Hello my friends. I thought I would bring back this feature with a bit of a different twist. Scripted TV that looks like it could be real. At least we know it’s fake, perhaps based on actual events, or just a figment of someone’s imagination. Scripted programs are usually a little bit of both. Sons Of Anarchy is one of these programs my friend put me on to at the beginning of the summer and I know the show has it’s fans here too.
I put this show here in this feature because it is made up and the characters are fictional. However, I think there are a number of parallels to the real thing. I have a very limited personal knowledge of outlaw biker clubs from way outside looking in. During High School, a kid I grew up with became involved with a local MC (Motorcycle Club) through his brother who was a member. My sister dated a prospect at the time. All 3 of these guys, the kid I grew up with, his brother, and the prospect are now all dead. There is no sugar coating or glorifying that. The older brother beat his younger brother to death and then hung himself in his jail cell that same day using his shirt as the rope. I don’t really know what happened to the prospect. I’m sure he was a member by that time and my sister had moved on so we no longer had any contact with him, or the club.
On the outside, these ‘outlaw’ clubs are just a group of guys who have told society to go to hell and they live by their own rules. Many of them have their legitimate jobs, some run businesses of their own but their first loyalty will always be to the club. Just like you see in the gangster movies, the ‘Family’ always comes first and I’m not referring to the wife and kids. The order is, Club, then the wife and kids. These are lifetime memberships but one can buy his way out. There has to be some incapacitating reason for that but it is possible and expensive. The women, or Old Ladies, who are not married to members are treated as property and are often passed around as such. Just as with the membership, there is a hierarchy among the women. Who they are depends on who they are with. However, a woman can be queen bee one day, trash the next. Why some women want to be involved with this really is beyond me but it’s their lives so I try not to judge them. I don’t have any facts about what it takes to become a member of one of these clubs but it doesn’t happen overnight. One must first be introduced, then offered a bid to join, followed by a period of time getting to know the membership. In the fraternity, we called them pledges. To an MC, they are Prospects. That’s about the extent of my personal knowledge of these clubs.
I’m not trying to paint all motorcycle clubs in a bad light. They aren’t all outlaw and some really are just a group of people with a common interest out for the simple thrill of riding with a group. Even local police departments have MCs.
For those who do not know, this is a serial show that is about a motorcycle club in a town called Charming assumed to be in California. The main occupation of the club is they run guns. Buy and sell them. At first it was just a way to earn a few dollars but like everything else, it became a full time occupation for them. In the show, for the first 4 seasons, their main connection was with the ‘Irish’ – aka, IRA. During the past two seasons they’ve also branched into Mexico dealing with the drug cartels. There is a lot of politics going on as one could think of each club we see as a different country. Either they co-exist, or they kill each other. Those who have watched the show have seen these alliances if you will, come and go. SAMCRO is constantly it seems, having to fix things screwed up by either a member who has gone off half cocked or an outsider. This show doesn’t paint the club as just as bunch of good ole boys having a good time, consequences to their actions are constantly shown. One week they are on top of their game, the next, they are having to rebuild.
Up until now, the president of the club has been Clay. His wife, played by Katie Sagal, Gemma is the matriarch of the club. I’m told it is she, who brought the SOA to Charming. Gemma has a son, Jackson (sorry I don’t know the actors actual names) who is the son of another member killed years ago. Now, apparently, it was Clay as well as Gemma who set his father (JT) up to be killed in an ‘accident’ or by a rival club, not sure which. JT had a side woman in Ireland who apparently he also had a daughter with. JT had written a number of letters to the Irish woman over the years before he was killed describing his push out of the club by both Clay and Gemma. Much of the entire show has revolved around Gemma trying to keep Jackson from finding out the truth of what really happened. Much of the club’s drama and many of their problems also stem from that. The problems between JT (who is dead in the entire show timeline) stemmed both from Gemma going to Clay or Clay taking her from JT, as well as the direction the club was going. JT had a different vision for the club and he wrote a manuscript describing it. Clay on the other hand was firmly entrenched in the gun running business and saw no reason to stop.
