'Sons of Anarchy' - 'Laying Pipe': SAMCRO makes a sacrifice

sons-of-anarchy-laying-pipe-charlie-hunnam-ryan-hurst.jpgWe knew going in to Tuesday's (Sept. 25) "Sons of Anarchy" that someone who's played a central role on the show was due to die. "Laying Pipe" did not cheat on that front.

(Spoilers for the episode below.)

Once Jax, Opie, Tig and Chibs were inside, though, and once Jax found out Pope's terms for them to get back out -- Tig stays locked up, and another MC member dies for the cop and crime-scene cleaner Tig killed -- it felt almost inevitable that Opie would be the one to go. Whether he martyred himself for the good of the club, or just figured out a way to cut ties to SAMCRO for good and see his dad again, is open to interpretation.

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When Opie got himself locked up along with Jax and the others at the end of last week's episode, there was no question it was out of loyalty and devotion to his close friend. After he hears why Jax had to keep Clay alive, though, the look in Opie's eyes was one of contempt more than anything.

"I had to make a choice -- kill Clay, or save the club," Jax says.

"You made the wrong choice," Opie retorts.

Like his dad, Opie has long had the clearest sense of right and wrong of anyone in the club, and by offering himself up, he both gets to remind Jax of that and sever his ties to SAMCRO on his own terms. Painful though it is, Jax seems to realize it too, but what's chilling is that he channels his emotion into a Machiavellian play with Pope.

Jax strikes a deal to get Tig out of jail too, but only so he consolidate his power within the club -- and when he's done, he'll turn Tig over to Pope to do as he wishes. Surely Jax wants to take the club to a better place, but if this is the starting point, can he really get there?

It's worth noting the great work Ryan Hurst has done in his limited time on screen this season and going back to last year. He and Charlie Hunnam made Opie's and Jax's tight bond utterly believable, and it's too bad we won't get to see that anymore. And Opie's death was itself as gut-wrenching for us to watch as it was for Jax, Tig and Chibs.

It leaves Jax a free(ish) but harder man. Where do you think Opie's death will lead Jax in the future, and what did you think of the episode as a whole?
Photo/Video credit: FX