Just over half of Season Five has aired, and, without spoiling it for those who are still catching up on the program, Jax’s time at the head of the table has been anything but easy. He’s had to build all-new alliances both inside the club and beyond in order to simply maintain the status quo. New threats from competing interests have emerged against Charming as well as the Sons, and the man who would be king has learned in no uncertain terms that leadership has its price. Oft times, a heavy price indeed. Just when he thought he was well on the way out, “they pulled him back in,” and now Jax is having to go places he never imagined, up to and including more prison, more killing, and even using an ax to lop the hands off a dead guy in order to serve justice.
Like Anakin Skywalker’s descent into Darth Vader, Jackson Teller is on a road that’ll surely lead him to some very dark places.
If anything, this fifth season has revealed some weaknesses of a program growing a bit old under its own weight. There have been a handful of ‘celebrity’ casting decisions that feel more like guilty pleasures than they do inspired choices. Tween-sensation Ashley Tisdale put in a two-part appearance as a totally wholesome schoolgirl hooker, and I’ll admit to feeling some secret joy when Clay’s old lady Gemma beat the crap out of the Disney princess. An episode or two later, Joel McHale showed up as a young punk who briefly bed Gemma, all for the purpose of jacking her car whilst she wasn’t looking. Again, I felt so much vindication when the gang tracked him down and thumped him a good one that I cried out from my couch, “And take that for ‘Community’!” Former Lost star Harold Perrineau came aboard as Damon Pope, a former banger turned Donald-Trump-type (?!?!) whose daughter died accidentally at the hands of SAMCRO last season. Now, all he lusts for revenge. For my tastes, Perrineau is all wrong as Pope; his face is far too cherubic to believe he’s ever worked a day’s honest labor, so the lines that come out of his mouth are just all wrong. It’s like casting Denzel Washington on a “Steve Urkel” budget. It just looks plain silly.
Still, I’m along for the ride, with all the bumps and scrapes and potholes we hit along the way. Like the gang, I’m wondering where all of this is heading. It can’t be good, can it? For the life of me, I can’t imagine it’ll climax with a shot of happy warriors riding off into the sunset. This is a dark, dark road we’re on, and the destination remains murky.
And, from what I can recall, Greek dramas never end well.