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FX (ended 2014)

Sons of Anarchy S06E01: "Straw"

Ed. note: We're trying something a little different this season with our Sons of Anarchy reviews. Instead of having one person compose his or her thoughts for you each week, we've decided it would be more fun to tag-team SOA in a conversation-style review. So each week we'll discuss the episode and all the violence Kurt Sutter feels we deserve, while still bringing you coverage of TV's most violent drama.


TIM: It's always good to have Sons of Anarchy back on television, if only to remind us that most shows are total wimps by comparison. But I'll admit that with each passing season, I'm becoming more and more inclined to dismiss the series as frivolous fun rather than award-worthy drama. It's become absolutely ludicrous, which is part of the appeal, but it's also veering further and further away from being legitimately good television and more toward being a hairy soap opera. So I'm going into Season 6 excited to see what insanity awaits, but I'm not really concerned with putting the show on a pedestal or anything. I'm just here for the fun, not the Hamlet comparisons. How are you feeling going into Season 6?

KAITLIN: I think that with the exception of Season 2, Sons of Anarchy has existed just outside the realm of great drama. One of its problems, what's kept it away from the big kids' table for drama, is that it often has great ideas, but fails to follow through on them. SOA knows how to build up the tension as a season progresses, but it usually shies away from fully committing at the last second.

All throughout Season 4, we thought there was absolutely no way Clay would make it out of Charming alive, but then Kurt Sutter pulled a couple strings and here we are heading in to Season 6 with Clay alive and in prison. And while I'm sure we'll get some great stuff out of that storyline because the show never went there, it'll never be able to regain the promise it once had. So while I'm excited to see whatever Sutter has planned, but I'm watching for the thrill of the fights, and not to compare SOA to all the great anti-hero dramas out there. Oh, and Chibs.


TIM: I think Clay's fate is being saved for the final season, whenever that is, and what happens in the meantime will mostly focus on the burden of running SAMCRO and pushing Jax toward the path Clay already rolled down (again). And with that said, let's talk about the premiere, "Straw." 

Every time SOA returns I get a headache from trying to remember what happened in the previous season. Heck, I can barely remember half the names of the characters, let alone how they reacted to the constant flux in club politics. We'll get to Jax, Bobby, and whatshisname (see?), but first, WHO THE F WAS THAT KID WHO SHOT UP THE SCHOOL? I figured he was the son of that woman who was with Dave Navarro's character (also, LOL @ Navarro being on this show), but who the hell is that woman, and is Navarro's character suddenly important now? And why would they match-cut the kid onto Jax in the opening montage if we didn't know who he was? Is it some clunky metaphor for how both of them have fallen from grace?

KAITLIN: Honestly, when the episode opened with the typical Jax Teller voiceover and we saw the kid, I thought we were seeing a young Jax, a Jax without the burden of SAMCRO on his back. And then when no one except Dave Navarro—who I will probably just call Dave Navarro for as long as he appears on SOA—addressed the kid, I was half-convinced he really was a ghost from Jax's past. He seemed to be everywhere our characters went, and then Jax had that meaningful stare without him outside of RoboCop's Donut Shop. I still don't know what it all means. I don't know who Samaire Armstrong (Navarro's lady friend and presumably the mother of the kid) is playing. All I know is that the kid had some serious issues, from the obvious scars on his wrists to the fact that he committed a school shooting. But I have to say, I felt a bit of a Gus Fring-type attitude coming off him. The way he took off his jacket and folded it up. The way he rolled up his sleeves before entering the school. Very methodical. Very crazy.

TIM: Obviously there's a lot more to that story, but for now I'll assume the kid didn't make it and it will somehow ripple back to the club. I wonder how many people will have issues with SOA taking on a school shooting, given that it's about the most controversial topic any series or movie can portray. Personally, I don't mind—I'm on the side of the debate that doesn't think violence on TV causes violence in real life—but even I'm not sure SOA should have gone there. If SOA starts going for political messages, things could get messy. A lot of the violence we've seen on the show in the past has been almost comical or poetic; the school shooting felt like SOA was poking worried mothers with a stick. I'd rather it stick with the torture porn and bathtubs full of lukewarm piss, SOA

KAITLIN: I think I have to agree. If Sutter wanted to make a statement or shock viewers, this probably not the best way to do it. I think we'll see a lot of actual, "WTF, Sutter?" reactions in the aftermath of that scene. It's bad enough when other shows tackle the topic, but to do it on SOA, a show that often glorifies violence? I'm really glad I don't work at FX today.

TIM: The pee-pee drowning, on the other hand, was great. But what does it say about Tig? He's always been a little crazier than everyone else, but lately (since after his daughter Dawn's BBQ last season), he's been an absolute animal. In "Straw," he tossed that Iranian pornographer into the urine dunk tank, then topped him off with some fresh human lemonade, and then threw him in a cage and into the ocean—all because the guy said he hoped Tig saw his daughter in one of the videos. How many more murders will this guy get away with before he becomes a liability to the club? Also, Pope's henchman August still wants Tig dead, and it appears Jax made a deal to hand him over if they take care of Clay (again). I know this was similar to last season, but is Tig on the outs? Is he this year's Opie?

KAITLIN: You had to bring up Opie, didn't you? I don't think Tig is on that same path. If you look at it rationally—and I know this is SOA and nothing is ever done rationally—Tig can't die (yet). Jax said it in this episode: SAMCRO can't lose any more of its members, or the charter folds. I don't think Tig is going to die, nor do I think he's about to join Bobby out in Nevada. I viewed that entire death-by-piss/golden-shower/swimming-with-the-fishes scene as a form of catharsis for Tig. I know he killed Pope last season, but that wasn't enough. The way he broke down after he pushed the cage into the water, and the way he cradled Thomas's head in the ending montage… I think Tig might actually be on the road to redemption this season, as opposed to the other way around. Of course, I could be completely wrong about that.

And speaking of Bobby, what the hell is he doing out in Nevada? I know he was against killing Clay last season, and that he stepped down as VP because he didn't support the Club's decision, but now it looks like he's trying to bring back the Nomad charter. I don't know how the show can carry a separate Bobby storyline in the middle of nowhere and still make it compelling.

TIM: That's one of the things I still really enjoy about this show. For all the brains getting blown out of people's skulls, SOA does character stuff very well. You found it comforting that Tig was cradling Thomas's head, I was waiting for him to bite it off. There's a lot of showing instead of telling, and that leaves it to us to interpret things. As for Bobby, I fear for SAMCRO without his levelheadedness around to keep things in order. And you're absolutely right about structural problems with the storyline. The show needs to find a way to get him back in the clubhouse fast, because he already seems so distant. 

At least with Clay and Tara in jail, their actions can still impact the club. I absolutely loved that scene when Clay was being moved back into the prison "GenPop," saw all those scary black dudes, and decided to take Toric's deal. He can't be the macho intimidating man he was before, he has to play smart if he wants to live—and that was his only play. However, the Tara stuff confused the hell out of me. I still don't know why Toric really wants Jax. What am I missing here?

KAITLIN: I wish I knew. I don't fully understand Toric's reasons for wanting Jax and the club either. I mean, the man isn't even a U.S. Marshal anymore. And you just know that he's lying about being retired. You can't chase fugitives all that well when you're hopped up on heroin. Toric's story is definitely a confusing and convoluted one, but it's probably the one I'm most looking forward to... in a very twisted way. Donal Logue is a great addition to the cast (and I'm not just saying that because I miss Terriers and I'm hoping for Michael Raymond-James to join SOA to create a full-on reunion). I find it interesting the way he can be so cold and calculating with the other characters, and then he goes home and turns out to be a complete wack-job. He's got some shades of Robert Quarles to him, if I may bring yet another FX series in to this.

