Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Season One: Episode Two- "Seeds"

        Corruption. Power. Deception.

        These are the themes that I expected to be at the forefront of Sons of Anarchy episodes when I began reviewing the series, and Seeds did not disappoint. While SAMCRO may have "taken care of business" when it came to the Mayans at the conclusion of last episode, the gang's burned down warehouse is still a matter of contention. Sheriff David Hale, an up-and-coming member of the Charming Police Department and potential candidate to be future Chief, approaches Jax and other members of SAMCRO with a warrant to search the property where the warehouse once stood. Hale is not the type of officer that can be bribed or controlled, and his "by the book" attitude towards the law is a concern for SAMCRO. Hale shares many characteristics with other famous small-town sheriff's portrayed in the movies or on television. His concern for the town that he represents and his unwillingness to be manipulated by SAMCRO or any other outside contingency that may harm the inhabitants of his jurisdiction is reminiscent of honorable sheriff's (fictional and non-fictional) such as Andy Taylor in The Andy Griffin Show and  Buford Pusser in (the original) Walking Tall. 

David Hale (portrayed by Taylor Sheridan)

Andy Taylor (portrayed by Andy Griffith)
Bufford Pusser (portrayed by Joe Don Baker)

        Hale's demeanor is contrasted by Wayne Unser, the current Chief of the Charming Police Department. Unser is an elder statesman in the town's law enforcement who has been conducting illegal business and soliciting bribes from SAMCRO for years. Despite his official title as Chief and experience as a sheriff in Charming, Unser is presented to viewers as someone easily manipulated by SAMCRO, with evidence confirming this as the episode progresses (and touched on later in this blog).

       As Hale and his law enforcement team- armed with their warrant- search the warehouse property, they stumble upon two female corpses who viewers learn are illegal immigrants that had been sleeping in the basement of the warehouse (unknowing to the leaders of SAMCRO). The viewers also learn that a member of SAMCRO, known as "Tig", had sexual intercourse with both women and could be linked to them if an autopsy was ever conducted. This situation reflects the attitude and personality that Tig brings to the SAMCRO gang. Already through two episodes, Tig is portrayed to viewers as a brash yet loyal member of the gang who enjoys the violent aspect of the outlaw lifestyle (one short scene in this episode shows Tig participating in a cage fight).  In this instance, Tig seemingly used his position of power and dominance to take advantage of two women in the country illegally and made sexual advances on them. The interesting aspect of this situation is that it can also be viewed as a moment of weakness or cowardliness.  One would think that a member of SAMCRO, which is a well-known and established group in the city of Charming, might not have any problem finding a woman to engage in a relationship with. This is especially true since other members of SAMCRO have significant others that are seemingly understanding of their lifestyle choices. Yet, Tig satisfies his physical desires by practically taking advantage of those seemingly without an alternative due to their current status. It may appear on the surface as an action that showcases dominance, yet deep down it could also show a lack of confidence or self-worth.

       Based on the discovery of the corpses, Hale summons a forensic unit to inspect the bodies. Since Tig's DNA could be found within the corpses, SAMCRO devises a plan to try and derail the investigation. SAMCRO recognizes that the only way a forensic team could be reassigned is if another more urgent crime scene arises in a closer jurisdiction. Clay believes that staging a murder is the only option, but Jax presents the gang with an alternative. Jax reasons that the group could use their connections at the funeral parlor to attain two fresh corpses and stage a crime scene using the two already deceased bodies. This option once again shows Jax's moral compass. Instead of an increase in senseless violence, Jax attempts to limit the amount of blood on SAMCRO's hands while also completing the mission at hand. While Jax's plan also seems to be logistically superior to Clay's, it is also evidence of his conscience and the understanding of his father's words of wisdom (noted in the first episode and analyzed in my previous blog entry). Jax's plan is carried out to perfection, forcing the forensic team to take a detour to the "new crime scene" and allowing SAMCRO enough time to dispose of the two female bodies that were found at the warehouse site and burn them.  

        The concept of power has appeared throughout this episode, from Tig using his power and status to engage physically with the two (now deceased) women and SAMCRO using its power over workers at a funeral home to receive fresh corpses to stage a crime scene. Towards the conclusion of the episode, SAMCRO also flashes its power and control over Chief Unser. Unser asks SAMCRO to ensure that a shipment of cargo gets delivered to its destination safely and pays SAMCRO to escort the truck carrying the goods. Upon arrival, there's an unexpected twist as SAMCRO steals the goods themselves at a rest stop and provides the goods to one of their allies as a showing of good faith. Clay and SAMCRO's blatant disregard for Unser is another reminder of who owns Charming. SAMCRO knows that David Hale wants to become Chief, and so they threaten Unser into postponing his retirement by making it clear that certain other deliveries could be hijacked as well. 

      This episode dealt mainly with the struggles in authority between the law enforcement and SAMCRO. However, many other questions still exist as the show moves forward. Will the Mayans will reappear with reinforcements? How will Chief Unser postponing his retirement affect SAMCRO and the attitude of David Hale? Will Jax continue to show his true conscience by straying away from unnecessary violence, and will SAMCRO start to become worried about his commitment? Only two episodes in and many more questions than answers....   


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