Sons of Anarchy: Season Five [Blu-Ray]

Sons of Anarchy: Season Five [Blu-Ray]
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In its fifth year, FX's brutally violent and wantonly salacious biker drama tackles another 12 episodes with the increasingly wild tactics of shock and awe its fan base craves. Pedal to the metal and in a comfortable groove, the newest season of Sons of Anarchy is its most consistently entertaining yet. With plenty of momentum behind the story and an endgame in sight, mastermind Kurt Sutter and company have the confidence to find more time for moments of outrageous levity amidst all the power games, backstabbing and betrayal. High profile guest stars feature prominently this season — Walton Goggins' memorable appearance alone is worth the price of admission and having Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) bed Peggy Bundy (Katey Sagal) is an inspired bit of throwaway lunacy. Amusing winks from TV land aside, Jax Teller's thorny struggle to extricate himself and his family from the dangerous trade of motorcycle club SAMCRO continues to be compelling without being particularly revelatory. His battle with the ultimate corrupted father figure — his murderous, abusive step dad and former club president, Clay (Ron Perlaman) — reaches a boiling point. Their continued alpha-male puffing is important, but Opie's fit of vengeful wrath at the end of last season defanged the former top dog. Jax's main adversary in season five is himself. Sure, stone cold business gangster Damon Pope (Harold Perrineau, relishing the chance to play a villain) is the obvious Big Bad threatening his external safety, but it's Jax's internal turmoil over being forced to acknowledge that, for all his nobility, the power and responsibility of leadership are turning him into the very thing he's been trying to escape. Being the show that it is, all the heavy sentiment is cut with an abundance of sex, violence and impractical vehicle fetishism. In his best cable television pinch-hitting gig yet, Jimmy Smits is a welcome addition to the cast as a warm-hearted pimp with a thing for feisty white trash grannies. Similarly motivated by family and a desire to shake a habitual attachment to crime, and just as similarly clouded by the treacherous manoeuvrings of one Gemma Teller Morrow (Katey Sagal), Nero Padillia (Smits) becomes quickly entangled with Jax's vision of the club, which never seems any closer to fruition, as more and more casualties pile up. It remains to be seen if this breakneck pace can be sustained for another two seasons (which sounds like the game plan, based on comments by Kurt Sutter in bonus interview "Creating Anarchy"), but for the moment, SOA is riding high. The majority of the special features are contained on the third disc, including another batch of the same sort of unremarkable deleted scenes found on the other two HD discs. Of greatest interest: Sutter breaking down his approach to penning an episode, in the aforementioned interview, and Peter Weller dishing theatrical director's commentary on "Darthy." Otherwise, it's the usual fare: a gag reel — this one featuring an abundance of baby-feeding mishaps — some live music footage from a fan concert (Audra Mae & the Forest Rangers, featuring Katey Sagal) and a group commentary on the season premiere, led by Sagal and Sutter. Oh, and a couple of episodes come in expanded cut form, but that's not as compelling a reason to buy the collection as Walton Goggins' disturbingly realistic bosom. (Fox)