Season four of Sons of Anarchy picks up 14 months after the third season finale, as the SAMCRO members are being released prison. During the time they were incarcerated, the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office, has taken over for the Charming police department. And as the Sons ride back into town, Deputy Sheriff Eli Roosevelt (Rockmond Dunbar) makes it clear to them that things are going to be different.
However, it isn’t long before the Sons get back to gun-running business, trying to get a larger cut from the Russians for the sales of Irish guns. With his hands getting worse, Clay realizes that his time with the club is almost up. So he also gets SAMCRO involved as drug mules for the Galindo cartel in order to build a retirement nest egg. This causes a bit of a divide between the club as many don’t think the Sons should be getting involved with drugs. What they don’t know is that Assistant US Attorney Linc Potter (Ray McKinnon) has taken up residence in the Sheriff’s department, where he is mounting a RICO case against the cartel, Russians, Sons, Irish Kings and some other rivals.
Meanwhile, Gemma discovers that Tara has John Teller’s letters, which reveal the truth about what happened to JT, and threaten to tear apart the club if Jax or anyone else finds out.
The fourth season of Sons of Anarchy is all about the internal threats and power struggles that could tear apart the MC. As Jax and Tara constantly plan the seemingly impossible task of leaving Charming, there always seems to be something that pulls them back in. Clay grows more and more despicable throughout the season, causing conflict with pretty much everyone. He doesn’t care who he hurts (or kills) to get what he wants. And this leads to some very tense and satisfying drama.
The season is so well crafted. We initially get a slow burn as Clay lets his personal issues bleed into the club. Then the stakes are raised up as the external threats to the club emerge—however, this is mixed with a bit of levity at times to ease the tension. Then we build to an incredibly tense, action-packed final third of the season.
Unlike season three, where I found a couple of the episodes dull or slow, I really enjoyed this season from start to finish. One thing I noticed more in this season was a great integration of music into scenes to help add to the feeling/atmosphere. This is especially evident from the opening scene of the season.
The fourth season of Sons of Anarchy was just as enjoyable the second time through watching it on this blu-ray set. I would definitely recommend checking this out.
What’s Included on the Blu-ray:
- All 14 episodes of Season 4 (656 minutes)
- Widescreen 1.78:1
- Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1
- English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese subtitles
- Gear Up with the All New SOA App
Download the free SOA App from iTunes or the Android app store and sync up for a second screen experience while watching the Blu-ray. I found this a bit disappointing—while some shows use the second screen feature to give extra facts and footage, the primary focus of the SOA App is to sell you SOA apparel based on what the characters are currently wearing in the episode.
- Extended Episodes
Includes both the original and extended versions of four episodes: “Dorylus” (403), “Brick” (405), “Family Recipe” (408), and “Kiss” (409). It’s nice that the Season Play feature shows these extended versions of the episodes.
- Audio Commentaries
Cast and crew give their perspective on the episodes, behind the scenes tidbits, and also answer some fan questions. A highlight is the full cast attempting to sing along with the theme.
- Cast/Crew Commentary on “Out” (401) – Paris Barclay, Kurt Sutter, Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman
- Director Commentary on “Hands” (410) – Peter Weller
- Cast/Crew Commentary on “Hands” (410) – Kurt Sutter, Katey Sagal, Maggie Siff
- Cast/Crew Commentary on “To Be – Act 1″ (413) – Kurt Sutter, Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, Mark Boone Jr., Dayton Callie, Theo Rossi, Kim Coates, Tommy Flanagan and Ryan Hurst
- Cast/Crew Commentary on “To Be – Act 2″ (414) – Kurt Sutter, Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, Mark Boone Jr., Dayton Callie, Theo Rossi, Kim Coates, Tommy Flanagan and Ryan Hurst
- Deleted Scenes (23:49)
- Disc 1 (401-405, 13 scenes) (12:34)
- Disc 2 (406-410, 7 scenes) (7:53)
- Disc 3 (411-414, 5 scenes) (3:22)
- Gag Reel (2:44)
I always enjoy a fun gag reel—messed up lines, cursing, etc.
- Farewell Piney (7:10)
The title is a bit spoilerly if you haven’t seen the season yet. The cast and crew talk about the character of Piney.
- Fans of Anarchy (4:47)
Interviews with Kurt Sutter and the winners of a social media contest for two fans to fly out to meet the cast and crew for the season premiere.
- Anarchy at House of Blues (10:20)
Footage from the sold-out benefit concert to raise money for the family of deceased SoA family member John O’Brien. Among the performances are Katey Sagal singing “Bird on a Wire” and a live performance of the theme song.
One great feature of the blu-ray is that it includes a season play option that keeps track of where you are in the season, so you can easily pick up from where you left off. I originally watched this show on the FX HD channel, and this Blu-ray looks even better. The picture is incredibly crisp and detailed and the sound is great.
With extended episodes, loads of deleted scenes, a gag reel and audio commentaries, I found the extras on this set to be pretty solid. I think the only thing that I would have liked to have seen was more featurettes with behind the scenes footage, to get a glimpse into how the series is filmed and put together.
The Sons of Anarchy Season Four blu-ray is an easy recommendation to people who are already fans of the show. However, the opening sequence of the premiere does a great job introducing the characters and setting the scene, so this would also be a good jumping in point for folks who are new to the series and don’t have enough time to watch the first three seasons.