Last season of “Sons of Anarchy” was a pretty big transitional year for the FX drama, and it doesn’t take very long for the effects of those changes to show in the first two episodes of Season Five. After Clay’s cold-blooded murder of Piney created a domino effect of bad decisions and more dead bodies, by the time the dust cleared, Jax was sitting at the head of SAMCRO’s table. But the season didn’t exactly end on the happiest of terms, with Clay nearly shot to death, Opie’s future with the club left undecided, and a potential gang war ignited with the One-Niners after Tig accidentally killed the daughter of ex-drug kingpin Damon Pope.
The fallout of her death plays a major part in the new season as the Niners look to retaliate, and viewers will finally be introduced to Pope himself, played by “Lost” alum Harold Perrineau. Though I was openly critical of the actor during his time on the island drama, and was pretty concerned when I heard that he had been cast in the pivotal role, Perrineau brings an intimidating calmness to Pope that makes him a completely different kind of threat compared to past foils like Ethan Zobelle and June Stahl. He’s more of a gentleman’s gangster, but ruthless when needed, as Tig is unfortunate to witness in the 90-minute premiere.
The other new addition this season is Jimmy Smits’ Nero Padilla, a former gangbanger who’s since built a lucrative career as a pimp… or as he likes to refer to himself, a “companionator.” Smits is another actor that I didn’t used to be particularly fond of, but he’s done some great work in recent years (like his season-long guest role on “Dexter”), and from what I’ve seen of his “Sons of Anarchy” character so far, he’s likely going to be the standout of the season. You can already tell that Smits and Charlie Hunnam have excellent chemistry, and it’s going to be interesting to see how Clay reacts to Jax getting a new mentor, especially since that’s not the only department in which Nero is replacing Clay. I’ll let you guys figure out what that means on your own.
Though it’s still unclear as to how much the other characters are going to factor into the new season, here are a few things you can expect to see in the first two episodes:
1) With the RICO case still hanging over SAMCRO’s head, Danny Trejo and Benito Martinez’s CIA agents are still very much involved in the club’s Irish gun deal…
2) And more importantly, Jax tells one of his fellow Sons all about it.
3) The body count gets pretty high in the premiere, including one very gruesome death.
4) Jax finally names his Vice President, and it’s not who you’d expect.
5) Jax also gets rid of his “SO” and “NS” rings, perhaps for good.
6) Though he may effectively be the club’s new Piney (omnipresent oxygen tank and all), Clay still has a few tricks up his sleeve.
Check out the promos below for a taste of what’s to come this season (including your first look at Jimmy Smits and Harold Perrineau), and then be sure to tune into “Sons of Anarchy” when it premieres September 11th at 10 p.m. on FX.