Sons of Anarchy Season Premiere Post Mortem: [Spoiler] Relives an 'Epic' Nightmare Come True

Sons of Anarchy Season 5Sons of Anarchy packed a lot of plot into its fifth season kickoff Tuesday might, but make no mistake — the hour belonged to Kim Coates’ Tig.

In a moment that will forever be seared into viewers’ psyches, the FX drama’s 90-minute opener climaxed with Big Bad Damon Pope (Lost‘s Harold Perrineau) burning Tig’s daughter alive as SAMCRO’s ex-Sergeant-at-Arms looked on in horror.

Not only did the retaliatory strike (Tig accidentally killed Pope’s daughter last season) raise the stakes in the war between SAMCRO and Pope, but it gave Coates the kind of material that prompts talk of Emmy nominations. Below, the actor recalls the moment SOA creator Kurt Sutter informed him of the impending tragedy, explains how he prepared to act out a parents’ worst nightmare come true, and previews the “mind-blowing” fallout to come.

RELATED | Sons of Anarchy Season 5 Preview — Warning: Major Spoilers!

TVLINE | What was your reaction when you first read the premiere script?
I saw [Kurt] Sutter in New York at the end of March. He came up to me and said, “You might want to sit down.” I said, “No. I don’t want to sit down. I want to stand up.” He goes, “Well, this is what’s going on with Tig.” He started telling me about the scene and about Pope and about what he does… and I got such tingles; I almost started to tear up a little bit. It was very emotional for me. I have two beautiful daughters myself. It was so epic in a streamlined, f—ed up way. I was so thankful I hugged him. But I was like, “How in the world am I going to prepare for something like that?”

TVLINE | How did you prepare for it?
The first thing I did was I went and talked to my really close buddy, Dr. Sam Alibrando. He’s a therapist. He’s just an amazing, amazing [resource about the] human condition. I told him about [the scene] in strict confidence — as a doctor to a patient, even though he’s not my therapist. We spent four hours discussing the human condition. Sam freaked out when he read it. You could just see his mind going. What he told me about the human condition when it comes to fight or flight, adrenaline, shock and numbness was undeniably the greatest thing I could listen to.

VIDEO | Sons of Anarchy Preview — Tara Takes on [Spoiler]

TVLINE | But then you had to go shoot it.
It was two nights of filming at that incredibly dusty, dirty train yard. Harold hit it right out of the park. I didn’t want to meet him before [we shot it] and he didn’t want to meet me. It was as fresh as you saw it [in the premiere]. The props guys saved my hands. I’m an internal actor — I mean I’m in it. I would’ve ripped my hands right [out of the handcuffs] had the props guys not gotten this incredible rubber leather strap for each wrist that the handcuffs were able to go over the top of. It allowed me to scream like a trapped animal and not worry about ripping my fingers off.

TVLINE | Did any part of you think, “What kind of sick mind comes up with this stuff?”
Sutter’s just Sutter. Just when you think you might have him somewhat figured out he just f—ing does it, doesn’t he? He’s not afraid. I thanked him for trusting me enough to give me something like that.

TVLINE | Did Kurt explain to you why this had to happen?
No. He didn’t have to. I mean, Tig killed [Pope’s daughter]. It’s part of the journey. He didn’t have to explain it to me. But wait until you see where it goes. We’re on the 11th episode right now. We’re coming down the backside of the mountain in Season 5. Sutter must know where this is all going. We don’t.

TVLINE | How does this tragedy affect Tig?
The first four episodes are going to be as shocking as anyone’s ever seen. It’s mind-blowing. Tig’s completely off the leash. He has no loyalties to Clay anymore. Clay and him are on the major outs… Jax puts [him] back on the leash for much of the middle [of the season], but with two or three [episodes left to shoot], it’s becoming evident that there’s going to be some sort of a bookend. I could be wrong. But [I sense] another bookend [coming] at the end of this season that will be an epic thing for Tig — good, bad, and ugly.

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  1. Sam says:

    I’m just emotionally traumatized from that scene. Holy crap.

    • krz says:

      that was pretty much my reaction. i had completely forgotten about his daughter….

    • Rebecca says:

      As soon as I saw the gasoline, I had to fast forward. I seriously could not watch that scene.

    • Jen says:

      I actually worke up in the middle of the night to remember how crazy that scene was. I knew, because this was Sutter that it wasn’t a fake out: AoA was actually going to go there, but I’m still shocked.

