In Sons of Anarchy Season 2 we see some of the seeds planted in the first season come to fruition. Jax’s relationship with Clay worsens as he continues to read his father’s memoirs and questions Clay’s every move. The death of his wife haunts Opie throughout the season and nearly destroys the club when the truth about her murderer comes out. On top of dealing with federal agents and white separatists, the club is dealt its biggest blow when Jax’s son Abel is abducted by an IRA member.
Looking Back on Season One
The inaugural season gave us a sense of who the club is, what they do, and who their enemies are. It is the club’s gun-trafficking that connects the club with other outlaw organizations, such as the IRA, and also draws heat from the federal government.
The ATF has descended on Charming in hopes of shutting down SAMCRO with the RICO Act. Under the direction of Agent Stahl, they attempt to break the club from within, first by harassing the women associated with club, and then by setting up Opie as rat.
Clay and Tig fall for the ploy when they discover wire taps that have been planted in Opies phone and truck by the ATF. Tig is then ordered to take out Opie, but mistakenly kills his wife Donna because she happened to be driving his truck. When Jax learns from Deputy Hale that Opie has been set up, he realizes who put out the hit on Opie and his distrust of Clay deepens.
Overview of Season 2
Season two starts off with the arrival of white separatists group called the League of American Nationalists (LOAN) in Charming. Intent on driving the Sons out of Charming, the organizations leader, Ethan Zobelle, sends his right-hand man A.J. Weston to kidnap and gang rape Gemma. Afraid that Clay and Jax will want to retaliate, Gemma decide to keep the rape a secret.
As he deals with Donna’s death, Opie decides to fully recommit himself to the club, while the truth only pushes Clay and Jax further apart. When the porn studio operated by Otto’s wife Luann and backed by SAMCRO burns down, Jax believes it was Clay after he had announced he wanted the club out of the business. This provokes Jax to go “Nomad” and the club agrees to let him do so. However, at the last moment, Gemma decides to tell Jax and Clay about her rape in hopes of reuniting them.
Gemma is able to convince Jax to stay, but the club is dealt another blow when Tig cracks and confesses to Opie that he killed Donna. Meanwhile, the ATF continues to work on the club, this time tapping Chibs for information. They hope to reach the IRA through Chibs, but he quickly becomes disillusioned with the Feds and cuts off contact with them.
After it is revealed that Zobelle is working with the Mayans on their prison heroin trade, Weston splits due to his racial convictions. Weston’s days are numbered, however, as he is tracked down by the Sons to a tattoo parlor and shot by Jax in a bathroom stall.
The climatic series of events in this season lay the ground season for the Season 3. It all begin with a showdown at Cameron Hayes house where Agent Stahl is trying to get him through his son Edmond. Trying to protect his father, Edmond attempts to kill Stahl, but ends up getting shot himself. Soon after Edmond’s girlfriend, Polly Zobelle, arrives followed by Gemma.
While agent Stahl is hiding in the house, Gemma shoots Polly. Stahl decides to let her go, but frames her for the shooting Edmond.
When Cameron catches wind of this setup, he retaliates by kidnapping Jax’s son. During the break in at Jax’s house, Half-Sack if fatally stabbed and Tara is tied-up. In final moments of the season, Jax calls upon Clay to help him track down Cameron, while Unser aids Gemma in fleeing town. Sons chase down Cameron to the docks, but he is able to escape with Abel at the last moment.
Kurt Sutter on Season 2
One of the most tragic moments of season is the death of Half-Sack. Yet, events like this don’t happen for no reason. Kurt Sutter talks about what on behind the scenes that lead to Half-Sack’s killing:
“Right, right. Let me just start, because I know people are going to be pissed off about the Half-Sack thing. I will tell you that I've been having conversations with Johnny Lewis all season, and Johnny wasn't happy on the show. Creatively, he really wanted out of his contract. We had ongoing conversations, and we decided we'd find some noble way for him to go. It wasn't my intent to try to be sensational and kill off a main character. People are going to have their reaction, but I don't want an actor that's not happy. It's not good for the actor, and it's not good for the show. I love Johnny. I'd work with him again in a heartbeat.”
Cast Comments on Season 2
Henry Rollins on the sexual assault of Gemma:“The hardest scene for me was the assault scene in episode one. It was very important to the plot, but it was a relief when it was behind me. It was not an enjoyable experience.”
Ron Perlman on the development of the club:
“Rather than just deal with other clubs, we’re going against much larger conceptual enemies, and it’s forcing us to polish up what we do and what we have going for us in order to keep our heads above water, because they keep beating us. They’re epic, they’re that epic, and it’s a mythic thing. Yeah, I think the second season is much more interconnected, taking place in a compressed, short period of time. I think before we had some one-offs, but if you watch one episode of this season, you’ve got to see them all.”
Season 2 Review
While the first season gave us some vague outlines of the SAMCRO and its members, the second season definitely begins to flesh things out: especially in the psychological portraits of the leading the leading characters, such as Clay, Jax, Gemma, Opie, and Tig.
We begin to see the inner-turmoil that is part and parcel of being an outlaw. The violent actions that are part of the club’s lifestyle take their toll on the member’s psyche, even if it is mostly repressed. In particular, we saw Tig spiral into self-destruction as he dealt with the weight of Donna’s death on his conscious.
Jax’s problems are front in center in this show, but in this season it was Opie’s struggles that were perhaps more poignant. Like Jax, he is trying to find his place in the club, but he already has a family life to balance it with. More importantly than setting up these individual struggles, Sutter is able to weave them together to tell the story of a club and not just an individual.