It's been long enough since Sons of Anarchy debuted that I can barely remember which Shakespeare play it resembled ... Macbeth, I think. Now? Well, at first I thought I was feeling the effects of having watched the first two Godfather movies recently, but the opening episode of the new season of SOA certainly had its Godfather moments, with the final montage, combining the wedding of one of the Sons and some seriously brutal murders committed by other Sons, being the capper.
Series creator Kurt Sutter famously removed himself from Twitter recently, disappointing those who find his lack of filters entrancing. But he sure got his payback tonight. First, the vicious acts on the show were done by the characters we’re supposed to care about the most, really rubbing our collective faces into our implied participation as the audience. Second, the most hard-to-watch scene of all came when Sutter, who plays a minor character in the show, performed a revenge killing by sticking a knife through the ear and into the brain of his victim, while the soon-to-be-dead bad guy screamed in horrific pain. It was as if Sutter was saying, “You think I’m bad on Twitter? Check this out!”
Paris Barclay, one of TV’s finest directors during a time when show runners are where the action is at, gave the episode a cinematic feel, by which I mean not only that it looked good in creative ways, but also that it seemed as if time was taken to get all of the visuals right, which rarely happens even in the best shows thanks to the hurried nature of television production.
And all of the great cast are back, with the incomparable Katey Sagal a standout but with everyone doing their part. Two new characters look to be interesting, and this first episode did a good job of laying the parameters for the season. It looks to be a good one, and when Sons of Anarchy is good, there’s not much better.