11.18.2009

Let's Just Say It

Last night's episode of Sons of Anarchy was a "disappointment."

You'll note my use of quotes above. I watched the episode (at 1am, probably not a good idea), and just couldn't shake the feeling that it wasn't what I wanted given the events of last week and where I thought/wanted last night to go. But then I took a second and thought about everything I'd just seen and my jaw fell open a bit. The episode was pretty damn good, just not in the way I expected.

I think it's safe to say, when Sons has an episode as they did last night that really did two things - delayed gratification for those of us wanting bloodshed, and spent a LOT of time with its characters - they are setting the bar too high for television. And if you watched the promo for next week, everything I wanted to happen last night is going down, and it's going to be bigger than I imagined.

If you're not watching Sons of Anarchy, there's either something wrong with you or you don't have cable. The latter I can excuse, but just have one word of advice. DVDs... The former, get with it people. I've only seen Season 1 of Mad Men, which I thought was very solid, but it doesn't hold a candle to the epic build that has been Sons of Anarchy over the past 2 seasons (with 2 episodes remaining). I can't think of another scripted drama series that's currently on the air and coming anywhere close.

I also spent about 15 minutes on the phone yesterday just talking about how great the series is. Kurt Sutter and company, today we salute you for bringing it week in and week out. Long live Samcro.

1 comment:

Bryan said...

POSSIBLE SPOILERS BELOW - do not read if you haven't watched both seasons.

Just finished both seasons. I like it. It doesn't grip me as hard as "The Shield", but I have an irrational love of that show. Also, because Vic Mackey and crew were police officers, they were able to react more to what was happening rather than have to always be the catalysts of events like the Sons often are.

The Shield was about a character literally torn between being a good guy and being a very, very bad one -- with a sincere desire to do both. Sons has more of a "this is the difficultly with being an outlaw" feel. And that's cool and entertaining, but for me it's less affecting.

Also, there's few real innocents involved in the story. There are people less guilt than others, but from one perspective it's a bunch of people making choices that invite hell on themselves over and over.

What I do see in F/X series' is a lot of classic monarchal structure in their series. You can read "The Shield", "Rescue Me", "Damages", "Nip/Tuck" and "Sons of Anarchy" all as tales about kings, queens and kingdoms as it were. They all balance duty, ambition, corruption and the spectre of death in different ways. I wonder if that's intentional over there, or just coincidence because those themes are present in a lot of fiction.

What I do appreciate is are the Shakespearian influences. Obviously HAMLET and MACBETH. Gemma reminds me of the same "Lady Macbeth of the Underclass" that Laura Linney played in "Mystic River" -- the growing archetype of the strong matriarch that guides the hands of violent boy-men as they spill righteous blood. In the first season, she was JUST that, and it was nice to see her get some other dimension in season two.

Also, the Sam Crow diary as the ghost of Hamlet's father is a nice touch. As Gemma says "he's talking to Jax from beyond the grave." I think it's pretty clear that eventually we will learn that Clay killed Jax's father. Clearly wearing a "cut" won't protect you from his ambitions.

With the end of Season 2, I wouldn't be surprised if there was an even stronger Hamlet slant, and I predict that next season will be about fathers and sons even more than the previous seasons. I also sense an "Ophelia"- like disintegration of Tara, as the weight of being with Jax's "Hamlet" becomes more than she can bear.

She's due her "get thee to a nunnery" scene, lol.

And I have to mention Ryan Hurst (Opie). He's fantastic. My favorite character in the show.

What's most interesting to me is how Sons is the best "coming of age" thing I've seen in a while. Culturally, I think young men are struggling for their masculine identity in an age where savagery isn't really expected of young men.

My wife thinks that men are emasculated, sometimes by their own doing. She might indeed be right, but "Sons" speaks to the journey of being a young man better than anything I've seen on television. For me, that's the most commendable part of the show, and the best reason to watch it.

I'm going to post about it on my blog when I gather some more thoughts. I'm glad you and Nelson put me onto it.