As the season opens, the MC is still reeling from the death of member Opie Winston's wife, which we and everyone except Opie (Ryan Hurst) himself knows was the Sons' own doing--a fact that President Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman) is at pains to conceal from him. That in turn puts Clay at odds with his son-in-law, Vice President Jax Teller (Brad Pitt look-alike Charlie Hunnam); this conflict becomes one of season 2's major ongoing themes, as Jax is torn between his loyalty to his "brothers" and a nagging conscience that keeps pushing him toward the straight and narrow (like Michael Corleone, Jax finds that his promise to his "civilian" girlfriend, a doctor played by Maggie Siff, to make the Sons legit is easier made than kept). Elsewhere, the MC must contend with the arrival of the League of American Nationalists (LOAN), a white separatist group headed by Ethan Zobelle (Adam Arkin) and his menacing enforcer (a well-cast Henry Rollins), who intend to run SAMCRO out of Charming; their brutal assault in the first episode on Gemma (Katey Sagal, who once again turns in perhaps the show's strongest performance), Jax's mother and Clay's wife, is part of the season's other principal story line.
As before, the Sons also grapple with a variety of other bikers and criminal groups, not to mention the frequent attention of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Sons of Anarchy doesn't exactly glorify these violent, misogynist, debauched guys, but it does remind us while they are criminals, they're also people with spouses, children, health problems, jobs (sort of), and other quotidian concerns--not like us, to say the least, but worthy of our attention. Bonus material includes a brief but well-done behind-the-scenes featurette and a "roundtable discussion" in which the cast answers questions submitted by viewers. --Sam Graham