Saturday, November 17, 2012

Char Watches Sons of Anarchy: Pilot

I need another show like I need a sucking chest wound.

BUT, y'all know me, I can't stay away. TV is my life. Sue me.

And that is why, on this fine Saturday evening, I started the series Sons of Anarchy. I've heard so many great things about it, how could I resist? And with the preexisting knowledge that it involves cute guys in leather jackets on motorcycles... well. I had to at least see what all the fuss was about, right?

I have also been striving to write more, so I figured this would be a perfect opportunity to work on my television critique.

I'll try to update every few episodes, so bear with me as I slip into my unhealthy habit of obsessively watching a show. They don't call it Charlotte-ing a show for nothing! (No one calls it that.)

Okay, here goes nothing. Oh, and, SPOILER ALERT!


Pilot episodes. Always a thrill. The scene is set and our main peeps are introduced. Usually the viewer is confused for about twenty minutes. Are pilots considered hit or miss these days? I know a lot of people judge a show by its pilot, especially when it's first airing. The beginning of any TV season is always filled with harsh critics either berating or applauding pilots left and right, and many declaring lukewarm feelings of, "I guess that intrigued me enough to give it another shot next week."

Watching shows from the beginning that already have the first four seasons on Netflix Instant, like SoA, is a different story. We've already heard many opinions on the series, usually only good things if we're giving it a chance. Either way, though, pilots can be quite the wild ride.

As this was! I loved it. Then again, I'm pretty easy to please when it comes to TV, and I always like to give a show at least its first season before I end the relationship (which, when you think about it, probably makes me a bad TV critic. Good thing that's what I want to do with my life...... but I digress).

We've got our main man, Jax Teller (short for Jackson, played by Charlie Hunnam), who plays a dominant role in a southern California bike gang known as, you guessed it, the Sons of Anarchy. They reside in a smaller town known as "Charming," and they pretty much run the show. Er, the town. You know what I mean. We get a glimpse of gun running along with paying off cops to do their dirty work, although they do stress the fact they don't want drugs in their town.

The boss of the "club," as they refer to it more than once, is a gruff dude by the name of Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman). He's sort of Jax's father figure, in more way than one--he's banging Jax's mom Gemma (Katey Sagal), another prominent character. We learn that Jax's father passed away some time ago in a motorcycle accident, but I'll talk more about that in a bit.

Clay and Gemma seem very... scheme-y already, and their king and queen status might be clouding their view on what's best for Jax. I guess we'll see.

Just in the first episode, Jax is beginning to look like one of my favorite types of characters: the troubled, dark past, deep in shit kind of guy who really is just a softie at heart. Very similar to one Jesse Pinkman, although Jax is more confident and self-assured. Perhaps we'll see a sort of Walt-Jesse relationship with Clay and Jax? Yet I can't see Jax letting Clay walk all over him like Walt does with Jesse, but there were a few instances already where Clay has put pressure on Jax to do something he doesn't really feel necessary.

It quickly becomes apparent that Jax is expecting a child with his junkie ex-wife Wendy. While going through some old family storage to find some baby stuff, he comes across a box of his dad's belongings--pictures, journals, and interestingly, a script for a novel about the Sons of Anarchy. It even has a dedication to his two sons, one named Thomas who the dedication hints has already passed away (intrigue) and to Jax, saying he hopes that Jax will never have to live the same kind of life. Hmmm..... Jax brings it up with his mom, professing his findings that his dad, who was also a prominent leader of the Sons of Anarchy, had different plans for the club. More peaceful, less violent. "Real hippie stuff," Jax calls it. Being the softie he is (I hope), he seems interested in pursuing that kind of future for the gang, but his mom tells him that was just kid stuff and Jax needs to be a man, blah-blah-blah. I already don't like her.

The junkie ex-wife goes into premature labor, and a baby boy is born with serious problems and only a 20% chance of making it. A cute young doctor named Tara (who played Rachel Menken of Menken's Department Store in Mad Men, one of Don's many love interests) who is obviously close to Jax in some way, helps out with the baby's surgeries and he ends up being okay in the end! And his name is Abel, which is badass. We get the sense that Tara used to be part of the gang life in some way, back before she turned her life around and became a doctor I guess. Gemma hates her, go figure.

One very notable scene--Gemma goes to the detoxing Wendy in the hospital and is a straight up BITCH to her. She almost strangles her and says in a very low, scary voice: "That child will never call you Mommy." She even slips her a needle of heroin, basically encouraging Wendy to kill herself, and we see her overdosing in her hospital bed. Not sure if she survives or not. Either way, it was intense.

Anyway, that's pretty much the gist of it. Throw in a gun fight and some explosions and you got yourself a great TV pilot. I look forward to continue watching and writing!

-Charlotte <3

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