    • John says:

      To be honest, all I could think about was what I’d do to Pope. I don’t think I’d even be able to take in the grief in that moment; it would be all about revenge. And a man like Tig is probably about the same – I can’t even begin to imagine what’s going to happen to Pope and his family after this, because Tig is sure as hell not going to let this rest.

    • george says:

      coates reaction to his daughters murder was just so canned, he didnt emote the real grief a parent would experience. i would have expected, vomiting, real crying, absolute hysteria,, instead we got some guy on his knees raving ,, poor perfomance given the build up

      • Shell K. says:

        I disagree with your opinion only because I have seen this reaction in real life. (a parent losing a child in front of their eyes)
        You can’t imagine how you might react. Some people are in such shock the reaction is quite mild. You would be surprised.

        • Ruthann Jagge says:

          I agree :) Also, Tig lives in a world FULL of violence at a level most will never experience so he may be “de-sensitized” to some extent? When he was curled on the ground in a fetal position, you would easily imagine what was left of his “humanity” simply going like the smoke…he broke in a million pieces as I see it.

          • rhonda says:

            I agree no one knows how one would react i think him a bad a.. Biker dude lying in a fetal position says it all i couldnt wait for the next moment to happen great job tig i loved it From a biker mom of 4 BEAUTIFUL girls myself awards awards awards they deserve it!!!! Give it to them they are all great actors and actresses

        • Mika says:

          The scene was heart wrenching. I agree that there is no way of predicting anyone’s reaction to that horror. As a parent of a child that was brutally murdered I can say that there is the fight or flight syndrome along with the emotional shutdown. I believe that there is something that takes over in a parents brain and soul that won’t allow the entirety of the situation be absorbed. If it was then I believe it would kill us.

          • DM says:

            You got that right….my daughter was also brutally murdered….know exactly where you’re coming from…….

          • LLola says:

            For me, the emotion he shows at the end when he’s crying…spoke so much about the many ways a person may feel when traumatized. His facial expressions during that scene were so relatable – I saw despair, incredulity, fear, and anxiety – a totally broken man.

        • Angie Neal says:

          I also disagree with the above statement….I thought the scene was incredible. The whole premiere was absolutely great!! Very good way to start off the new season. Left me eager and excited for more!!!

      • tuplurp says:


      • DRock says:

        I completely disagree as well, being a parent who has lost a child, everyone’s reaction, emotions, etc are different, and he is absolutely de-sensitized to violence based on the life he lives, I as well though could do nothing but imagine what I would do to Pope and his family if the situation ever came up where I watched someone do that to a child of mine in front of me, it wouldn’t be anywhere near TV appropriate to say the least!!

      • Barbara says:

        I have to agree with george on this…although i love the Tig character I was left kind of empty on the acting. I do give the actor kudos on his maniac killing of the cleaner! that was crazy! and i loved that! that part was the best scence! :) no i do not know how i would react, but i don’t think it would have been like that…

      • Josh says:

        You obviously have seen too many movies……real life plays out that way…..its shock, disbelif and numbness….the rage comes later. Trust me…i know.

      • Dawn Dixon says:

        Whatever…you don’t know what your even talking about. Who are you to say how a parent should react in that situation. People react differently. He held it in until he got loose, and took care of them two jerks, then he did let it out, and cry. Or were you not watching the same show as everybody else.

        • Terry Inzauro says:

          I agree as we have seen Tig through the seasons we know how we think he would act. I don’t think he could have pulled it off had he not been cuffed & chained. He was totally unable to do anything. I’m thinking Sutter may have him in a rubber room soon. But Tig has a long memory, remember the dog? But I do think he would felt the same if it were Gemma. Time will tell.

      • Josie says:

        With me, his performance didn’t resonate. It felt a little corny, but that’s not his fault. I don’t think I could really believe any actor in this situation. A “real ” reaction to something like that is so far out of the realm of experience for 99.9% of us (myself included) that I just didn’t take it seriously.

      • Everyone reacts differently to death especially within a family. I lost a daughter fairly recently
        and it isn’t until now that I am having difficulty dealing with the death. To say that one must vomit, etc. is somewhat canned unto itself. Everyone has a different background, lifestyle that I am sure contributes to ones reactions to tragedies. I was quite moved by Coasts portrayal..

      • Jan Williams says:

        If you are a real SOA fan you would of read that this scene took 2 nights of shooting and he stayed handcuffed the whole time! when the scene was done he went to bed and slept for a whole day because he was so emotionally drained and exhausted having 2 girls himself PFFT and you call yourself a fan

      • Mark Brown says:

        You’re wrong about Coate’s acting in that scene. It is amazing. I had a similar reaction and then I watched the scene again. I recommend you watch it again.