As for Clay, he's definitely at the mercy of other people now. As you said, he has to be smart about this. But do you think he'll really rat on the club? Or do you think he's going to come up with a brilliant last-minute Hail Mary? And Tara… I don't even know what's going on with her. She wanted so badly to get out at the beginning of the episode, but by the end of it, she was beating bitches up for stealing her blanket. Good luck getting out now, Tara.

TIM: A last-minute Hail Mary in Sons of Anarchy? YOU DON'T SAY! Part of me thinks Clay would never rat on the club after last season, but another part of me pictures him with whiskers, nibbling on a bit of cheese, without a problem. At this point, I think that's the most interesting thing about Clay. He's totally unpredictable in jail; he just doesn't want to die. In fact, I don't think Clay is really even Clay anymore. If anything, and this is what Season 5 was all about, Jax is the new Clay. He's making deals for expanding his lady-selling business without consulting people, he's sleeping with the new madame, he's become an unsavory character—and I think this season we'll see him going further and further into the darkness. Season 6 could, and should, be the season where we all hate Jax. This is when he truly breaks bad. Then we spend Season 7 turning him into his real dad.

KAITLIN: It's interesting you say now is when we should hate Jax, because I think last season was the darkest timeline for our SAMCRO president. Perhaps I'm being naive in thinking that we've already hit the nadir of his descent, and that he's going to be on his way back up this season, but that's always been my hope for Season 6. Obviously, that change in Jax is going to take some time, but if he doesn't figure shit out soon, Opie's death in Season 5 will have been for nothing (as great as that scene was, it was pretty much just a way to launch Jax on the last leg of his journey to right SAMCRO's sinking ship).

That being said, WTF JAX? Your old lady is in jail for like five minutes and she doesn't want to see you because she's angry but also ashamed, so you sleep with Kim Dickens? I get that that's always been Jax's M.O. when things get tough, but it seems a bit lazy from a storytelling standpoint... like an easy way to get a shot of Charlie Hunnam's bare ass into the premiere.

TIM: He's got to keep that ass in shape for his big Fifty Shades of Grey role! That scene will be one of the most paused butt shots in history after that movie comes out. Come to think of it, there was a lot of ass stuff in this episode. Lyla talking about her most valuable ASSet, Jax's undulating bottom, Toric dancing in front of the mirror, and Otto taking it up the chimney from Toric's men. I love that Sutter is willing to go all the way with the character he also plays, Otto, and it's ironic that Otto got f'd because I think Sutter may have f'd himself with this premiere. Sutter could have a very uncomfortable week ahead of him with regard to explaining that school-shooting scene, and until we get to Episode 2, we have no idea how it's going to fit into the story. Sutter's always been one to bask in controversy, wielding his two middle fingers all akimbo, and he achieved it here. I'm actually totally fine with it because hey, this is TV, but I think all the Normal Nancys out there might take issue with a scene that depicts a school shooting yet lacks so much context. As for the episode as a whole, it was fine, but not one of SOA's better premieres. What did you think?

KAITLIN: I agree. Not one of the SOA's best. A lot of stuff happened, and a lot of storylines were introduced, but I'm concerned about the show's ability to properly address and deal with all of them in a satisfying way. The premiere probably would have been more successful if the show had saved some of tonight's plots and capped the episode at an hour, instead of expanding it to minutes.



NOTES


– The scene where Chibs pummeled Juice was pretty sad to watch. I know Juice deserved it for ratting on the Club, stealing from the Club, and then killing Miles to cover up his misdeeds. But look at that face! How can you be mad at that face? And his, "I love you, brother," before Chibs laid him out? I will not cry. I will not cry. I will not cry. (P.S. This item was most definitely written by Tim.) (P.P.S. Kaitlin is lying! I never cry except all the time!)

– Ima returned, much to the displeasure of literally everyone, except Lyla. She did save Lyla from those Iranian guys, but it was her fault Lyla was in the situation in the first place. But as annoying as it was to see Ima return, it was fun to hear Jax call her a stupid whore, and to see Gemma smash her face into the bar just for fun.

– Wendy also returned, but it was pretty much only to tell Gemma that she has no desire to lose her sobriety and get wrapped up in Club shit again. Bye, Wendy! We'll miss you!

– Public Service Announcement: If you need a babysitter, please call Happy and/or Unser, both guys are more than willing to oblige. But what will happen to a child who's essentially being raised by a violent motorcycle club?

– "You know I listen as good as I suck dick." —the new Madame. Good line, great line, or terrible line?

– Tara's new hairdo is so not working. Go see Sophia for a hairdo, Tara! (She's in the same prison as Orange Is the New Black, right?)


[UPDATE FROM TIM] Hey guys! I just wanted to clear the air on a few things. First of all, we love the opinions, keep 'em coming and please try to keep them constructive rather than sending them via wrecking balls with the words "YOU SUCK" written on them in white paint. We read what you say and we care about what you think.

Regarding the format: This conversational, two-person tag-team review is an experiment, and because Kaitlin is also a big fan of the show, we thought Sons of Anarchy would be a great series to try it on. As you can probably tell by the fact that I'm not wearing any pants, we like to keep things casual around here, and we wanted to simulate a relaxed discussion between a few friends talking about an episode they just finished watching. That's also the type of community we're trying to inspire, and we hope it spreads to the comments and forums on TV.com. We haven't made a decision on whether we'll keep the format all season, but—and some of you might not like this—we're at least going to give the dual-review format another shot. Maybe several more shots. Hey, I didn't like Jax's beard at first, but now I love it. Based on the comments so far, it appears some of you like the new format, while some of you want to drown it in a bathtub full of stale piss. I can't say I'm surprised. You Sons of Anarchy fans are some of the most protective and diehard of any show I've written about. I love that. And while we're not opposed to going back to a single-author review format, we did have a lot of fun reviewing the premiere together. So let's see how this works out, and don't be afraid to voice your opinion. TV.com is also your site, and you have a say. But please keep in mind the thing I said about wrecking balls above.

Now the guns! Despite the years and years spent playing Call of Duty, I have a rare disease called gun blindness that prevents me from differentiating gun types from one another beyond their basic classifications (shotgun, SMG, sniper, etc.). Kaitlin is in the same boat. We didn't pick up on the gun being directly linked to SAMCRO (user bfmma37 says it's a KG-9, and that SAMCRO has always sold those, so I trust him/her), so we didin't make that immediate link between the kid shooting up the school and the club. And let's face it, the episode didn't go out of its way to make it clear (I don't think it had a responsibility to, but it would have been nice for those of us who aren't so focused on the technical parts of the show), or to explain who the kid was, or to explain who the mother was. However, I think Kaitlin and I both expressed that we expected the shooting to come back to the club somehow, and that the details would be laid out in subsequent episodes. As Kaitlin explained in the comments, the screeners we watch do not have "Next On..." previews of the next episode, and apparently there was a confirmation that the gun was indeed one of the guns SAMCRO sold. That works for me. 

