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Friday, August 26, 2011

Sons of Anarchy - Overview and Summary

Overview for people who are thinking of getting into the show - We know lots of you were waiting for us to finally watch this show, but this is a hard one to get into, or at least it was for us. One of us actually had to try watching it three different times. Finally, we gritted our teeth and got through the first seven episodes. Then we were fine with it.

This series increased GREATLY in quality in the second season. While the first season is worthwhile, it’s not as good as the rest of the show. It wasn't until season two that we finally realized what everyone was going on about. Overall, the show is overrated, but still good and worth watching. We will be watching the fourth season. One strong point is that the show has interesting, developed characters. That's important to us.

Here are a few things you will want to know before you watch the pilot. Sons of Anarchy is a motorcycle gang with many chapters. This show focuses on the original chapter, Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original or SAMCRO. So when you hear people talking about Sam Crow, they are talking about the motorcycle club chapter that you are watching a show about. It’s not some hidden leader or something.

These guys don’t sell drugs. In fact, they spend lots of time trying to keep drugs out of their little town (Charming, California). They do traffic in weapons, but there is a pretty big vigilante element here. That’s something we didn’t know before, or we would have watched this show sooner. We are all about vigilantes in entertainment.

Jax Teller is the main character. He’s the hot blonde guy. His father, John Teller, started SAMCRO with one of his buddies, Clay Morrow. But John Teller died. Now Clay Morrow is the president and Jax is the vice president. Jax’s mom, Gemma, married Clay Morrow after the death of her husband. Jax is divorced from a drug addict and has a young son who was born with medical problems.

At the beginning of the season, Jax found some old journals of his dad’s. Apparently, John Teller had different ideas for the club than Clay does now. This becomes a point of contention between Jax and Clay, and it sows seeds of doubt and causes friction in the rest of the club members. If you are seeing some similarities to Hamlet, you’re a sharp one, because we really think the show is sort of based on it. Other characters sometimes refer to Jax as a “prince.” We wonder if it will end the same way…

Summary - Before we start, here is a cast of characters to be familiar with as you read
(Besides Jax, Gemma, and Clay, who we have already mentioned):
Tramell- An old cop who has been totally bought off by SAMCRO/is in their pocket.
Hale- a cop
Wayne Unser- Another cop.
Tara- A doctor and old flame of Jax’s. She worked on his infant son’s case.
Josh Kohn- an ATF agent that Tara used to date. He shows up to investigate SAMCRO at the beginning of the show.
Wendy- Jax’s ex wife.
Abel- Jax’s son.
Alex “Tig” Trager- SAMCRO member
Robert “Bobby” Munson- SAMCRO member
Kip "Half Sack" Epps- a SAMCRO member with only one nut
Harry "Opie" Winston- a SAMCRO member
Donna- Opie’s woman
Big Otto- SAMCRO member who spent time in prison for his activity
Luann- Big Otto’s wife
ATF Agent Stahl- An ATF agent.

Season 1
The Mayans destroyed one of SAMCRO’s weapons warehouses and stole some guns. During the birth drama of Jax’s son, Gemma gave Wendy drugs so that Wendy might kill herself with an overdose. She survived, Dr. Tara suspected what happened, and we got to see that Gemma is one stone cold bitch. But we love her.

Meanwhile, Jax found his father’s old journals and started wondering if the club shouldn’t be into so much illegal activity. SAMCRO then went to Nevada to deal with gun trafficking business. Clay and Half Sack slept with a girl named Cherry. Then there was a shoot-out with the Mayans. Also we found out that Kohn, Tara’s ex, has been stalking Tara since they broke up.

After some of SAMCRO’s guns were used to kill three people, Clay was arrested for aiding and abetting. Gemma found out that Clay cheated on her with Cherry, so Gemma beat Cherry with a skateboard. Then she was arrested for that. We hope that you are starting to see that Gemma is the best thing about this show. She’s a loving mother to Jax’s face, but you had better not cross her.

Since a restraining order didn’t work, Jax threw Kohn through a window to get him to stay away from Tara. Kohn was then arrested for breaking the restraining order, which didn’t do wonders for his career as an ATF agent. In fact, it ended it. Kohn went to Tara’s to try to rape her, but she shot him in the stomach. Jax showed up to help and ended up shooting Kohn in the head after Kohn called Tara a “biker slut.” Then Jax burned Kohn’s body and had sex with Tara. We hope that you are starting to see that Jax is the second best thing about this show.

The True IRA was another gang in the Sons of Anarchy universe, and SAMCRO was pretty friendly with them/they did gun business together. Opie was supposed to do them a favor and kill someone, but he messed it up, so Bobby had to do it. A little girl saw the crime and the two men were arrested, but SAMCRO members grabbed her to prevent her from testifying.

ATF Agent Stahl questioned Tara, Cherry, Luann, and Donna. Cherry was arrested, but Unser helped her escape. Big Otto attacked Stahl because Stahl was going to destroy the club on racketeering charges. She lived and set Opie up to look like an informant. Tig and Clay fell for the trick. Clay ordered Opie killed, but Tig accidently killed Donna instead. They set it up to look like a rival gang, the One-Niners, killed Donna.

