Sons Of Anarchy, Season 2 – Vengeance Deferred

Country: United States
Genre: Action/ Drama
Director: Various
Year: 2009

Rating: ★★★½☆


By the end of the first season, Clay’s (Ron Perlman) propensity for violence had reached such disastrous levels that Jax (Charlie Hunnam) was compelled to start publicly challenging his authority.

But the outside world won’t wait for the Sons of Anarchy to resolve their internal squabbles.

Ethan Zobelle (Adam Arkin), a slick white supremacist who has opened a cigar store in Charming, is intent on provoking the Sons Of Anarchy into attacking him, thus de-legitimatizing the SOA’s role in the town of keeper of the peace. You see, part of the devil’s bargain the cops of Charming have made is that they’ll leave SOA alone as long as the consequences of their criminality remain safely outside city limits.

Once the cops are no longer backing SOA, Zobelle plans on taking over. Zobelle enlists AJ Weston (Henry Rollins), an ideologically pure white power zealot, for the dirty work, which includes car bombings and gang rape.

This is great stuff, and for a while, it looks like Season 2 of Sons of Anarchy is going to be an improvement over Season 1. Show runner Kurt Sutter has toned down the trash talk and violence this season to acceptable levels, while maintaining the quality of writing and acting that made Sons Of Anarchy addictive in the first place.

Sutter makes the villains of Season 2 so repugnant, that he has set up the finale for a hugely satisfying blood bath. And then he blows it.

Sutter denies us the satisfaction of visceral revenge. This makes no sense dramatically. In the first season, Sutter showed us how sadistic the Sons Of Anarchy could be over a minor infraction, burning the skin off of the back of a former member who neglected to remove his SOA tattoo with an acetylene torch. Are we supposed to believe that the punishment for someone who helped gang rape an “old lady” of the club would be a simple execution?

And instead of allowing the vengeance plot to reach it’s natural fruition, Sutter drags it out over two episodes, and then piles on complications that have nothing to do with the events of the season.

Sutter completely denies the viewer satisfaction, which I’m sure is calculated to keep us tuned in for season three, but his strategy backfires badly. The last two episodes simply register as crappy television.

After last season, I thought I would settle in for the long haul, but now I’m not so sure. I’ll check out Season 3, but with a bad taste in my mouth.

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