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. Totally flipping amazing. 90 minutes of adrenaline rush…Kurt Sutter’s mind is going to blow everyone away. Kim Coates, not only deserves an award, but the whole show does. I agree its long to wait til September and it goes so flippen fast…….but what a ride! Roll on Tig…Roll on.

  2. mike says:

    I can’t wait to see tig kill pope and the rest of that dirty black trash with a smile on his face

  3. D Cross says:

    Omg!!! I absolutely love this show. I do not watch anything but sons. Every episode is amazing. Kurt Sutter is an absolute genius. Jax is my favorite and gorgeous. Look forward to every Tuesday night but don’t look forward to the season finale because the wait is unbearable.

  4. Leslie Martin says:

    Hands down best episode ever!! Every season gets better and can not wait to see what this season has in store! Very emotional scene with Tig! Definitely worthy of awards! Tara turning off the monitor as the baby cries shows where she’s going this year also! My Tuesdays are complete again! SOA is back!!

  5. Chandra says:

    I’ve watched it twice and that part with Tig and his daughter still makes me cry. I have two daughters and I don’t know what I would do. I definitely believe Tig is going to kill Clay. That was all Clay’s fault. I’m so excited to see the rest!! SOA ROCKS!!!!

  6. Anna says:

    One word: Amazing! SOA never disappoints!!

  7. Dawn Devany says:

    This scene was hard to watch with my dad sitting right next to me. Especially when Tig calls her Dawny something he has called me since I was kid

  8. CCKEN says:

    It certainly got everyone’s attention, this will drive Clay and Tig further a part. This might mean Tig will take out Clay and with good reason .

  9. Jeff says:

    I love this show and i’m not a pussy but watching that girl burn alive in front of her restrained father was disgusting and too over the top for me. It turned me off. They didn’t need to go that far..

    • Daniel says:

      Obviously u don’t watch much tv cause other shows do worse..i personally believe Kim did an awesome job just as the show always does an awesome job..I’ve been a die hard fan from day one and own a lot of SOA things …just hate waiting forever for the new season to come out and which they were longer..This show deserves a lot of awards!!! And if u can’t handle the show u have a remote CHANGE THE CHANNEL

  10. JS says:

    People who said Kim Coates didn’t do a good job showing emotion aren’t considering the fact that he is trying to portray the reaction of a psychopath. Everyone reacts differently and his was authentic for his character.

  11. Debbie says:

    Loved Kim’s performance. I was blown away by the opening scene with Gemma and the new guy. Wow ! Love the drama. Kurt Sutter must be some kind of writer to create such a story for his wife !

  12. Dennis says:

    Remember that Tiggy had TWIN daughters, Dawn & Fawn. I expect Fawn making her debut on SOA this season.

  13. jennie waif says:

    Gemma is my hero. When u say woman she is the definition of that word. OMG I love friggin sexy.

  14. jennie waif says:

    Gemma is my hero. When u say woman she is the definition of that word. OMG I love Tig. Soo frigging sexy.

  15. Tracy Presson says:

    everything everyone said and more. I’m a 50 year old Biker that has lived that life!! And I will tell you now that is by far the best acting I have ever seen from the whole cast, But Coates was completely off the cart! Im glad there was just one person in the room watching with me. because it brought back such vivided memiories that not only did I break down crying I had nightmares or things I have not went over in my head for 20 years. I thank that show and all the cast for helping me face and get rid of some of my demons. Keep up the great work.

  16. Donna says:

    I agree about Tig killing Clay, He feels remorse over killing Veronica Pope, and for killing Donna. Both he blames Clay for. Clay has Tig so confused about his place in the club, even more so now… Clay used to act loyal to the first nine.Tig, Chibs, and Bobby were always in Clays back pocket, now they are cut loose and are kind of lost.. especially Tigs, When a disturbed person loses their rudder, things are bound to get crazy. I cant wait for more!!!

  17. Robert MCCORMICK says:

    Man I’m shocked as hell,but now the question is what’s next?

  18. amanda says:

    I have never been so addicted to a TV show. While the episode is on it is real life to me. I cried right along with tig. I can’t wait for Tuesday so I can see what happens next.

  19. Dennise says:

    Gut wrenching episode. I’m still in shock. Tig needs to teach Pope that Pope’s not as untouchable as he thinks he is. Please let this happen, SOA!!!! Opening scene with Gemma was awesome. Genius bringing Jimmy Smits in. Only thing disappointing about the episode was Opie. Dude needs to get over the crybaby crap already. It’s getting old.

