The successful series Sons of anarchy followed by members of the Sam Crow biker gang. The series ran for seven seasons, during which members of Sam Crow’s original California chapter battled rival gangs, internal struggles, and various law enforcement agencies.
From the first episode, Sons of anarchy stood out as something special. Most of the main characters and central themes of the series all appeared in the pilot. But there’s so much about the show that audiences missed, which adds layers to the story as a whole. Here are ten things from the first episode of Sons of anarchy that the public missed:
ten Symbolism of the opening scene
The very first image of the show features two blackbirds pecking at the corpse of a dove on the road. It is rich in symbolism. Crows are symbols of death, as well as messengers from the underworld, but they are blackbirds that peck the corpse of a white bird (a symbol of virtue).
Sam Crow’s uniforms are black vests, as Jax encounters the journals written by his late father John at the start of this pilot episode – journals that describe the morality John hoped to make Sam Crow a central feature when he was founded. But the predatory robins (in this case, Jax’s mother Jemma and her stepfather Clay) have killed the group’s virtue and are pecking at the corpse.
9 Hamlets references
Small details throughout the show’s first season continue the motif. When Jax decides to go Nomad in Season 2 after clashing with Clay, it’s a hint of how Hamlet traveled overseas by boat in Shakespeare’s tragedy. Following the abandonment of the Nomad plan, the plot thread is dropped, but for a while the series was intended to be a narrative of Hamlet.
It’s a small but interesting detail. The first time the audience sees Jax, he’s riding his bike and smoking a cigarette. Cigarettes are a common metaphor for life and death. He breathes his death.
Beyond that, Jax also plays with fire – much like Sam Crow’s illegal sales of M4 assault rifle firearms are metaphorically. play with fire, which leads the Mayans to literally set fire to the warehouse where the guns were stored.
7 Snakeskin boots
Snakes have an established history in the Western literary tradition as being unreliable creatures that are viewed as dangerous and untrustworthy. Snakes are considered poisonous liars. So it’s no coincidence that the camera focuses on an extreme close-up of the snakeskin boots worn by a member of the Mayan biker gang as these boots tread Charming’s floor.
The Mayans attempt to break into Charming, poisoning the city with their drugs. They also teamed up with the local Nazi gang, who lies in Jax and Clay’s face during a shoot.
6 Motorcycle training
After the warehouse explosion, Clay finds himself with a team of his guys on their bikes, moving in a V-formation. This has two main reasons. On the one hand, motorcycles taking a V-shaped formation are another throwback to Hamlet, because it almost looks like knights riding their horses in formation. Jax even calls Clay the “king” in this scene.
The other reference is the flight of the birds in their V-formation – again, Sam Crow’s black uniforms and bird movements reminiscent of robins pecking the corpse in the first scene. The training only lasts a moment, but it’s a visually engaging shot. Before that, the crew ascends in a defensive diamond shape.
5 Star burner
Jax’s ex-wife is a drug addict who gets caught while pregnant with their child. To heat her spoon, she uses the gas burner on her stove. The burner is actually shaped like a five-pointed star.
There could be many elements of symbolism here, like seeing stars hovering or how she gets burned by hellish habit while pursuing a celestial plan. The exact meaning of the show’s creators is unclear. Either way, it’s just visually really cool and not something common in most stove designs.
4 Bobby Jewelry
When Jax learns that the local gang of white supremacists, the Nordics, have sold his ex-wife a slap, he goes to their clubhouse and hits the dealer, crippling the man. Bobby is one of the two gang members who support him. Bobby is Jewish, and seeing how he enters the territory of a Nazi gang, he makes sure that they can see the jewelry he is wearing with the Hebrew word “Chai” on it.
It’s cathartic to see a Jewish man with a gun against Nazis. Later in the episode, the show is a little less culturally sensitive, as Bobby gets stuck with the stereotypical position of being the club’s treasurer.
3 Bikes vs. bikers
When Jax visits Opie at his home, there is an argument between Opie and his wife, who wants him to quit all activities with Sam Crow after having just returned from five years in prison. Jax says he’ll do the detonation work Opie was going to do, telling the other man to take care of his family.
As Jax leaves, two people on bikes pass. It’s a small detail but it shows the contrast between the violent life of a biker club and the peaceful domestic suburban life that Opie and his wife try to achieve.
2 Medical conditions
Jax’s son was born prematurely and suffers from major health problems. To quote Jax, “he was born with half a stomach and a hole in his heart.” These medical conditions are not accidental. They were chosen by the writers for their very obvious metaphors: Sam Crow’s future is gutsless and bad at heart – or at least, there’s something wrong with the hearts of the next generation.
Jemma reminds Jax that he also had a health problem – a “heart defect”, to be precise. It’s a metaphor for how the club strayed from its anarchist roots and turned to the heartless activities of organized crime.
The title of the program, Sons of anarchy, is referenced in the patches that Sam Crow members have on their vest logos, but anarchy has another meaning rooted in the show’s central message. Anarchy is not chaos, as the term is generally used inappropriately. Rather, it is the philosophy that people do not need rulers to rule them but can rule themselves.
Jax’s father was an anarchist. He believed in the writings of Emma Goldman, one of America’s first anarcho-socialist leaders who was a champion of workers’ rights and one of America’s first major advocates of same-sex couples and sex workers. Clay practices what can arguably be called anarcho-capitalism, a form of unregulated capitalism with fascist tendencies where money is more important than people’s lives. A central theme is that Jax is caught between the real anarchism his father believed in and those cut-throat business practices the gang is currently embroiled in.
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