My Take On…the SONS OF ANARCHY S4 Premiere

(The following review will cover mild spoilers from the premiere; don’t read if you want to stay completely unaware until you watch.)

A lot has changed in Charming since the SONS OF ANARCHY premiere three years ago. The SONS have gone to Hell and back, Ireland and back, and in the season 4 premiere, Rockford prison and back. Having spent the better part of two years in federal prison after a deal they struck in the S3 finale, the boys of SAMCRO are back together, and immediately back in business.
In a way, the show seems to have forgotten about the strange side-trip to Ireland that Season 3 focused on. While I wasn’t a detractor of the decision by Kurt Sutter to take the boys out of Charming, plenty of fans were, and it’s nice to see them back on the newly-renovated soil of Charming, CA, dealing with more internal club struggles versus external. The internal drama will continue to turn some of our favorite friendships and relationships on their sides, as Clay and Jax head down the familiar path of antagonism, bringing Opie, Bobby, and Tig (among others) along for the dangerous ride. Ryan Hurst continues to be the unsung hero of the show, throwing himself with such disdain and passion into the role; he continues to blow my mind. The rest of the cast – Charlie Hunnam, Dayton Callie, Mark Boone Junior, Ron Perlman – they’re all doing great work this season, having started strong in Season 1 and growing leaps and bounds to where we are in S4. It says something that on a show with such violence and danger, the quiet moments and looks among these friends are the scenes that excite me the most.

The important stories from Ireland continue this season – among those stories are the letters that Mo Ashby stuck in Jax’s bag, only for Tara to find them (and read them; and read them again; and spend time investigating what they say). In the premiere, there is a beautiful moment between Gemma and Tara that foreshadows volumes about how things will be changing this season, and from the first three episodes alone, I can’t wait to see the ladies play that out.

Internal struggles are aplenty, sure, but that’s not to say that all struggles in S4 will come from within the club (and their old ladies…Gemma…). As always, there are outside forces conspiring to rid Charming of our boys. Ray McKinnon is easily the best new character I’ve seen on the show in years – his Linc Potter is a weird, weird dude, but in the coolest, and creepiest sense of the word. He has one goal, and that is to bring down the RIRA, ROC, and SAMCRO factions, from his secret little compartment in the no-longer-Charming-PD building. Rockmund Dunbar (you remember him as C-Note from PRISON BREAK) is fantastic as the newly appointed Sheriff in town. The guest casting on this show is some of the best on TV, and the rest of the appearances, even in the first three episodes alone, are great.

Among all the death and destruction in the show, and there are PLENTY of both, the premiere does find some time for revelry and happiness, albeit fleeting.  I always like a show that makes me laugh and cry, but a show that makes me laugh, cry, and gasp out loud at the first drop of blood shed is even better!  The 2011-2012 season is off to a great start with tonight’s SONS OF ANARCHY premiere, and I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to see how it all plays out.