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?


  • 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?


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+.


Something that you all are overlooking is that Ryan is STILL keeping the Opie look, the show IS based on Hamlet, Hamlet WAS haunted by a ghost that kept him focused on one goal-get revenge on CLAUDIUS/clay and not waste time blaming his MOM!!! Does anyone else see the connection between the name clay and claudius?
Now who will that ghost be?


As soon as Jax told Opie the truth about the cartel/Cia deal Opie was pretty much a goner. He knew too much, I'm not saying that Jax meant for him to be the one to go out but it seems like the logical choice. Plus his character would never again fully support the MC. He was tired of as he put it "Chasing Cash we don't need". It also sets in motion Jax's rise to a more ruthless sort of leader,as it seems he's willing to go and off Tig and give orders to kill a guard. He's joined the ranks of the power players and he has to play by their rules to survive at this level. Maybe he's conning pope maybe not. Either way he'll never be the same again. Tara has the same issue with Gemma, she's coming into her own as a wife of a leader and has her own not so subtle power plays to deal with. Interesting stuff ahead.


SOA is one of my favorite shows, probably of all time. I couldn't wait for the season to start and it's been totally of the hook and I find myself anticipating Tuesday nights because I want more of what they all have. I didn't see Opie's death coming and even as the scene went down, I believed that he would come out on top - that his loyalty and love for the club would drive him to beat the you know what out of the Niners. When I finally caught on that he indeed wouldn't make it (the pain, sorrow, and regret in his face as he looked at Jax for the last time should win him an Hurst an Emmy), it was too late to turn off the television. I didn't need to see that and I wish I hadn't. I cried for a few minutes and couldn't concentrate on the rest of the show. I have no clue what happnened next. Opie's story is so sad - the loves of his life died as a result of the Sons. He knew it and his face said it all. Before he was beaten to death Opie told Jax that he had made the wrong decision by protecting Clay and the club. I agree. RIP Opie.


it speaks volumes that in the 5th season this show is still able to affect us.. I bawled my eyes out at the loss of Opie.. i almost felt that a piece of me was taken too right there with Jax. Kuddos Mr.Sutter.. What a show.. But i will still have a heaviness for the loss of my fav .. RIP OPIE


Oh wow i cried like a little baby when opie died he was one of my FAVS in the show big giant fat tears ;(
I so feel for Jax but wow Tig is going to die and i have a feeling Jax might actully end up doing it lolz :D
I so can't wait till next week to see what happened with Gemma and that but i have a feeling its all bullshit with the copes :D
Haha Gemma smashed that chik but we know shes coming back weve all seen the pics of her on the back of Jax's bike :D


I don't get why people are up in arms, stating they will never watch the show again. Opie's death has given this show more press than any nasty tweet sent by Kurt Sutter. Both Opie and Jax were trending on Twitter all night in most of the major markets (I'm in NY and they were trending here). And actually do you really think Kurt Sutter is concerned about losing one viewer? This is his show. You don't have to like what he writes but do not think you can force him to rewrite it to make you happy. He isn't coming to your house and forcing you to tell your wife she is beautiful or your husband he is fabulous. So do not try to force him to change things in HIS house. I love the show, period. I will follow it wherever it leads me. This is THEIR journey, we are just along for the ride. If you want to park your bikes and quit over Opie's death, so be it. Those of us that respect the show and what Kurt and his group are trying to do with it will still be here.


I've been upset since last nite, when I watched one of my favorite and most tragic characters on the show, Opie, get brutally beaten to death. As he was on his knees, looking his last at the other 3 before the final blow shattered his skull, I cried. Tig had better watch out-Jax has become an untrustworthy monster & Tig will go as soon as he's outworn his usefulness to Jax. I won't watch this episode again when this season goes to repeats-I just can't see Opie's poor battered face looking at Jax & the others any more-its already burned into my head as is....we'll all miss Ryan Hurst's Opie character-he made Opie lovable and believable & I think we all rotted for life to get better for Opie after all he was put thru by the others in the club....


I absolutely love this crazy show, the characters, the biker's fascinating! I have to admit that I have found myself in mourning for Opie today. Last night's episode affected me more than I anticipated. Next week can't come fast enough.


September 26th, 2012 3:09 PM
OK guys, we get it that you are mad that Opie was the one to go and that you feel it was the wrong decision. Opie was one of my absolute favorites too, but it is Kurt Sutter's project and brilliant creation and since I certainly do not possess the talent (nor do most of you) to create something so compelling that keeps me on the edge of my seat, it is not for me to make any judgment as to how Mr. Sutter handles his show. All I can say to those of you who quit watching simply because you didn't agree with the way the episode was written, you will be the ones to lose not Mr. Sutter."
The show was a brilliant creation I agree. But there comes a time when you take a risk and its the wrong one. The show used to keep me on the edge of my seat. Now I will not even sit down to watch it. Since the shows success is required to keep the story going on. It IS up to us to judge how they handle the show. I keep seeing people write that we should accept whatever the writer does cause you have faith in him are obviously blinded and cannot see that the show has sliding down. Continuously killing characters you like is not good story telling despite what you think Drama is. It just makes us move on to better writers.


Can't believe that Opie is gone..I think Sutter is an amazing writter..I will still watch the show no matter all the haters..if Sutter was that bad of a writter, you wouldn't be so pissed off..there is a reason that the story line went this way..get over it..I really wish that Tara would just beat the shit out of Gemma and get it over with..maybe it will happen all in good the show..

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