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TV Review: Sons of Anarchy – Season Three – Episodes 1, 2, 3 and 4

Sons of Anarchy is my favorite FX series and I personally believe it’s one of the best all-around shows on television, with characters brought to life by incredible acting and equally impressive writing.

Season three gets off to a great start with a strong season opener and picks up the pace over the next three episodes.

Click over my jump to check out review of the first four episodes of season three.

Already one of cable’s highest-rated shows, it may come as a shock to discover the show has yet to receive a single Emmy win and has only been nominated once (for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music in its first season). But that’s alright. Creator Kurt Sutter and crew will continue to make one of the best show’s on television regardless of whether the show gets the accolades it so richly deserves. Getting snubbed by the Emmy’s isn’t going to hurt anyone’s feelings, on the contrary, it’ll probably result in an even stronger product, as evidenced by the first four episodes of season three.

Season three of Sons of Anarchy picks up immediately where the season two cliffhanger left off…With Jax (Charlie Hunnam) and the SOA crew in search of Jax’s son Abel who was kidnapped last season by Tommy, who falsely believes Jax’s mother Gemma (Katey Sagal) murdered his son, Timmy.

Over the course of the first four episodes: “So”; “Oiled”; “Home”; “Caregiver”, we learn that Chief Hale’s (Taylor Sheridan) brother Jacob (Jeff Kober) — who is running for Mayor of Charming — has been successful in pulling the bail on the church fight from season two. That means the Sons will have to go back into jail during the trial. As you’d expect, their anxious to get into Canada to find Abel (although they are being misled).

Moving over to Gemma, who still hasn’t been told that Abel has been kidnapped, we spend some time with her and her Alzheimer-stricken father. The scenes with her father are incredibly emotional, specifically so because he occasionally regains his memory and at one point fully so. That makes things especially more complicated as he is close to entering a nursing home.

Needless to say, Katey Segal and Hal Holbrook (who plays Gemma’s father, Nate) truly shine in their scenes together.

Then of course we have the drama between Jax and Tara (Maggie Siff). It basically boils down to Jax not understanding why Tara is still hanging around. Tara has committed herself to being part of the family–Jax hasn’t committed himself to that being the case. So there’s drama. At the same time, however, Tara is summoned by Gemma to help with a situation involving Tig (Kim Coates) getting shot at Gemma’s father’s home (less you know here, the better. It’s a dark humor situation). So while the drama still exists between Jax and Tara, the reverse is true with Gemma, whom Tara is becoming more attached to. (Plus there’s another problem at Nate’s home–again, the less you know here the better.)

Also of note, the season premiere ends with the death of one well-known character..I won’t say which. Oh, and keep your eye out for an absolutely brilliant cameo from none-other than legendary horror author Stephen King. I won’t spoil it because that would do a disservice to the episode’s use of the author/actor. But believe me when I tell you that it’s brilliant.

Here are the episode synopses for the first four episodes of the season:

  • “So” (September 7, 2010): The aftermath of Abel’s kidnapping has the Sons reeling — especially Jax, whose grief sends him into deeper turmoil over his future with the MC. Framed for murder, Gemma remains on the lam, and his hit with some unexpected news from her past.
  • “Oiled” (September 14, 2010): To get intel on Abel’s whereabouts, Jax and the club help a bounty hunter track down a skip. They also press a source for answers about the attack at Half-Sack’s wake – the MC way. Meanwhile, Gemma deals with her father’s dementia.
  • “Home” (September 21, 2010): To secure weapons and raise money for Abel’s search, the club exploits its porn connections to entertain Henry Lin’s clients, which doesn’t sit well with Opie. Jax’s decision to search for Abel in Canada gets derailed. When Gemma’s dad goes MIA, her prisoner makes plans to do the same.
  • Caregiver” (September 28, 2010): Jax and Clay head towards Canada after Jimmy provides misleading intel on Abel’s whereabouts. The rest of the club splits off to help Happy with a pharmaceutical favor in redneck territory. Gemma tries to put old family matters to rest.

All in all, we have a terrific start to the new season, one which even manages to increase in quality from one episode to the next. It’s raw, emotional and yes, at times even funny. This is television at its best.

Sons of Anarchy season three premieres tomorrow night (Tuesday, September 7) at 10:00 p.m. on FX.

Here’s a gallery of new images from episodes one and two of season three (plus a batch of season three cast photos).