Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sons of Anarchy - Season 3

Not everyone has seemed to like Sons' third season as much as the first two, but personally I enjoyed it a lot. It probably helped that I ended up watching most of it very quickly, only managing to catch the final two episodes on their original air dates, which helped smooth over any pacing issues. And I can understand where people's problems lie. The show isn't perfect, occasionally having to warp believable plotting or character decisions a bit to accomplish a necessary task in the story in a limited time. And with how rarely I actually enjoy tumultuous romantic relationships in television, I really didn't like how they shoehorned in some of that drama here because they apparently felt it was still necessary. But for the most part I really had fun with this season, and especially its willingness to change location for a while.

It probably takes them at least an episode or two too long to get there, but the most important thing to happen this season was the gang's excursion to Ireland, which has story effects both immediate and otherwise. Obviously they have an immediate reason to be there, but it also becomes clear that the thing that's been hanging over this entire series, what really happened to Jax's father, is heavily influenced by the gang's previous time in the country. The shift in setting for a bit brings a shift in style, including a really cool redone theme song over the opening credits, and I liked how the show spent a bit of time with the main characters out of their element and let us in on how some of the other criminals in its world live. The Irish side of things was interesting enough that I feel like it could even sustain its own show, although probably not one with quite the same audience as Sons of Anarchy.

Ireland is really just part of the season though, as of course there's plenty of other stuff going on constantly for the characters to worry about. It wouldn't be Sons if things weren't just one second away from blowing up in everyone's faces. It culminates in the finale when a ton of plot threads that have built up over most of the show's run come together in one of my favorite sequences on television this year, offering a moment of pure fun and surprise that most shows don't attempt. Season two ended on a major cliffhanger and season three felt like a continuation of it more than its own entity a lot of the time, so I liked that they closed off a lot of things here, while also providing a definite direction for the fourth. I expect them to jump forward in time at least a bit this time, but it's hard to really say with this show. How much time has actually passed? Maybe a year? Not that it really matters, but the characters probably need a few moments to breathe at this point.

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