: With Jax needing to sacrifice one of his club members to settle a debt in jail, his troubled best friend Opie volunteered for his last club task, giving his life.
Why this worked
: Many shows feature character deaths that don't feel important, even "Sons of Anarchy." The death of Half-Sack in Season 2 was outshone by the kidnapping of Jax's child, while the murder of Deputy Chief Hale at the beginning of Season 3 almost felt like a non-event by the time the episode was over. That wasn't the case for Opie, though. This was Jax's best friend who had already lost his wife and father to the club. The anguish on Jax's face as Opie smiles before receiving the fatal blow is something that viewers will never forget. Additionally, as the death should, it continues to resonate through the show and is responsible for a lot of Jax's poor decisions, as he tries to do right by his departed friend.
-- Chris E. Hayner, Zap2it