Alas, I’ve fallen behind in my Sons of Anarchy watching. However, I’m slowly starting to catch up, having just watched the first three episodes of season 6. Thus far, at least from the perspective of those of us who watch Sons of Anarchy primarily for the spectacle of all the hugging, it’s been a pretty disappointing season. Once you get beyond the disappointing lack of man hugs, things in Charming have been moving forward in the usual interesting (and bloody) fashion.
A particularly good addition to the cast this season is Kim Dickens, who many of us remember as Joanie Stubbs in Deadwood (and, yes, this is yet another Deadwood actor to make an appearance on SoA). She plays a character named Colette Jane, who, much like Joanie Stubbs, runs a brothel. With Robin Weigert (Calamity Jane of Deadwood) continuing on as the go-to lawyer for the SoA Motorcycle Club, I suppose I have high hopes for a future scene bringing to the two actresses back together.
Peter Weller also joins the cast this season, and it’s always good to see him on screen, especially when he’s in full-on patriarchal good guy-bad guy mode. Weller also directs one of the episodes, and he’s been behind the camera at one point or another in several of the western television series that I’ve followed over the past few years (including In Plain Sight and Longmire).
CCH Pounder (I love CCH Pounder) as an agent in charge of the investigation of a school shooting also looks to be a good addition.
Let the Man Hug Count begin!
Episode 1, “Straw.”
No man hugs at all, a distinct departure from prior season premiere episodes, which have offered a plenitude of manly hugging. The hugging burden in “Straw” falls solely on Gemma, who hugs pretty much everyone at one point or another.
Episode 2, “One One Six.”
Three man hugs: Chibs greets his fellow Irishman Galen with a hearty hug; Jax greets Nero with a melancholy hug and a couple of soft fist taps on the shoulder; and, in an interesting variation on the man hug, Jax gives Juice a hug, followed by a kiss, which seems less like a show of affection and more of a warning—especially as it’s accompanied by Jax’s suggestion of how Juice can find his way back into the good graces with the club.
Episode 3, “Poenitetia.”
Another episode that is stingy with the man hugs, with the only example being a hug between Jax and Tiggs, which Jax again follows with a kiss. Jax is not exactly sure what Tiggs has done to cause the disappearance of a torture-porn film director that the Sons encounter, but he’s pretty sure that he had something to do with it (despite Tiggs’ expression of innocence). Again, being kissed by Jax during a man hug seems to be just the opposite of affection. Also, regarding “Straw,” the episode involving the torture-porn scenes, the M/C arrives on set after learning that Opie’s ex Lila had been tortured on film against her will (she thought she was just signing up for the usual adult film gig). When we first arrive, the camera lingers on a bathtub filled with what looks like urine. Soon enough, there’s dialogue about the urine-filled tub. There’s an old theatrical maxim: “if you show a bathtub full of urine in the first act, then someone is going to have to be drowned in it before the end of the play.” Okay, that’s not exactly the maxim, but the principle remains the same, and, I would say spoiler alert, but it’s hardly a spoiler to reveal that the urine-filled tub plays a vital role before the end of the episode (not for anyone who knows their theatrical maxims).
Man Hug Count, through three episodes: 4.
Use of Urine as A Deadly Weapon Count: 1.
For more on hugging in Sons of Anarchy (and for an explanation and definition of the “man hug”), see “Sons of Anarchy and the Manly Art of Hugging”