The action does not cease to let up in yet another exciting week of Sons of Anarchy. The third episode of Season 5 starts with Chibs, Tig, Opie and Jax arriving at prison. Right after their arrival the black inmates (maybe with Niner ties) attempt to start trouble with them. Fortunately for Jax and crew the Mexicans step in to protect them, most likely due to SAMCRO’s connection with the Galindo Cartel.
FX had no problem heavily promoting the fact that someone would perish in tonight’s episode, but even knowing that going in I thought fan-favorite Opie was untouchable. Foolishness! Opie was my favorite Sons of Anarchy—by far—and I have to admit that I’m not taking this very well at all. But in order to understand why and figure out whether it had to be done, we have to start at the top of this intensely stressful, depressing, and ultimately fantastic episode.
Once Jax, Opie, Tig and Chibs were inside, though, and once Jax found out Pope’s terms for them to get back out — Tig stays locked up, and another MC member dies for the cop and crime-scene cleaner Tig killed — it felt almost inevitable that Opie would be the one to go. Whether he martyred himself for the good of the club, or just figured out a way to cut ties to SAMCRO for good and see his dad again, is open to interpretation.
So now let’s get on to the big stuff. Opie has been the odd man out in the club for awhile. Who can blame him? His club brother murdered his wife (by accident, but Tig has a nasty habit — well, Tig has several nasty habits, but — of accidentally killing people), his de facto uncle / mentor murdered his father, which his de facto brother / best friend lied to him about, his porn star wife got an abortion and then ran off and … did I forget something? Essentially, Opie’s life sucks.
Watch Sons of Anarchy – Laying Pipe Online
SOA Season 5 Episode 3: Laying Pipe
Of course, all of this was completely in character for Gemma, who has been known to go off half-cocked when things get her riled up. Katey Sagal put a great tone into all of her lines, especially with Tara (“Where is this sad song going?”). Even when she knew she didn’t have a leg to stand on, she was feisty. Tara’s declaration that she loved Gemma but wouldn’t put up with this was the perfect response. My question is how long Nero is going to be ok with the chaos that accompanies Gemma everywhere. Their discussion afterward was another example of the great chemistry between Sagal and Jimmy Smits; the ease they have with each other makes it fun to watch the relationship unfold.
When Pope tells Jax he’s going to need a dead Son from the four that were taken into custody, well, Jax is out for obvious reasons, and Pope himself specifically demands Tig stay in jail for a long time, presumably to spend the rest of his life being beaten and what not for Pope’s satisfaction. That leaves two guys, Chibs and Opie, only one of whom told his ex-wife last week that he wasn’t sure if he loved anyone anymore. Sure, Ope’s death is the only one of the four possible of creating serious dramatic impact, given his consistent decency and seemingly endless losses to the club (I guess Jax dying would’ve been a bigger deal, but that wasn’t going to happen), but any viewer who was invested enough in the show to care would also most likely realize what was coming, turning scenes of what should’ve been agonizing tension into a waiting game.
The ballsy choice was Opie. Jax’s best friend and in some ways the soul of the show. The man who willingly went to jail to protect SAMCRO, forgave Clay and Tig for the murder of his wife, and ultimately reached his breaking point when Clay killed his father. Opie is a key player in the show’s central drama, about as important as you can be without being named Jax, Clay, Gemma or Tara.
Opie’s a killer, and should not ever be confused with an upright citizen. But when you look at the SAMCRO roster, there are very few people who have abided by some kind of code through the show’s four plus seasons. Besides Juice and sometimes Jax, Opie is the only person you can cheer for. He’s lost so much to this show, to this life, but most of it happened for reasons beyond his control.
Opie’s death scene itself was a brutal, captivatingly staged highlight for episode director Adam Arkin. From Ryan Hurst’s delivery of the morbid “I got this” as false reassurance to the reactions of Charlie Hunnam and Tommy Flanagan as they watched (and Kim Coates’ back as he couldn’t bring himself to watch) to that artful, sickening gush of blood after the death blow, Arkin milked the sequence for maximum impact.
Gemma waits for the kids at the day care at the hospital. After being informed by her superior that Gemma is waiting, Tara meets her there and confronts her about using Wendy to get back at her. Tara tells Gemma the same thing she told Wendy about not threatening her or her family and says that Jax may end up killing her if she continues this behavior.
Juice brings Clay to Nero’s place, where he briefly speaks to Nero and asks him if he is the one sleeping with his wife. Nero informs him that he is and then Clay asks to spend some time with one of the young escorts that is nearby. Carla in the meantime takes Juice to a room for some alone time.
And it wasn’t long until we saw Jax perched on top of a table and calling Tig over, Tig sitting subserviently below him. It was no mistake that those two were positioned that way; Jax is no longer playing the role of king as he was at the end of Season 4. He IS the king. Just like Pope, who’s also willing to sacrifice his subjects, is king. I hate the term “game changer” because I think it’s a word that gets abused by people who don’t know any better, but this is that for Jax. Things will never be the same for him.
I’m not angry at Sutter, but I’m not sure I’ll continue watching. I’ve fallen in love with this show, and I’m very invested in these characters, but do I really want to keep punishing myself like this? Watching Tig experiencing his daughters brutal death up close and personal and now this tragic and heart-wrenching death has left me completely spent. This is just painful now. Those two scenes were just two weeks apart. I feel like I haven’t had a chance to catch my breath before the show hit me in the gut again. It’s just too much.
I really thought it was going to be Chibs the whole episode, right up until the same moment you pointed out, Tim. It made perfect sense though, Opie’s story had basically been told. His wife was dead, his new marriage was dead, his father was dead, and he now understood why he couldn’t get the revenge he felt he needed with Clay. In the last episode he went through his crisis of faith in the club, and ended up loyally standing by Jax, so of course he was going to be the one to make sure Jax got back out alive.
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