On that note, let's talk more about the school shooting. My concern was that some viewers would feel the shooting was gratuitous or tacked on because of the lack of obvious (keyword: obvious) context. And maybe that was the point. Confusion and chaos result from every tragedy. But television is a continuing medium and Sons of Anarchy is an open show. To think that the shooting was just added to be a shocking moment is myopic. No dignified showrunner, not even one who's as controversial as Kurt Sutter, would be stupid enough to do that. Of course it has (or will eventually have, if you didn't tie the gun to SAMCRO) context. What the debate really should be about is whether or not SOA's inclusion of a school shooting—society's hottest of hot-button issues—was a wise and responsible decision, and whether Sutter handled it in the right way. Latter first, I think Sutter would have done himself a favor to make it more clear that the gun was tied to the club and that the school shooting will directly impact the club. I know I would have felt more comfortable. It was a smart call to not show the actual shooting, though. We all agree on that, right? As for the wisdom of using a school shooting as the catalyst for change in the club, that's an answer that we won't know for another few episodes. I've now read some post-mortems on the final scene from reviewers who I trust and who have watched the next few episodes, and some of them are disappointed in the way it'll be handled in the weeks to come. I haven't watched future episodes yet, and I won't until we get closer to their airdates. For those of us who haven't looked into the future, we'll just have to live with the uneasy feeling we have today. That's what Sutter would want.  


FURTHER READING:

– HuffPo's Mo Ryan on her disappointment in how the shooting is handled in the next episodes

– Hitfix's Alan Sepinwall with a similar opinion on the use of the shooting and its consequences over the next few episodes

– Kurt Sutter talks to EW about the episode and the shooting


Thanks, guys. Keep being awesome.


What'd you think of the Season 6 premiere? 

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As bad as bad gets. The bar is being raised and not in a good way. The acting is painful to watch at times. The stories are ridiculous. The violence is cliche and trying too hard to provoke some shock value / interest, yet it does the opposite. SoA was entertaining once upon a time.
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I haven't done this in a few weeks so likely this is going to be long. And not fanboy friendly. Sorry. But to Sam, I promise not one "stupid" in the whole of it.

Ok so it might be that I have been on planes in and out of airports for the past 24hrs, maybe a little Jet lag but I'll admit it. That was a pretty genius episode and genius move on the showrunners part with this episode. Absolute genius. That was a fantastic episode. In a way it is kind of like being a magician. I mean that really is the only way you can explain it. To be able to take an above quality, excellent show that this was season 1 and 2 and parts of season three and to devolve it down to average while convincing people that it is still the same quality takes a certain kind of genius, or magic to be able to pull off such a feat. That is until someone points out the magicians trick and then you see it for what it is. A simple trick, slight of hand, drawing the eye (or emotion in this case) in order to fool the crowd. If that wasn't what they were going for then the episode was below average. Or well exactly average (I'll expand on this in a bit).

You two are right. The school shooting wasn't just for the shock value. To think so would be silly. It simply is "the turn", In magic the turn is when the magician doing the trick makes something ordinary,(in this case really ordinary, actually devolving below ordinary) and make it do something extraordinary. They do this to draw the viewer's eye (or in this case emotion). The show has done this since the fourth season. At this point it is pretty standard, kind of like the rest of the show. Because it makes the viewer who just saw the same exact episode for now the 14th time. And voila it fools people into thinking this is still a quality, excellent show. But arguably this was one of the worst episodes, following a season of them. They just keep showing the same exact thing over and over and over.

Let's go over what happens in the episode. And basically the last 13 or so episodes.
#1. Jax goes off by himself.
#2. Something happens to an Ancillary character to warrant action.
#3. Action happens.
#4. A new, mysterious, somehow powerful character shows up out of the blue.
#5. Jax's makes a deal with said character. (this is smart Jax)
#6. Tig does something recklessly stupid that ends up with someone dead, which invariably brings repercussions for the club and someone else other than Tig, because Tig is a fan favorite and nothing directly happens to Tig.
#7. Tara does something that someone of her intellectual level just wouldn't do.
#8. Gemma bold face lies to Jax, again. After I can't recall how many lies that Jax has caught her in and yet she still does it and he still takes it.
#9. Gemma threatens a person of which Gemma isn't even close to their intellectual level, who by all rights shouldn't be intimidated by her.
#10. New character from last season has convenient flaw to likely be taken advantage of by the club or Jax at a later date.
#11. Clay, who by the rules of their universe shouldn't be alive is yet somehow still alive(because he is a fan favorite), does something despicable, because he is a despicable character who shouldn't be alive, yet is.
#12. Tara again does something that someone of her supposed intellectual level would never and really should never do.
#13. Jax sleeps with someone else or does something he shouldn't. (Not so smart Jax)

And that is basically the past show/s in a nutshell over and over again with little tiny details changed in order to make it seem new.

Now the things that don't make sense.

First and foremost, Clay still above ground.

Toric. Is magic. Or some type of Svengali. Because he can convince a certain group of people (guards) that are male dominated, tend to lean to the heterosexual side of gender identity. Who, generally have issues with homosexuality, voice that, and are usually but not always afraid of it, to run a train on a male inmate. That is impressive. Likely it is another attempt at a "turn". Look how edgy we are, we must be great.

Toric again, who seemingly can take over two prisons without breaking a sweat or revealing to people trained in detecting that sort of thing, that he is in fact a heroin addict. I am sorry, I don't care if he is retired and spent a lifetime in the Marshall's service collecting favors. No one has that kind of pull, I don't care if he somehow saved the President. No one is going to get guards to rape a male inmate. Tara? Sure that could happen. But they already did that with Gemma and can't be too obvious with our rehashing of stories. But back to the point, no one has that kind of pull to offer deals, come and go as he pleases, keep people in isolation. Likely something is going to happen that gives him that pull. Probably repercussions from the shooting. He is going to get pulled back in by someone.

Dave Navarro, sorry, every second he is on screen just makes me chuckle uncontrollably. The Rocker/pornstar or pornstar appreciator whatever. Now all of a sudden an "actor". I hope his character dies soon because it wasn't his acting ability that got him the gig. Likely he is good buddies with Sutter. Sadly, since the kid that shot up the school was either his son or his girlfriend's son we are probably going to see him a lot.

I would say Tara but that character has been devolving pretty much since she appeared on the show. I could understand her not wanting Jax there if she was going about this smart and not wanting her association with the Club coming up. But it isn't that. She just doesn't want Jax to see her in prison because she is a tough ol' lady instead of a intelligent well trained physician. The thing with the blanket was proof of this. Instead of going up to the woman and saying hey I am a Doctor you dimwit I can cause your death in any number of ways or heck I can help all of you with your ills because it certainly isn't going to be the joke of a Doctor that could only get a job in a jail, that is going to be able to do it. But no, she has to beat the fellow prisoner with her fists because she is a good tough ol' lady. It is near comical at this point how far her character has fallen. And then she turns down Toric. She was all set and ready to head to Oregon with or without Jax last season and he offers that same deal, except none of the club would be able to track her down. But no, Tough Ol' ladies stand by their man.

The rest. Was pretty much same stuff different episode. It is really simple psychology in order to exploit the faults in human memory. If you are ever in a contest for any reason where you are voted on by the public pick either to go first or last. Why? Because that is what the average human memory recalls, the first thing they see and the last. The stuff in the middle gets muddled. So they show something drastic and a little shocking in the beginning and something shocking at the end. So that you think you saw something good instead of something that is becoming increasingly procedural. To the point where a skeptical viewer can and should be able to tell what is going to happen in the episode before it happens. Right down to Jax sleeping with the madame the second we saw her on screen.

I used to really enjoy this show, first few seasons. It was up there with the great shows. I am not sure which came first though, the multiple season pick up or the devolving of the show. Likely the former because this show ever increasingly seems to be diluting the quality of what it once was.

Sorry, that was long. And I didn't even get to parts of it.




