Sons of Anarchy returns to FX tonight, and we only have two words to describe this season: hot damn!
The good news: As Charlie Hunnam told us, Jax and Tara's star-crossed romance is "stronger than it's ever been before." Plus, Jax is going to "concentrate on being a husband"—squee!—"and father, [while finding] the most seamless way to extricate himself from the club."
The bad news? Um, where to begin? Here's what we learned at the season-four premiere...
Things get real, real fast, in tonight's premiere, which picks up 14 months after the third-season finale. When Jax, Clay & Co. are released from prison, they return to a very different Charming. There's a new sheriff in town (Rockmond Dunbar), crooked Mayor Hale (Jeff Kober) is building a shady housing development, and a federal agent (Deadwood's magnificent Ray McKinnon) is launching a RICO investigation into the club. And, as Ron Perlman (Clay) told us, SAMCRO is the "scapegoat" for everything that's wrong with Charming.
SAMCRO's greatest enemy this season, however, is SAMCRO itself. Both Clay and Jax want out, and they're willing to violate the club's credo to ensure their own futures. "There are so many rules being shattered, and so many alliances that are being violated so quickly," Perlman said. "I don't know if it's for the greater good or purely self-interest. "
"The club's breaking up," Kim Coates (Tig) told us. "We're all at odds with each other. It's a very dark time in Sons of Anarchy."
"All those relationships will be challenged," creator Kurt Sutter told us. "Opie and Jax, Bobby and Clay... All that stuff, we're going to turn it on its head a little bit."
"The stakes are way higher" this season, Sutter added. "There's a lot more on the line. A lot of the dynamics we've been building up for three seasons come to a head. It's just ratcheted up. We take some very big steps forward in terms of moving mythology along this season."
"The forces that we come up against are formidable—very formidable," says Mark Boone (Bobby). "It's a very turbulent year. " And because of Clay's decision to work with a drug cartel, SAMCRO's prez and Bobby "really go at it," Boone said. "We really go at it. Bobby is not happy with a lot of the way that Clay has been taking the club this year."
"It feels kind of like a tornado," said Maggie Siff (Tara) when we asked her to characterize this season's theme. "It's all circling in, like the force of their lives and their decisions and the danger is sort of compressing in on the club and on the families."
Sons of Anarchy premieres tonight at 10 p.m. on FX.
Happy Jax is finally making an honest old lady of Tara? What do you think of the other trouble a-brewin' in Charming? Ride on down to the comments and say your piece.