Then Hale told Jax the truth about Stahl setting Opie up. Jax figured out what happened. He went to find SAMCRO members about to kill the little girl witness and stopped them. Then Jax threatened the witness, paid her off, and told her to get out of town. The first season ended with Jax deciding that he didn’t like the way Clay was running the club, that his father wouldn’t approve, and that Clay has lost his integrity. John Teller’s journals were passed to other club members.

Cue Season Two. More characters:
Ethan Zobelle- LOAN’s leader. LOAN is a white supremacist group.
AJ Weston- Ethan Zobelle’s henchman
Polly- Zobelle’s daughter who has an affair with Edmond Hayes during this season
Jimmy O- the head of the IRA, a gang
Edmond Hayes- IRA member
Cameron Hayes- IRA member and Edmond’s father

A new gang, The League of American Nationalists (LOAN), started trying to get rid of SAMCRO/drive them out of town. The leader, Ethan Zobelle, arranged for Gemma to be grabbed and raped as a message to SAMCRO. Gemma kept quiet about it so that Clay and Jax would stay out of trouble rather than seek revenge. Big Otto, still in prison, asked SAMCRO to help Luann out because she started a porn studio. Cops raided her studio and another pornographer was also giving her trouble. Jax proposed that SAMCRO become a partner in Luann’s business, offering her and her colleagues protection. He thought it would be a pretty good way to get legitimate money as well.

Jax and Clay, meanwhile were still at odds. LOAN planted a car bomb and nearly killed Chibs, hoping that SAMCRO would retaliate. Clay ordered retaliation and Clay, Jax, Bobby, and Tig were arrested after trying to attack Ethan Zobelle. Agent Stahl came sniffing around again, trying to get information on the IRA from the jailed SAMCRO members. They kept their mouths shut, but Stahl provoked a physical fight between Clay and Jax.

The members got out on bail. Clay declared that he wanted SAMCRO to get out of Luann’s porn business. After that, the porn studio burned down, and Jax suspected Clay of the arson. Jax told the club members that it was time for him to “go Nomad.” Gemma told Jax about her rape so that he would stay in the gang and so that she would give Clay and Jax a common enemy. Then Tig ruined the new peace by telling Opie that he killed Donna. On top of that, Chibs promised Stahl that he would help her take down the IRA and its leader, Jimmy O. This was successful and Jimmy O was apprehended. Opie spotted Chibs meeting with the ATF and told the club. Chibs also came clean about it.

SAMCRO found out that Ethan Zobelle really wasn’t in the game because he was racist. He wanted to get in on the Hispanic Mayans’ prison heroine trade. SAMCRO alerted AJ Weston, Zobelle’s enforcer, to these facts. Weston was really racist and didn’t want to do business with Hispanics. AJ Weston and Ethan Zobelle were enemies after that. But then AJ Weston was arrested for setting Luann’s porn studio on fire.

SAMCRO confronted Ethan Zobelle for the rape. Hale (a cop, remember?) showed up on the scene. Zobelle told the cop that he had narcotics on him so that he (and his daughters) would be arrested instead of killed by SAMCRO. Zobelle was released and sought protection from the Mayans. It was also revealed that Zobelle was an FBI informant. Jax shot Weston and killed him.

Edmond Hayes, IRA member, was being held by Agent Stahl, who was using Edmond as bait to get his father, Cameron. Edmond tried to kill Stahl and escape, but Stahl shot him. Polly Zobelle was shot by Gemma at a safe house, and Stahl witnessed it, but she let Gemma go. That way she could frame Gemma for shooting Edmond. Cameron Hayes thought Gemma killed his son because of this, so he broke into Jax’s home, stabbed Half-Sack, and kidnapped baby Abel.

SAMCRO went after the Mayans and Zobelle. The Mayans retreated. Jax got a call from Tara and went home to find Half-Sack dead, his baby gone, and Tara tied up. Meanwhile, Chief Unser helped Gemma get out of town and Ethan Zobelle ditched the Mayans and caught a plane back to Budapest where he came from. Jax went to Clay for help tracking down Cameron and his son. Cameron took to a boat. SAMCRO made it just in time to see the boat getting away.

Season Three:
Gemma hid in Oregon with Tig. They went to see Gemma’s father, Nate, who had dementia, and Gemma took him to live in a nursing home. Tara went to visit Gemma and helped her kill Gemma’s father’s caregiver. Masked men did a drive-by shooting at Half-Sack’s wake, and Deputy Hale was run down by a car. SAMCRO had an upcoming hearing for weapons charges, but they agreed to jump bail.

Cameron liquidated his assets and went to Belfast. He confessed his sins to his cousin, Father Ashby, who has connections to both Jimmy O and the main IRA group. Ashby had Cameron killed and planned to put Abel up for adoption. SAMCRO hired a bounty hunter to find Abel, and then they received an email telling of Cameron’s death. After talking to Jimmy O, Jax came to the conclusion that Cameron left Abel in Vancouver.

