Published on August 29th, 2008 | by Erich Becker0
Sons of Anarchy – Pilot (01×01)
The Shield‘s Kurt Sutter branches out on his own with Sons of Anarchy a show thematically between the grit of the aforementioned cop series and the dark humor of FX’s own Rescue Me dramedy. The pilot episode, creatively named “Pilot” introduces us to the Sons of Anarchy motorcycle club lead by Clay Marrow and featuring an eclectic mix of do-gooders and criminals all with noble intentions but less than noble, or lawful, ways of attaining those goals.
The story focuses primarily on Jackson Teller (Undeclared‘s Charlie Hunnam) the VP of the MC with a newborn baby and the stickling feeling that the gang has fallen away from its real intentions since his father’s, the former president, death. Jackson initially has to deal with his premature infant son and the thought that he might not survive his untimely birth from a drugged out mother (guest star Drea de Matteo).
The Sons of Anarchy operate out of fictional Charming, CA, a small town they use to work day jobs, protect the local businesses from meth-heads and Mexican gangs, oh, and run guns, lots and lots of guns for gangs in the Bay Area. The pilot establishes the less than cozy relationship between the Sons and the Mayans and brings a third player into the mix by the end of the episode.
The brutality of the violence is often overshadowed by impeccable comedic timing such as how a character achieved the nickname “Half-Sack” (it IS what you think) or the steps to taxidermy a deer’s head. While these moments are few in the pilot the nature of the characters and their relationships play well off of each other, the friendly taunting you see in close circles is very evident here.
The two big names on the roster are Hellboy‘s Ron Perlman, for once not disguised in make-up, and Married With Children and Futurama‘s Katey Sagal who lights up the screen in the rare opportunity to show her drama chops (aside from a few guest spots on Lost). Sagal manages to handle her character (Jackson’s mother) in such a cold, domineering fashion that there is more going on behind the scenes than she lets on. In the episodes pinnacle moment between Jackson’s ex-wife and herself, Sagal becomes almost frightening. Perlman, on the other hand, is his usual charismatic self, commanding the screen in every moment of the episode he appears in as a calculating leader and tough guy.
Sons of Anarchy continues FX’s tradition of breaking the mold of traditional dramas with out-side-the-box characters in situations you don’t usually see on TV. The strength of the pilot alone brings along a host of characters and branching storylines to cover over the first season, and while the impending war between the Mayans and the meth-heads is all but a given, we’ll have to see how the season’s other episodes flesh out the characters and the story as we go along.