Quick Take: Sons of Anarchy, "Sovereign"
"I'm a companionator. I bring folks together. I'm all about the love." - Nero
Review: Sons of Anarchy, "Sovereign"
(S0501) Sons of Anarchy fifth season premiered this week and if there was anything new to learn it was that the road for SAMCRO is going to get a whole lot bumpier. The episode picked up with what seemed to be a few weeks later from everything that went down in last season’s finale. Jax is now the president of the club, Gemma is sleeping with random dudes (newcomer Jimmy Smits being introduced in a memorable fashion), Clay is out of the hospital, but still has health problems, and Opie is on the outs with the club after learning that Clay killed his father.
All last season Jax was trying to find a way out of SAMCRO for the sake of his family, but now it seems that he is deeper into it than he was before. He is still dealing with the Galindo cartel, being the only one who knows that they are working with the CIA and now has to deal with gangster Damon Pope (Harrold Perrineau, Lost). Pope's daughter, Veronica, was killed by Tig last season while on his quest for vengeance against the Niners gang and their leader Laroy. We are introduced to Pope at a meeting he has with the Niners where Laroy is revealed to have been murdered by Pope’s number two, August. Pope advises the Niners to lay low and not to provoke SAMCRO. It seems that Pope may be the most dangerous foe that SAMCRO has faced and I have to say that Harrold Perrineau is really good in this role.
It seems that most of the characters are having a hard time adjusting to everything that happened last season. Gemma is dealing with a split from Clay. Now that she isn’t with him and with Tara being the new queen bee of Jax’s life and the club, Gemma’s place is questionable. She meets and sleeps with Nero, a man who has an escort business. Tara seems a little bitter with her hand still injured and she is unable to do her job. There is definitely some animosity between her and Gemma.
At a memorial for Piney, Opie tells Jax he can't handle being in the club due to the lie about Piney's death. Clay seems lost not being the leader of the club and is now sitting out of all the action. It is hard to decide whether to feel bad for Clay or not. I felt a little sympathy for him as he broke down to Gemma. Ron Perlman was fantastic in his scenes with Katey Sagal and Charlie Hunnam.
At a meeting to vote new members in, Jax appoints the newly released from jail Bobby as his vice president and announces the departure of Opie. After hearing this Clay decides to admit that he killed Piney. He spins the story though and tells them that he killed him in self defense. He also admits that Opie is the one who shot him. Tig is the one most upset by this news, knowing now that the shooters identity was a lie and he has killed a young girl for no reason. He goes to confront Clay later about it at Clay’s new home, but gets a call from the police that his daughter was arrested for a DUI.
When the Sons attend a meeting with Pope, it is August and some Niners that greet them instead. Darnell, now leader of the Niners, tries to shoot Jax with a gun August gave him, but there are no bullets. Jax beats him up and August shoots him in the head. The motives of August, which are really Pope’s motives, are questionable.
Tig goes to pick up Dawn, but when he goes to meet the cop who called, it is revealed he is crooked and working with Pope. Tig is handcuffed and then shown a hole that has the bodies of Laroy and Darnell, plus Dawn who is still alive. Tig realizes what is about to happen when they pour gasoline on Dawn. He begs Pope to kill him instead, but Pope sees it as an eye for an eye. He throws his cigar on Dawn and she burns to death with Tig watching helplessly. It was really sad to hear Dawn’s screams and watch how Tig couldn’t do anything about it. When Pope leaves and a cleaner comes to take care of the bodies, Tig strangles the cop with his handcuffs and shoots the cleaner out of grief.
In the end, witnesses come forward to the cops and place Tig, Jax and Chibbs at the scene of Veronica Pope’s death and the shoot out with the Niners on the highway. Arrest warrants are put out and Unser warns Jax. Gemma takes him and Chibbs to Nero’s place to hide. Opie puts his bike up for sale, Clay is all alone, Tig weeps for Dawn, Tara is upset that Jax chose to run and Unser is attacked by some masked men in Gemma’s house.
This episode showed that things are going to get worse for SAMCRO and it gave us a wicked new villain in Damon Pope. Hopefully we will see a lot more of him and Jimmy Smits, since his character Nero only had a couple of scenes with Gemma. The episode also had one of the most hard to watch scenes that this show has had and it included some great acting from Kim Coates (Tig). Although it was a rough one to watch, it was a great start to the season and it looks like it is going to get even better.