Sons of Anarchy, the FX hit about a California motorcycle club with a list of problems longer than the Great Wall of China, was never on my list of “Must Watch TV.” But when the weather’s bad, a cold is worse and Netflix is my best friend, I’ll watch just about anything.
Cue the obsession I never saw coming.
Sons of Anarchy has managed to grab my heart in a way no TV show has since Supernatural, dragging me in with its leather-clad antiheroes, cringe-inducing violence and twisted sense of family values. Granted, I’m only about halfway through Season 3, with plenty of heartache and kleenex left to get through (because spoilers are impossible to avoid, especially after the Season 6 ending) but I’m looking forward to sticking it out with SAMCRO.
My initial reluctance to watch Sons of Anarchy revolved mainly around the violence, not because I’m opposed to violence on TV, but because violent television tends to base itself on nothing but the brutality and shock factor of death and destruction. That’s why shows like The Followingdidn’t last long on my DVR. It, like many others, lost its humanity to the inhumane. But Sons of Anarchy rooted its humanity in the violence, brilliantly depicting just what we, as people, are capable of when pushed and just how that blood on our hands could change us.
So far, one of my favorite moments has been the death of Agent Joshua Kohn (Jay Karnes), Tara’s ex-turned-stalker from Chicago who follows her back to Charming. It’s the true turning point for Tara (Maggie Siff) and her involvement in SAMCRO. And who could forget the tragedy that was Donna, Opie and Tig, and its near destructive consequences for the club.
Beyond the affects of violence on the characters, it’s the characters themselves that bring so much to the show. There isn’t a character who is strictly good or evil. Instead it’s all a mix of humanity that so realistically mirrors our own reality. The cast and crew of Sons of Anarchy remind us each episode that we’re all capable of doing dark things when it comes to protecting ourselves, our lives or the lives of the people we love most in this world. Whether it’s Jax agreeing to help Agent Stahl in order to clear his mother’s name, Opie’s misguided revenge on an innocent, and unfortunate, Mayan member for the murder of his wife or Unser’s many attempts at keeping SAMCRO protected from the bite of the law, there’s no clear line on what’s right and what’s wrong. It’s the beautiful paradox of the human condition, and Sons of Anarchy covers it well.
Now as I’ve said above, I’m only halfway through Season 3, so maybe everything I’ve discovered so far might be wrong. Maybe all the violence will end up being just to capture the shock factor and all of the characters could end up being horribly disfigured and nothing like what I’ve come to love this far, but I doubt it.
And even if that does happen, I’m in this for the long haul. So bring it on Kurt Sutter and Sons of Anarchy. Let’s do this.