The sixth season premiere of Sons of Anarchy kicked off last night, and for those who like their Kurt Sutter dark, violent, and not at all subtle, it was a hell of a first episode. Sutter did not hold back, and though there was nothing quite as searing as seeing Tig’s daughter being burned alive in the fifth season premiere, the body count was certainly higher. And what of the expected controversy over the last three minutes of the episode? It’s hard to get worked up over the violence in Sons of Anarchy at this point. It’s effective, but it’s only truly shocking when Sutter restrains himself, as he (thankfully) did by featuring the bloodiest, most heart-wrenching sequence off screen.
The premiere did not resolve any of the holdover questions from the fifth season finale. Set a few days after the events of that episode, Sutter picked up those plotlines where he left off last season, and introduced enough new storylines to keep Sutter occupied for a couple of episodes, at least. In some seasons, Sutter chews through plot quickly, and in others, he takes his time. It’s hard to tell how quickly he’ll move this season, but it’s clear that he opened up a huge, season-long arc that will certainly threaten SAMCRO’s existence.
Let’s get right to the character breakdowns.
Otto Delaney — Basically, Otto is a broken man with no tongue and no ability to protest. Lee Toric (Donal Logue) is having men sent into Otto’s cell each morning to rape him. If there’s ANYTHING that would turn a guy into a rat, you’d think it’d HAVE to be the ole’ morning rape. JESUS SUTTER. I know that the event at the end of the episode was meant to be the thing that attracted all the “controversy” and attention for the premiere, but honestly, onscreen prison rape >> offscreen school shooting.
I think suicide is the coward’s way out, but if Otta were to decide to take his own life at this point, I wouldn’t hold it against the man. Give that man some sweet mercy.
Tara Knowles — Lee Toric is also the center of Tara’s story arc. Tara’s in prison under a charge of conspiracy to murder Lee’s sister. Tara thinks that Gemma ratted her out, and her attorney (Robin Weigert) passes that information on to Jax, who uses it as an excuse to yell at Gemma. Toric also offers Tara a deal: Rat out SAMCRO, and she can enter Witness Protection with Thomas and Abel. She declines (at least for now). In the meantime, Tara hauls off and beats the living sh*t out of another inmate who steals her blanket. It’s the most I’ve ever liked Tara. Do not mess with this woman’s blanket.
Clay Morrow — Clay also opens the episode in prison, crotchety as f***ing ever. He’s a scowl with jowls. Toric, who knows that Clay was framed for murdering Damon Pope, also offers Clay a deal: Rat out SAMCRO, and Toric will keep him out of the regular prison population, where August Marks — now the leader of the One-Niners — will have him killed. Clay ultimately takes the deal in order to save his own ass. Why not? He’s got absolutely nothing to lose at this point.
Bobby — Bobby is in no-man’s land. After ripping his VP patch off at the end of last season, he is on the outs with Jax and the Charming chapter of SAMCRO and exploring the possibility of creating a NOMAD chapter, which is basically a collection of SAMCRO cast-offs.
Gemma: She’s still stirring sh*t with Tara, still dating Nero, and still stringly along poor Unser. Late in the episode, she gives Nero’s kid a water gun in a piece of ham-fisted foreshadowing. She, along with the remaining members of SAMCRO, is helping to look after Thomas and Abel with Tara in prison. It’s good to see that Gemma still has her old sh*t-kicking attitude.
Wendy — Although Jax’s ex-wife no longer has any interest in being guardian to Thomas and Abel, Tara has already appointed her in that position in her living will, which Kurt Sutter is going out of his way to remind us. Either something is going to happen to Tara that will somehow leave Thomas and Abel in Wendy’s care, or that living will is going to so infuriate Jax that he’s going to kill her.