    • Me too.
      Love the show but hated to see this ugly side, that was bound to happen but stick little raw…

  2. Andrea says:

    The punches just kept on coming in this episode! I’m still in shock from everything that happened, especially Tig’s scene (Holy Cow!). I couldn’t have asked for anything more in a season opener. If the rest of the season is anything like the premiere, this is going to be one wickedly awesome ride :)

  3. Dan Sorenson says:

    Why does Breaking Bad, which is good don’t get me wrong, get more attention than SoA? This show is so much grittier and has even more actors and characters who are amazing.

  4. Kelli says:

    Jimmy Smits, Katey Sagal, Ron Perlman, and especially Kim Coates OWNED this episode. A± work from them.

  5. Lea says:

    That scene was crazy…still not over it!!!

  6. Dani says:

    Kim Coates was amazing in the episode! So much emotion.

  7. AM says:

    Absolutely amazing episode and an epic job by Kim Coates! I love this show!!

  8. cj says:

    Hopefully this season is better than last and more intense. Last season was slow. This was a great premiere. All I know is Damon pope better not get away with this like the Nazi at the end of season two.

  9. It was truly heartbreaking. I was in tears watching that final scene. Heck, this whole episode had me on edge.

  10. Maro says:

    Incredible. Just incredible!! Kim and Ron absolutely blew me away! Ron’s voice and demeanor alone made him seem20 years older than last season (take make up an props out if it).
    It’s always disconcerting to watch Kim because he’s so incredibly believable that I forget I’m watching TV.
    As always the extraordinary Katie (who deserves a feaking Emmy already!!!) never ever disappoints.
    Fantastic job by all! Loved it!!

  11. Brenna says:

    There are very few television scenes that make me forget that this is just pretend, by his is definitely one of them. I don’t think my heart pounded so much from just a few minutes. Fantastic job to Kim!!

  12. Teresa says:

    Omfg I was out of breath after that episode. That 90 minutes went by so fast. It was so good I watched it over again Lol Can’t wait for the rest of the season

    • kenneth eisele says:

      I agree with you each season just keeps getting better and better!! I hope it doesn’t go off the air. This show is definitely one to remember.

  13. Agreed, agreed, agreed, to all the comments above. I almost cried! Kurt Sutter has done such a phenomenal job with his story, with his characters. It’s almost worth waiting the better part of a year. I only say almost cause it’s TOO LONG!!! Damn, poor Tiggy….

  14. ROBBY says:

    great start to my fav. show. does anyone know what song ended the episode?

  15. Elena Adame says:

    my stomach hurt by the end and by the time it was over i felt like it went by too fast … it was a great episode and sad at the same time. Great acting by everyone again … if the rest of the season is anything like last nights episode then i better not miss a show cuz its gonna be one hell of a ride.

  16. B says:

    That was the best 90 minutes of television in a long time. Why these actors have been consistently ignored come awards season is beyond me.

    • Chris says:

      They get ignored because the show is not politically correct, which is what makes it so good. The actors are all amazing. In a perfect world the show and its actors would clean house at the awards shows.

  17. Ruby says:

    This is the best show on television, with the best actors as well. It’s a shame it’s always overlooked come awards time. Charlie Hunnam is criminally underrated. Just his stare at Clay at the table gave me goosebumps down my spine. And of course everyone else is beyond phenomenal. I am SO glad this is back!

  18. Whatever says:

    I think Clay was laying the ground work for Opie’s demise.
    When Pope asks for a Son as retribution if Jax is in jail Clay will give him Opie.
    As M. Ausiello revealed in the Spoilers today,
    Season 5 will whack “people you’re very attached to,” warns exec producer Paris Barclay. “I’m not naming names, but this is the season where the reckoning has to come… You’ll have to say goodbye”
    I really hope Unser wasn’t killed in the home invasion a Gemma’s house.

  19. happy says:

    Me an my baby count down to Sept. every year for the opening season show…this is got to be the most underrated t.v. show on air..last night season opener was freaking awesome…Kurt Sutter you the man…brother..

  20. Heathers says:

    Please don’t let Unser get hurt or killed. He is one of my favorite characters.

