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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?

Review

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+.

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As Gemma said about Clay in episode 1," you are losing control just like he did." I think this sums it up. Clay is losing control and letting his greed lead the club into a big setup. The Issues with the Russians was just tying up ends. Familiar and unfamiliar plots. The truth has to come out about JT otherwise Jax stays in limbo. Oddly enough I dont think Gemma has a clue what really happened to JT. I think the split comes with clay and gemma.

Danforcella

Can we not get a round table up in here?

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Ok yes Jax had an older brother who died because of the congenital heart defect they share with Gemma. The show was amazing. I very much enjoyed the episode and how it ended. Jax is going nowhere but back to the clubhouse!

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How can you go wrong with this show. I have been waiting impatiently all summer for it to be back. Great story lines, actors, etc. I do believe that Tig (Kim Coates) is an extremely underrated actor. He is my favorite character here. Hope the series never ends.

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It was all good..except maybe Jax's comment about leaving the club. I am hoping that they have Piney talking to him about straightening out the club if and when Sam steps down as Pres. Yes it is about brotherhood ! Always has been and hoping they show this to people that really don't know about the club motto's out there...Just saying !!!...But I did love the show when it showed "yes we have feelings for our ol'man / ol'ladie . And our kids are always in our thoughts. Making a Great Movie Kurt Sutter !!

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In my opinon I thought the premiere was great. I didnt want them to spend much time on their time in prison. I must admit though I got chills when they all walked out together. Id dont think Lyla is pregnant, the look on her face was probably being terrified to tell Opie that she had an abortion. She probably wont tell him though. The wedding was beautiful, and funny. Jax coming out a changed man is tired. Hes wanted to change the club since season episode 1 and he hasnt, he loves the life, and I think he is only trying to get out for Tara and the boys, which is good. But their is no fucking way Gemma is going to allow that. Gemma is going to do something to Tara if she doesnt stop talking about how JT died, she just needs to let it go. Juice definatley looked remorseful after killing the russians, I hope he doesnt change, i love his character. At the end when when Otto killed the russian and said "This is for Jax Teller" I definately got chills, this is gonna be a great season. Overall the episode was great, everything I wanted it to be. Is it Tuesday yet?

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When Jax was talking about how his father was weak and should have taken him and Thomas away... Jax has a brother named Thomas? Has this story line been explained and I missed it?

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Otto didn't kill a Mexican inmate. He killed a Russian inmate. In fact it appears that it is the same Russian that shived Jax in prison if you saw the appisode that Kurt Sutter put out called Pay Phone. I enjoyed the episode. It lived up to and exceeded my expectations. I loved the closing sequence of the episode. Kurt knows how to please his fanbase. I disagree with the idea that this is the same old song. This is a very different set of circumstances. SAMCRO no longer has the local law enforcement on the arm. And Jacob Hale may have the Sheriff's ear but he seems to be marching to the tune of his own drum. Clay is realizing that his time is up. In previous seasons he was clinging to his position as president like a life preserver. Jax has an actual plan about how he gets out of the club. Before it was I want out. But no this season he is going to be stacking his cash and waiting on Clay to retire so that he can take off. More than that Charming as a whole is changing. New money is coming in and the struggle to keep Charming the same seems like it will take center stage this season since the club dumped the bodies at the new development.

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i trust kurt sutter.
in the special features of the season 3 blu-ray he talks about his plan for telling a 7 season arc.
you cant lump this "problem with local law enforcement" with the ones from seasons past. for one, roosevelt, the head of law enforcement, isn't anything like unser. and lincoln potter is laying in the weeds alot more than stahl ever did.
the first three seasons had alot of jax only talking about changing samcro, but not a whole lot of concrete ideas for it. now it seems hes got a plan.

Sons of Anarchy Season 4 Episode 1 Quotes

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

Opie

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
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