I Really F**ked It Up This Time

I know this post is kind of late but it wasn’t due to laziness on my part or even procrastination.  It has taken me nearly a week to write about this because, well, I simply couldn’t bring myself to admit it.  Public acknowledgement is as good as cementing it as truth.  It’s wrapping your mouth around the barrel of the gun and pulling the trigger.  Yes, it is time I bite the bullet and admit that Opie is, in fact, dead.

I, for one, am heartbroken.  Since season one of my beloved Sons of Anarchy, I have loved Opie and rooted for him to find happiness, to find balance between his loyalty to the club, his familial love for Jax and his own tumultuous personal life.  When Tig mistakenly killed Donna, I cried for Opie.  I wasn’t entirely crazy about Lila but I felt elated that Opie had found love again, that he didn’t spend all his time and energy pining for the wife he’d buried.  I rejoiced when Opie killed that black-hearted bitch Stahl and rejoiced again when Opie shot Clay, disappointed only that Clay survived.  Opie spent five years in prison for SAMCRO!  He lost his wife, the mother of his children, and his father to the club!  Clay even attempted to have Opie killed!  And this is how it ends for Opie?!  Where is the justice???

The truth is, he was always too good, too nice, too honest for SAMCRO.  And I wanted him to get out.  To begin anew, to enjoy life outside of the club, away from those thugs and barbarians, raise his kids, find a good woman and just be happy.  My only consolation for Clay’s survival at the end of season 4 was that I’d hoped by the end this 5th and current season, Opie would have (and take) the opportunity to kill Clay himself.  To end the life of that remorseless bastard who’d killed his wife and his father.  Not only was that my wish, my hope, but I’d actually managed to convince myself of its inevitability.

It is with a heavy heart that I tell you now: I was wrong.  As of last Tuesday night, Opie is no more.  Yes, his suffering is over.  His torment has reached an end.  He made his last sacrifice to SAMCRO, his own life.  Did he do it for SAMCRO?  By entering into that cell, walking into what would become his tomb, was he merely taking one for the team?  I don’t think so.  I think he did it for Jax and Jax alone.  Friends by birth, brothers by choice, they’d kill, they’d maim, and yes, they’d die for each other.  That was Opie’s choice.

I won’t deny that I’m bitter.  I won’t pretend to think it’s a fair or just turn of events.  I have no idea what creator Kurt Sutter has up his sleeve but I don’t really give a shit.  Opie deserved better.  That rat fuck Clay survived last season but Opie, OPIE HAD TO DIE?!

I’ll keep watching for now.  I’ll keep the faith that Sutter knows what he’s doing.  That he won’t turn this into the mother of all snafu’s.  But hear me now, Kurt Sutter: I want justice.  I want resolution.  I want to see Clay dead.

Harry “Opie” Winston

2008-2012

R.I.P., brother.

~Nikki

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No One’s Gonna Love You More Than I Do (My Love Letter to SOA)

The season 4 premiere of Sons of Anarchy airs this coming Tuesday, Sept. 6, and oh my aching god, I CANNOT WAIT!!  The countdown has been on for weeks now and it’s currently T minus 4 days, yo.

SOA, why do I love you so?  Let me count the ways…er, reasons.

1. First and foremost, Katey Sagal.  This role was made for her, or she for it.  Either way, she IS Gemma Teller.  She sells it like few actors are able to sell any character.  Once upon a Married with Children, I liked Sagal.  Now, I will follow her into the bowels of the earth, will stay loyal to her until the bitter end, my friends.  She has won me over.  For good.  Forever.

2. Nearly every supporting character, including (but not limited to): Bobby, Chibs, Opie, Juice, Piney, Half-Sack (RIP, brother), and Tig…oh, Tig.  I remember Kim Coates from The Client.  He scared the shit out of me back then (in my defense, I was 12) and I have been nothing but impressed since seeing him again in the SOA pilot.  Tig’s story arc from the episode entitled Capybara (season 1) to Service (season 2) is intensely emotional and my chest constricts when I think of the poignant confession at its end.  Which is a testament to the writing but also to the impassioned performance Coates gives.  If I had may way, he and Sagal would have won Emmy’s and Golden Globes for both seasons 1 and 2 (along with the writers, of course, but more on that in a minute).

3. The constant sequence of suspenseful, enthralling but never overly dramatic action.  Too often TV shows cross that line between edgy and ostentatious.  It’s a slippery slope, I’m sure, but SOA has yet to get too close.  There are unexpected twists and turns galore but they’re always organic to the plot, as opposed to those of the cheap “for-shock-value” variety.

4. The humor- when Tig rolled that G-string-clad woman off of him onto the floor from atop the bar the morning after Bobby’s party (episode: Small Tears), then softly uttered, “I love you” to her once she clunked onto the tile, I popped a blood vessel laughing.  Each season is full of these brief but hilarious moments that counteract the heavy storylines and emotional turbulence.  My favorite: Juice’s encounter with the homosexual inmate during their stint in jail (episode: Gilead).  Thanks to Netflix, I had the pleasure of watching this scene over and over until I knew I hadn’t missed anything from laughing.  Well done, Mr. Rossi – you had me rolling.