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I just watched the episode and haven't read the comments here yet but in case it wasn't covered I just wanted to say I don't see why you two are so upset about the school shooting being a plot/storyline.

Why do you need answers right away...the relevance, I'm sure, will be shown soon. I'm thinking it relates to the gun likely being from SAMCRO and maybe a SAMCRO's kid (like Jax's kid) was killed--just guesses (wasn't Wendy shown drinking in the montage at the end-she was so adamant about her sobriety so what could make her start drinking again).

Maybe it's a plot device or a political statement (hope not since I am not anti-gun) or something else. I guess I'm trying to say it doesn't matter NOW because we will find out LATER.

Maybe I missed the connection and if so then I will find out but for now I don't know the reasons the kid shoot up the school but I'm excited to find out why and how it connects to the show. The drawings in the kids book had something about bullies and the gun likely came from SAMCRO. Maybe I am insensitive or I can just separate fiction from reality but the school shooting (which wasn't even shown) just seemed like powerful shocking drama just like drowning a guy in urine or showing Otto getting raped--all powerful and shocking scenes that seem to have a purpose (Tig getting release and maybe moving forward emotionally, consequences and ramifications of Otto's and others actions, etc...).

I'm not sure why there is confusion over Tara--she wants to get out of jail--she screws up and admits to a felony---she isn't stupid and she knows she is going to serve time for that since she isn't going to rat--once she decided not to rat she knew she would have to show strength to survive in prison so she got her blanket back:-) That's my interpretation but I may be wrong.

Jax is a douche for cheating on Tara.
Clay will do anything to stay alive and if he has no alternative I can see him ratting.
I thought the guy from The Terriers was going to transform himself into Otto--all the tattoos, the long stringy hair, pulling at his eye when looking in the mirror all high on heroin (I thought he was going to mess up his eyes)

off to read the comments and will probably change my mind about what I said;-)

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You say Jax is a douche for cheating on Tara.. But he's doing it (almost) every season since since season 1 :p
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He's always been a douche but I still like him~~it's not like I'm married to the douch
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With all the shit he already pulled over the course of the series, he is indeed still very likable..
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and I still liked Walter White;P
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I don't like this format also it seems none of you actually LIKE the show.

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A great way to open the season. They came out(or ended) with a bang! Whether it's appropriate or not, it worked. People are talking about it and the show. I personally have no special oppinion about the school shooting. It's a TV show and just one of its scenes. People are ok with zombie faces being crushed on screen, but they complain about a school shooting where nothing was actualy shown. If people don't like violence then they shouldn't watch shows like SOA. At the end of the day it's just a tv show.

The shooting asside, I loved the episode. We met some new faces (Donut Shop Cop, the Kid's familly). There are new troubles in the making (the porn/whore business mashup and the SAMCRO gun being used in the shooting) and old problems still not setteled (Clay, Tara, Toric and Tig being alive).

Can't wait for the next episode.
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well said!
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I like that both of you did the review together.
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At the start of the episode it shows 'previously on SOA' and shows how Jax made a deal with Nero to appease some other group they were dealing with who wanted guns (can't remember exact details unless i re watch season 5). Jax said that he had some they could give them and the footage showed a bag full of guns. when the kid pulls out the gun to go shoot up the school you know it is one of the guns that Jax let that other mob have because they looked exactly the same and why else would they recap that scene?
maybe Dave Navarro has one and his girlfriend/wife's kid took it to school, because Nero brokered the deal and could have given a few out to his guys as well.
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In it's worst eppy SOA is never a "hairy soap opera", so didn't get that little quote. And viewers of SOA know violence is the "bed fellow" with the show. The fact there are so many holes that need to be filled in just one show, is what keeps me interested. I will watch to find out who Navarro's character is (don't see the problem of Navarro being an actor btw). I want to know who the woman was with the child who committed the heinous crime at the end. I want to know what Nero is hiding, because the dude is hiding something (Nero's quickly becoming one of my Favs). Toric what is his agenda, does he want Jax just because he thinkings Jax is the head of the snake? When will Gemma fall off her high horse again? Why doesn't Tara really want to see Jax....they've seen each other at their worst, what makes this time different. The thing I enjoy about SOA, it keeps me watching because I want all those answers. I may have been in the minority in not knowing why Otto killed the nurse, but Tara answered that for me....and it made sense. SOA has always been a puzzle. If I'm hanging in w/Dexter, hanging in with SOA is a cake walk.
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I do not get the Tara thing either. Why would she not want Jax 'to see her like this' as she put it? Unless she means her awful haircut.
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Prison barbers are the worst
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I like getting the second opinion on the review, but it's a bit long. What about Tim doing his review as normal and then doing a separate discussion with Kaitlin with shorter paragraphs so there is more too and fro?

I prefer a show where I get to figure out some plot stuff rather than being spoon fed. So I like that I put the pieces together that the gun the kid used is from the Club. What I'd like to think is that Sutter is writing his show for his fans and not for the crowd who will hate him no matter what he does. So I'm glad the link to the club was loose.
The school shooting left me feeling unbelievably sad rather than disturbed. What could happen to this kid to drive him to do this? It's incomprehensible to me. Personally, I was more disturbed by the rape scenes. Maybe it's because I didn't get to see what happened in the school, as opposed to the lovely visuals we were treated to of Otto and the girl on the bed. Or maybe it helps that I live in a country where thankfully even our police don't cary guns, and we have very little gun crime. Whatever happened to this kid to motivate him we don't know yet, but we can see throughout the episode the kid shadowing this crazy violent world. Sutter has said in an interview "I felt that at some point it would be a disservice to the mythology and to the realism not to suggest that what they do ultimately is not blowing back on innocents". This is a fair point, and while we all watch the show for entertainment, gun shootings, gang beatdowns, sex trafficking... all these things are a horrible reality for some people.
Oh Jax what are you at???? Very disappointed in you Jax. Your contempt of Ima, but then you go shag the madame, hypocrite. Gotta agree with Chibs and Juice, they had such a bromance, but it was nice to see Chibs patching Juice back up. It looked like all was forgiven. Have to agree with Kaitlin on Tig, it felt like his therapy. All the rage and hate he had, and all the feelings of letting his daughter down, were released. So Gemma didn't rat on Tara eh? As much as I love to hate Gemma, I'm glad it wasn't her. Tara is annoying the crap out of me though. Do you not think it would be a good idea to let your husband know that there is a psycho marshal after the club with a vendetta????
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They did review this way,because Tim is bored with this show and if he did it alone,there would be quite alot of bitching about episodes. And then we would bitch to him,to gtfo from here:D
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It won't be that long every week. The episode being the premiere, and being 90 minutes is what made it so long.
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It probably felt long with the added bits by Tim at the end. I liked getting the different opinions, like on Tig.
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I think people should get used to this, because we all know Sutter loves those 90-minute episodes. During a brief period of time, they felt special, now they feel like overkill.
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One show I like is Sherlock, but the 90 minutes always puts me off. That's a movie, not a tv episode.
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Please go back to the first person dissection / analysis of the show as it's just eye opening even for a hardcore fan as myself! However, you could still write this type and post in tandem with the other, this was interesting and fun to read, but I'm partial to the others!

Also, the original type has allowed me to enjoy the show twice, as I watch it the first time....read the analysis, and re-watch so as to get what I pick up!!!

