Last night’s episode of Sons of Anarchy, titled “Laying Pipe,” was a game changer. That much is certain. What isn’t certain is whether or not the change it’s prepared to usher in will benefit the show in the long run. Or, for that matter, what this means for its faithful following.
Fans have already taken to the net fueled by anger over the death people aren’t bound to stop talking about anytime soon, and Sutter has since taken it upon himself to open up about the inciting event, as Screen Rant reports.
It goes without saying that his comments are spoiler-ridden. As a result, I would advise you close out of this article now if you don’t happen to be caught up with Sons of Anarchy. What follows will be a rumination on last night’s episode, as well as on what the ripple effects of the events contained therein may possibly be. You’ve been warned.
Speaking of the death that blindsided many a viewer, Sutter was quick to point out it had long been in the cards, dating all the way back to the end of season three. Despite criticisms that he was afraid to pull the trigger, so to speak, on any member of the main cast, Sutter realized he had no other option in this case. Sidestepping it would be detrimental to the series because it was vital to bringing about the change in Jax he felt needed to happen.
I started thinking about it towards the end of season three, and then I think it all came together with the death of Piney last year. I got to the end of the season and realized that there was this circular dynamic that was happening with Jax and Opie that was very difficult to get out of.
As we came into this season, knowing where I want to take my hero…Jax needed that emotional upheaval, that one event that happens in a man’s life that can change the course of his destiny, and I think the death of his best friend is such an event.
Equally important was that Opie’s death be done right, both because of what it means to the show and because of how beloved a character Opie was. While the death itself was undeniably shocking, one thing Sutter didn’t intend to be surprising about it was the way in which it went down. Rather than using the violence inherent in a scene involving a man being brutally beaten to death with a pipe for mere shock value, Sutter’s aim was much more sincere.
I wanted Opie to go out a warrior, with nobility and a sense of protecting the people [he still loves].
I don’t do things arbitrarily or just for shock value. I think there’s a sense of how deeply committed I am to the show and to the fans as well…I do think that there is a sense of [the fans] understanding why it happened and where it will go.
Framed like that, Sutter has made a believer out of me. While I’ll undoubtedly miss Ryan Hurst’s presence, having been a fan of his ever since I first saw Remember the Titans, I see it was a necessary evil. Jax and Opie’s relationship, similar I think to Gemma and Tara’s, had become cyclical and was at risk of becoming stale. The only way of moving forward was by doing so without one of them, and obviously Sutter wasn’t about to kill off his main character.
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