Note to television producers: If you're looking for a way to start off a second season of a TV show, check out "Albification," the Season-Two starter for FX's Sons of Anarchy. Creator Kurt Sutter wasted no time showing some chest hair by upping the ante and thickening the tension with a scene we will not soon forget.
(Spoilers ahead, for those who did not see it.)
We guessed that Season Two would be the show's coming-out party, and so far it's definitely on the right track. Let's start at the end: There is no way a scene involving gang rape is easy to watch, but seeing the separatists have their way with Gemma was downright horrifying. How's that for a season premiere? It was Katey Segal's face (in another fantastic, underrated performance) that really sold it and made our skin crawl. In one scene, she's fighting with all her might the way we know Gemma can -- and in the next, she's spent, makeup smeared and sweaty. Utter exhaustion. Mentally in a far-off place. It was such a powerful scene it almost took our mind off that horrible emo-core cover of one of Bob Dylan's best songs.
This sets up a serious rift between SAMCRO (the "good" guys) and their new rivals, a KKK-lite group of white separatists (don't call them supremacists!). It's always difficult to introduce a completely new bad guy at the start of a season, but these guys really seemed to slip in perfectly. Adam Arkin departs from his usual slate of passive characters and plays a fearsome leader who politely asks SAMCRO leader Clay to stop dealing arms to the hispanic and black gangs. When Clay laughs in his face, he orders a gang rape on Clay's wife.
So that's how this season is going to go. How the f*** is Clay going to respond? We're foaming at the mouth to find out.
Sons of Anarchy is riding under the radar at the moment, but this is turning into one of FX's finest ... and that includes The Shield.
-- Henry Rollins looks great as his bleeding-white thug, but he's still Henry Rollins and he's still a mediocre actor at best (sorry, Mr. Rollins, please don't hurt me!). Let's hope he gets better.
-- Tig shoots a man in the mouth, and Sutter shows it, complete with blood spatter on the camera lens. Awesome. Then Opie carves an Anarchy "A" in his chest with a knife, and we see it. Awesome. Then Jax blasts the "A" away with a full clip of hot lead, and the results are right there on the screen. Sons of Anarchy is fearless in its depiction of violence, where others might shy away. But violence is a huge part of the show, and it's necessary that the audience sees it.
-- The post-meeting showdown between Jax and Clay was fantastic. Fingers crossed that this dynamic is the crux of season two; put those two in a room and let's see what happens!
-- The music for Season 2 kinda sucks so far.
-- Kurt Sutter is married to Katey Segal in real life. In other words, he wrote in a scene where his wife gets gang-raped. That takes balls.
Sons of Anarchy airs Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. on FX. For more information, check out TV.com's Sons of Anarchy 101.