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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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I am surprised by all the people who think this was a bad decision by kurt sutter and who are 'quitting' the show. Killing off Opie was exactly the kind of thing that makes this show brilliant. And personally, I think they had been missing that for awhile. The show has always had bad things happen to good people - killing Hale, Half Sack and Piney, Gemma getting raped, Abel getting kidnapped. Opie was too unhappy - he needed to be put out of his misery. If you are watching this show for the warm fuzzies of your favorite characters, you are watching the wrong show!

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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.

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'll start by saying this, I began watching the show during the middle of last season and I fell head over heels in love, went out and bought seasons 1-3, and have watched each season about 3-5 times now. The show is brilliant, Kurt is brilliant.
Now enough of professing my love for the show... I'll address Gemma first. I truly believe that she's gone off her rocker... but who can blame her? She's always been driven by her need to protect her family, but Clay defied everything she believed in and still found ways to get in and nearly tear it all apart... AND HE'S STILL THERE. I don't think she attacked Ashley Tisdale's character because she still has something for Clay, I think it's more of her being so exhausted by Clay that she just can't control her anger any more. Now, there might be more to this.. but I really don't see it being her having feelings and being "jealous" rather than just her being tired of Clay purposefully hurting her and not being able to do anything about it.
Opie being the one to die began to make more and more sense to me, especially after Jax told him the truth about EVERYTHING. At that point, I kinda expected him to be the one to throw himself in.. because, well, what else does he have left? The club itself has brought so much pain to the poor man, and he even said he "doesn't think he knows how to love anything" anymore. As heartbreaking as Opie's death was (and when I say heartbreaking, I mean I was sobbing and unable to sleep last night because that's all I could think about), I do believe it was 100% necessary to push Jax to get the club through all the terrible shit it's going through.
I'll finish with this - I hope and pray this isn't going to push Jax to become the next, and maybe worse, version of Clay... I have so much hope that he'll end his reign in the right way and not become such a ruthless leader. I'll still be watching SOA every Tuesday night, as long as it doesn't give me a heart attack.

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In the last 2 seasons they have slowly made good characters story go nowhere. Gemma has become a pain in the butt, she is actually quite annoying lately. They are exaggerating Tera comparing her to Gemma and Juice is like one of the prospects. I can go on to each character not really doing anything and that includes Clay. Really the only things me and my wife tuned in for was to see what was going to happen with Jax and how Opie was going to find his new place within the club. They have really destroyed the essence of the show that I have faithfully followed since season 1. Now that Opie is gone what am I looking for now?...to see how Jax has abandoned any hope for the better life that his character is based on as he turns into clay and Hunts pope? No. The decision to stop watching the show is pinnacled by this event but SOA has turned into nothing more than a soap with vastly unbelievable plots. I totally saw the foreshadowing that Opie was saying goodbye but you just made future suicide on your own show.

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If this was real (i know its not) I would have tried to have Otto count as the dead SON, kind of a loop hole in Popes demands if ya think about it. He never said it had to be one of the 4 who just got inside.

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Honestly, I don't know what to say. Did not see that one coming. I kept saying to myself over and over again, no not Opie. Geez, Sutter your killing me here. Yeah, obviously this needed to happen, Jax will be different now. Not like Clay, Not like Pope, but like Jax 2.0. Get ready people, JAX is in the house. RIP Opie, will miss your lovely brooding face, your honesty, your ever abiding loyalty to Jax and to your Club. It's 2:30pm EST and I'm still in a funk. Geez, I love the SOA, but sometimes it gets to real for me. Lost a friend yesterday and I'm heart broken.

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I loved Opie, he was one of my favorites! I haven't seen the scene of his death, I was so saddened by the thought of what would occur with the fifht that after the black dudes walked in, I turned it off. I can't believe it, this has me in tears, I've grown to love these characters, damn why Opie??? I love em all wouldn't want to loose either one but if I had a choice, Tig you'd be a goner. Miss you Opie! The show will never be the same, damn!!

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So upset they killed opie,i mean im a grown man and i really got upset,wtf.

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@KYLE...
What I meant by Tig starting the chain reaction is simply him lack of control...he acted impulsively and he didnt think or wait for a direct command from Clay or Jax...This all could have been prevented...Yes CLAY and JAX are the ones who could have stopped it but they didnt cause they didnt know what Tig was up too....he is lose cannon and he need to be dealt with or put on a short leash....Honestly if he had been part of the ppl i know he wouldnt live to see the sunrise ...... i am just say that he is unreliable and he can cripple the organization really bad....

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Every week I look forward to the chills that SOA leaves me ..... Last night was the first time the show left me in tears and today I find myself moarning a character like it was my very own family member .... Now some may call me crazy and it could just be my wishful thinking but I'm not so sure Opie is truly gone .... One thing I know for sure is that sometimes nothing in Charming is the way it seems..... Does anyone recall Tara saying something about going to work at a prision and when she got the call from Jax all was said was Ok like he was sending a message or singal ...like I said I'm sure all this is just wishing thinking cause I'm havin a hard time dealing with one on my favorite character from one of my favorite shows leaving me .... But I will keep on watching and I pray that guard gets a visit from Jax real soon .......

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