But my first time through last night, I noticed the gun immediately....it's the same type he supplied Nero's crew with last season.....so that's definitely going to be a big plot point....as I believe it'll affect Jax in a very dark emotional way....and may be the catalyst for him leaving......oh this show is so great, so many if's and perhaps........
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I actually enjoyed the back and forth of the article and don't care if I am in the minority on it!!! Different view points are always good to have. I like your other reviews but they read like a one side conversation anyway so it's nice to hear the other voice you are speaking to. :)

Any who.

I am not sure how I feel about the premier episode this season. It was like too much was going on, so nothing was going on. The school shooting bothered me and not because I'm a mom but just because it seemed unnecessary and it was almost like, lets see what we can do to drum up controversy and get some attention away from Miley Cyrus. ((please someone get attention away from her I am sick of seeing her on MSN every time I go on the internet))

I like the show and I will continue to watch the show but to me it started going downhill about halfway through season three... I can actually pin point the scene where I had my first "WTF that makes no sense" when Jax was going to leave Abel in Belfast.... there have been moments of brilliance but to me it's just been a bit of a train wreck that I can't stop watching.
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The new format is a good idea. The show has gotten stale with the stretching out of the main story, which makes the cycle of episode, review, comments, replies stale too. I do agree with the commenter that suggested you make each writer's section shorter before switching back to the other. Maybe write it over SMS instead of e-mail. Maybe leave the autocorrects in for the lulz.
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"Straw" is the turning point for the show. Neither the school sooting or Otto's rape was a surprise. Neither were done for shock value.

I've never read your column before but I would suggest returning to a "one voice" format.
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Wow! this review is actually incredibly terrible. I'm not interested at all.
Please Tim, just do the freaking review as usual.
I won't read it anymore if it's like that.
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Please come back whit the one person review.
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At the beginning of the episode I was all: Clay is still alive. Clay needs to die. At the end I was all: Jax is an asshole. Jax needs to die. In one episode I think we've pretty much covered the story that Sutter meant to tell with this series. May as well end it now.
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I think we covered the story he originally meant to tell in the 4th season. They could have/ should have ended it then.

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I've watched the school scene a few times and I see only one splat on the window and a whole lot of gunfire. In his notebook of insanity the words in caps were GOD DOESN'T LIKE BULLIES. We saw the scars on his arm. We saw kids coming out intact, and no injured or dead. I noticed he waited for the bell to ring, and then went in. The sounds of the kids in the school talking loudly after that bell tells me they were getting out of the class, not going in. In the back of my mind I have a nagging feeling only the priest was killed. Over-killed in fact. Just a suspicion, or hunch.

But I could be completely wrong, lol!
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Interesting! But the shot of the emergency responder sitting on the ground, shell-shocked, makes me think kids were injured/killed.
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At first I thought the kid was some kind of Oracle, or maybe a veiled warning, sort of like the homeless woman who perplexed Jax and Gemma in the earlier seasons: he had that same haunted, hopeless look. Unhealthy kid, junkie mother (seemingly), dad a right-hand in the MC; I dunno, the parallels are there but there's no context for them this early in the season.

Liking the new format, comes off more personal but academic. Which I suppose can refer to my favorite quote from this article, "I'm just here for the fun, not the Hamlet comparisons." From day 1 I have been fascinated with Sutter's insistence that this is a modern day telling of Shakespeare's play. The tragedy, the irony, the family; it's all there and the parallels keep me fascinated throughout the hiatuses. But it's the "fun" that has me watching every Tuesday at 10pm. Blood, bikes, and babes. I've been waiting for SOA to return to its season 2 mastery that combined all these themes, and this premiere has me more excited than ever...
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Tim and Kaitlin, great job! I really enjoyed the new format and feel like it brought a level of detail and nuanced thought not usually present in single person reviews. I'm not sure if it would be good for every show, but I definitely enjoyed it here and hope to see more of it in the future!

As for the premiere, I saw lots of comments on social media last night decrying the events of the episode, most along the lines of "WTH Kurt Sutter!" and "Not cool SoA!". When I saw those, my initial thought was "Which part??" Honestly, by the time we got to the shooting near the end, I was pretty numb from all of the other crazy shit that had transpired beforehand. Torture porn that leaves your body covered with cuts and burns, rape porn, Otto's every morning conjugal ass rape in solitary, planning to billy club a dude's ass, being drowned in a tub of piss and then dumped in the ocean inside a torture cage, Ima getting her face smashed into the bar and her nose basically exploding everywhere, Tara going ape shit on her cellmate over a blanket, Juice getting the "juice" beat out of him as he just laid there and took it, the copious amounts of man ass, etc. A lot going on there.
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the season 6 premiere just awesome from start to finished, SOA is one the best dramas on TV if not the best !!! their isn't a table big enough!! as for Tara new hairdo nothing wrong at all!! that was great when she went postal!!
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I liked the new format and it gave more than one voice to review the show. I think that is great.

I liked the premiere, it did not disappoint me. SOA and BE premiere were very good. I was very disappointed with Homeland premiere though.

At first, I thought the school shooting might have killed Jax son or someone's kid connected to the club and now that I read Sutter explanation, it seems to be a good idea to talk about their trading of guns. SOA used to think guns are the lesser evil than drugs but is it really?

As usual, the songs are good too. The last bit montage with the music playing was great !

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do you have a link to Sutter's explanation?
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Its in Kaitlin;s article at the bottom, you might have missed it

http://insidetv.ew.com/2013/09/10/sons-of-anarchy-season-6-premiere/
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RE:THE UPDATE FROM TIM -

THE FORMAT -
I dont mind the format at all, its has a lot of the same flow as conversations in the comments.
My only criticism would be to lose the first 4 paragraphs preamble and get to the review. It wouldnt affect the article and probably help with the "too long" criticisms.

THE FURTHER READING -
I dont get previews, so i havent watched any other episodes, but i get the impression from those article's that they dont go for a political statement - which i am happy about.
Any shooting has too many possible political topics - parenting, school systems, gun control, mental health issues, social workers etc - and i dont be to sound like too much of a prick, but i dont want SOA to become a preachy show. I dont mind them being slightly preachy on The Newsroom (I expect it), but SOA is a different animal and becoming an "issue" program is not part of its make up.
The shooting will probably have ramifications on the club dynamic, which is what i watch the show for - characters and storytelling

On a side note - After thinking about the fallout from the shooting, I have to wonder how it will affect Tig, children being his trigger for erratic behavior right now
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I kinda gave up on this last year. I love gratuitous violence as much as the next guy, but it has to have more purpose than this--Banshee, I'll allow it. This is the dregs of dead end stories and no one really deserves to live. Nobody learns their lessons and life is quite unpleasant all the time. Nobody ever wins, it's all just stays of execution. It's fairly well written, but it lacks purpose. It just shows us that this is a life for no one. You can root for these people, but you should actually be rooting for the law to wipe out this plague that are The Sons of Anarchy...
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Not a very explosive season opener, though Otto's rectum might disagree. Apparently its just a couple weeks since the closing of Season 5. Tara's in jail (yes, I hope she gets shanked). Jax is making moves towards "legitimate" business. Guess running whore houses is as legitimate as a MC can get. Although I like Jimmy Smits, i'm not a fan of the Jax-Nero coalition, and the Nero-Gemma storyline is a snoozer. Bobby lives in a studio at UNLV. Chibbs has anger he needs to let out. Juicy has a nose that needed rearranging. Wendy recovered her car from long term parking. Doesn't Unser have a trucking company and/or a pension? Why is he so broke ass?

Wow does Jax not know that Toric is why Tara is in jail and Clay is in iso? Oh yeah cause Tara didn't tell him. Shankage. And Tara doesn't want to speak to him? Ok Jax you have my permission to go bang the Madame. Gratuitous ass shot. Thanks. Though I don't think the Tao of Steve appreciates bum shots.