Gemma went back to Charming, not knowing about Abel’s kidnapping. Father Ashby’s sister, Maureen, gave Gemma call to tell her that her grandson was safe. When she heard this news, Gemma had an arrhythmia and collapsed in the parking lot of the auto-shop (Teller-Morrow) where most of SAMCRO have day jobs. When Gemma recovered, Tara told her that she was six months pregnant with another of Jax’s spawn. Gemma went into police custody.

Without telling the other club members, Jax made a deal with Stahl to save his mom and have the weapons charges against the club downgraded. In exchange, he offered up Jimmy O and the IRA. Oswald, a wealthy Charming resident, agreed to get SAMCRO over to Belfast. Jax broke up with Tara, and Tara caught him in bed with a porn actress, Ima, the next morning. Jax said that he wanted to drive Tara away, to protect her. Tara thought it was because Jax hated her because of what happened to Abel.

Enter Hector Salazar, a former president of the Calaveras MC, yet another gang. He was recently booted and he was still sore about it. He started watching Tara and Jax. Gemma found out that John Teller cheated on her and had a daughter with another woman in Belfast. Tara helped Gemma escape from police custody and made an appointment to have an abortion. Gemma went with SAMCRO to Belfast. Ashby told Jax that he should kill Jimmy O (because the IRA don’t like the way he does things) in exchange for Abel.

Stahl advised Jax not to kill Jimmy O and helped Jax dig up info on Ashby. After their first attempt to kill Jimmy O went awry, SAMCRO had to engage in torture in order to find out who warned Jimmy O. Ashby told Jax where Abel was, but he also said that Abel should be adopted by someone other than Jax so that Abel could avoid life with criminals. Jax agreed and left Abel alone with a new family. But then Jimmy O killed those adoptive parents, took Abel, and tried to exchange Abel for the opportunity to escape back to America. Ashby traded himself for Abel, and Abel was returned to Jax.

Hector Salazar kidnapped Tara and her boss, Margaret, on their way to an abortion clinic and said that he would return them in exchange for the murder of one of his enemies and $250,000. Tara attacked Salazar’s girlfriend and got Margaret set free in exchange for the girlfriend’s life. The girlfriend died anyway.

SAMCRO returned to Charming and started looking for Tara. Gemma told Stahl that unless Stahl stopped dealing with Jax, Gemma would tell everyone about how Stahl murdered Edmond. Salazar kidnapped Jacob Hale, Jr., another cop. Hale, Jr. was trying to take over the Charming Police Department with another, larger police department. In order for Hale, Jr.’s takeover plans to be thwarted, Salazar needed to be taken alive, but Jax shot Salazar during a stand-off.

Stahl shot her partner, on purpose, and blamed Edmond’s murder on her dead partner to get Gemma off. Jimmy O hooked up with Russians in order to escape to South America. SAMCRO paid the Russians $2 million to hand over Jimmy O, but the money was counterfeit. Jax let Stahl in on the deal so that she could arrest Jimmy in exchange for a reduction of SAMCRO’s prison sentences. Jimmy was moved before Stahl could get there and arrest him, so she went to the SAMCRO clubhouse. There, she took Jimmy O into custody. SAMCRO was arrested and taken away in an ATF van. Turns out SAMCRO knew about Jax’s dealings with Stahl, and they were cool with it.

Stahl’s van didn’t make it. Unser (a cop) stopped Stahl’s van due to there being an IRA threat on the road. Stahl’s colleagues left to investigate and she was left alone with Unser and Jimmy O. Chibs, Opie, and others showed up. Chibs killed Jimmy after cutting his mouth like The Dark Knight’s Joker, and Opie killed Stahl. They set things up to make it look like the IRA’s fault. Jax and Clay made up, and Jax supported Clay’s vision of the club over his dead father’s. Father Ashby’s sister, Maureen, put some letters in Jax’s bag. Tara found them and read them. John Teller had written to Maureen that he was afraid that he was going to be killed by his wife and Clay, and that the two were close.


And that’s all. This is by far the hardest post we've ever written. Please add more in the comments if you think we missed something important or want to expand on a character/characters. We were trying to keep it short, but this is sort of a convoluted, action-packed show. And we DID finish watching it in just two weeks. It’s enough to make our heads spin, but we’re ready for season four. Weeeee!

Season 1 Grade: B-
Season 2 Grade: A-
Season 3 Grade: B


  1. I don't think the show is overrated. I think people love this show because there hasn't really been much motorcycle gang shows/movies or ones that are really interesting like this one. It's also one of those shows where you think "I'm not a fan of motorcycle club shows/movies" or "I'm not a fan of cowboy shows/movies" and end up being a fan because it's THAT good. :) Btw, Otto is the show's writer Kurt Sutter. :)

  2. Your point is well taken. It IS the best motorcycle gang thing we've ever seen. We aren't into motorcycle clubs or even motorcycles, but we watched three seasons. We like the characters.

  3. Tara was only 6wks pregnant, not 6 months, when she confided to Gemma and went to abortion clinic.

  4. And Jax had sex with Tara, with atf agent dead on floor before he disposed of the body and later burned him.

    1. Thanks for the corrections! You're right.