Five season, Golden Globe award winning drama about the workings of a motorcycle gang in California. Working class stiffs with incredibly tight bonds with each other as members of “the Club” and as an ancillary issue, with their women. In the words of Gemma Teller-Morrow: “You love the man, you learn to love “the Club”. Motorcycles serve not so much as the transportation but as the vehicle that explores the limits of fealty and loyalty.
Their roots are much like the original Hells Angels MC whose earliest members came back from Korea bored with civilian life and found a common bond in motorcycling. Looking for “adventure” eventually taking the form of illegal activities bringing tension relieved as intense group bonding. The Sons of Anarchy are similar, wearing “colors” (identifying leather jackets) loudly advertising their bond, scruffiness and attitude. The ultimate expression of male bonding.
They all work in an auto repair shop which hides their money making enterprise; running guns to anyone who’ll purchase them, including those they know will use them for mayhem. However, they draw moral line at drugs and abusing otherwise innocent women, endeavors they consider anathema for their town. They work with the town lawmen to keep these entities at bay, and the police look the other way as it pertains to guns.
These guys then get into incredibly complex adventures with various levels of the law and each other. They emerge as classic anti-heros in the Marlon Brando-Lee Marvin mold from “The Wild One” (1953). Alternately mean and self-serving then loving and caring for others in various capacities. Sonny Barger, the original Hell’s Angel President and Maximum Leader is a perfect role model for Clay Morrow.
Hunter Thompson described the Angels to perfection in his 1966 book “Hell’s Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga”.
“They were a bunch of overgrown adolescents, stuck in their religious mind-set as a way of life. They defined themselves by their opposition to any and everything. The strength of their antagonism was the source of their faith, and like all holy wars, their greatest enemies and their greatest source of bloodshed was from within, battles against rival factions competing for bottom of the barrel status”
Murder and mayhem come easy for them if it’s in the best interest of “The Club”. Revenge and retribution are their stock in trade. The viewer finds him or herself liking and even grudgingly respecting them despite their shortcomings if for no other reason than they’re such an interesting side of an alternative life. The characters come alive in a hierarchy of texture and subtlety.
The creator and maestro of the Sons is Curt Sutter, who plays off-the-wall lunatic biker “Big Otto”. Shutter was completely nuts before and is now over the cliff completely in episode 1 of Season 6 but he has an uncanny ability to create. Sutter is a totally fearless writer, everything is fair game. He’s outdone himself this episode, with promises of more to come.
The boys have decided to quit their previous avocation of running guns as it turns out to be too dangerous. So their new chosen endeavor is prostitution, a much safer occupation. The cops aren’t interested and many of them are clients. The profit is high and the overhead is low.
Remember, however, these are guys will kill you and their hart rate would never break 80 if you violate one of their mores, especially a club issue. Their morality is non-linear; they get all upset over punks violating women and take them out as a matter of good taste. One has a habit of creative killing when he isn’t lavishing love on his dog. The look on his face when the boys raided an illegal dogfight is worth the entire series.
So everything seems to be moving forward in episode 1 of Season 6, were it not for an isolated shot or two of a clean cut 10 year old kid in a private school coat and tie that doesn’t fit anywhere in the plot. Except for one cryptic shot of the boy’s face morphing into Jax’s face. Even though disconnected, you get the impression this kid is going to be important somewhere along the line.
Then the kid calmly removes a full automatic submachine gun from his book bag, pockets an extra clip full of rounds, strolls into his school and kills everyone in sight. Subsequently, the connection to the boys emerges. The gun is one that the boys sold to an un-named customer when they were in the gun business.
Much more remains to be seen as the moral code meets the past.
This is just an interesting aside. You cannot get the thrust unless you watch it from Episode 1, Season 1. Not for everyone, but if you like intensely creative writing, with no limits, it’s worth a look.
I give it 4 of five black leather jackets with colors. Caution: Habit forming.