Sons of Anarchy “Sovereign” Review

Well, shit. Life is never easy for the Sons of Anarchy, and the season 5 premiere ‘Sovereign’ barely allows them a moment’s peace before everyone is up to their eyeballs in trouble again.

Jax’s decision to keep Clay around in order to keep the Irish onside doesn’t sit well with Opie, who feels betrayed. As well he should, given that Clay was behind the murders of both his wife and his father. Opie takes a break from the club, leaving the newly released Bobby to take his place as new VP of SAMCRO. Opie’s temporary departure leaves Clay clear to stay a part of SAMCRO but in a surprising twist, he admits to Piney’s murder, claiming it was self-defence, and admits that it was Opie who shot him, thereby keeping the club on his side…at least until the results of a vote on his future. While some (notably Juice) seem to be understanding, Tig is pissed. After all, he killed the girlfriend of the leader of the Niners in retaliation for Clay’s shooting.

And that is the hasty action that dictates most of this episode and presumably, a large part of the fifth season. After SAMCRO’s truck is ambushed on a run, we learn that a couple of people associated with SAMCRO have been attacked in home invasions. Jax attempts to make peace with the Niners, but a meet doesn’t quite go according to plan. Leroy has been killed by his girlfriend’s father, Pope, and while Pope’s right hand man then kills the new leader of the Niners and claims the matter is sorted, Jax knows better. By the end of the episode ‘witnesses’ have come forward, identifying a number of SAMCRO as being present at the murder of Veronica Pope, forcing Jax and Chibs to hide out in a brothel owned by Nero, a man Gemma had a one night stand with in the opening of the episode.

But it’s Tig who gets the shittiest end of the stick. Lured to a secluded spot by a police detective under the pretense of collecting his daughter Dawn, who had supposedly been caught drink-driving, Tig is instead greeted by Pope and his guys. Pope wants vengeance — but taking Tig’s life would be ‘too easy’. Instead he has Dawn, and Tig is forced to watch as Pope burns her alive. The plan is for Tig to then be taken in by the detective, his silence bought in return for the life of his other daughter, but before episode’s end, Tig has murdered the detective. What will his next move be? Presumably he’ll want revenge and Pope seems like the likely target, but what about Clay? It’s his actions that brought Tig to this point. Will he blame Clay for Dawn’s death?

The episode ends with another home invasion, and this time it’s Unser being attacked. The only clue to the identity of his attackers is that one of them has a prosthetic leg. Is it the Niners, Pope’s guys, or someone else the Sons have managed to piss off at some point? Any of those is a real possibility.

All in all, this episode is brilliant. It does have its slow moments (though god forbid anyone attempt to jump into the show at this point — they would never understand what the hell is going on, I’m sure), but overall it’s a great continuation from last season. There’s some great emotional acting going on, and even better writing. The episode even managed to pull off two incredibly on-the-nose points: Clay being the new Piney (complete with nasal cannula and cosy cabin) and Tara becoming more like Gemma than she’d probably like (right down to the hypocrisy and copious amounts of weed). I’m not sure how I feel about either so far, but it’ll be interesting to see how the characters progress as the season goes on.

What did you think of ‘Sovereign’? Do you think Clay needs to watch his back? How long do you think Opie will stay away from SAMCRO? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!