Sons Of Anarchy: Season Two

Sons Of Anarchy: Season Two
Were there an award for most improved series, Sons of Anarchy would be a shoe-in. After a strong first season, all the stakes are raised in this continuing look at the life of a motorcycle gang struggling to find their place in a world that's rapidly changing how they do business. They're still running guns and navigating the slippery slopes of gang warfare, but there's a new foe and a couple new forces at play. Juggling life as a dad and a blossoming relationship with long-time sweetheart Tara with his less savoury duties, Jax Teller (stepson of the club's VP) still dreams of bringing change to the organization based on ideas in his deceased father's journal. To further legitimize portions of their income, the Sons (aka SAMCRO) invest in a porn production venture, much to the dismay of VP Clay (Ron Perlman), who cherishes the old school merchandizing of violence. Tension continues to boil over between the conflicting alphas, threatening to split the club down the middle. Compounding these problems, a white power group called the League of American Nationalists (inspired by the rise in strength of the KKK after Obama came onto the scene, according to creator Kurt Sutter in the special features) sets up shop in the town of Charming, determined to convince SAMCRO to stop dealing guns to anyone of colour. That brand of bullshit doesn't fly with the Sons, but the League are about the most despicable pack of bastards you could imagine. Their conflict leads to some seriously distressing events, especially the downright horrifying violence perpetrated against Gemma (Katey Sagal) in the first episode to send a message to Clay, her husband. Sagal gives a powerhouse performance filled with grace and class in the face of extremely difficult material. The rest of the cast brings their A-game in attempts to keep up, including a very creepy, but also very insecure, Henry Rollins, in a piece of smart casting. The plot lines are airtight, with brutal cause and effect ricocheting off every decision made right through to the stomach-clenching cliff-hanger. For features, there's commentary on a couple of episodes with Sutter and various cast members, along with deleted scenes that fill in a few gaps in most episodes, a pretty hilarious gag reel and "The Moral Code of SOA," a look at the history that inspired SAMCRO. The extras could stand to probe a little deeper, but that's a minor quibble for a collection of episodes that have vaulted SOA to the status of one of television's finest. (Fox)