Anyone watch the second-season premiere of Sons of Anarchy last night?

I’ll admit, I was slow to catch up with the, um, charms of this garish pulp-novel of a TV series during its first season. This time around, though, I realized: Oh, it’s supposed to be a garish pulp-novel of a TV series! Last night, creator Kurt Sutter got Sons off to a roaring start, and much of the acting is fantastic, from Charlie Hunnam’s sensitive-souled biker Jax to new bad-guy guest star Adam Arkin as a business-suited white supremicist. (Am I alone in thinking Arkin is one of the most underrated actors in television?)

This is one of the few series that can get away with subplots that would be lurid fantasies, were they not so vivid. As the season proceeds we’ll see the motorcycle club get more involved in overseeing a porn company — lots of opportunities to have extra loose women around for consensual sex.

But the scene that was most shocking last night was, of course, the scene of non-consensual sex: the brutal gang-rape of Katey Segal’s Gemma. Meant to send a signal, as they say in this sort of show, to the Anarchy club, this horrid act will play out over the season with devastating, surprising results. But in the meantime, I’d like to know what you thought of the premiere in general, and of that scene in particular. Me, I thought it wasn’t cheap exploitation, but sent us a signal that the title of this series really means what it says: anarchy can break loose at any time.