REVIEW: ‘Sons of Anarchy’ Season 3, Episodes 1-4

REVIEW: ‘Sons of Anarchy’ Season 3, Episodes 1-4

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, Ron Perlman, Maggie Siff, Kim Coates, Ryan Hurst, William Lucking, Tommy Flanagan, Taylor Sheridan, Dayton Callie, Mark Boone Junior, Theo Rossi and Hal Holbrook

The Big Idea: When last we hung out with the SAMCRO gang, Jax’s baby son Abel had been kidnapped by Cameron, the Irish gun runner who thinks Gemma killed his son (and fellow gun runner) Edmond, and Gemma fled town after nasty ATF Agent Stahl set her up to take the blame for Edmond’s murder.

Season three opens just a few days later, and Jax is a drunken mess. BFF Opie and the Sons sober him up by tossing him in the shower (yes … Hunnam … shower scene), and Jax is off fast and furiously to track down Abel.

Gemma, meanwhile, with Tig in tow as her bodyguard, lands home, her original home, where she reunites with her ailing dad Nate (guest star Holbrook), who’s slipping further and further away into his Alzheimer’s disease.

To Watch or Not to Watch: Absolutely. We already knew that the beginning of the season, at least, was going to revolve around the search for Abel, and SOA creator Kurt Sutter is cleverly using that storyline to launch into more of the Sons backstory. Without spoiling too much, the fact that Cameron, the True IRA gun runner, has taken Abel back to Ireland opens the path to new characters (and at least one familiar face from the past) and new revelations about others. Suffice it to say we, and I’m guessing Jax, are going to find out some surprising tidbits about John Teller via this Irish connection.

Family also continues to be one of the show’s strongest themes, not only with Jax and Clay’s temporary truce as they try to bring Jax’s son home, but, most poignantly, with Gemma’s reunion with her dad. Much light is shed on Gemma’s relationship with her late mom, but her interactions with Nate, and a difficult decision that has to be made about his care, put the fierce motorcycle mama in a rare state of vulnerability, and makes for yet another Emmy-worthy performance by Sagal.

Elsewhere in the first four episodes of the season, there are some great moments of comic relief with Tig, Gemma and Tara, as they deal with a situation involving Nate’s home caregiver (Coates, by the way, also deserves some Emmy love as perpetual scene stealer Tig); and, though I feel like TV critics throw the word “shocking” around a little too often, the last few minutes of the season premiere are so (sorry) shocking that I wasn’t even sure what I thought had happened did actually happen until episode two. And that shocking event is going to have huge blowback (one of my favorite phrases that’s oft repeated by Jax and company) for SAMCRO and the entire town of Charming.

TV Screener Tidbit: In episode three, Caregiver (airing on Sept. 21), a guest appearance by Stephen King is every bit as wonderful as you trust Kurt Sutter would make a guest appearance by the likes of King be.

Sons of Anarchy‘s third season premieres Tuesday, September 7, at 10PM ET on FX.

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