“Charming life, ain’t it?” Unser, in ‘Authority, Vested’
Character Analysis: ‘Sovereign’ and ‘Authority, Vested’
*Spoilers for Season 5 Ahead:
Pope presents what is perhaps the most disturbing display of antagonism yet seen on SoA. He burns Tig’s daughter alive in front of his eyes. Initially, this turned me off. I felt Sutter was trying to push the ethical limits of basic cable simply for shock and awe. I then however considered Tig’s character arc.
Tig’s first major action of the series is a double rape of two young girls. Add to that his necrophilia and other freaky fetishes and you get a character worth condemning. However, Sutter tries to complicate things by giving Tig admirable traits: blind loyalty to the club and Clay, undying devotion for Gemma, and a violent love for two troubled daughters.
With Tig’s sins in mind, something so horrible is really the only fate he could possibly face in Sutter’s world. Add to that the role Clay had in Tig’s actions (Clay’s lies led Tig to attack Laroy, which led to Dawn’s death) and you have an interesting dynamic for future conflict between Tig and his former liege.
Will this force Jax to bring Tig into his confidence to protect Clay? This could create an interesting relationship between Jax and Tig that perhaps both mirrors and undermines Clay’s and Tig’s.
Tig seems to somewhat recover quickly though in Episode 2 as he finds his new daughter engaged in sexual activities with a black man. However, Tig’s far too extreme on the spectrums of morality and sanity for his arc not to end in a ridiculous and wicked manner.
I find it interesting that Clay seems to have become Piney. Great use of mise-en-scen gives Clay the same oxygen set as Piney, as Clay is rendered helpless. It’s an interesting use of poetic justice and begs the question of Clay’s fate. I maintain that he has to die at the hands of Jax, or the ultimate fulfillment will be lacking, however, this dynamic presents an interesting potential for Clay’s development. Will he ever repent? His actions up of to this point have been entirely self-serving and villainess so I’m interested to see what he’ll become. His pitiful and deceiving speech in the premiere had to have Jax choking on his own fury. In Episode 2 Sutter implements him as an interestingly positive plot device, though: convincing Opie to return to the club. But is it all just a part of the manipulative Clay Morrow Ruse?
Opie returns in grand fashion in ‘Authority Vested’. Not only is he back but he sacrifices his freedom to go to jail with the club in a satisfying haymaker to good old Roosevelt’s dome. Then they’re carted off to jail.
Jax stomachs the lies of Clay and the Galindo Cartel, i.e. the CIA. He’s trying to make the best of the situation though he’s barely holding his club together. He and Tara marry in a somewhat rushed scene, but Tara internally grows stronger, before Jax, too, is shipped off to the pen. Tara is, and has been I think, strictly tied to Jax’s fate. Now it’s official.
Sparkling new characters:
Nero. Nero Padilla – portrayed incredibly by Dexter’s Jimmy Smits - is a “companionator” but more importantly Gemma’s new friend. He and Jax have some interesting moments. A former gangster, he shares an anecdote about how all of his friends are dead or incarcerated. This, combined with his success, provide a dual mirror for the future of the MC. Will they continue on their road and all die or will they turn to high class escorting as their ‘legit’ means? Is the escort service any less amoral than dealing guns or drugs? The argument for the Sons has always been what brings more heat, but for J.T. there may have been a moral aspect. Is Sutter building a deeper moral structure or just playing at violence as spectacle? Nero’s influence and role will be indicative of the answer.
Pope (the return of Harold Perrineau of Lost). Pope’s polite cruelty creates a chilling villain. And he’s after the Sons. He’s conniving and ruthless – he burns Dawn and is planning with intricacy the downfall of the Sons. Pope has ‘framed’ evidence for some of the Sons’ actual crimes (killing of Pope’s daughter and soldiers).
See the next post for Memorable Quotes and Begging Questions from ‘Sovereign’ and ‘Authority, Vested’