A lot happened last season. Hell, with this show a lot happens every season. Just to get our ducks in a row, here is a brief recap of what happened last season:
Jax pulled a lot of strings to get the MC out of a lot of bad things, but not quite everything. Pulling the club out of the gun business in addition to the drug business all the while finding a way to frame Clay for the murder of Pope was quite the feat for Jax. Oh yeah, he somehow figured out a way to weasel the club out of that little old RICO case. Busy man, huh?
Now, Tara and Clay are in jail and Jax still owes Tigger’s head to Pope’s gang. So where does Jax and the gang find themselves next? Well, in a torture porn studio, of course.
We all know Tara Tara, and what business the late Opie’s girlfriend, Lyla, was in. Well, she found herself victimized by a gang of some sick movie makers. Out for vengeance, the MC confronts this operation and finds a way to involve the police in their favor, even after shots are fired. They are crooked cops though, so I guess this all makes sense. Once again, we find the series completely over the top and unbelievable, which is exactly what it is going for. If you have been watching the show from the beginning, you know what I am talking about. And if you have stuck around this far, you’ll feel right at home.
Meanwhile, Lee Toric, the brother of the nurse who Otto killed with the cross last season, is on a rampage and determined to get his vengeance. Pulling strings himself, he is attempting to coerce both Clay and Tara. Tara especially feels it the most (she had the most to lose, and she lost it all). He was also the mastermind that has kept Clay in protective custody as a bargaining chip. Not to mention the way Toric finds to torture Otto for killing his sister is ruthless and sick. Lee is proving to be as formidable an antagonist as there ever was. One can not think that he will ultimately be the club’s undoing.
Which brings us back around to the Clay situation. Refusing to give up his club to Toric right away, Clay is forced out of protective custody. And what is a man to do when his life is threatened in prison? Play a little game of “Let’s Make a Deal”, that’s what. While not one hundred percent clear by the end of the episode, it seems like he turned. And with the revelation that Toric is shooting up dope makes you wonder if anything he does with Clay will lose all legal bearing when that eventually comes to light.
It is worth mentioning that this season premier was extended length. That being said, there are some rather slow parts to this episode. Particularly, the first half. While we end up with some intense action sequences and situations, the show is slowed down in quite a few scenes that drag on way longer than they should. Tara breaking down in prison crying after a visit from Toric was not really that great due to her subpar acting in this scene. It went on too long. That’s just one example.
Also, there are some pretty gross scenes in this episode that are borderline gratuitous. I like to think that I keep an open mind about things, but there are things here that I wish I never had to witness and I feel were just thrown in for cheap “OMG” moments. I just didn’t really think these particular scenes were necessary (hint: one involved urine).
I’ll leave things off with “the thing” that series creator Kurt Sutter claimed was going to be controversial. Throughout today’s episode, we see a young child in a school uniform randomly thrown in some scenes. What is his role in all of this? It turns out that he would end up doing something that I really don’t feel comfortable mentioning here. Let’s say that it will be huge in what is to come, especially since next episode’s teaser revealed that the club’s involvement in it is ancillary.
Two more seasons to go, we know the end is coming. And what we see here is really, really dark. Things don’t look like they will end up good for anybody.