  21. Britta Unfiltered says:

    I have a hard time relating to Tig, so I wasn’t that personally attached to what his character was going through. In the first season he’s such a cold psychopath and you learn all these things about him being a rapist and hearing some truly terrible things he’s done to women. I feel like since then they’ve tried to change the character to soften him up and make him more likeable, but here is my problem with that: I can’t unknow what I know about Tig. So I have a hard time empathizing with him. But the daughter…that was pretty awful. Ugh, getting burned alive has always been one of my biggest fears, so it was hard not to picture myself in that pit.
    Anyway, I guess I’m watching this season after all. I told myself I wouldn’t, but I can’t seem to stop myself. I know I’ll hate myself for doing it after each and every single episode, but I still won’t be able to keep from doing it every time Tuesday night rolls around.

    • Amber says:

      I agree that Tig is hard to relate to. Even though this was a tragic scene, I did not feel the emotional charge from it that I felt when Opie lost Donna or Piney, or when I thought Juice was dead. I literally had to leave the room when I realized Juice was trying to kill himself and I would not have continued watching the show had he succeeded. The internal torment he dealt with last season was more real to me. Tig surprised me last season by not retaliating against Clay when he saw Gemma’s bruised face, yet he retaliated against the 9ers for Clay being shot. I became disillusioned by his wrecklessness. Oh and Opie, I just want to give him a hug.

    • bfish says:

      I agree — the actor (Coates) didn’t sell the character (Tig) to me in this scene; I was not that moved by it, and I wasn’t spoiled. It didn’t have the expected impact, and I’m one who thinks that burning alive is probably the worst way to go.

  22. Erin says:

    Give Kim Coates a goddamn Emmy!

  23. Mitcha says:

    that scene was freaking insane!!!!!

  24. Amazing episode! Anyone’s familiar with the last song? The acoustic one?

  25. Rain says:

    I had all intentions of giving up SoA, I even skipped a few episodes last season because I was so annoyed with the show. I decided to tune in just one more time for old time’s sake and damn if I’m not completely hooked again! I have to say, that was probably my favorite episode ever. Kim did an amazing job and I look forward to seeing what Tig does next. I thought Harold did an amazing job of playing Pope in a quiet, understated way. Perfect casting in my opinion. The only thing I’m worried about is Opie, he’s my favorite of the cast so I hope they still find a way to work him in to the story.

  26. Chris shepherd says:

    Loved it did anyone else catch who the three guys were doing the home invasions besides me?

    • Renegade says:

      I think the one who has the prosthetic (*sp) leg is one of Nomads they voted in. SAMCRO has a spy!! In particular, the one that said “it’ll be a nice place to kick your feet up” when he rested his foot on one of the patched members shoulder. Just a thought.

      • Karen says:

        I think it’s all 3 of them and they were put up to that by clay…I don’t see him sitting still for 3 weeks with out plotting anything

    • Karen says:

      Yep the 3 new patches right?

  27. Spell Check says:

    *night, not might

  28. Licia says:

    this scene was very impressive, except for the (lack of) emotion of Tig, who didn´t drop a tear … bad actor, or supposed to show that the guy is so “badass” that wouldn´t cry even with the daughter on fire.

  29. All I can say is Kim has got to get an Emmy for this performance! Just when I think this show can not get any better than the past seasons have been, Sutter kicks out another awesome, amazing season premier that has got me and everyone I know waiting eagerly for next week to get here….. Love the show love where its going and love where it has been so far…… Great job Sutter and all the cast that make this show what it is to so many fans!!! FANTASTIC!

  30. Patricia Commins says:

    It is truly the sign of a good actor or actress when you hate their character. Ron Perlman is such a good actor. I am still reeling from the season opener!’ What a powerful performance by Kim Coates! Wow that whole episode blew my mind! I love SOA and Kurt Sutter you are a genius!

  31. missy says:

    Tig is, in my opinion, a psychopath with a heart of gold

  32. glishgt says:

    The 3 home invasions guys were the nomads! Dawn frying was hard to watch but it made me remember when Clay cut the carnies gonads off in season 2.. both horrific scenes

  33. Woilfman says:

    More black and mexican gang bangers will kill this series

  34. Blake Bounds says:

    Man, I was stoned watching the episode. I don’t know how fimilar you are, but things are much more intense while high. When I saw the gasoline and that she was still alive, I had to pause it and get my mind off of it while I came down. Way too heavy, but still really good.

  35. Jim Couch says:

    I can only imagine if this show was on HBO or something like that, it blows the Sapranos out of the water. My wife is HOOKED, just like I told her she would be. Just awesome and can’t get enough of it. The only thing that sucks about this show, is when I have to wait for the next season to start.

