I don’t want to spoil anything, so if you have not caught up on last night’s season premiere of Sons of Anarchy, I suggest you skedaddle before you read any further. Before the jump, I’ll just say that Kurt Sutter spoke to the culminating event in last night’s episode, and how it will impact the rest of season six. Spoilers Below
Yes. Last night’s episode ended with a school shooting. A blonde kid in a school uniform pulled out an automatic weapon, walked into his school, and mowed down a classroom full of kids. Fortunately, to those sensitive to these things, the massacre was not shown onscreen (though, that doesn’t rule out the possibility that it may be shown during flashbacks or courtroom scenes later in the season).
Some questioned the point of ending the episode with a school shooting, especially on a show where children are not main characters, and where you wouldn’t expect a school shooting to become part of the action. But as Kurt Sutter told TVLine, that school shooting had actually been in the works for a few years.
The timing of it is somewhat controversial, but it is something I knew I wanted to do for a couple of years now, and I knew it would be a series of events that would have to [occur]… as we kind of slide towards the end of our mythology. Things are never done in a vacuum, meaning there are ramifications to everything, whether it be legal consequences or emotional consequences or familial consequences. There’s sh-t that always happens; sometimes it happens immediately, sometimes there will be a season or two before stuff comes back to haunt them. It all comes back around, and this series of events changes all of their relationships.
Just because it’s been in the works for years, however, doesn’t explain the point of it for Sons of Anarchy. I assumed that the gun used by the kid would tie back to SAMCRO, and that it would eventually bring heat on them from the authorities, and that SAMCRO may very well get mixed up in a legal case surrounding the school shooting. That does seem to be the case, but according to Sutter, there’s much more to it than that.
Again, from TVLine:
It changes their relationships with the Irish, because now Jax has the emotional catalyst he needs to motivate [everyone]… to not be in guns. It impacts his relationship with the DA and with Toric, and we’ll really see the relationship shift within the town of Charming and how suddenly the favorite Sons, or at least the accepted Sons, are seen as a danger and potentially more of a pariah than a savior.
This takes [our characters] down this path that perhaps they won’t be able to come back from. It was a fine line; I didn’t want it to become this big political storyline where I had to acknowledge it and have everyone have an opinion about how bad it is and who’s responsible, and blah, blah, blah; that’s not what this show does, nor is it why people watch it. And yet I couldn’t completely ignore all those things and still feel like I handled it responsibly.
So, I tried to layer in my point of view in terms of why I think these things happen. And what I hope is that people come away with [the idea that] if there is a social and political point of view about the shooting and a moral point of view, it is not one particular party that’s responsible for these tragedies, that it is a combination of gun laws, mental health, schools, parents, media… It wasn’t about seeing dead bodies. It was more about the emotional impact of what happened, and you just really get it in those few pops in the aftermath, when we come back from the act-out. So, I feel like that suggests a certain level of responsibility in terms of how we were telling the story and what our goals were.
Now that’s interesting, particularly the part about how the school shooting may completely disrupt SAMCRO’s relationship with the Irish and make them question their connection to guns. Also, the fact that it may completely alienate SAMCRO from the Charming citizenry is compelling, since Charming had tolerated SAMCRO because the club kept violence out of the city, instead of bringing it in.
We’ll see how well Kurt Sutter actually follows through on the ideas, but based on his comments, the school shooting could actually provide some thoughtful critiques about gun violence, although I very much doubt it will change the violent nature of the show (nor should it). In either respect, I’m as excited about this season as I have been since season four.