    • Renee says:

      Regarding Opie being a crybaby! You have to remember that Clay has his wife killed and then his father! That times a while to get over! If ever! This is coming from a club that is supposed to be like his family and has his back in everything he does. I totally understand where Opie is coming from. But. . . he came back for Jax! They have a special bond!

  20. Reese says:

    I was thinking “thank goodness” my kids are asleep. I can’t watch a lot because sometimes they are still up. Sometimes, I just can’t watch this craziness. It raises my bp. I was thinking like every one else, Tig will get revenge; however, Tig started this and so, Pope was taking his revenge. We are feeling bad for Pope but these are terrible people on both sides. We get attached to the characters because that’s human nature but would you really want to be near them? They are all crazy.

  21. Littlebear says:

    This is a great show. The wide variety of comments prove that Sutter is doing a good job. If there is no controversy, then there are many elements lacking. Like many people, I have watched tons of movies and TV shows, but this is the first show that I have felt the NEED to see each week. The realism and view into this part of society is insightful and spot-on. The cast and Kurt Sutter deserve big time recognition for thier talents.

  22. Charlotte says:

    In samcro the characters reep what they sow. It didn’t really surprise me. Kurt sutters writing is ingenious. He really got lucky and has creative kingship where other writers may not. Unfortunately tigs karma came back to haunt the torture out of him, I really don’t feel sorry for tig. Its going to be a most badass, hang on to ur seats, druling for more, awesome season!! I am so excited!!

  23. Matt says:

    I think Kim Coates did a good acting job. You got to realize his character is a emotionless guy that hides his
    Feelings. That what makes him the perfect hit man . That why he does all the dirty work for clay. So if u think his acting was not as good as you think it was. Are you a emotionless killer? Stop saying you would respond differently .

  24. Walrus says:

    One thing I’m not clear on… which daughter was it that was killed? The one that constantly screws up, or the good one who looks after the screw-up? Thanks.

  25. tina says:

    In a situation like that everyone reacts differently .. you never know how you would react unless u were put in that situation…n yes he did let out a cry everyone is so quick to judge.. my goodness.

  26. Alyssa says:

    I pretty much agree with everyone else. Absolutely amazing episode. That last scene with Tig was just so incredibly devastating. Serious props to everyone in the crew and the actors who worked on it, especially Kim. As far as the rest of the season, I can’t wait to see where Tig will go from here, where Gemma’s arc will take her and what the hell Clay is going to do. I just hope they keep Tara’s role to a minimum.

    • Marcia says:

      “I can’t wait to see where Tig will go from here, where Gemma’s arc will take her and what the hell Clay is going to do. I just hope they keep Tara’s role to a minimum.” My freaking thoughts exactly. I really hope she leaves Charming for good soon. She is the least interesting character and her back and forth whiny self is irritating me already. Besides, Maggie Siff never sold me the character and isn’t Tara the one we’re suppose to relate with and root for? LOL NO.

  27. Cheri says:

    I was in Love with Tigs’ the first episode. Kim Coates plays the Sargent at arms in such a way you remember they’re only human. During that seen I was covering my mouth not to scream too. Well played. !!

  28. john says:

    Kim Coates is a brilliant actor…very very powerful scene…my vuess is Tig will be the one to off Clay…

  29. lorenebrubaker says:

    I totally agree with everyone that said Tig did a great job. There is no ‘set-in-stone’, by-the-book’ way to react to situations like that. That has to be the worst thing that could ever happen to a parent…and everyone is going to react in a different way. Tig’s lifestyle aside, even the most clean-living parents may have a reaction like that…sometimes a form of denial and/or shock takes over and you just can’t ‘feel’ the way some may think a ‘normal’ person should feel. I think he did an excellent job. I agree, when this big-ass biker dude relinquished himself to the fetal position and cried, that was gut-wrenching to me. He screamed at Pope to stop…he yelled “kill me, kill me!”, and then when he got his chance, he wrapped the chains around that detectives neck…killed him, took his gun and emptied it into the cleaner. Then fell too the ground in the fetal position as his eyes welled up with tears. Then, when Jax found him and he was eventually holding the charred remains of his daughter in his arms, rocking her back and forth…man…what more of a reaction are you looking for?

  30. judith says:

    I was surprised at the level they took this episode to, and I think the acting was great. After it was over and he was looking into the pit, the look in his eyes was like he was trying to get it into his head, put it in place. I am not sure how anyone would react in that position, but I know what that feels like, when your world falls apart and you have to move, literaly just to get up and do anything, when all you want to do is sit in that one spot and not think, not move, not do a thing. I think they did a great job.

  31. anonie says:

    Just saw this episode last week with another viewing tonight Unbelievable emotion superb acting.