It’s hard to imagine this show without Opie. Who will Jax bro-hug both when times get rough or things go well? Who will be the link to Jax’s more innocent past? Who will be the one to tell Jax he is heading down the Clay path, not the JT path? Or better yet, paving his own?

sons of anarchy review

Yet here we are, having to say goodbye to one of the more tragic characters on this show of lost souls. Bring tissues. This one got rough.

I have to say, I cried way more in this episode than I did last week’s. It was harder to watch. I had a gut feeling last week that we were leading up to that ending, yet it was like a smack in the face when we got there. And while it stung, it was quick. This week was like someone slowly ripping a band-aid off, making sure it hurt with every little tug. As each person discovered one by one what happened, my heart broke even more. Gemma (Katey Sagal) may have been the worse one, if only because she had to find out from Clay (Ron Perlman). Of course, I’m not exactly pleased with her right now, so my sympathy didn’t last long.

Before I get to that closing scene, I guess let’s talk about the club’s issues. Someone called in Nero’s (Jimmy Smits) brothel to the cops, and now he is out of business. Carla, and some of the more pleasant members of Nero’s crew, think it was Emma Jean (Ashley Tisdale, who was good, but I kept just thinking, “Wow. So things didn’t work out for Sharpay, huh?”). Since Gemma beat her up,  it is also Gemma’s fault. Jax (Charlie Hunnam) was unimpressed with mom’s shenanigans and it led to him saving poor sweet Emma Jean (who didn’t sleep with Clay or call the cops, FYI) and getting in business with Nero. Just as long as he stays away from Gemma. I’m thinking that isn’t going to work out. But the guys seemed thrilled to be bringing a brothel into the fold. Keeping it classy, lads.

That wasn’t the only new business. Jax had to get the deal with Pope passed. Clay was not buying it, but true to his word, Tig (Kim Coates) backed Jax. As did Bobby and Chibs, leaving most of the rest to fall in line. Not as happy – the new guys who are probably worried things are going to get rough when Pope finds out it wasn’t the Niners who were doing those home invasions. Who else was just plain angry seeing them being at the wake for Opie? I wanted to scream, “They are beating up your families! Stop letting them in the club house!” I’m so anxious for where that leads. It is such an underplayed storyline, which I think just means Kurt Sutter is waiting to make things really ugly.

I’m having a hard time with Gemma/Tara (Maggie Siff) right now. I like that Tara eventually came around to understanding why Wendy (Drea de Matteo) should be allowed to see Abel, and at the same time I liked that Jax shot it down for just as good of a reason. but let’s be real – I don’t think that will be the end of it. I’m horrified by how Gemma is manipulating Tara. I don’t even know what to do with how she essentially tricked Tara into beating the crap out of Carla. As Tara descends into a Gemma-esque state, I worry for what that will mean for her and Jax. Gemma is like a drug for her, it seems. She can’t help but be sucked in and follow her down a destructive path.

To wrap up, I have something to say to the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Give Charlie Hunnam an Emmy. Give him all the Emmys. I mean, the guy is perfect in pretty much every moment of the show. But his walk leading Opie’s casket out of the clubhouse and into the hearse was a level of perfection I can’t fully explain. Only to be topped off by a moment so small and yet so powerful as his look transforms from utter despair at the loss of his best friend to pure unbridled anger as he slams the hearse door shut. It was startling.  Jax is a new leader now that his best friend sacrificed himself. He doesn’t put up with his mother’s antics. He won’t allow Pope to walk on him, but is smart enough to know they are trapped for now. He has made moves to shut out Clay. He is a new Jax and I, for one, am dying to know where that will lead.

What an emotionally trying episode. It will be a long time before I get over seeing people put the items in Opie’s casket as he lay there, grey and yet finally at peace. I’m glad I have a week to take it in before we get to next week’s madness.

What did you think of the episode? Did it do Opie justice?

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