Yes we had the Iranian gangbang piss fetish, but things didn't really get Kurt-Sutter-Bat-Shit-Crazy until the end when that kid went Wolfenstein. That should tie in nicely to the season. Increased pressure on gun-running due to a school shootout should provide necessary conflict with the law, Irish, and the Charming community who has put up with SOA for so long.

Gemma is matriarch of SOA. Gemma had JT killed because he wanted out of gun running. Gemma buys Nerolito a toy gun. Psycho kid shoots up school with gun SOA was selling.

Oh, and can Barosky say "Murphy" at least once this season?
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I believe unser sold his trucking company to pay for medical payments. As his pension, I doubt its a lot or maybe he lost it when the sheriffs closed down.

I think it would have been better if it was Robocop himself running Stockton ports.
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Ah yes, Unser, another in a long line of TV characters whose terminal cancer lasts a surprisingly long time. Way longer than their Doctor predicted.
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Peter Weller looks awful. Too much sun??? Geez!
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I like this new review format, but agreed to other commenters: way too long, and also the update. I'd say take a bit more time to write down what you think, and make it a bit more to the point. Furthermore I agree with a lot of you guys' observations and was feeling the same way a lot. Was a bit dissapointed as well by the first ep, and I have big fears that it will end up like Dexter, which became terrible. I've invested so much in this show, loved it so much too, so I'd be very dissapointed when it won't step up its game.

there seems to be no coherence in the whole storyline at the moment, a lot of setups and exposé. Curious how Sutter will work it out though.
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This review conversation thing would of worked better if each of your response was a few lines each time you "talked" not 2 or 3 big paragraphs each, I just could not get through it way too long, I just skimmed through it. Also don't start reviewing a show like this calling it frivolous fun (seriously prison rape, torture porn, school shooting is frivolous fun?) then start saying I liked this or I loved that. It just makes your review seem immature. It's a sad thing for a reviewer when the comments below from fans or not of the show in a few lines are more insightful, then a review that seemed to go on forever.

Not knowing what the kid was the whole episode is & having you wonder is
"smart" writing, I really want to know what the shooting has to do with the overall story, & also not knowing exactly what Toric's plan is (but I understand his reasons) if we knew everything there would be no reason to watch the show.

Also Tara has given up getting out, so that is why she attacked the cell mate & won't see Jax. And why are you surprised he slept with Kim Dickens, first of all Tara has been in jail for more than 5 mins, she's rejecting him the whole time & Jax has done it again when pissed at Tara. And men have cheated for less reason than that, get real people.
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I´ve paused Jax´s butt so many times today that I think that I have won the "crazy fan" contest! ;-) I love the season premiere, so interesting. I feel really sorry for Tara.
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I used to love this show but it has turner into a POS nasty soap. The writing is obvious and ham fisted. I am out SOA sucks.
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Agreed. At this point I wouldn't be surprised if they bring back Jax's dad from the dead. Originally he was an undercover ATF agent trying to ward off the club before it started, now he is the head of the ATF and has been the one indirectly behind trying to get the Club this whole time. duh duh duhhhhhhhh
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The most controversial part of this episode is where Jax uses a flip phone.
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LMAO. Those flip phones are throwaways. Still funny!!
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I'm pretty sure I watched this entire premiere with my mouth hanging slightly open. That rape scene with Otto ( which, in my opinion, was NOT actually Kurt Sutter but a stand-in actor) was disturbing. I know many say he had it coming for stabbing that nurse, but in a lot of ways I feel sorry for Otto. He went to jail for the club, he did their bidding inside which garnered him more time, they didn't protect his Ole Lady, they didn't kill her killer, I mean Otto was ride-or-die for the Sons and I just feel like throughout this entire show he got screwed over by them. He even told Tara "do not visit me again, I would hate to do something awful." or something like that. And the sons kept dragging him into their bullshit whenever they needed a favor. He snapped.

I've read the interviews Kurt has done about this season, and he explains the premiere really well.

"These guys deal guns, and there’s a certain amount of disconnect once you put those guns out on the street not really knowing whose hands they’re gonna end up in and what violence that they create. You sorta sell and move on, not unlike a drug dealer who doesn’t really know the emotional impact of their product. And to have a father, Jax, who’s struggling with boys of his own and questioning the violence of his life, and is this right for his kids — it just seemed like a very organic story to tell. And I waited because I knew that ultimately the emotional and social impact would be great, that it would be hard to have that story happen and then move on to a couple seasons where these guys are selling guns and just livin’ their life. I knew if we did it, it would really have to be at the end and, ultimately, I realized it was a good way to take us to the end."

There is a lot more to the interview, but he basically explains he is showing how the club is collapsing in on itself. Everyone has fallen apart in some way, so each season is increasingly chaotic and violent. And this is what he had to say about Jax's cheating:

"There’s a disconnect that Jax feels with Tara. And Jax has that weird connection with his mom. I think Jax is a guy that needs a strong woman in his life. In fact, I think at some point this season, Bobby says that to Tara. So the connection Jax has to Colette — not that I want to suggest that it’s incestuous — but there’s just something sweet, and gentle, and maternal about her energy. Like, when he’s watching her make the bed, and she’s taking off his shoes. She’s an older woman. There’s just something incredibly nurturing about her energy that perhaps he hasn’t been getting from Tara or he’s missing from that relationship."

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Like there back-and-forth review. One correction: that's "Corrupt Retired RoboCop's Donut Shop."
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One other thing -
I dont see the school shooting as a political statement, just a plot device to tie the club to a tradgedy
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Im sorry, but SoA lost me last year by hurting the kid...but I tried to give it a chance. After the rape-porn Im out. 10-4
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you don't watch shows where kids get hurt?
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No, not really, not where the wiever is invested in the kids. The "funny" thing is that in my new book I kill off three little children but the reader never gets to know them since it's in the beginning.
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Notes-

*The school shooting = the gun used was part of the batch that Jax gave Nero for his gang, so the Sons can now be linked to the school shooting. And lets be honest, anyone linked - even tenuously - to a school shooting in generally in for a bad time. My guess is we will be seeing the ATF at some point

*Otto is now getting more sex than he was on the outside. My problem with this situation was fairly simple - why are the guards raping Otto and not some prisoner.

*Is Otto getting raped daily Katey Sagal's payback for the gang rape scene in a previous season. She pitches the idea over breakfast one morning "Honey, you what would be a good idea for Otto....."

*Donal "I like to rub my junk against a mirror" Logue has been a big improvement on previous shady law enforcement protagonists. The reason Toric has such a mad on for Jax and the club is simple - Otto killed his sister to protect the club from RICO. Jax was in charge of the club at the time (This is not a difficult premise so the reviewers lack of understanding is more confusing to me)
Also, Toric being a drug user will somehow end up killing him (he gets a bad dose) either that or his drug use somehow becomes public knowledge and discredits him (because the organised daily rape wont do that). Otherwise its a bit pointless

*Tig - is being set up to be killed, but with him unraveling the way he is, it could be seen as more of a mercy killing that benefits the club. Which is a pity, because Tig is one of my favorites.

*Juice and Chibs - I always thought they were the closest of the gang, so Chibs beating him for his betrayal made sense, wanting to kill Juice didnt make sense. This does seem to give Juice a clean slate for a while, but Jax saying that Juice must prove he deserves a 2nd chance does not bode well for him.

