Is it possible to live two different lives and not suffer the consequences? That’s part of the premise behind the fifth season of FX’s “Sons of Anarchy,” which always continued to surprise viewers with each new episode and plot twist.
“Sons of Anarchy” followed newly promoted SAMCRO President Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam) as he tried to keep the club together and stay from possible criminal charges by secretly working with the CIA. The only one who knows the truth about Jax’s secrets was his very devoted partner Tara Knowles (Maggie Siff). Tara tried to be a good mother to his two children and keep her disappointment in check about her stalled career. She also had to fight off Jax’s controlling mother Gemma (Katey Sagal) who was struggling to keep it together after her marriage to former President Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman) fell apart. The club also had to suffer the consequences of Tig’s (Kim Coates) impulsive actions that led to the death of a powerful gangster’s (Harold Perrineau) daughter. This gangster was willing to destroy the club from the ground up at all costs. Will Jax be able to keep the club and his family together without losing himself in the process?
In terms of questions, the show would wise to not answer it right away. It’s obvious that Hunnam’s Jax will be struggling with keeping his humanity intact for the course of season five. He will have to make some dangerous decisions that could cost him everything, especially a lengthy prison sentence if the cops catch him. Hunnam’s Jax was the perfect leading man to carry the show as Perlman’s Clay was forced to end his violent reign of terror. Hunnam gave Jax the right mixture of anger and vulnerability as he struggled with his new powerful position. He made Jax someone worth rooting for, even when he did some pretty twisted things all in the name of SAMCRO. It was also nice to see Perlman’s Clay suffer a new kind of punishment that didn’t resolve in a quick death. His character was already dead in a way, but he was merely being kept around as a business tool. Perlman designed Clay to be a man decimated by his actions, but not enough to completely tell the truth. That would be too easy.
Of course, there’s nothing about season five’s plots that will be easy for anyone involved, especially Sagal’s Gemma. Sagal’s character was a woman who struggled with the end of another marriage. She was a woman adrift in her life and turned to Jimmy Smits’ mysterious businessman who could completely destroy her if she wasn’t careful. Sagal was up to the task of playing the motherly villainess who did everything all in the name of love, even when her actions were questionable. Smits’ turn as another possibly dangerous man had the potential to be an interesting character no matter how long his tenure on the show may be. The biggest storyline draw was the entrance of Perrineau’s violent gangster who hid his lethal intentions behind designer suits. Perrineau’s performance was downright frightening as he allowed Tig’s daughter to be punished brutally for her father’s sins. That scene was a brutal reminder of darker things to come for everyone involved. Only time will tell if that’s the case.
“Sons of Anarchy” premiered on September 11th and airs Tuesdays at 10:00 PM on FX.
Verdict: Hunnam and Sagal lead the pack as a close knit mother and son with a strange bond that could only lead to trouble.
TV Score: 4 out of 5 stars
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)