Sons of Anarchy Season Four [Blu-Ray]

Sons of Anarchy Season Four [Blu-Ray]
Grabbing for more than you can handle is a constant theme in the fourth season of FX's titillating biker drama. It's fitting, then, that engaging as it is, the show's reach continues to exceed its grasp. The season opens with a long montage of the Sons getting released from their stints in prison, the previous season's cliffhanger summarily addressed by the shot of a few scars on the torso of Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam), the bad boy who just wants to be good, but can't resist the lure of a dishonest buck, continually letting dirty money taint his wholesome family fantasy. Soon after a brief fake-out makes it seem like the heretofore-marginalized local politics will be taking on a more central role, the season's bloodthirsty ambitions are revealed, establishing an aggressive pace that rarely lets up. Between being dogged by a new sheriff, who's used as a hand puppet by a peculiar district attorney, and the strain of adapting to a new level of commitment to the outlaw lifestyle, which proves as dangerous as it is lucrative, full-on gang warfare with drug cartels (who knew running guns was so much safer than cocaine?) provides the background for a season marked by increasingly intense violence and a straightforward plot that sees the club's internal deceits exposed and the power struggle between Jax and Clay (Ron Perlman) nearly come to an overdue head. A subplot involving the manipulative D.A. trying to leverage one of the Sons with information about his lineage (the club's founders were racist and the new breed seldom question the rules) proves quite compelling, but fails to deliver when the needs of future stories supersede thematic resolution. Other than that and the cursory reintroduction of Jax's newly de-skanked baby mama, the story is tightly focused on Jax's efforts to make a clean break from the club after one more big payday and Clay's increasingly volatile and rash decision-making as his grasp on power slips away (made literal by the worsening arthritis in his hands). Creator/showrunner Kurt Suter and the cast clearly enjoy working together, judging by the spirited special features. A gag reel features burly men giggling while playing musical laps and Ron Perlman's ass at full moon, while an epitaph for an eliminated character showers the actor with the kind of effusive praise normally reserved for the actually departed. Katey Sagal, who dominates as matriarch Gemma Teller Morrow, shines in a performance at the House of Blues. Who could have guessed that the woman who shrilly begged Al Bundy for sex for a decade had such amazing pipes? Episode commentaries pair Suter with an array of cast members, with the entire gang in attendance for the two-part finale, and their jovial discussion frequently disintegrates into the white noise of cross-banter and laughter. Also included; a short celebration of super-fans, the standard assortment of deleted scenes and a SOA App. (Fox)