  36. Abby R. says:

    This season premier was absolutely off the charts incredible!! The only thing I’m worried about is who all’s gonna die this season. It’d be flat out stupid to kill Jax off so if that happens I’ll be done watching for good, but if not then LET THE RIDE CONTINUE!!! ;)

  37. Jonathan says:

    Why is Clay still alive? C’mon whats he got to do to finally get what he has coming to him..

  38. dv27 says:

    Great, but not as great as it could have been. I liked LeRoy, and Damon Pope is not much of a character. If they kill off any of the others (Opie, Unser, just to name a couple) and leave this guy on, the show takes a downward turn. Still a fan, but Harold Perrineau is only 1/2 a step above Gary Coleman in the credibility department on this one.

    • Jake Owens says:

      Really!! HP had a total of about 5 min screen time on the premiere!! I thought he was understated but powerful!! As Jax said ” Pope just let us know that he decides who lives or dies” Laroy was a stooge, Pope is a true shot caller!!

  39. Glenda J says:

    Kim truly does deserve an Emmy for that scene. I’m anxious to see how Kurt continues to pit Gemma and Tara against each other with Jax being in the middle! Gemma is the old school with the experience and Tara wanting Jax out but knowing the Club is all he knows and in his blood. Should be another interesting ride! My only complaint is that the seasons are too short and it takes way too long to wait inbetween!!!

  40. brandy says:

    Love sons but being a burn victim that was so far the only part of sons I couldn’t watch. I loved the rest I just still have mental scaring from my burn so to watch it well I just can’t. Can wait to see what happens with Tig he is one of my favorites. :)

  41. Brian Fullilove says:

    Great premiere…I didn’t get a glimspe of the other two invaders, but my guess on the footless third would be the rest of the ‘parts’ of LeRoi…he had to pay for the loss of Pope’s daughter .

  42. DM says:

    My daughter was murdered 20 years ago and believe me, many people do not cry….the shock is so great…you just stand there stunned……his portrayal of a traumatized parent is very real……

  43. Does anyone remember someone losing a foot in previous seasons. I am just curious if we should have an idea of who the person with the prostetic leg was at the end of the show busting into Gemma’s & going after Unser. I love the old guy< hoping he didn't just get killed off Sons.

  44. michele says:

    I have watched this from day one….of all that goes on with this show..this was the thing that bothered me…loyal fan..Yes!!!!…you are the bomb Kim Coates!!!!!

  45. Tucker says:

    They should vote tigs back in as Sergent As Arms just like they did with jacks when he did the same thing, but im not the script writer lol. Season 5 is gonna be a thriller ride to see how jacks handles it being new president.

  46. The premier rocked. Kim Coates was amazing! The scene with his daughter……DAMN, I am still in shock. How on earth do you try to wrap your head around that???? Tig is kooky anyway, what will this do to him? Losing a child is what nightmares are made of but losing one like that, you just entered hell!

  47. Ruthann Jagge says:

    Tig’s always been my favorite character…Kim’s acting and ability to take us out of our “normal range” of human compassion and into a different definition of a comfort zone so seamlessly results in me actually having empathy for Tig! I believe it’s due to his amazing talents as an actor! The scenes with he and Steven King are some of the best ever on any show and I’m looking forward to seeing where Kurt takes Tig this season! Great interview,thanks!

  48. Saeraphina says:

    I think the actress who played Tig’s daughter should get a lot of credit too for that scene. Kim Coate’s performance was amazing but she also must’ve had to mentally and emotionally prepare herself hardcore to get through that traumatizing scene.. I can’t imagine being put into a pit full of dead bodies and then getting doused with gasoline without going a little crazy so kudos to her!

  49. Lori says:

    I was in shock that it actually happened…I wasn’t sure for a split second that they would go thru with it but then OMG I gasped in horror…I felt Tig’s pain and Kim Coats is an amazing actor….SOA is absuolutely the best show on TV ..all around everyone involved on this show has been severely underrated and each and everyone deserves not only awards for performance but acknowlegment in general….We do not hear enough about his group of amazing people and especially Kurt Sutter !

  50. Nancy N. says:

    GREAT! Awesome!! Does anyone know when FX will put Sons on “On Demand”? I have this loaded to my ipad, but I’d like to watch on tv again.

    • Kathy Kersey says:

      It’s usually the following week, last Tuesdays show should show up next Wednesday morning. If they stick to the same schedule as last year.