5. The music, ranging from heavy blues (The Black Keys, bitches) to folk to pop to rock, there’s no shortage of awesome tunes in any of the 39 episodes.  At times raucously fun, at others tenderly powerful, the soundtrack to this show perfectly matches its tone.  I’ve added several to my ipod immediately following an episode and, upon repeat listening, they still inspire those emotions so acutely felt the first time.

6. The bad guys.  I have yet to see a more evil, bile-inducing, remorseless cunt than Agent June Stahl.  The vile Ethan Zobelle and his sociopathic side-kick, Weston, also got my blood boiling.  But there were none I loved to hate more than Jimmy O’Phelan.  In truth, I’m sad that Jimmy met his end in the outstanding finale of season 3.  I know it had to be done and I admit my heart swelled for Chibs’ sake.  Revenge is sweet, indeed.  But Jimmy was just so fun to watch.  He made for one ruthless, quietly powerful bad-ass of a villain.  And perfectly casted in the ideal Titus Welliver.  You, sir, will be missed.

7. The 3 leads: Jax, Gemma and Clay.  The parallels to Hamlet aside, the lives of these 3 characters are what keep this series going.  Not to undermine the rich supporting characters and their engrossing subplots, but the central plot and the themes it represents revolve entirely around the conflicted son (Jax) of the fallen leader, his strong, manipulative mother (Gemma) and the replacement father and current leader of SAMCRO (Clay).  These 3 have exceptional chemistry, so natural in their roles it’s hard to believe they aren’t really a family.

And, finally…

8. The writing.  My god, the fucking writing.  Kurt Sutter -you genius, you.  You had me at the pilot, which immediately took off into a whirlwind of family drama, a long-forgotten manifesto of secrets, a crank-addicted pregnant ex-wife and the return of an old flame.  The scenes with Tara and her stalker- so realistic and creepy and intense (and thank god, for once a lunatic stalker is portrayed as a truly unstable, deranged, mentally ill person, as opposed to the over-the-top psycho usually shown on film that rarely (if ever) exists in real life).  Which leads to the culmination of the perfectly-paced evolution of Jax and Tara’s relationship.  Which leads to the first serious crime Jax ever commits and the inevitable tumultuous aftermath.  Everything leading up to and resulting in the shooting of Donna, Agent Stahl and all of her wicked ways, how Opie gracefully shows her mercy (once), making his eventual slaying of that black-hearted bitch all the more poignant.  The strategic and heart-wrenching gang-rape of Gemma and how she deals with it which coincides perfectly (no accident, I know) with Jax’s struggle to find harmony in SAMCRO, both intersecting in that most revered episode entitled Balm.  This episode deserves an award in itself.  The performances (Katey, you COULD NOT BE BETTER), the music (“Mary” by Patty Griffin), the timing and climactic decisions of all – the reactions to what’s revealed, appropriately dramatic but not overly so (a fine line, by the way), the resolution each character must come to.  Needless to say, I was blown away.  There are so many episodes I love and could gush exorbitantly over but this is tied with NS (the finale of season 3) as the shiniest of examples.  This is storytelling at its finest.

There are still many things I want to say but I’m afraid I’ve already overloaded your attention span and for that, I apologize.  As fellow passionate consumers of television, I know you’ll understand. 😉

~Nikki

Anarchy In The CA

You know those commercials on the FX network that boast: “FX has the movies!”?  Well, I disagree.  FX does not have the movies.  What they have are some damn superior TV shows.  I freely admit that I watched Nip/Tuck back when it was good (read: before Sean and Christian moved to Hollywood) and anyone who’s seen The Shield cannot deny its insane, sinfully delicious appeal.  I’ve watched Justified since it began and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia may be the most original and ballsy show currently on TV.  You know how I feel about Louie and Wilfred and now, after having watched the first season of Sons of Anarchy in its entirety, I can say I am completely hooked.  FX is kicking serious television ass.

I liked Charlie Hunnam back in the days of Undeclared and my goodness, has he grown up.  He ably carries the lead role of Jackson “Jax” Teller, the VP of the biker gang, Sons of Anarchy, who all but own the town of Charming, CA.  His deceased father helped found the gang, conveniently called a “club” by its members, and his mother, the fantastic Katey Sagal, is now remarried to the club’s President, the always-intimidating Ron Perlman.  Sagal is such a bad-ass, she more than holds her own in a show almost wholly dominated by male roles; she very often steals her scenes.  And Ryan Hurst, the oh-so-sweet captain of the football team in Remember The Titans, shines as Opie, the guy who just can’t tear himself away from the life of crime.

There’s plenty of action for those of you who like a fast-paced storyline and about as much intense, high-emotion drama as I can handle.  Sex, violence and eye candy (for both genders) pop up in every episode but it never feels cheap.  On the contrary, the story demands it.  Not to mention all the killer music.  Any show that regularly showcases tunes by the Black Keys is okay by me.  And the heavy, bluesy sound matches the tone of the series, which I CANNOT WAIT to continue.  Seasons 1 & 2 are now available on Netflix and Season 3 is due out next month.  That gives me just enough time to get all caught up before the start of the 4th and newest season this fall.  I know I’ll be ready.  How about you?

-Nikki