Tuesday night was the season three finale for Sons of Anarchy and last night was the season 1 finale for Terriers. As of right now SOA has already been renewed for at least a 4th season but Terriers is more than likely going to get cancelled. I thought I’d jot down some quick thoughts on what I thought of each season finale and also entire season as well.
SOA – Season 3 as a whole
I was more than a little frustrated with this season right from the first couple episodes. Judging by half the post on the SOA IMDB message board, I wasn’t alone in feeling frustrated with the pace and direction the show was taking. Many people were getting tired of Gemma being the star of every episode and the lack of screen time Opie, Elivis Guy, Mohawk, and Piney were getting this year. These were things I didn’t mind that much in of themselves but I did agree that the things that made the first and second season great seemed to be lacking. The first two seasons seemed to have a clear cut direction that the plot was moving, and you could argue that this season did also with the entire club focused on getting to Ireland and getting Jax’s kid back. The main problem for me is that it took too long to get to Ireland, and the reason for this never really seemed to make sense.
I know there was a lot of explanation given after the fact for why people lied to Jax about his son, and how they tried to use his son as a pawn in a much bigger game, but as I watched it each week, it felt less like grand master plan being played out between multiple grand strategists, and instead just felt like it was forced conflict used to create a series of moments that on their own would be interesting but didn’t flow smoothly as an overall narrative.
In addition to my disatisfaction with the week to week storyline, I had a lot of small minor issues that could only be described as nitpicking. Here’s some that I can remember off the top of my head:
- Using a blue tint on every scene shot in Ireland was somewhat annoying.
- If they don’t want Hale’s brother to become Mayor just tell everyone that he has ties to White Power and he won’t be elected.
- Tara’s boss’ 180 on her support of Tara was stupid, even after you find out why.
- How much time has actually passed since Opie’s wife was killed, and is it enough time for him to be in love and ready to marry someone.
- Jax no longer seems to want to push the club in more legitamate direction despite more and more terrible things happening to the club.
- Jax was WAAAAAYYYYY too touchy feely with his half sister AFTER he found out they were related mid hook up.
- No SOA member ever looses a one on one fight for even half a second.
These are just minor gripes, but they might actually speak to a larger problem with the show (which weirdly reminds me of the John Stewart Ralley to Restore Sanity). A very wide range of people like this show and like it for various reasons. The first two seasons have had a nice mix of bad ass action and soulful drama. Now that were are in season three, people have a pretty good idea of who the characters are, what the story is, and what they want to see happen. In the first two season you are still learning the characters and are kind of kept off gaurd by new developments that you probably couldn’t have predicted since the show was new and you didn’t have enought of a background to make any prognostication.
Now that everyone is comfortable with the show, they start to project what they like about the show and want to see happen on the show, and then get upset when the show goes in different directions, even if only for short moments. If you like the show mostly because you like the bad ass outlaw aspect of it, then you probably hate when there is almost an entire episode where the club just does a bunch of talking and no fights or shoot outs break out. If you are like me and you like the character development and the Shakespearean aspect of the show (the plot is based on either king lear or hamlet, I forget which) then you probably get annoyed when the club stop the soul searching and instead runs some errand where they have to kill guy A so that Biker B will do C.
Since Kurt Sutter has a very specific story arch already mapped out (I’m thinking he probably has a 7 year run of story lines where every season builds to a very specific conclusion – like the shield did) it is hard to look at this season objectively if you can’t put it in the proper contexts since that context hasn’t happened yet.
Sooooooooooo here’s what I’m saying. Season 3 might seem like the worst season of the series so far, but maybe after 7 years if you rewatch the series you might look back on this year and see it from a brand new perspective know that you know the full story and can see how pivotal certain moments were to the over all plot of the show.
SOA – Season finale
How did the season finale compare to the rest of the season? Did it follow suit and disappoint me or did it knock my socks off? Did it put a nice bow on the season to make put the season in a better light? Did it – yeah I should start to answer some of these questions before I go too much further. The season finale was my favorite episode of this season hands down, and in fact I thought it may have been one of the best episodes of the season. The last several episodes were deffinitly trending up once the club got into Ireland and was not just kicking ass but also revealing a lot of plot and had some excellent dramatic moments with Jax following Abel’s new family in the mall being chief among them. So I’m not surprised that this episode was as good as it was, but it does make me wonder if the rest of the season would have been better if the writter didn’t have to follow such strict TV programing guidelines. Maybe it would have been better if some of the episodes had been shorter or longer, and maybe less episodes were really needed for this season.
The ending few moments of the episode really did tie a bow on the whole season for me for a couple of reasons, both of which had been major complaints by me throughout the year. 1. I was starting to hate how Jax had given up on making the club go away from the gun running and blah blah blah. 2. I missed all the scenes where Jax got inspiration from his dad’s journal. and let’s add a 3. in here: Jax’ feud with Clay shouldn’t have died especially since in season 1 they hinted that he might have killed Jax’ dad. All three of these things seemed to be brought into focus in the episodes final scene where you realize that the writer didn’t just move away from these themes, but instead Jax’s character moved away from them because of the events of season two and three and that in seasons four and hopefully five six seven or more, you will see Jax revisit those themes but with a new perspective.
I have a file on my hard drive where I keep my favorite TV episodes from all kinds of different shows, and as soon as I saw those final moments where Jax’s voice over letter to his mom segueyed into John Tellers letter to Irish chick, I knew I would be saving this episodes as a favorite as well. Actually one of these days I’m just going to make a compilation of my favorite TV moments from those favorite episodes.
