SONS OF ANARCHY: SEASON FOUR
MOVIE: ***1/2(out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5)
Charlie Hunnam as JACKSON “JAX” TELLER
Katey Sagal as GEMMA TELLER MORROW
Ron Perlman as CLARENCE “CLAY” MORROW
Mark Boone Junior as ROBERT “BOBBY” MUNSON
Kim Coates as ALEX “TIG” TRAGER
Tommy Flanagan as FILIP “CHIBS” TELFORD
Johnny Lewis as KIP “HALF SACK” EPPS
Maggie Siff as TARA KNOWLES
Created by: Kurt Sutter
BY KEVIN CARR
While I really do enjoy the modern-day outlaw series “Sons of Anarchy,” along with many of the other edgier series on FX, the show took a huge dip in season three. With two seasons under its belt, it delivered some hard-hitting television, and the season two cliffhanger was pretty amazing, featuring Jax’s infant son being kidnapped and taken to Ireland.
Then season three happened, and everything seemed to go to hell. Like a poorly-made summer movie, season three had a great set-up but terrible execution. Frankly, it got boring and at times pointless. It became less about realistic character development and more about completely unbelievable plot twists and silliness.
That season ended with a whimper, but fortunately season four came back in truer form and delivered a much stronger season overall.
In season four, the members of SAMCRO have sat in jail after getting convicted of weapons charges. There’s a new sheriff in town (literally), and a new Assistant U.S. Attorney investigating the motorcycle club. These new law enforcement antagonists give something a little different than what we’ve seen before. Ray McKinnon plays the U.S. Attorney, and his methods are more subtle than what we’ve seen before. The new sheriff (Rockmond Dunbar) isn’t interested in helping the club out, and this makes him a character painted in gray.
But beyond the potential reach of the long arm of the law, the true heart of the series comes back into play. The conflict in this season is between Jax and Clay, not just with an acknowledgement of what actually happened to Jax’s father, but also showing a real leadership conflict between the two. Jax gets a bit whiny throughout the season, but that’s the way he’s always been. Clay is a formidable opponent with plenty of political power in the organization, and he also has a cold enough heart to do what he feels he needs to do to keep that power.
The core of this conflict is what drives season four. It starts with a tenuous deal made with a rival gang that leads the group into the drug trade (and much like the outlaw heroes of “The Godfather,” the club has up until now refused to get involved in drugs). This leads the season to quite a climax with a true violent betrayal. Like I said, it’s “Sons of Anarchy” in a true return to form.
While not as fresh and exciting as the earlier seasons of the series, “Sons of Anarchy: Season Four” reminds the viewers of the kind of series it should be. It often takes itself too seriously to a fault, and the overly grim nature can get wearing. Also, it’s tough to stay too much on the side of the SAMCRO gang if you think through the consequences of their actions, but it still makes a cool modern-day western with bikes instead of horses.
The 3-disc Season Four Blu-ray looks fantastic in high definition, even better than an HD broadcast from FX. There are thirteen episodes of the season, with several extended episodes for key milestones in the season. The cast and crew also lend their voices to multiple commentaries.
Additional special features include the SOA App, which can be synched with a portable device while watching the series. There are also deleted scenes, a gag reel, a spoiler-filled farewell piece to a character (which you shouldn’t even look at the title of if you haven’t watched the series), a look at some of the hardest-core fans on the series and a spotlight on the “Sons of Anarchy” fundraising benefit at the House of Blues.