Life in Charming is anything but for the members of SAMCRO. When we last visited “Sons of Anarchy” for the Season 5 finale, Clay (Ron Perlman) was framed for the murder of Pope (Harold Perrineau) by Jax (Charlie Hunnam) — even thought it was actually Tig (Kim Coates) who pulled the trigger using Clay’s gun. Tara (Maggie Siff) was arrested as an accessory for the murder of a prison nurse, and Gemma (Katey Sagal), who is now needed by Jax, is once again the queen bee.
When Season 6 — the penultimate season — premieres, just a few days have passed, so Jax and company are still dealing with the fallout from the events of the finale, and it will remain to be seen if he can avoid the pitfalls that come from being the man in power.
But by the end of the premiere episode, SAMCRO, along with Nero [Jimmy Smits] and his crew, is involved in a ripped-from-the-headlines event that not only illustrates the dangers of the guns they sell, but also puts the club in the target zone of law enforcement, who need to find a scapegoat for a horrific crime.
“As much as I wouldn’t do something because it was controversial, I’m also not going to not do something because it’s controversial,” creator/executive producer Kurt Sutter commented.
As for the timing of the storyline, according to Sutter, the idea has been in his head for a while and current events haven’t influenced it one way or the other. That said, it fits right in with Jax’s goal of taking the club legit and getting out of the gun business.
xfinityTV spoke to the cast and Sutter to get the 411 on the rest of Season 6. Here is a sneak peek at five things you’ll want to know for the new season:
No. 1: With this being the next-to-last season, Sutter is setting things up for the big finale. Here is what he has planned overall for Season 6:
“I’m so bad with themes,” Sutter says. “I’ll say a theme and then somebody will print it and I will be like, ‘That’s not what this season is about!’ I think we pick up this season kind of where we left off last year… Like four or five days in. I think it really is about Jax’s journey in terms of: Can he lead this club in the right direction? Can he be a good father? Can he be a good husband? Can he do, ultimately, what his father couldn’t do? Can he get him out of guns? Can he get them into legit businesses? Jax is really trying to achieve it all, and is that possible? If so, how does one get there without having a huge body count?”
No. 2: There are several new characters being added to the cast, as well as the return of a few that were put into place last year.
One of the newbies is CCH Pounder, who joins the long list of former “The Shield” cast members who are making an appearance on “Sons of Anarchy.” She will play Tyne Patterson, the District Attorney of San Joaquin County.
“We had Ray McKinnon play the Federal DA a couple of seasons ago. [Tyne's] just a local DA, so the energy’s a little bit different; it’s a little more small-town,” Sutter says. “She’s not a direct antagonist but she complicates the big picture for them.
“We have Kim Dickens on this season playing a madam and that will be part of Jax and Nero trying to expand their legitimate businesses. That’s sort of a fun story line we get to play out. What else? Obviously, Donal Logue’s character [Lee Toric] is coming back and Jimmy Smits is back as a series regular.”
No. 3: “Sons of Anarchy” has been compared to Shakespeare’s Hamlet, especially in terms of the characters. That continues to play out in Season 6.
“Lately, to me it has felt more like Lear than Hamlet,” Sutter says. “I think what has happened now is we have five seasons with a lot of big personalities, relationships and conflict and, I think, as you head toward the end, all those things begin to intersect. It was never my plan to have this be a more violent season than the past, but as these stories were breaking, and as we look up at the board and say, ‘Here is this guy with the club, and here is what happened in Season 1 and 2,’ the mythology has gotten bigger and the relationships have gotten more complicated. As a result of that, you innately have more conflict as you are going into each season. I think that is why it gets bloodier to a certain extent from season to season.”
No. 4: With Gemma having been gamed by Jax at the end of last season, she is a bit of a changed women this year.
“The Gemma we’re going to see in Season 6 is in a new family situation, but it never really strays far from her,” Sagal says. “Her intention is always to keep her family together. It always has been, and, I’d like to say that she is somewhat wiser. She was very — I’m not going say ‘manipulated’ — but she was by her son at the end of Season 5, in terms of maneuvering that piece with Clay, which, I think, she ultimately felt needed to be done for the good of the all. Her whole thing is about the good of the whole. So I think the end of Season 5 has left her in a more, I want to say ‘gentle,’ which is a very hard word to use for her, but I would say she’s in a wiser and gentler place.”
No. 5: After setting Tig up to be murdered — without telling him that it was part of a plan to frame Clay and that he would be rescued — can Tig trust Jax or, for that matter, anyone?
“Tig is at a real crossroads. He should have been killed a few times by now,” Coates says, “but he keeps surviving. He is loyal. He is screwed up. He is a puppy dog at times, Tig is, but yet he’s tough as nails. I don’t know where it is going to go, or how it is going to end. I think somewhere deep inside of Tig, he hates the fact that Clay lied to him like he did, but he also hates the fact that he was part of the framing of Clay with the gun. Tig is really a full circle of emotions. You know the sign in our club that says: Brains Before Bullets? Tig is a bullets-before-brains kind of guy and it has gotten him into some trouble with everybody, but he is loyal.”
One final point we had to check in with Sutter about was: With the end quickly approaching, does he know how he is going to wrap up the series?
“I don’t know, necessarily, for each of the characters,” he says. “I think I kind of know in terms of my trilogy — in terms of Jax, Clay, Gemma, and Tara, as well. I have a sense of where and how the other characters evolve, but what I’ve learned is when I come in to each season with a little bit loser grip than I wanted, it ends up being a better season if I let it have a life of its own. I do know where I want it to end. I just don’t know how we’re going to get there.”
Season 6 of “Sons of Anarchy” premieres Tues, Sept. 10 at 10/9c on FX.