It was the best of the seasons, it was the most violent of seasons. As soon as Jax (Charlie Hunnam) grabbed the SAMCRO gavel from Clay (Ron Perlman) on Season 5 of Sons of Anarchy, there was trouble in the biker paradise. All arrows pointed back to Clay, but Jax had to prove it.
Jax, Opie, Tig and Chibbs got arrested. While in jail, Oakland mobster Damon Pope set in motion a vicious beat-down of Opie(Ryan Hurst), whose skull was graphically bashed in. Jax made a deal with Pope to surrender Tig after they were out of prison.
While SAMCRO continued to broker gun and drug deals, marijuana played a part of the storyline as well. Jax's "old lady" Tara (Maggie Siff) regularly smoked joints, perhaps for medicinal purposes (she was recovering from major damage to her hand and wrist). After Gemma (Katy Sagal) and Wayne shared a joint, Gemma had an accident while driving with her two grandsons in the car. Tara blamed Gemma for being stoned. It's surprising - and disappointing - that SOA pinned the accident on marijuana.
Tara and Gemma went at it all season long. Gemma wanted access to Tara and Jax's boys. Finally, when Tara revealed that she was planning to take a new job at a hospital away from Charming, Gemma let the police know that Tara had provided the crucifix Otto used to kill a female guard in jail. Similarly, Jax led the police to believe that Clay killed Pope. Both Tara and Clay were arrested in the final episode.
Like Michael Corleone in The Godfather, Jax played the reluctant warrior until he gained power, then became as ruthless as his predecessor. Clearly frustrated by his inability to win total control of the club, Jax screamed a lot and fought even more. For a little guy, Jax packs quite a wallop with his fists of fury. He also singlehandedly saved Tig in a brash double-cross of Pope.
With Opie's brutal death the nadir, closely followed by Otto's tongue-splitting and a face full of nails for one of SAMCRO's unlucky opponents, this was a particularly gruesome season. While Sons of Anarchy is similar to The Sopranos in many ways, it lacks the slightest sense of humor. There's very little chance things will lighten up in Charming come Season 6.