*Bobby - is either setting up a new nomad or a new club. He might be playing a long game to restructure the MC itself and end up being the reason Jax loses power.

*The new escort service and Jax gettin' some - isnt this a retread of his behavior in previous seasons? Unless he leaves Tara this is a pointless storyline to create minimal conflict in later on business deals with Nero.

Not the strongest premiere, but it was good
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One guard "observed" the rape, the rapist was another inmate. Could be wrong about this, but that's how I recall it.
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I thought the rapist putting on the same color coat as the guard when they were walking away.
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OMG you were right! I watched it again and it was a guard raping him?! WTF?! Toric must be the devil himself to get some prison guards to REALLY COMMIT themselves ...
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OMG.....your line about the conversation at the Sutter/Sagal breakfast table was hysterical!!!!
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Absolutely great observations, especially the one with the gun the kid had at the shooting which I did not catch. The reviewers "not getting the Toric story" is there way of complaining about the show, that's all
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No offense intended to Ms. Thomas, but I'm not a fan of the new format. I don't like sharing Mr. Timmy. Feels like I just bought a large bag of chips and didn't notice til after, that it is no longer 24oz, but is now 17oz (and don't give me that "contents may settle after packing" crap.) Back to full-time Tim please.
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I don't understand why people are against Tig drowning that guy in the tub. He saw his daughter burned alive. Clearly, someone wishing his other, still living daughter, any sort of harm, much less RAPE, is going to set him off. Obviously, the Irananian guy didn't know any of that but still, it seemed perfectly reasonable that a distraught father, who was already sick to begin with, would inadvertently drown a man to death. The way I see it, he didn't plan on drowning him. The opportunity just presented itself. Then, when he realized what he did, he just accepted it because the guy wasn't exactly innocent. After all, he fucking makes money off of raping women! Tig, as weird as he is, would never condone that. So he pissed on him and dealt with the body. Aside from the initial attack that lead to the drowning, Tig seemed pretty level-headed the entire time. He was calm and he knew exactly what to do. Was it smart or right that he killed a guy for making a comment? No. But Tig isn't smart or "right". It's perfectly in line with his character. I've never seen my daughter burned alive but if someone said that about someone I love, I'd want to hurt them too. Plus, if you watch that scene again, Tig did everything he could to keep from hurting the guy. The guy called him a stupid shit and spit on him and Tig just slapped him once. Then, he went too far. So Tig did what he did. I thought it was a perfectly earned moment in the episode.
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From all the kills Tyg committed this one is probably the most ethical. Who's holding it against him?
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I think the thing that finally set Tig off was when the Iranian/Persian prono guy said "Daddy it hurts"..Tig had to listen to Dawn scream "Daddy" over and over while Pope's guys burned her alive. That was the trigger.
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"prono" haha, porno**
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I think they are trying to set up a pattern of behavior so Jax can justify giving Tig to Popes men. Even Chibs noted that Tig wasnt fully in control. The scene with the baby at the seemed to show Tig in despair - so he may willingly accept his death at the hands of Popes people just to end his own pain and benenfit the club
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Whatever happens, there'll be a good reason for it. After the amazing Season 3 Finale, I just fully trust the writers of this show to deliver a satisfying conclusion to everything. Even Zoebelle. Hopefully.
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Toric wants Jax and SAMCRO because he thinks Otto killed his sister to beat the RICO case against SAMCRO. He thought Otto did it to help out his club. That's why, when Tara told him that Otto did it to hurt Jax, not help him, he quickly changes the subject. He probably still thinks that Tara is just lying to him to get out of prison but the seed of doubt has been planted in his mind. Obviously, he's not gonna believe her because he's prejudiced against the club and everyone associated with it. He thinks they're all trying to protect the club. That's why he hates SAMCRO.
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Great points! One comment - I'm wondering if Tara's prison beat down on that girl wasn't her snapping, but rather a tactful move. She can paint herself as the victim and say the girl attacked her (assuming the fight progressed and Tara gets a black eye or something) and make a case that she should be released from Prison for her own saftety - a la Daniel in Revenge, Season 1. What do you think?
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Fast and easy way to go to AdSeg. Won't have to deal with other inmate's crap when you are locked down 23 hours a day.
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I'm with Grumpy & David...In my mind, Tara was caught admitting on camera to her felony & felt doomed. Now, the only thing I know about women's prison is what I learn on TV, but what I know of male prison comes directly from a family member. Given that this show has a predominately male audience, I think Tara's "snap" mirrors the practice of a 1st-day beat down that establishes newbie dominance in the eyes of the other inmates for the sake of long term self preservation.
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Also she gets her blanket back :-)
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Prisons be chilly.
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I agree with Grumpyclown. I totally felt that that was Tara's way of making her mark because she understood she'd be in there for quite a while. Not sure how often people get released from prison because they're being beaten...
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I think Tara did the beat down because she thinks she wont be getting out, so she doesnt want to do her time as a victim
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That was pure unadulterated rage, nothing more! She is a woman, who can't get to her sons, she can't find a way out and is angry at everyone!
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possibly, but no :-) Tara is an experienced powerplayer by now and she knows the drill. eat or being eaten, survival of the fittest kind of stuff. She's a MD, smart, but also streetwise now. She's thinking 5-7 years, so agree with Grumpyclown, show them who's boss.
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*siiiiigh* I loved the episode, loathed the review format, didn't care for the reviewer (the female one) she has been commenting negatively on quite a few shows that I enjoy. Let her review How I Met Your Mother or some other laugh track BS and leave the Sons Of Anarchy reviews to Tim, please.
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You know who handled a school shooting scene masterfully? American Horror Story season 1. It was integral part of the story and not tacked on as many plot points in SOA are starting to feel.

Here's another 1.5hr season premiere that was very underwhelming in terms of plot/production.
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I never made it that far into AHS Season 1. I tried really hard, but it wasn't my thing. Season 3 however? I think I might be able to get in to that.
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I only got to episode 3 or something. Then I just gave up on show.
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Season 1, Episode 6. It's a four minute scene. Since it's on Netflix instant, I'd recommend watching it. Powerful stuff.

I very much enjoyed season 1, season 2 fell off a cliff, I'm out for s3.
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Hold on people, Sutter is channeling his inner Otto and biting off his own tongue...that was bat sh*t crazy, even by SOA standards.

There's a season preview and whether political or not, Kurt looks like he's committed to the double barrel bird flipped to the Normal Nancys because they are the "legit threat" facing the club this year. "The kid of a guy in a gang affiliated with an MC shoots up a school...take everybody down".

Toric is no Lincoln Potter. NOBODY is Lincoln Potter. But SOA works best when the big bad is a little unhinged, which is why the Pope story line last season didn't do much for me. Once a little more of Toric's motivations are revealed, things will start making a little more sense. We've seen this from Sutter a few times. This is his move. Hold some back, get you second guessing everything then start slowly pulling back the curtain to make you reflect on your second guessing and realize it all makes sense.

I'm calling season 6 of SOA season 11, cause like Spinal Tap, he's looking for "that little extra push over the cliff"
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I dislike the new format. I read the reviews to find out what happened on the show, and with the new back and forth, it was too confusing to follow, I don't have a clear picture on what happened.
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You don't watch the shows? Try to read the recaps then, then the review. It might help!
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I liked the format, but hated the review.
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I enjoyed the format, it is fun to try new things.

I didn't really realize that I was feeling kind of like Tim. The show, though a grittier version, has become a nighttime soap, not the drama that I felt that it once was. There were some exceptions here and there, and the drama surrounding Opie's death was awesome storytelling.

