I've been back with the writers for a month now, and today was the first day I felt like I actually plugged back into the show. I finished a first draft of episode 301 this week, but it wasn't until I mulled, sorted and boarded 302 that I felt reconnected to the process of running a show.
I've shared this before, but it was a very odd hiatus for me. I was supposed to begin directing my first feature in January. It was a script I wrote some years back, Delivering Gen, and recently, we got all our financing together. The problem was timing. I had to be in pre-production by mid-December to finish in time to get season three of Sons on air by September, 2010 (no definite air date has been set). Unfortunately I couldn't put my cast together in time, so we were forced to push the project until summer, 2010.
I jumped from season two of SOA onto the stress of will or won't this movie go. When it didn't go, I pulled up production on the show so I wouldn't hit the same scheduling snag next hiatus. Even though I didn't really do anything over the break, I never decompressed or took any downtime. So when I started back on Sons last month, I felt out of sorts. Committed, excited, but oddly detached from the process. Even writing the season three premier didn't plug me back in.
It wasn't until today, when I sat down with the story beats for episode 302 and started weaving the narrative, that I felt "back on the show". In retrospect, I guess it all makes sense. The truth is, often premiers are very different episodes from the others in a season. You have to complete, acknowledge and honor the episodic and emotional arcs from the end of the previous season as well as set up new characters, stories and themes. All that, plus it has to "feel" like the show. In our case that means, it's gotta have some bloody fucking balls. I feel like 301 services all those things, but sometimes because of the parameters of a premier it can feel like an isolated project. So today, when we sat down and flushed out the next episode, I realized, "Oh shit, I've got twelve more of these to write and produce. I'm fucking working again..."
I know this will sound self-serving and obvious, but I'm genuinely excited about this season (hopefully you know me well enough to realize that if I wasn't excited, I'd have no fucking problem telling you). Season three of Sons of Anarchy will take us to some new and very different places -- both narratively and emotionally. We will reveal some dark Teller family secrets and create a few more in the process. It was John the Apostle who said "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Clearly he never spent a weekend with Gemma Teller.