. His sights are on Tig and instituting some Hammurabi’s code, with an added kick. Tig is lured out to an abandoned train yard and chained up like a dog. Pope has Tig’s daughter, Dawn (or Margeaux- with an “x”), unconscious in a gruesome hole in the ground. He has his lackey pour gasoline on her (where she of course wakes up) and proceeds to set her on fire. (This is the point where my Twitter feed went bonkers at people’s reactions to how effed up this scene was.) And for me, of course, hearing her scream “Daddy!” right before they cut to commercial was completely heart-wrenching. Kim Coates better send Kurt Sutter a nice fruit basket for giving him the opportunity to show off his acting chops. (TVLine interviewed Coates about preparing for this story line.)
But Pope didn’t stop there, as I mentioned he’s looking to castrate SAMCRO. He hires “witnesses” to pin two murders on Jax, Chibs and Tig so when they go to jail “black” can get rid of them and no one would barely think twice about it. And then he bought some kids some ice cream.
And then there’s Jax and the shit show he’s inherited with the gavel. His (almost wife) takes a bath with a gun by her side. The cartel still wants him to move their product (and the CIA is still leaning on him), the Irish are uneasy and only want to deal with Clay (oh riiiiiight. This is why Clay is still alive), Clay’s manipulations are starting to form, Opie is pissed at him and stepping away from the club and now Pope’s false witnesses have turned him into a fugitive.
Last but not least, the end scene where we see Unser in Gemma’s house, the door is busted open and him being beat down by a bunch of guys. Of course we’re let in on who those guys are when we see the bit of prostethic leg poking out from under the pant leg. And we’re left wondering why are the new members of SAMCRO are terrorizing the club’s associates?
Next week’s episode: Authority Vested
Jax and SAMCRO are challenged as past sins resurface.
Check out my extensive Sons of Anarchy coverage.
Rippin-Kitten visits the set of “Sons of Anarchy” (prior to the airing of season 3)
Sons of Anarchy: episode 4.01 “Out”
Sons of Anarchy: episode 4.02 “Booster”
Sons of Anarchy: episode 4.03 “Dorylus”
Sons of Anarchy: episode 4.04 “Una Venta”
Sons of Anarchy: episode 4.05 “Brick”
Sons of Anarchy: episode 4.06 “With an X”
Sons of Anarchy: episode 4.07 “Fruit for the Crows”
Sons of Anarchy: episode 4.08 “Family Recipe”
Sons of Anarchy: episode 4.09 “Kiss”
Sons of Anarchy: episode 4.10 “Hands”
Sons of Anarchy: episode 4.11 “Call of Duty”
Sons of Anarchy: episode 4.12 “Burnt and Purged Away”