When "Sons of Anarchy" returns for its fifth season on Tuesday (September 11), SAMCRO loyalists fill find their familiar club riding through dark, unfamiliar territory. Star Ron Perlman has one big piece of advice for the folks at home: buckle your seatbelts and hold onto your butts.
"I'm now a little better than halfway through [filming on] season five, and I can tell you, get ready man," Perlman told MTV News about what to expect in season five of the FX biker drama. "Anything you think you might have known about this world? All the rules have changed."
Few can attest to the changing tides in Charming, California, better than Perlman. The "Hellboy" actor stars on the show as Clay Morrow, a founding member and longtime president of the Sons of Anarchy Motor Club, Redwood Original, who barely escaped season four with his life. After killing a fellow club member, savagely beating his wife and nearly dying at the hands of his stepson Jax (who finally learned that Clay was responsible for his father's death several years earlier), there's virtually no reason that Clay should still be alive — which is why Perlman is so thankful for series creator Kurt Sutter.
"I survived through the miracle of writing. I only survived because Kurt wrote it that way," Perlman said with a laugh. "Season four was a series of dastardly deeds on the part of Clay Morrow, even more dastardly than I, who had played him for three years, was prepared for. If you had asked me three or four episodes from the end if I thought Clay would make it, I would have said no. Somehow, Kurt Sutter, our genius creator, felt it was more interesting to keep him alive and see what the aftermath of these reveals would yield theatrically."
In the wake of those events, Perlman has discovered an even deadlier side to Clay, if you can believe it. The man has lost the love of his life, the respect of his son-in-law, and his status as President of SAMCRO. But he still has one thing: his life.
"As long as Clay has life, he has all the rest of that stuff: ambition, a refusal to lose, and a need to be the alpha male," said Perlman. "Season five is characterized by that struggle, of him being something less than the alpha male, and seeing how that sits with him — and it ain't pretty."
Perlman is as surprised as anyone that the series' central mystery — the circumstances surrounding Clay killing Jax's father so many years ago — came to light in the fourth season, considering Sutter's previously expressed hopes for "Sons" to last as many as seven seasons. To hear Perlman tell it, exposing Clay's big secret to Jax at the midpoint of the series opened the door for "way more interesting stories" than he "ever gave [Sutter] credit for."
"I'm now officially a very, very curious passenger on this bus. I have no idea where it all winds up, but it has to end at some point," said Perlman. "It keeps you on your toes. It makes for some very uncomfortable moments this year, because you get used to a certain paradigm of reality, and when all of those things have flown out the window and have been undermined by other realities you didn't know were possible, then you're constantly in unfamiliar territory — and that can be very uncomfortable, watching everybody maneuver their way through season five."
The fifth season of FX's "Sons of Anarchy" premieres on Tuesday (September 11) at 10 p.m. ET.
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