Sons of Anarchy Recap: Find Out Which Series Regular Met a Heartbreaking, Grisly Death

Warning: The following story contains MAJOR spoilers from Tuesday’s episode of Sons of Anarchy. We repeat, do NOT read on if you’ve yet to watch the FX drama’s latest installment.

If ever the term “game changer” were applicable to a TV twist, this would be it.

FX’s hit drama Sons of Anarchy pulled off a trifecta of devastation this Tuesday night when with one lethal, final blow it orphaned two children, widowed a porn star and shattered the already-cracked heart of a biker club king by killing off fan favorite Opie Winston.

Constantly tormented by his involvement in a club he no longer believed in, the conflicted Son — portrayed impeccably until the brutal end by actor Ryan Hurst — finally found peace when, in order to save his “brother” Jax (and perhaps even SAMCRO at large), he sacrificed his life.

Here’s how the tragic twist unfolded:

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Damon Pope paid a visit to a behind-bars Jax and informed the Charming king that in order to get his crew off of SAMCRO’s back, half of what the Sons get via muling coke — which is roughly $100K a month — would now go to the Big Bad. His demands far exceeded financial gain, though, as he proceeded to demand of Jax “a dead Son” among one of the four — Opie, Tig, Chibs and Jax himself — currently serving time. Tig, however, was off limits and needed to stay in jail for the rest of his life so Pope could keep tabs on (and assault, in perpetuity) the man who killed his daughter. As Harold Perrineau’s alter ego put it, this is all merely “the cost of doing battle.”

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While in solitary together, Jax filled Opie in on Pope’s impossible demands — and he finally saw fit to tell his best friend everything he’d been concealing. Out came countless secrets about John Teller’s letters, Romeo’s ties to the FBI and RICO, Clay’s involvement in their respective fathers’ deaths and why things panned out the way they did in the Season 4 ender.

“I had to make a choice, brother: kill Clay or save the club,” Jax confessed, to which a dismayed Opie — who angrily attacked his friend in the moment — solemnly responded: “You made the wrong choice.”

Shortly thereafter, a corrupt Sergeant in Pope’s pocket rounded up the four Sons and asked Jax — who had also filled in Chibs and Tig on the ultimatum — which of the men would be leaving the jail in a body bag. Ever the valiant leader, Jax stepped forward, about to punch the cop, and said “My call.” But his efforts were thwarted when Opie intervened, headbutting the lawman and ultimately being carried away to endure his death sentence.

With an inconsolable Jax, Chibs and Tig looking on from an adjoining room, Opie fought as hard as he could, taking out a handful of the inmates sent to kill him before smiling at his “brother” and taking a fatal (and extremely graphic) whack to the skull.

Pope returned to jail to face Jax, who informed the crime boss that while he would get his money, Tig staying behind bars was a no-go. As Jax put it, Tig would now know that Jax saved his life, which gives him “the internal advantage” he needs. “And when I’m done,” he added, “you can send [Tig] out the same way you did his kid. ‘Cause I really don’t give a s–t” — a deal that Pope respects, but not without an ominous note: “Be smart, Mr. Teller,” he advised. “It’s who you are.”

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Emotionless, Jax told Tig that he had gotten him out of a life sentence. The catch: “You back my every play and you never vote against me again” — terms to which the distraught Tig agrees.

Elsewhere in the episode…

• The Gemma/Tara animosity continued, as the dethroned Queen found herself unable to visit her grandkids in daycare. Scorned, Gemma visited Abel’s birth mother Wendy (Drea de Matteo) and fed her a story about Tara “self-medicating” and how now is the time to make a move on gaining custody. Jax’s ex wasted little time pouncing at the opportunity to confront Tara, but unfortunately she was once against bested by an on-her-game doc. “I’m a surgeon and you’re some ex-junkie biker whore,” snarled Tara. “You want to come after me and my family? Bring it on, darlin’. I’m not afraid of your bulls–t custody threat.” The new Mrs. Teller proceeded to confront Gemma about the setup — a moment that gave fans the best exchange of the night:

Tara: “Don’t ever try to hurt me or my family again.”
Gemma: “Or what, doctor? You gonna kill me?”
Tara: “No… But my husband might.

Boom, roasted! Point: Dr. Knowles.

• The Clay and Juice bromance officially began when the dethroned king essentially begged Juice to bring him to where Gemma has been hiding out. The hesitant Juice obliged, and soon Jimmy Smits’ Nero and Clay were face-to-face. The exchange, while awkward, was peaceful enough, with the Old Man eventually taking up with call girl Emma, played by former Disney darling Ashley Tisdale. (Juice got a little sumpin’, too, courtesy of the resident madam.) Gemma hightailed it to Nero’s when she learned her ex was there, and, upon her arrival, beat the crap out of the blonde chippy. And, after all of that, the police mysteriously showed up to raid Nero’s place of business, cuffing both the owner and Gemma in the process.

How do you feel about the gut-wrenching death of Opie? Will Sons ever be the same? Hit the comments.