Sons of Anarchy came back to primetime last night with a season five premiere that promised that even though level-headed Jax is now in control of the Sons, things will not be calming down anytime soon for the besieged biker gang.
Spoiler warning – don't read on if you haven't watched last night's premiere yet.
I came around slowly as a Sons of Anarchy fan, with my husband becoming a fan long before me. Slowly, Charlie Hunnam's subtle, soulful performance as the tortured, reticent Jackson Teller sucked me in. But I've never fully embraced the uber-violence often displayed on the gritty motorcycle drama, and though I thought nothing could top last season's nightmare-inducing shiv-in-the-ear prison murder, they outdid themselves in a plotline that had me once again covering my eyes in horror.
Last season, Sons baddie-with-a-heart-of-gold Tig (Kim Coates), working off a lie told by Clay (Ron Perlman) to cover Piney's (William Lucking) murder, ran down the daughter of local crime boss Damon Pope (Lost's Harold Perrineau) in a car, killing her as she sat at an outdoor café.
Early in Tuesday's 90-minute premiere episode, Pope's henchmen made it clear to the Sons that the crime had been forgiven, at least from an organizational perspective, but soon revealed that revenge would be exacted nonetheless, at a far higher price.
A dirty cop working for Pope picked up Tig, chaining him up near Pope's crew's secret murder pit, where they ditch their dead bodies. Pope's henchman opened the lid of the pit, revealing the bodies of the two 9'ers killed earlier, and the sleeping (drugged?) figure of Tig's daughter Dawn (Rachel Miner). Pope's henchman quickly doused Dawn with gasoline, which woke the sleeping youth, as Tig begged and pleaded for his daughter's deliverance. Grieving father Pope would not be swayed from his eye-for-an-eye agenda, however, casually tossing his lit cigar into the pit, forcing Tig to watch as his precious daughter was burned alive.
The image and sounds of Dawn being burned alive as her father cried out in horror will be forever burned (no pun intended) in my mind, making me wonder if I have the stomach to keep up with the show. But the season preview teaser at the end of the episode, revealing a troubled Jax trying to keep his friends safe against seemingly incredible odds, kept me on the hook so I'm sure I'll be tuning in next week despite my reservations.
Share your thoughts in the comments – how much violence is too much?
Sons of Anarchy airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX.