“The crow flies straight.”
Sons of Anarchy Season 3 kicked off with a premiere that was nothing short of jaw dropping. Episode 1, “So,” takes place presumably a few weeks after the events of the Season 2 finale. Gemma (Katey Sagal) was on the lam after being framed by Agent Stahl (Ally Walker) for murder. Cameron Hayes (Jamie McShane) had kidnapped Jax’s (Charlie Hunnam) son Abel in order to replace the loss of his own son, who he believes was murdered by Gemma. The Season 2 finale ended with Jax having an emotional break down on the docks as Hayes’ boat disappeared into the distance.
The Season 3 premiere began with SAMCRO going to get Jax, who has been wallowing in grief over the loss of Abel. Tara (Maggie Siff), Gemma’s protégé and Jax’s girlfriend, was home. “You’re the best thing that happened to Jax,” Clay (Ron Perlman) says on behalf of the Motorcycle Club (MC) and the home viewers. “We’re all so glad that you’re around.” Tara really took root in season 2, winning the hearts of audience members. Not only did she have Gemma’s back at all times, squashing their old beef, Tara also became the MC’s live-in doctor. Helping the MC put her at odds with Margaret Murphy (McNally Sagal), the hospital administrator at St. Thomas, resulting in Tara showing off her Gemma tutelage by knocking out Ms. Murphy.
When Jax hears word that there is a potential lead on Abel, he cleans himself up and gets ready to ride with SAMCRO once again. However, he doesn’t believe Tara should be there. “It’s simple, you don’t belong here,” Jax says to Tara. Really, Jax? Honestly, what were you thinking? We get it. You want to protect Tara. You’re bad news. The club is dangerous. But after everything both Jax and Tara have been through, Jax had to be insane to think Tara was leaving without a fight. When Jax leaves, Tara destroys the Abel’s room in a fit of rage.
Now, the hunt for Abel is on. Clay calls in a favor and finds out that Hayes got a fake passport. However, Hayes did not get a fake passport for Abel. Does that mean Abel’s dead? The Sons aren’t sure and decide to head to the scene of the crime – the boat that Hayes used to escape with Abel. Looks like there’s a new black gang that has taken root in Charming, lead by Pony Joe (Dorian Missick). When Pony walks up to the dock with a gas tank and spots the MC, he decides to take off running. The Sons chase him down only to get caught in a heavily armed standoff, with Pony’s gang armed with semi-automatics and shotguns. Jax arrives and pleads his case, appealing to Pony’s sympathetic side. The club learns that Hayes sold the boat and weapons to Pony in exchange for some quick cash.
With all leads turning up empty, Jax decides to head back to the one place he that seems to offer him clarity – John Teller’s grave. At the graveyard, he runs into Piney (William Lucking) who is making arrangements for Half Sack’s funeral. Lucking delivers a great line in this scene, one of two great Piney moments in “So.” “Jax, we don’t have shrinks or priests,” Piney tells him. Piney reminds Jax that no matter what happens, the MC will always be there and he needs to turn to SAMCRO for support.
At the precinct, Tara gives her statement regarding Half Sack’s death. Under Clay’s direction, Tara leaves out details on how Stahl framed Gemma as well as Abel’s kidnapping. When Tara leaves, Agent Stahl and Tara have a “heart-to-heart.” In the absence of Gemma, it was great seeing the showdown between Stahl and Tara. Gemma’s protégé has no qualms it standing up to Stahl, who tells Tara that Gemma trained her well.
Gemma is on the lam, but she is far from out of mind. She’s got a 10K bounty on her head for any information leading to her arrest. Tig is keeping an eye on Gemma and making sure the Feds keep their eyes off of her. When Gemma sees some disturbing news in the newspaper, she decides it’s time to sneak off on her own. Gemma tries to hotwire an SUV, but the car owner shows up just in time to stop her. Unfortunately for the owner, trying to stop Gemma results in stab wound dangerously close to his groin. Tig decides that there’s no stopping Gemma when she sets her mind on something and accompanies her on her mission. We later find out that Gemma’s mom Rose had died. So Tig and Gemma end up at her father, the Reverend’s house. Her father is suffering from Alzheimer disease and has a live-in caregiver, named Amelia.
At St. Thomas hospital, Tara has a panic attack during surgery. She heads back home and finds Jax. After a heated argument regarding love, safety and life callings, Tara tells Jax, “I wasn’t supposed to leave – I belong here.” The two are officially back together.
Half Sack’s funeral is liked to that of a prominent statesman. Everyone has come out, from members of other charters to the regular people of the Charming community. In this episode, we’re introduced to Kozik (Kenny Johnson). Clay states that they are looking to grow ranks. He says that Happy, a former member of the Tacoma, Washington Charter is a welcome addition. Apparently, Kozik is also looking to join the Charming ranks. Clay says we’ll make it happen, but Bobby’s reactions leads us to believe that for some reason that may not be a good idea.
At the funeral, Clay tells Jax that he is keeping the secret of Abel’s kidnapping from Gemma. Clay then gives Jax the ‘we need to set the tone for other charters’ speech. It was somewhat of an ultimatum. He tells Jax to either avenge your baby’s death or kill to find him; regardless it’s time to spill blood. As Drowning Pool would say, it’s time to “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor.” When Clay walks away, leaving Jax with Half Sack’s coffin, Jax turns back to see Piney staring at him. The look was priceless. Lucking really does add a sense of gravity to every scene that makes this very real, and truly captivating.
Just as the Sons were leaving the funeral home, an unmarked van drives by to the song “Dad’s Gonna Kill Me” by Richard Thompson. Whose dad? Could it be Abel’s dad? The unmarked van opens its door and unleashes a semi-automatic attack on the funeral. Several people are shot and Chief Unser and Hale begin shooting at the van. Unfortunately, the van runs over Hale to take him down – killing Unser’s would-be replacement. The van swerves to dodge the onslaught of return fire, accidentally causing one of the gunmen to fall out of the vehicle. Seatbelts are just too much of a hindrance when you’re doing a drive by.
Jax sees the carnage. When he spots a mother clutching her child filled with bullet holes, a switch flips in Jax’s head. He runs over the gunman, who is now getting arrested by the police, and begins to bash the gunman’s head repeatedly on the floor. As Bobby and Opie pull Jax back with all their might, the SAMCRO logo fills the screen with a scythe marked in blood.
Sons of Anarchy is back and continues to be one of the best shows to watch in Fall 2010. The hunt for Abel is going to be riddled with blood. “Gotta live this life until you die.”