I have to say, I HOPE that they are showing Jax descending to the bottom. To "Clay" level. Because this was not the Jax of old. Not really. Jax, in the past, was a more "honorable" criminal type. He wasn't above sleeping with whores, but since Tara came back he has mostly been all about her, especially since she was pregnant with Thomas. He was looking for ways to get out of the life WITH her. Not to bring her into it, not to stay in it and gain power. So, it seems like now, he wants the power like Clay did. And if this is the season where he finally hits rock bottom, then I understand the 50 Shades of Grey audition. I get being upset that Tara doesn't want to see him, but she was in jail for what, a few days? AND was in jail BECAUSE of him? Yeah, I think we can expect a confrontation.

"You know I listen as good as I suck dick." How would anyone know if that was true unless they experienced her sucking or listening expertise? Maybe she uses a lot of teeth (like smiling when she listens... at inappropriate times...) and sure, that is what I hear about hookers. They are good listeners...

As for the school shooting, I am not a part of the group that says that violence on tv causes violence, and I liked the WAY it was filmed (flashes of light, screams, etc.) but how did blood get on the windows THROUGH the blinds? That seems weird. Magic blood?

Great review for an okay episode. I hope it improves!



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Wow,what a "review" !?!??! Really,it takes 2 people now to do 1 "review". Of course some will like it and some hate it...clearly I hate it.

SOA is back.That's all I care atm. Season premiere was good,great at times and shocking. I mean,I thought kid will get shot,not that he will kill other children..wow,SOA has big balls. Jimmy and Donald are great addition and atm I have no idea,where this season is going. Sure you got Clay and Tara in jail,Toric breathing down their neck and every morning he sends guys to Otto(woow,didn't see it coming...very nice and SOA-like),SAMCRO is just getting eaten up from inside(really hardest part to watch),while still staying together. Looking forward to the rest of the season,but will skip "reviews" from now on(only read 1/4 of this one).
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I hated everything about this discussion review and I didn't even finish it. I feel like before commenting on a lot of stuff and predictions, you probably should have paid attention to what Sutter and Charlie have said about season 6 and 7. I don't know, I just strongly disagreed with like 90% of this.
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dont hate the format, but you re right at least 90% of the criticisms seem bullshit if you know of any of the comments sutter and charlie made in the build up. thats why 90% of reviews on here veer on the side of pretension...
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The sources you two are citing are... questionable to say the least. 90% of what comes out of Sutter's mouth is bullshit because he's a delusional narcissistic asshat. He may be an okay artist of a sort, but he's no kind of credible source for anything.
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How can you disagree with 90% of something you didn't read?
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Lol just because I didn't finish the last paragraph doesn't mean I didn't read it, I read most of it. I disagree with it. It's my right to disagree with it if that's how I feel. And it's anyone else's right to do the same or to agree. That's the great thing about forums and discussions... You get to know everyone's thoughts and theories.

Thought that was obvious, guess not o.0
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Of course it is your right. It does surprise me that you claim your right to disagree while bashing their right (and not finishing) to their opinion as well. That was my thought.

I also wouldn't know how much of the article you read, you only stated that you didn't finish it. For all I knew you could have only read the first paragraph.
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I honestly couldn't agree more with you. I thought it was an awesome season opener. It's most definitely still one of the best series on television I don't care what anyone says. I feel that some people just don't really understand the world that these characters inhabit to be asking so many questions. I still find this quite puzzling. Jax is a biker....and regardless of how he is like he gets a free pass anyway as his 'ol lady is in jail. One should know this! Also it's absolutely plausible that Toric could behave like this. Even now..there are plenty of examples in life where people are functioning in a job,let's say, but at home they're a wreck..drug addict,drunk..etc.who get up to all sorts of things and exhibit all kinds of weird behaviour. Toric has snapped and is so full of hate he's destroyed and it's eating away at his soul. He's laid a blanket of blame on any and all those who he deems even possible of being involved, regardless of whether it makes any sense. He goes home and shoots up to deal with the pain...It actually makes perfect sense to me.
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I agree completely. I don't think most of SOA'a audience actually know anything about that world or can truly relate to it.
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im utterly addicted to US TV and I totally agree with everything youve just said
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Though I completely agree that Jax gets a free pass based on biker rules and all that jazz, that isn't who Jax was before, and that was why Tara accepted so much about him. I think that is what people are seeing, Jax might be a biker, but he is behaving more like Clay than Jax.
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Thumbs down
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LOVE the new format - MUCH more balanced and therefore WAY MORE informative. THANKYOU, THANKYOU, *THANK*YOU!
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Good God people, this is a biker gang and Jax can sleep with anybody he wants to. Old Ladies have no say in something like that. And Tara in jail, people would have been treating her with respect due to her connection with the club. No street wise chick would ever want to mess with an M.C., instead, they would want to make a connection.
What I wonder in all of this is where Toric is getting all the power. I don't see how he could do what he is doing without being an acting Marshall.
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"And Tara in jail, people would have been treating her with respect due to her connection with the club. No street wise chick would ever want to mess with an M.C., instead, they would want to make a connection."

I actually think that might have been strategic on the show's part to show the devolution of the power and pull of the MC. If they aren't strong, they ain't scaring nobody in prison.
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Everyone has friends in some places... apparently he knows some prison rapists.
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I like the new format, guys! Are you gonna try this out on any other shows' reviews?
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Agreed. I wouldn't hate it if this format carried over to the Breaking Bad finale
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I hope so; it would be nice to spend more time discussing shows and NOT just the reviews alone. LOL.
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Why the LOL?
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Why not? I was being humorous; given that usually the fighting that goes on between posters on a LOT of forums, not about the show but the reviews, is huge. Hence my amusement at finally being able to enjoy a review and then discuss the SHOW. I mean have you read some of the stuff about reviews on shows like SoA when Opie died? Or The Following? Which is why I was delighted and then amused with the review here. Hope there's more like it.
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While my mind is completely blown by the events of tonight's premiere episode, all I can say is good grief. And while I am completely upset at Jax for doing what he did with the Madame hooker I understood he was hurting with the way Tara was supposedly pushing him away. And the reason I say 'supposedly' because I think that cop guy with the oily ponytail has something to do with it(never caught his name). I feel like he is purposefully isolating Tara and then playing the lawyer(me and my sister put this together after we watched the show). Even though Tara did say she didn't want Jax to see her like she was, I find that completely odd she would even ask him to not even see her at the Bail hearing. I hope Tara's kicks Jax's behind when she finds out about him sleeping with the hooker. The school shooting scenes was a complete shock to me and my system, but I see where they are headed with Jax wanting to be done with guns altogether. Because that was what he had wanted for a long time, that was his and Opie's plans when they took over. Tigg my poor Tigg is still hurting and reeling from the tragic loss of his daughter, and I was rooting him on when he took the dude out... just wish it wasn't so gag inducing(disgusting). Poor Juice, but he knew his actions had consequences, lots and lots of consequences. Bobby I am trying to understand him here, but I am completely lost on his thinking now. He say's he doesn't want Jax to be like Clay but at least Jax isn't ordering anyone's execution behind anyone's backs and making under the table deals like Clay was. I don't know what Bobby wants from Jax. Neero and Gemma's relationship is soon going to come to a head, because I see that while Neero is in it, he doesn't want to be. He is not liking the direction everything is going and his hesitance is speaking volumes to me. I see him leaving everything behind soon. Clay needs to die. And Chibbs seems to be the only one on a level head even after he kicked Juice's behind tonight.

I look forward to next week.
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