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+.


Still heartbroken, will watch what develops in this season. Just to see the purpose of killing of my favorite character. Still thinking of dropping the show completely though. Kurt Sutter has some explaining to do. To see Disney's Ashley Tisdales name on the guest star credits was a surprise. Most unexpected Gemma beatdown I'd seen ever. Was funny to watch. The verbal showdown or what I call the Jax Teller baby mama drama was fun to watch too. Wait Tara reached wife status as well as Gemme protegè status too. But still the Op thing hurt. Best character on the show got killed off. not cool man, not cool.


You are not alone, I'm SOOOOOO PISSED they killed Opie. He was the reason I was watching, how dare they kill the best person on the show. While I was watching I was yelling out "No No not my Opie" I was in shock for like 5 mins, it was so raw how they took him out. So what if Chibs was the logical choice they should have took him out. Opie need to kill Clay for all of the things he did to his family and now we will never see Opie get justice. I'm only going to watch so I can see Jax get revenge for his death, then I'm done. I know that sounds bad and I'm sure that was a risk they were willing to take losing viewers. R.I.P Opie, The best Son there was :)


Sutters writing always surprises me..that's what I love..the unexpected..there have been many times my husband and I were like whoa didn't see that coming...or Holy Sh*T I didn't expect that...that's what is so great about this show...As for Gemma...I think Sutter lets his real life interfear with his writing for the character...she needs to come down off her high horse and Tara needs to take her down...she needs to see her ways are not always the best ways.


I'm sorry but I'm off SOA - too much brutality and deprivation of human life. The burning of Tig's daughter while making him watch made me sick. then last night the beating of Opie was pretty much the last straw. There is too much of this in real life. Also, I agree Gemma's role is becoming commical and predictable. I really enjoyed the first 4 seasons but not this one. I'm done.


If Opie had to die then before the season is over I would love to see a Godfather type payback. Jax gets his revenge on everyone and Pope and the Niners get devastated. That would be the only proper way to end this season.


I am disappointed. Once you start killing off main characters...the show dives. Honestly it has gotten completely drama based and not worth watching. Since the untimely death of Opie, I believe this will be my last episode I watch. Bummer too, First season was great....sucked from there.


i thought it sucked that they killed opie. he was one of my favorite characters. the writing on this show has really gotten ridiculous. clay beats the piss out of gemma. she wanted jax to kill him, she leaves him and takes up with this pimp and now i'm supposed to believe that she would fly onto a rage and beat up a hooker that just had sex with him? is that believable? in real life she wouldn't give a crap that he had sex with a hooker.


Very hard to watch but if you have watched every single episode like I have it makes sense. Opie has not been the same since Donna died. He left to be with his family. He choice the way he wanted to go. I will miss Opie and it will definitely be different without him but, Tig, Chibs and Jax have a lot of "baggage" left in the show to just kill them off. I definitely think it will eventually turn around to show Jax that Gemma even though she is his mother is to blame for everything that has happened. I loved the part where Tara told Wendy "I am a surgeon and your a ex junky, biker, whore!" That is exactly what needed to be said by Tara. There is one thing I think the writers should do is. Even though Tara is married to Jax now, she is still a doctor and her character should dress at the hospital like a doctor not a biker chick. Sorry that part gets to me every time. Great writing Kurt I will watch till the final show.


First off a moment of silence for Opie Winston.
Now, isn't it ironic that Clay still wound up getting Opie killed? It's like no matter what he did he couldn't seem to stop crapping on Opie's life because even without trying he was still somewhat the reason Opie died. If he had never convinced Opie to go back to SAMCRO he wouldn't have died. But oh well, that's Kurt Sutter.
I ABSOLUTELY LOVE TARA!! She's becoming more like Gemma but smarter. When she told Wendy off I was squealing but when she told off Gemma I was like "Oh my gosh I'm in love!" Her line about having her husband kill Gemma was amazing and a cold hard slap to manipulative Gemma's face.
Also: I'm still waiting on Juice to be discovered as a rat (I don't like him).
I want to see why the NOMADS stole those documents from that safe.
And a special thanks to Kurt Sutter for giving me naked back shots of Charlie Hunnam and Ryan Hurst, it was enjoyable.


The episode Laying pipe made me cry!!!! That has'nt happened since Stringer was killed off The Wire. It was a stroke of genius and very ballsy move on Mr Sutter's behalf. Can't wait for next episode!!!!!!!

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