TV review: “Sons of Anarchy” is more about honor than anarchy

By Columbus Alive
From the November 21, 2013 edition

One thing to say about FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” is that, through its too often meandering storytelling, it truly has honor. The current season hasn’t been great — and presented most of the series’ biggest flaws in the worst way — but there’s integrity behind the whole operation. That I commend.

Moving away from the problematic, slow-burn serialization, “Sons” long-ago established a rock-solid foundation that’s generated excitement, stakes and heartbreak — especially in Tuesday’s episode.

[BIG SPOILERS AHEAD]

I haven’t been pleased, or really appreciated, “Sons” since showrunner Kurt Sutter — a writer with a solitary vision worth appreciating — pulled a deux ex machina to keep Clay (Ron Perlman) alive. Clay should’ve had — and deserved — a villain’s death. (I won’t even discuss Opie’s wasteful demise as some sort of F.U. to the audience, and more obviously critics.)

With those complaints out of the way, let’s get to the solid work Sutter, the writers/directors and a litany of cast members did to rebound this season. I knew the story was building to something big (after the poor start). I was pretty sure Clay, or possibly Tara (Maggie Siff), was going to die viciously at Jax’s (Charlie Hunnam) hands.

After Tuesday’s outing I was just impressed by how they pulled it off; executed (almost) perfectly. Clay had to go — like so many “Sons” characters, which makes the show exhilarating — and SAMCRO outsmarting the enemy (this time the Irish) wasn’t original. But goddamn, it was fun.

Where the narrative of SAMCRO, and more importantly Jax — who’s brilliantly played by Hunnam — is going, is a vexing mystery. But damn, I want to find out. Tara, or Gemma (Katey Sagal), as the new Clay is intriguing.

“Sons” is a series that’s impressively flawed, but also downright impressive at times. It can be gripping, funny and genuinely electrifying. But none of those qualities would stick without the, let’s face it, f---ed sense of MC honor behind it.

“Sons” may ape other, better crime dramas (*cough, “Breaking Bad,” cough*) but the series has its own code, and rightfully sticks to it.

Photo courtesy of FX