Sons of Anarchy season premiere recap: The Straw

Disturbing from start to finish, the premiere's most tragic moment signals the beginning of the end
Ep. 01 | Aired Sep 10, 2013

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS Can Lee Toric (Donal Logue) really turn Clay (Ron Perlman)?

Prashant Gupta/FX

Over at the brothel, Colette offered Jax her ear ("I listen almost as good as I suck dick") and the chance to carry her laundry basket upstairs for her. When he started walking up those stairs, I was yelling at my TV. Nero, by this point, had picked up Gemma and took her to visit his son, who was thrilled with the watergun present even if Nero wasn't. OH, so that's why the gun was out of the packaging when one of Nero's escorts had wrapped it for Gemma -- she wanted to give it to him fully loaded (with water). That is actually very thoughtful.

In his hotel room, Toric had a bunch of pills on his nightstand but opted to shoot up with something. Church bells began to ring. Tig, riding his bike, passed that blond boy. The kid was walking to what I assume was his Catholic school. He took his jacket off, folded it and place it on a bench outside, sat down, and rolled up the sleeves of his white shirt, revealing scars on one arm. So he was a cutter. At this point, my alarm bells were going off. This kid never spoke a line in the episode, did he? The silence itself was chilling. All you heard in that moment was birds, which should've been peaceful. He opened up his backpack and took out his journal and wrote some more. Then the schoolbell rang, and the kid set his notebook down and pulled the KG-9 out of his backpack along with extra bullets. As he walked toward the school, the wind blew the pages, showing his writings and drawings (some violent, some religious). I freeze-framed and saw phrases like "God doesn't like BULLIES!" and "Steve talks about my mother being a drug addict" and "Thy will be done." So much writing on a page (and such surprisingly neat handwriting). "Oh my God!" we heard an adult yell, and then the shots came -- along with blood splatter on the windows and screams.

The end montage began with the children being led out as emergency workers were on the scene. Then we watched Jax studying Colette as she made a bed. She went to him and touched his face. We saw Dave Navarro's character place a gentle kiss on the boy's mother, who seemed to be staring at the clock wondering where her child was (the school didn't call?). Clay got new linens for his private room, and Tara's blanket got stolen in gen pop. Colette knelt in front of Jax and took off his shoes as he looked down upon her. Nero and Gemma got home and started making out. Tig went to Jax's for a babysitting shift and rocked Thomas. Chibs cleaned Juice's cuts. Happy and Lyla did shots of alcohol. Bobby circled three locations on a map -- North Las Vegas, Reno, and Indian Hills. (The places he's looking for guys who want to go nomad?) An effing high Toric stood naked in front of his mirror. Tara got up and beat the crap out of the woman who'd taken her blanket. We're talking five blood-drawing blows that we saw. And then, there was our seasonal shot of Jax's naked ass, lowering Colette onto the bed so we could watch his back tattoo move as he had sex with her. Is it still Tara's face he sees? Sutter told EW that Jax sleeping with mother/madame Colette wasn't about lust: "He fell in love with the sweet, nurturing innocence of who [Tara] was, and yet, to be his old lady, she has to become something else that ultimately may be not what he wanted. So it's the contradiction of okay, now I'm beatin' the s--- out of somebody, and now you are going back to somebody who is nurturing and maternal." For a second. This isn't a love triangle.

Your turn. What did you think of the premiere? Is it, overall, the most traumatizing episode of SOA ever, or would you nominate another? What do you think Tara was journaling in jail? (Did you notice?) And how do you predict the school shooting will change the direction of the series? For more from Sutter, read our full postmortem interview.

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