TV Review: “Sons of Anarchy” Episode 2 – “Authority Vested”

Written by Jesse Gelinas September 21, 2012

**WARNING: Episode spoilers below**

With a title like “Authority Vested” I think you can imagine where this one is going. SAMCRO has a tendency to try and shoehorn their moments of character development and emotionality into the middle of really extreme circumstances. What better way than with a long overdue wedding in the center of a gang war topped off by an ongoing murder investigation?

After the barn-burner that was the season premiere, “Authority Vested” brings things down a notch and allows the tragic events to sink in. Tig’s daughter has been killed by Damian Pope. Unser, the Sons’ ally and former Chief of police has been attacked in Gemma and Clay’s home, and Jax is in hiding with Chibs and Tig, all wanted for murder at the hands of Pope and his ties with the police. Luckily Gemma’s new pimp friend Nero (Jimmy Smits) is willing to let them all shack up in his brothel. So now they’re all cozying up like one big happy family. The episode is a bit of a breather after the intense season opener, with a lot of the action substituted for quiet conversation and questions of what the next move is. They do leave some room for a high octane chase or two though. This is Anarchy we’re talking about after all.

“I’m trying to survive. It ain’t easy living on both sides of the fence.”

After picking up Tig and helping him dispose of two of Pope’s men, Jax, Bobby, and Chibs take the broken father to Nero’s place to hold up, while Clay goes to investigate the break-in at his and Gemma’s home that left Unser a bloody mess (that old man is a trooper). Clay seems oddly detached from the scene, aside from his missing safe, and when Gemma arrives to see the damage you could cut the tension with a chainsaw. The cops are snooping around the home invasion (the third in a series against SAMCRO affiliates), and the beatdown he suffered is enough to rekindle Unser’s investigator instincts.

“I killed a Fed for you. Nothing says endless love like capital murder.”

There’s another scene with Tig racked with emotion as he goes searching for his other daughter, fearing for her life. Tears are shed and screams of hatred are exchanged when he has to tell her of her sister’s death, but he succeeds in getting her out of town with her boyfriend (a man whose introduction I could have done without). While this is going on, Clay goes to see Opie and talk to him about Piney’s death. Opie seems unconvinced of Clay’s remorse, as does the audience. We know Clay is up to something as he’s not a man to just roll over and die. We also get confirmation that the new Sons transfers (former Nomads who’ve recently come to Charming) are behind the home invasions, and also have Clay’s safe. Their intentions, and Clay’s connection, still unclear.

After Nero’s awkward introduction in the premiere we get some really quality Smits time when he and Jax hit the road together and share some real male-bonding time, followed by the aforementioned chase scene. Smits really classes the show up nicely, and it’s obvious he and Jax have a lot in common. Perhaps Jax sees in him what he himself could be, if he was smart and took the risk out his business. With SAMCRO still running guns for the Cartel, it seems unlikely things will change anytime soon.

At the close, we’re treated to an impromptu wedding. Jax and Tara, our star-crossed lovers get hitched in the lobby of Nero’s brothel, surrounded by hookers, just before Jax leaves to turn himself in for the murder charges. We also finally get to see Opie return to the clubhouse, wailing a cop in the jaw before getting hauled off to jail with his friend and President. What is he doing? “He’s staying close,” Gemma says smiling.

Overall the episode is one of the more mellow in the series, but there’s tons of drama to go around. The club has been hit hard and is facing an uncertain future if they can’t kill the case against them. The sudden wedding may be a little bit cheesy, but in truth it is “Sons of Anarchy” at its most true to self. The show has always been about the melding of club life with family life. The emotional impact is not lost with the strange and almost comically outlaw circumstance of the wedding; it’s actually enhanced by it. The episode is well-written, well-acted, and we’re starting to see that price Jax is willing to pay to keep his club together, all the while worrying about what’s going to hit them next. And we, as the audience have to wonder, is the bigger threat from outside, or within the club?

My Rating: 7.5/10

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About Jesse Gelinas

After years attempting to escape the Matrix, Jesse has accepted his fate as a writer and Senior Editor. Now that's he finished with his film degree, it gives him something to do while waiting for the machines to get careless.

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