FX’s biker drama Sons of Anarchy has two more episodes to go in its fifth season, which has been one of the better ones of its run. It’s exciting and well-acted, if a notch below the likes of Mad Men and Breaking Bad; however, I still look forward to Tuesdays at ten more than I do any of the weekly Sunday shows I watch (The Walking Dead, Treme and Boardwalk Empire.)
‘Sons’ is a good show. I still enjoy it and it still holds my interest. But a few things I’m wondering:
1. Are we supposed to be able to understand the specifics of the crime plots? Tony Soprano’s business model was always pretty straightforward, and the same is true for Walt and Jesse and their meth cooking. On ‘Sons,’ though, it’s all a big ball of confusion.
Creator Kurt Sutter likes to stuff each season with about three seasons worth of plot. So we have the Sons in various business dealings with the Irish, the Mayans, the Chinese, and Harold Perrineau’s group, as well as the drug cartel, the local cops and the DEA, on top of their various fights among themselves. We’re also supposed to keep straight who knows what things at what time.
I have absolutely no idea who the Sons are buying guns from or selling them to, and I haven’t since about Season 3. And they’re selling drugs, and they’re in the porn business…
2. I figure the big things- the Jax/Tara, Jax/Clay, Clay/Gemma and Jax/Gemma relationships- are much more important than any of the specifics of the crime stuff. Does everyone who watches the show feel that way?
3. Speaking of which, why didn’t the show drag its Hamlet allegory (Jax’s discovery that Clay killed his father) all the way out to the end? The show’s forerunner, The Shield, treated its “original sin”- the killing of Terry in the first episode- as something that cast a shadow over the series until its very last moments. Sutter has said he wants to do seven seasons; the Jax/Clay thing has for all intents and purposes been on pause since the end of Season 4.
4. I’ve asked this before, but why don’t the motorcycles matter at all? The characters may be a motorcycle club, but they never talk about the bikes, and they never figure in the plot. Doesn’t that piss off biker-types who watch the show?
5. A couple of seasons ago, the club murdered a DEA agent- a beautiful, female DEA agent- and it was never mentioned again. Isn’t she missing? Wasn’t there an investigation? Wouldn’t Agent Stahl have been a fine candidate for Natalee Holloway-like Missing White Woman fame on Fox News?
6. In last week’s episode, the Chinese arms dealer guy said he could get some “rockets” from “Gaza.” The timing on that one- yikes, right?
7. Has any character who had cancer for the entire run of a series talked about it less, or had it comprise less of his character, than Unser? Before he had chemo in last week’s episode I’d forgotten he was even supposed to be sick. Then again, the same actor’s character on Deadwood was even sadder.
8. Sutter has a reputation- especially if you’ve read his Twitter feed– as being a bit of a hothead, if not a crazy person. But isn’t that true of most showrunners? David Simon never struck me as the most charming guy, and neither did David Milch, David Chase, or Matthew Weiner.
9. What was the point of that Joel McHale guest spot? Or the Ashley Tisdale one? And am I the only one dying for a Sons/Modern Family crossover, to reunite Al and Peg Bundy?
10. This season on Sons Jimmy Smits, the erstwhile Matthew Santos, has become the rare actor to, in one career, play both the president of the United States and a pimp. The only others I can think of are Morgan Freeman (president in “Deep Impact,” pimp in “Street Smart”) and Dan Aykroyd (president in “My Fellow Americans” and pimp in “Doctor Detroit.”) Am I forgetting anyone? Don’t say Gary Oldman; he played a pimp in one movie and a hijacker of the president’s plane in another.