Jackson, who is up until now, the vice president of the club, has married an old flame, Tara – the doctor, and now has 2 kids with her. Well, actually one. The other is actually the son of his previous wife who at the time of the kid’s birth was a major junkie. Through a lot of plot twists and turns (I could write a novel about it but that’s already been done), Jackson finally learns two truths. First, Clay killed his father or had him killed. Second, during S3, which took place entirely in Ireland (to retrieve Jax and Tara’s kidnapped son), these letters were sent back unbeknown to Jax and Tara got hold of them and read them. To try and keep Jax from learning the truth, Clay also tried to have her kidnapped, then likely killed. That got botched however but it wasn’t until the end of S4 that Jax learned the truth of what happened.
Jackson’s best pal in the club is Opie. Through trying to protect the club, Clay tried to have Opie killed. A real ball buster of an FBI agent had planted the seed that Opie had turned on the club and in the botched hit, Opie’s wife was killed instead. Opie eventually gets his revenge on the FBI agent who set him up, let’s just say the agent dies the same way Opie’s wife did. Later, again, trying to preserve the club, Clay also kills, Piney, Opie’s aging father. Piney knows the truth about what happened to Jackson’s father, JT, and is killed to keep that secret buried. Opie finds out who killed his father and puts two bullets in Clay’s chest but it doesn’t kill him. In the final episode of S4, Jackson has learned the truth of his father but more importantly, Tara. Clay made the mistake of crossing Gemma, and she told her son the entire truth of what happened.
Now, the club’s contacts with the Mexican cartels have turned out to be federal agents, DEA. The desire is to use the club as a go between for the Irish, and the Mexicans. However, the Irish will only deal with Clay as it is he who has been the point man all along. Jackson is filled in on who he has been dealing with and as much as he would like to Kill Clay, he cannot. So instead, he rips the President patch off of Clay’s colors and declares himself the President of the club. There are a lot of little details that could be filled in but S4 ends with Jackson sitting at the head of the table with Tara by his side, just as Clay and Gemma had been photographed years earlier. Jackson is now the Prez.
The club had been earlier told that it was ‘black’ who tried to kill Clay. The club SAA, Tigger (or Trigger, not sure which) took it upon himself to take out the leader of the ‘Niners’ in a hit and run. Instead, he killed the leader’s girlfriend who also happened to be the daughter of Mr Pope, the True leader of the gang. The entire episode last night revolved around revenge for that death. The ‘gang’ tried to take out Jackson and the others during a run. Mr Pope killed Laroy, the leader of the gang. They set fire to Tigger’s daughter in a pit, the whole thing was pretty dark and gruesome. Remember here, it was Clay that killed Piney and tried to have Tara killed. Opie shot Clay and they blamed it on someone else.
I’m not going into a line by line recap here. At the end of the episode, Mr Pope has sent a clear message who lives an dies in this fight is entirely his choice. Hits are put out Jackson and a couple others. I guess one relevant part is worth recapping is the beginning of the show. Gemma, has had a drunken one night stand with someone who turns out to be a pimp. Clay is out of the hospital and is moving his things out of the house. Gemma sort of befriends the pimp (we know this can’t be good) so at the end of the episode, it is his establishment where she chooses to stash Jackson and the others.
I will provide more detailed recaps in weeks to come. That is, if you all want me to keep doing it for this scripted, non reality, non housewives show. I’ll be back Saturday with another Saturday Special. Got something kind of cool in mind or at least I think so.
Til then, Peace.
this is 1 of my 3 favorite scripted shows in the fall. The other 2 are Dexter, and Homeland. These 3 are all dark, interesting and have great plots, sub plots, and unexpected events.
I’m also a fan of Homeland and Dexter. Who knew you’d want to root for a serial killer? He’s quite the charmer in that dark little universe of his.
mth, Based on yours and the diva’s enthusiasm for SAMCRO, I’ve been playing catch up with past Seasons. I have to say, it’s really good television. Thanks for doing your very unique style of recaps of it.
SAMCRO is one of my favorites as well. Mel, great job on bringing everyone up to speed!
Love that they brought Jimmy Smits onboard for this season !!!!
Kurt Sutter is an awesome writer and person….
The guy who plays “tig” says that it took over two days to shoot that scene of his daughter being killed and he was emotionally exhausted when it was finally done… Over 40 cigars were smoked by pope during the filming of that scene….
I am SO EXCITED that SAMCRO is BACK !!!!!!! Finally GODD TV
So glad you’re recapping this, Jeff – please continue.
Can’t wait to see Tig unravel in the next few episodes…