SOA Season 4 predictions
- First half of season takes place with majority of club in jail dealing with the gangs in jail and it’s inner workings.
- I get pissed when they name Jax and Tara’s baby Kain.
- Jax starts to read his dad’s letters and is all conflicted again
- One of the prospects gets killed
- The Sheriffs take over and are corrupt or maybe just one or two of the top guys are but not in a pro SOA kind of way.
- The Russians are still pissed at the Sons about the fake money thing – Russians are the new antagonist gang
- IRA isn’t happy about the SONS making Stahl’s death look like a casualty of Jimmy’s killing by the IRA.
- A new legitimate income stream makes itself known, but the club argues whether or not to go after it.
- Kara Kara’s killer is brought to justice or at least investigated.
- Season ends with Jax finding out the truth about his dad’s murder.
- I still like the idea of one of the prospects being undercover for…. someone. Maybe not law enforcement.
- Piney dies. He’s old. That’s what old people do.
- New Mayor does zoning stuff and tax stuff to go after the SOA’s real business, the auto stuff.
- Some friend of Jax from the past comes back home, makes Jax take a look at what an honest non violent life can be like.
- Jax needs to take advantage of a completely honest upstanding person to help out the club who is in a bad situation.
- Club meets an old time biker from a club that doesn’t exist anymore cause the end result of all the bad stuff is never positive and this acts as a mirror of a possible future for some in the club.
Terriers Season on a whole
I went into this series with a lot of mixed emotions. I liked every aspect of the show leading up to it’s premier from what I could gather from the marketing, but I hated the fact that it was using private detectives doing realistic private detective jobs since that was goign to be a cornerstone of the show I wanted to write. Still, it was being made by a guy who made the shield and another guy who made ocean’s 11 (the remake), and it had Donal Louge who I like everything he’s done despite him being the modern day Ted McGinley.
Two things struck me after the first episode. It was funnier than I was expecting, wasn’t as dark as I was expecting, and was a little slower and not as focused as I usually like. When I got around to watching the next couple of episodes I notice that it ran this weird mix of the episodes being stand alone episodes, enjoyable by them selves without a lot of focus on ongoing storylines, and other episodes that relied heavily on the viewer understanding ongoing storylines. Basically episode number three might be just like an episode of monk where there are a bunch of one off characters and even if you don’t know the main characters that well it doesn’t matter, and then the next episode was more like the wire or the shield where you need to understand each person’s motives and the plot points that came up a few weeks back.
This isn’t a bad thing, but it might not be something most people like. As the season went on, and the season long story lines and conflicts started to come into better perspective the show started to get better, although, I still never got to the point where I thoroughly enjoyed it to the level I have enjoyed other FX shows like the Shield, SOA, or Nip Tuck. Sadly I think a lot of people shared this opinion since like me they probably started watching the show thinking it was going to be in the same vein as those shows I just mentioned.
Maybe I’ll start with the last part first; the lady or the tiger ending. IF you don’t know the Lady or the Tiger ending just google, lady or the tiger or just read the rest of this paragraph. Lady or the Tiger is a short story where in some far off land back in the day some princess was in love with a commoner. The king found out his daughter was in love with the guy and arrested the man and put him into the middle of the coliseum. There were two doors. Behind one door was a Tiger that would maul and kill the man, and behind the other was a lady who the man would have to marry and love instead of being with the princess. So the king was basically saying, no way can you be with my daughter but I’ll let fate decide if you live or die. So the princesses found out who was behind which door and then man looked to her to find out which door to go to having told her that he would want to go to the tiger since he couldn’t live without her. So the princess points to one of them, and the story ends with the man opening the door and not revealing whether she told him the tiger like he wanted or told him the woman since she couldn’t stand to see him die.
You could also call this ending the Soprano’s ending or the Inception ending since it is done purposefully so that the audience can basically write his or her own ending. In my ending I see Britt going to jail and coming out a year later and rejoining Hank who is hot on the trail of the bad guy from Walking Tall. BTW this is a great way to end a show that might be cancelled before it’s time should have run out. It give the series a good enough final ending, but also leaves it open so that there could be more seasons without having to do any major rewrites.
I have also heard that there is a possibility that if FX does drop the show, another network might pick it up. Obviously I think USA would be perfect for this since it has a similar format to Burn Notice and Royal Pains. It might be slightly darker than those other shows, but it is also too light hearted for FX when compared to Justified and it’s other dramas.
Next Season Predictions for Terriers
Maybe there won’t be another season for Terriers but I can still have some fun an make predictions anyways.
- Season starts with Britt in jail and Hank working trying to find some way of getting his sentence shortened – possibly by finding out that guy he beat up had actually roofied Brit’s chick. Not sure how that helps, but I’m not a legal expert.
- Brit while on the inside got or works towards getting some dirt on the new bad guy.
- Hank goes after that new guy but when he gets close he threatens Brit’s safety in prison cause he’s a bad guy, and that’s what bad guys do.
- At some point Hank has to have a relapse, maybe just for a second, and maybe not in season two. Maybe season two ends horribly for him and that triggers him and season three starts with him getting clean again.
- Hank’s ex partner, the cool black guy, is framed for something and Hank needs to solve something.
- Brit’s chick has the kid while Brit is in the pen and Hank has to be there for the delivery
- The blue truck finally dies and hank and whoever is not in jail has a very somber funeral service for it
That’s all I can think of for now.