SONS OF ANARCHY SEASON 4 Blu-Ray Review and Recap – Disc One
Sons of Anarchy (SOA) was one of my top shows of 2011 and I don’t think that will be changing any time soon. Season Four changed the course of everything for the club and took us on a fantastic ride. The characters were more desperate and conflicted than we have ever seen them before and the stakes were definitely as high as they could get (or were they?). Theo Rossi really had the opportunity to shine this past season and Ray McKinnon stole the show as AUSA Potter. We’ll see how things pan out for the club as Season Five ramps up, I’m on pins and needles waiting for the premiere of this new season and new chapter for the club.
This first disc in the Blu-ray collection sets up all the story arcs masterfully and opens up the next disc for the action that we know is about to explode from the club, the cartel and everyone in between. Visually the discs are far and away the best way to watch this action-packed, blood-drenched show. The gorier the scene, the better the shock value, the more impressive it is in Blu-ray format. And lets be honest, you wouldn’t be watching SOA if you shied away from such things. With Season Four, Sutter continues to push beyond the limits of conventional television and wows us all in the process.
Sons of Anarchy Season Four, Disc One, Episodes One through Five Recap: The boys are released from prison to the awaiting arms of their club and immediately meet the new Sheriff, Eli Roosevelt (Rockmond Dunbar) who has taken over in Charming. The battle lines are quickly drawn between the club and the new guard when the crew covers Clay so he can meet with the leader of the Russians and they give a couple of new officers a serious run for their money. Lincoln Potter, AUSA (Ray McKinnon) is also on the case, having set up shop in the second floor of the Charming Sheriff’s office, slowly and carefully embedding himself. He quickly became my favorite character of SOA Season Four with his odd nature and very intense manner of speaking, not to mention his unique (to SOA) appearance. He reminds me of an even more warped Gene Wilder version of Willy Wonka. Things are getting hotter for Clay and Gemma as Tara gets closer to the truth about John Teller’s death after reading the letters that Maureen Ashby (Paula Malcomson) stuck into Jax’s bag at the end of Season Three of SOA. We see Wayne Unser again, still sick but now separated from his wife and living in a small camper. Gemma is keeping Wayne in her back pocket, the poor guy won’t be off the hook with her until he’s dead.
Opie and Lyla are getting married, the event is ultimately used to cover the murder of several Russians and the theft of their guns to be sold to the Mexican Cartel. All is not well with SAMCRO (Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original) as Clay employs their services to run guns and drugs for the Cartel, via connection Romeo Parada (Danny Trejo). The trouble is that Clay makes the drug running portion of the deal without voting it in prior to the deal being made. The Russians don’t take kindly to having their guns taken and try to get them back, to their downfall. Otto is still in prison and takes out another inmate under Clay’s orders at great risk to himself after the rest of the club is released. Clay sticks his neck out even further when he asks another SOA chapter to help guard the truck full of guns, only to find they are dealing crank and the vote regarding it took place after the dealing had started. Hypocritically SAMCRO, particularly Clay and Jax find this unacceptable and work to take down the guys that orchestrated dealing (muling and dealing are apparently not equally reprehensible). In yet another ironic twist, they use another member’s infidelity with his fellow club member’s wife to expose the two men responsible for the betrayal. Clay seems to be making a power play, but he is already seen as weak before this incident and doesn’t seem to change things with the display.
Otto learns who was with his wife before she was killed from AUSA Potter (posing as a deputy sheriff) and charges the club with finding her murderer and puts the burden of proof that it wasn’t Bobby on them as well. SAMCRO decides to look into their old friend Georgie (Tom Arnold) the smut peddler to find out how he left things with Luanne and use Dondo (David Hasselhoff) as a pawn to get access to Georgie out in the open. After being taken prisoner, Georgie offers the club assistance with their efforts to stop Charming Heights from being built so they won’t kill him on the spot.
Juice has long kept a secret from the club about his father, specifically that he was black. This would make him a pariah to SAMCRO and Sheriff Roosevelt, along with AUSA Potter use it to leverage to get information on the club’s involvement in drug smuggling. Roosevelt assures Juice they don’t want the Sons, but the Cartel and if he helps them they will direct their attention elsewhere. Juice, in an effort at self preservation and possibly because he believes he can get the club off of the new Sheriff’s radar, agrees to nick a couple of grams of cocaine to be analyzed. As he attempts this he is interrupted and has to hide a brick on his person to keep from being caught. He intends to return it before the run the next morning but falls asleep and misses his opportunity.
Piney confronts Tara about the letters she found and wants to know what she has learned. Tara doesn’t share the letters with him, but Piney puts both of them in danger by confronting Clay and threatening to make the contents of the letters public knowledge. Gemma tries to protect both Piney and Tara, but it is clear she is losing her sway with Clay as he seems to be losing his grip on the club. Clay and Gemma both go to poor Wayne to get the letters, putting him in an exceptionally tough spot. Clay tells Unser that he wants to read the letters, but Gemma tells Wayne under no circumstances can he let Clay see them.
This first disc in the Blu-ray collection sets up all the story arcs masterfully and opens up the next disc for all the action that we know is about to explode from the club, the cartel and everyone in between.
Deleted Scenes: Gives a good background, definitely helps fill in some little gaps that weren’t necessarily essential to the story, but round it out well. True fans always wonder about those little moments and details that you don’t see, the SOA team knows this and gives us what we want in this bonus material. My favorite being when Chuck employs his new found hands for his favorite obsessive pastime to Gemma and everyone else’s renewed disgust.
Commentary: Episode 401, “Out” is the first of the season and longest so settle in when you watch this bonus feature. I always love to hear commentary from several people involved in the creative process. This gives a multidimensional account of what occurred and brings out points one person may not remember or have taken particular notice of, when someone else did. Charlie Hunnam gives an interesting anecdote about doing research for the prison scenes by actually visiting a prison in Arizona which ends with our learning how popular SOA is among our nation’s prisoners. We also learn his thoughts on the difference between brother/sister love and half-brother/half-sister love. We learn from Paris Barclay what it’s like to direct Kurt Sutter on his own show as well. There are too many interesting stories and details to list, but this comment is an engaging element to the Blu-ray.
Season Five of Sons of Anarchy premieres on FX September 11, 2012 at 10PM E/P. Get ready!
To learn about the Season Five Premiere Fan Challenge from show creator Kurt Sutter and your chance to win an opportunity to hang out with the cast, Click HERE.