Having just been released from prison, SAMCRO returns home in the first episode, “Out,” to find that the local law enforcement is now being run by Lieutenant Eli Roosevelt of the San Joaquin Sheriffs’ Department. More legal worries loom in the distance as U.S. Attorney Lincoln Potter works with Roosevelt to build a RICO case against the club.
Continuing From Season 3
Quite a few loose ends were tied up by the finale of Season 3. Jax’s son Abel has been returned to him by the IRA and his dealings with Agent Stahl have come to end. In fact, Stahl has come to an end altogether.
In the final moments of the season, Opie took his revenge on Stahl for the death of his wife Donna. Chibs was likewise granted the opportunity to exact revenge, this time on Jimmy O of the True IRA who threw Chibs out of the organization, stole his family, and scared his face.
With the death of Stahl came the end of Jax’s dealings with the Feds and truce of sorts with Clay. By the end of Season 3, Jax has come to terms with Clay’s rule of the club and has temporarily put to rest the ideals of his father. Nevertheless, SAMCRO is still headed to jail for gun charges and will remain there for the next 14 months until Season 4 picks up.
SOA Season 4
One of the clubs first acts out of prison is to take revenge on the Russians who attacked Jax in prison. SAMCRO enters into an arms trade agreement with the Russians, but turn on them and murder several, including an undercover agent.
Throughout the season, the ghost of John Teller continues to haunt the club through letters passed on to Jax from Maureen while he was in Ireland. The letters reveal that both Clay and Gemma plotted the murder of Jax’s father. Piney meanwhile catches wind of these letters and becomes interested in them at his own peril. Once Clay has figured out that Piney knows his secret, he heads out to Piney’s cabin in “Family Recipe” to demand he turn over the letters and ends up shooting him.
Clay further looses his grip on the club in “With an X” when he feels he must take a hit out on Tara to keep Jax on his side. Tara is able to escape the abduction, but not without a severe injury to her hand.
This attempt on Tara’s life horrifies Gemma who begins to realize that Clay’s time as president is quickly running out. Indeed, he will later be shot by Opie in “Burnt and Purged Away” as revenge for killing his father. Clay will be allowed to live as he is needed for dealings with the Irish King Galaan, but he is stripped of his position as club President.
From inside prison, Otto has made arrangements with the Feds that result in the arrest of Bobby (“Call of Duty”). Juice has his own problems with Agent Potter who finds out that Juice’s father is African-American and grounds for expulsion from the club. Potter uses this knowledge to coerce Juice into assisting him in building the RICO case. The stress pushes Juice to attempt suicide by hanging himself from a tree in “Fruit for Crows”, but his attempt fails as the branch breaks.
By the end of the season, however, the RICO operation comes to a halt when it is revealed that Galindo Cartel members, Romero and Torres, are actually CIA agents who depend on SAMCRO for their own operation. This revelation means that SAMCRO must now cooperate with the CIA and Jax commits to his role as club president.
Chibs is now sergeant-at-arms, replacing Tig who resigned after learning that Clay beat Gemma. As the final episode, “To Be, Act 2” comes to a close we see Tara standing behind Jax just as Gemma once stood behind John Teller, signaling a new order in the club.
Kurt Sutter on Season 4
There’s no better place to look for insight on Season 4 than the creator of the series himself. Below, Kurt Sutter sums up the season nicely in terms of Jax’s relationship with Tara and Gemma:
“For me, this season we really saw Jax's journey through the eyes of the women. I thought it was an interesting way to end this season the way that I did and just because there's a level of honesty that Jax has now developed with Tara that he doesn't have with anybody else. Gemma really is the window into Clay and Tara is the window into Jax, so in a lot of ways I'm telling this badass story about bikers through the window of the old ladies.”
Cast Members on Season
Here are a few thoughts on the season from the actors themselves: “Jax and Tara are in it for the long haul. So now it’s a process of Jax figuring out how to extricate himself in the most clean and not dangerous way, without the whole thing jeopardizing his family.” – Charlie Hunnam (Jax)
“For Tara and Jax, there was a real coming together at the end of last season that wasn’t decimated by him going to prison. In a strange way, that solidified their bond, at the same time that it raised the stakes for her in terms of figuring out how to live a normal life.” – Maggie Siff (Tara)
“A guy who was ruthless and unabashedly uncompromising is almost now almost out of control. It’s a very uncomfortable place to be as an actor and but it’s also an incredibly challenging place to be, and some place you don’t often find yourself in the world of television.” – Ron Perlman (Clay)
Sons of Anarchy definitely gets better with age. Each season the writing gets smarter and more interesting, and this season was no different. In particular, the twist with Romero and Luis made us appreciate Sutter’s master storytelling abilities. While it was quite a surprise at first, as we go back over the season, we begin to see that the clues were in place all along.
Sutter’s success with “Sons Of Anarchy” is no doubt due in part to his familiarity with real crime organizations. The Romeo and Luis twist comes straight from real world of crime: “It’s what the CIA does. It goes in and empowers one cartel. We give one set of bad guys the money and guns to ultimately have some hold of the political reins in a territory. The history was there, and I was afraid that somebody was gonna pick up on it earlier on, and they didn’t,” said Sutter in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
Of course you can’t just rewrite history and expect it to be a hit. Sutter has skillfully embedded this page from history in a totally unique world of his own.