Let me just come straight out of the gate saying that I've been a Sons of Anarchy since day 1. I remember FX airing promos for a new show about bikers. I remember seeing Jax riding alongside Hale saying "we're all protected by the constitution." Way back in 2008. That feels like a lifetime ago. Now, here we are seven brutal and dark seasons later to go on the show's last ride.
For those of you who don't want to be spoiled about anything up until the latest episode of Sons you might as well go catch up on Netflix then find me again, please! Don't let me ruin any character deaths you have no idea about! Anyways, now that that's out of the way; let's dive into my review of the first installment of the final season.
Most season premieres for Sons have been on the slower side. The episodes tend to sort of slowly bring you back into the world from where you left off last. Usually there was a huge death or major shift in the show to cap off the previous season, so the premiere let's you get used to everyone again. The goal would also be to wrap up stories while setting up what is to come for the remaining 12 episodes of the season.
Most shows do that for their opener, it's no secret. However, what Sons has done in almost every premiere is they wait until the final 5-10 minutes to try to flip the script or totally shock you. Examples are from season 2 when Gemma was brutally raped or in season 5 when Tig's daughter was set on fire by Damen Pope. Would the final season follow suit? Or just be pure chaos for 90 minutes? Well... it was... something...that's for sure.
I won't dance around it anymore and I'll just be blunt. It was disappointing. Sure, maybe it's my fault for expecting something HUGE in the final 5-10 minutes but honestly what else am I supposed to expect? Sons made this episode really feel how Jax is probably feeling. Cold and sad. Don't get me wrong I didn't expect explosions, a huge brawl or a death of another main character but I wanted SOMETHING to happen.
Sure, Gemma and Juice were able to clean up Tara and Roosevelt's crime scene enough so nothing pointed to them but why did Gemma pick Lin and the Chinese to blame? I figured she'd blame someone of course but there was absolutely no rhyme or reason for her motivation of that choice. Anyone notice how Jax SO EASILY believed Gemma too? There was no doubt in his mind that Lin was behind the murder of his wife yet, he had enough restraint to shake his hand in a couple of scenes? I understand he's suffered a huge loss and wants his revenge but Gemma tells some fib about seeing a Chinese gang member leave Tara's house and BOOM that's all we needed to pretty much be ready to declare war against another gang?
The episode had some tiny dark comedic moments that we've been loving from our leather wearing band of biker brothers but it wasn't enough to save this episode. There were so many B, C and D stories going on that I simply didn't care about or I was racking my brain trying to keep them all straight from season 6. Sons, you used to be better about this. You really did.
In particular there are two scenes that stood out from this episode. One, was pictured above where the Sons and the Grim Bastards question a gang in the involvement of killing a Grim Bastard. The scene was fun when the guys decided to chain the wheelchair-bound leader to their bike but the whole time I was wondering, 'Why do I really care?' This death of a Grim Bastard member happened off-screen and was never explained! The idea was there but the execution fell flat and left me deflated.
The second scene that stood out was an absurd scene featuring a three-way being barged in on by the Sons and Grim Bastards. So, the Bastards find a lead on someone who might've killed one of their members (remember the one off-screen?) so they meet the Sons outside the building. Awesome, it was looking like we would see a kickass barging-in piece we've seen a good number of from Sons. These either end with lots of people shot in the head or something funny. Well... this had both. They find a woman having sex with two priests while another one records the proceedings. Out of NOWHERE the woman pulls a gun and shoots at the bikers. Of course, the Sons kill them all with bullets to the head. What happens next? They find out these weren't the right guys at all. It was a mistake. They just murdered four individuals who were just having some freaky sex. They pretty much say "whoops" and move on like NOTHING HAPPENED AT ALL.
I'm all for the dark comedy from Sons but this just felt like an absolute waste of time. I know Sons has had the issue of doing WAY too many bloated 90 minute episodes as the seasons went on but we are on the final season. Cut this scene. Cut a few others and this could've just been a normal hour long episode of television. If you're going to make bigger episodes make every single moment count. We are literally hours away from Sons of Anarchy ending. We demand quality from season 1-4.
I probably sound like I'm trashing Sons of Anarchy but it's only because I love it too much to see it go down as one of the television shows that lost it's way and ran into the ground. I remember watching DVD extras from season 1. Kurt Sutter always said he had plans for the show to go 7 seasons if he were greenlit for every season. You got your wish Kurt! Show us where you planned to bring our beloved show for all these years! There are only so many writers in this world who are allowed to have their show go on as long as they wanted. Make it count!
Overall, I plan to grade each episode on a typical A-F scale. Nothing fancy. This episode had to be one of my least favorite premieres of the entire series just ahead of last year's season six premiere.
[Sons of Anarchy](series:201186) Season 7 Episode 1 "Black Widower" = C
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