Note: the following is a spoiler-free review for Sons Of Anarchy 6.01 “Straw”.
It’s Season 6 and Kurt Sutter, writer and creator of Sons of Anarchy, delivers another episode that deftly wields the human capability for violence in a way that presents moral entanglements and ethical gray areas. Season 6’s first episode, “Straw,” did not fail in depicting the stark brutality of rape, drug addiction, murder, and school shootings–to name a few of the most enthralling, horrific subject matters. On this occasion, I will leave it to you, dear readers, to see for yourself the fruits of Sutter’s labor.
Sutter is the master of presenting circumstances in which the main character must seriously consider, reevaluate, and grapple with his or her own inner moral compass. Jax Teller frequently encounters the dark underbelly of Sons of Anarchy, as Sutter plunges satellite characters of SoA into ever-deepening and darkening waters. By the forces that pull Jax in multiple directions and the human inability to foresee results of actions taken, Jax must confront ugly truths and his grim present reality. Despite Jax’s desperate attempts to extricate himself from the heavy weight of the outlaw motorcycle gang, Jax sinks deeper into the swirling cesspools of quicksand. James Poniewozik from Times accurately sums up Jax’s heartbreaking and futile efforts:
“Jax has spent five seasons trying to find a way to change SAMCRO, to tame its worst impulses, but it increasingly looks like SAMCRO has changed him”.
Sutter depicts the costs of living on the fringes of society and is not afraid to use violence as a way to shake up the audience, to think profoundly on the human condition. As writer and philosopher, Sutter explores topics, like heinous brutality, most individuals skirt around and introduces concrete applications of disquieting situations that forces the audience to confront the ugliest and darkest parts of which human beings can potentially bring forth or have enacted already. He thinks a lot about why he uses violence, how it plays out in the current narrative and its relevance, and “what it does to characters in the long-term”. Violence in Sons of Anarchy is a tool to reach an end and not revelment for its own sake. Thanks to Poniewozik’s interview with Kurt Sutter, here is Sutter’s motives in his own words:
“When you don’t have that sense of responsibility and when you don’t look at the actions of your characters–What’s the reaction to those actions? What are the consequences? Who do they impact emotionally, physically, spiritually, whatever you want to – however you want to look at it. That’s, I think, when it gets sort of exploitative. That’s when it then just sort of crosses into violence for violence’s sake and then I think you get into glamorizing the violence and the shooting and all that stuff – when there is no consequence for that stuff.”
All in all, my verdict is watch it. The storytelling is exceptional, directing is fantastic, and the impact left in the wake of its watching leaves one to wait anxiously for more.
Lastly, as a heads up, although not official, Season 7 is expected to be the last, which I’m sure all of you SoA fans are silently mourning in your hearts, as I am.
9/10 Seriable Stars