Sons of Anarchy Review: Guns, Greed and Getaway Plans

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Jax Teller is absolutely right: it's good for the Sons of Anarchy to be home.

Following an uneven third season that took the club out to Ireland, and used the members in a chess game between other players in whom the audience had little invested, "Out" essentially hit the reset button.

Clay, Jax, Juice (all his hair) and others are freed from prison after 14 months. They're back in Charming, but it's a very different Charming.

Jax in Front

There's literally a new sheriff in town, Eli Roosevelt, a by-the-books lawman who has experience with gangs and understands many of the Sons' tricks.

There's a development going up, Charming Heights, led by Mayor Hale and assisted by Clay's old pal, Elliott Oswald. His Honor is seeking a much wealthier class of people to move in.

There's also a major sting being set up, led by Ray McKinnon's Lincoln Potter, an Assistant U.S. District Attorney with an impressive team on his side, many photos on the wall and the goal of bringing RICO charges against the Russians, Irish and Sons. He even has a man undercover with the former. Correction: he had a man undercover with the former.

Indeed, a premiere that would have been more than satisfactory if it had simply concluded after Opie said his (hilarious) vows - with the ground work for new enemies, both inside and out, intriguingly laid - was ratcheted up a few bloody notches when the Sons went to work creating their own version of a wonderful world.

RIP, all Russians. That will teach you to shiv Jax Teller and to take a large percentage of SAMCRO's gun money.

As Jax said earlier in the episode - during one of many heartfelt conversations, from his speech to Tara; to Clay and Gemma's concerns over his hands; to Lyla telling Opie she was staying; even to the boys joking about their wedding gifts - SAMCRO is all about money now. But not because the club is raking it in.

Quite the opposite, in fact. These men essentially living score to score, but that's not good enough for Clay when he only has one winter remaining, or for Jax if he wants to leave Charming and not be supported by his wife. They need to make a lot of money and they need to make it quickly and that's why they had to waste the Russians...

... along with an undercover ATF agent, unbeknownst to them of course, that will only intensify the spotlight on them in town.

But what did everyone make of Jax's heartfelt admission and proposal (she never actually said yes, did she?)? A focus on one's family and a re-evaluation of one's priorities is an impressive, mature step for Jax. Still, they could leave tomorrow if he simply swallowed his pride and let his wife carry the financial burden for a bit. We've all seen where stubbornness has taken Walter White. Jax said he isn't "weak" like his father, but he may wish to rethink his definition of that concept.

Is it really strong for him to remain part of a murderous club because him can't bring himself to rely on his wife and he's scared of his mother and step-father?

Otto in the Infirmary

If there was one downside to the opener, it was how familiar this all feels. Jax is sick of SAMCRO's greedy, violent ways? He no longer wants Clay to be President? There are problems with local law enforcement? Heck, even with a guy named Hale? Those were the same storylines that ran through the first two seasons.

(Granted, my chief complaint last year was how Kurt Sutter took the men away from Charming and this comfortable territory, so how much of a beef can I really have now that we've returned to it?)

Still, it's far too early to judge. If Clay orders a hit on Opie and Tig accidentally shoots Lyla, only then will we be certain the series is out of new ideas. In the meantime, it's just nice to be back in town and to imagine a season where external forces lead to internal battles, both between various SAMCRO members and within SAMCRO members themselves.

Other highlights/questions:

  • You can try to act all tough, Jax and Clay, but you're just a pair of softies in love. It was fun to watch these two joke around with their significant others, first Clay about his prison-based affection for Juice and then Jax about Tara's jugs.
  • Is Lyla pregnant again? Or was Opie simply expressing his desire to her to expand their family?
  • Go back and look at Juice's faced after he mowed down the Russians. Was there a sign of hesitation there? Of regret? The guy does have a legitimate side business now.
  • Wayne Unser is always a welcome presence, even when he's a dour, depressed presence. His relationship with Gemma helps brings out the humanity in this menacing matriarch.
  • Still... Gemma is just an old lady, Jax? Are we talking about the same Gemma here? Good luck relying on that viewpoint to free you from the club, especially now that she's on to Maureen's letters.

What did everyone else think? Are you happy that Sons of Anarchy is back to doing what it does best?


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (154 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.


Ok, so my questions/observations/take on this ep was:
1. Did it almost seem like a lover's glance Gemma and Tara gave each other right before kissing (which looked almost passionate)? That was just weird. Tara had already read the letters, and later it seems like she is scared of Gemma. And I don't think Jax is going to be too please with not only Gemma, but Tara for reading the letters and/or not telling him about it sooner.
2. The funny look that Lyla had when Opie mentioned kid's is one or both of two things: a. she knows when she gets pregnant her career is over & b. she never told Opie about the abortion. And I guess a third option is when she had the abortion there was a complication and she can't have anymore kids.
3. I think in Juice's reaction to the shooting, it looked like remorse. Maybe this is the first time he has actually saw himself kill someone (not just firing his gun in a shotout). I don't recall seeing him kill anyone in the previous seasons, but maybe I missed it. We don't really know a lot about him, I look forward to learning more.
4. Gemma, just an old lady? Seriously?


I thought Juice definitely reacted in some hesitant way, or like he was surprised about something he saw. Maybe he's under deep cover himself.


i missed the 1st esposid when could I see it or how


Lincoln Potter = JT is what im thinking back for revenge after clay tried to have him killed, they think they kill him and he doesnt die, so he makes a new life and comes back. Idk but its a thought to ponder.


I think that the Russian story line was solved too quickly

Whipped by damon

so glad SOA is back...they rule, loved the opener, things are set up for an awesome season!


Yes Jax had a brother he died very young of the same heart disease that plauges the rest of the family, thats when JT ended up in Ireland creating Jax's sister Trinity. you must have missed alot try sitting down with seasons 1-3 even if you seen them once watching them again is very entertaining... I enjoyed last nights episode,who wouldn't after waiting all winter, spring, and summer!! "Gemma is just on ol'lady" has to be the understatement of the year! maybe Jax needs to re-watch seasons 1-3 Gemma runs the entire club! she has her hands wraped around all- their balls and she takes it upon herself to steer everyone into doing things her way. Soon as she finds out about Clay and the drugs....well he'll probably end up like JT. Jax needs to MAN up & make changes to the club he can be proud of. The club is his family, you don't run out on family you do whatever it takes to make it right for everyone!!!


Loved the opener last night!!! Look forward to next week.


No doubt SOA is the best show out and i am hooked, its been a long summer!!! But i hope Jax will remember that Jemma is his Mother.
Im hoping Jax will stick with it and know who his family is...All in all the show needs to just keep on coming up!!!!!!!


Great season opener. They may be revisiting old story lines but in a way that feels fresh and exciting (so far). And I always appreciate their use of music in the show. Side Note: If I can see Lemonhead and Ronnie Gardocki on screen in a new hour of television, you can count me in EVERYTIME.

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Sons of Anarchy Season 4 Episode 1 Quotes

I promise to treat you like my leathers and ride you as much as my Harley.


I bought him fingers. Those freaky little nubs were freaking me out.

Gemma [on Chuckie]

Sons of Anarchy Season 4 Episode 1 Music

  Song Artist
Joshua james coal war Coal War Joshua James iTunes
Song Burning Your House Down The Jim Jones Review
Deadly snakes everybody seems to think youve got some kind of ho Everybody Seems to Think (You've Got Some Kind of Hold On Me) Deadly Snakes iTunes