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Sons of Anarchy Review: The Wrong Choice

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You made the wrong choice.

These may not have been the final words Opie ever uttered to Jax, but they will be the ones that weigh on the conscious of his best friend forever.

Yes, Sons of Anarchy lost one of its own on "Laying Pipe." In brutal fashion. In dramatic fashion. And in a fashion that will clearly change Jax Teller forever.

A Final Walk

Before breaking down how this fatal beatdown will affect Jax and SAMCRO, let's take a moment and acknowledge the work of Ryan Hurst through the years. A brooding, silent enforcer, Opie was in so many ways the heart and soul of the MC.

For an in-your-face, action-packed drama, Hurst played him quietly and perfectly. He was a menacing presence, an actor that could convey emotion without saying a word.

Why kill off Opie now? Why not just bid him farewell at the conclusion of Season 4 when circumstances aligned to logically have him walk away from the club? First, because that's not who he is.

But second, because this is Jax's journey. He made the decision to keep Clay alive, to keep the Sons involved in the gun trade, to line up the dominoes that eventually felled his closest ally.

It will be fascinating in the coming weeks to see how he responds. Will the guilt weigh him down? Not if his closing actions are to be believed. One can read his deal with Pope as a long con Jax is plotting, one that requires the presence of Tig by his side; or one can read it as Pope himself did:

To rise to true and absolute power, feelings must be shoved aside and machinations must always be considered. Jax seemingly saved Tig to assure himself of a loyal follower. That's not how the club is meant to work, of course. It's a Democracy. But Jax, for now at least, from the brief reaction we've seen so far, is taking Opie's murder as an opportunity to abandon all rules and set out a course for... we have no idea at this point.

From a writing point of view? Sure, this was all a bit contrived. You could practically hear the strokes on Kurt Sutter's computer as he moved the pieces in to place that would set Jax off on this path.

I questioned last week whether it was really believable that a few words from Clay would convince Opie to return to the table. And it was quite the jump to go from his speech to Jax at the cemetery to the 180 of punching Roosevelt out just to get himself imprisoned.

So, yes, the storyline was forced.

But damn if tonight's developments weren't executed brilliantly, from the tense discussions between club members to the slow-motion blow and blood splatter. And damn if every Sons of Anarchy fan out there isn't dying for next week's episode.

Rest in peace, Opie. Say hello to Piney and Donna, will ya?

Elsewhere...

  • Tara/Gemma 2.0/Frankenstein was in full effect, telling off Wendy and threatening her mother-in-law's life. When was the last time Maggie Siff smiled on this series? She scares me.
  • Gemma, though, is almost growing tiresome as a character. Would she really go to Wendy in response to Tara's hard line with the kids? Would she really attack poor Ashley Tisdale? Katey Sagal is so incredible in this role that it's sad to see Gemma becoming so one-note, simply reacting with scorn and bitterness and self-centered violence at all times.
  • It's safe to assume Clay called in a tip and organized the raid of Nero's business. It certainly wouldn't be the most under-handed thing the guy has ever done.
  • Juice got some hilarious action! Bet he's glad that tree branch fell last year now, huh?
  • No word from or about the Nomads, but don't worry: Pope is looking into it.

Overall, a legitimately moving, shocking episode that charts a new course for SAMCRO and its President moving forward. I'll have more to say about it in this week's Sons of Anarchy Round Table, but let's open this up to readers:

What did you think, TV Fanatics? Any final words for Opie?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (300 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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RIP Ope! I am sad to see him go. But it was obvious Jax couldn't go, as he is the core of the show. HOw many want to see the Son's eliminate Pope??? I want to see his backside tortured slowly. Also, Clay needs to get nailed for his part in ruining Jemma's chance at happiness.

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That's the worst! Opie was my favorite. I would have rather jax get killed off then Opie

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please tell he writers to bring opie back. they didnt show him dead . i cried more over him than my ex-husband. the show wont be the same. do you know if he will be back? give us a hint, mamadebbe

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Writing the Opie character out of the shw is a horrible idea. What kind of show kills off one of the main characters - I would argue the second most important character to the show. Why? Because Opie grounded the show in realty. Opie provided a common man's perspective that allowed the average viewer to relate to being in a motorcycle gang - he provided an emotional conduit into the show's plot line. One may mistakenly believe that the Jax character provides a relatable persona, but Jax is so lost in his own dreams that he fails to see the reality of his situation - the character is an idiot. Opie's stoic silence and questioning of the club's stupidity helped ground the Jax character. Without Opie, Jax will lose all tethers to logic and become unrelatable. The show will be like watching murderous chimpanzees riding motorcycles. If I wanted to see mindless chimps tear one another apart I would watch Animal Planet. Horrible writing! Horrible plot development! Horrible! Way to trash a decent show.

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That was just WRONG! Not Opie, I'm so sad...made me cry my eyes out. Maybe he has a twin brother somewhere to come and take his place?

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I have watched SOA from the first day and LOVE this show. Last night, was the toughest. Opie was by far my favorite and feel bad (even though its just a show) that he was the most loyal but yet the one that got treated unfairly every time. For his best friend Jax to shoot him in defense of keeping Clay alive had to have been tough. Knowing what Opie had been thru, I think Jax really turned on him and did many times in this show. Great writing Sutter BUT I WILL NOT watch the end of that episode again...just can't do it. I turned my head after the first blow and that was all I could take. That was brutal. A single gun shot, maybe but not going out like that. Gemma still rocks it. She is a very talented woman.

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Son of a fucking bitch!!!!! They killed OPIe those bastards!!!!Aw, of course they did; there was no other way to go. Way too much bad history for that poor fellow. Howeva.............the CIA can make those that are there seem invisible and make things not there appear real. My guess it's a witness protection/give Pope what he wants (for now) angle. Maybe I'm blowing sand but I think Op is gonna show up later on......the season is young and Sutter is known (season 3) for messin' with viewers heads. We will see....

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Oh no, not head-banging Opie! Wow, did not see that coming, but I never see what's coming which is why this show is sooo great. Makes me cringe during each killing, but it comes on 3 times and I can only get through those killings once! I'm so sorry for Opie, really liked him a lot and it seems he had morals but that's not what the show is all about so we have Mr. Sutter and his wife to steer us in a different direction, LOL! I can only imagine how their brains work to come up with this stuff, but here's to you guys and multiple seasons (holding my glass up) that you never get writer's block. Keep it coming and thank you for the entertainment!

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so pissed. opie was hands down my favorite character on this show. right now i feel like i may never watch again. that's how mad i am by this.

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Wow- what a show last night! I did not see it coming. I was sure that Tig would be the on killed- boy was I wrong! Ryan Hurst is a wonderful actor. I hate to see that character go- he was Jax's conscience. Where do we go from here? Only Mr. Sutter knows. I think Opie had a death wish anyway. Remember when he asked Lila to watch his kids for him and he said he didn't know when or if he'd be back; and then gave her a wad of money. I will really miss Opie. Checkmate, Mr. Sutter.

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