Sons of Anarchy saw most of its main characters die, but one of the most heartbreaking scenes was that of Opie’s death in season 5 – here’s the Opie Sons of Anarchy death explained. Created by Kurt Sutter, Sons of Anarchy debuted on FX in 2008 and came to an end in 2014 after seven seasons. Sons of Anarchy was very well received by critics and viewers from the beginning, thanks to its tone, the performances of the main cast, and its exploration of themes like racism and corruption.
Sons of Anarchy follows the story of Jackson “Jax” Teller (Charlie Hunnam), VP of the motorcycle club Sons of Anarchy in the fictional town of Charming, California. The events of the series are kickstarted when Jax finds a manifesto written by his late father, John Teller, one of the founding members of the club, which leads Jax to question the club’s motivations and goals, his relationships, family, and himself. The members of the MC were a big family, always looking out for each other – or, at least, most of them did. Over the course of seven seasons, viewers got to know SAMCRO’s members quite well, but there’s one who became a big favorite and whose story was explored more in-depth than the rest: Opie Winston (Ryan Hurst).
Harry “Opie” Winston was Jax’s best friend since they were kids and the son of Piermont “Piney” Winston (Willaim Lucking), one of the founders of the club. Opie’s arc in Sons of Anarchy was marked by tragedy, as in season 1, he lost his wife, Donna, after agent June Stahl tricked Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman) into believing Opie from Sons of Anarchy betrayed the club. Clay ordered Tig Trager (Kim Coates) to kill Opie, but he killed Donna instead. Opie spiraled into depression but eventually moved on and married Lyla, though their marriage turned out to be complicated. After learning that Clay was responsible for Piney’s death, he tried to kill him, but he was stopped by Jax. This led him to leave the club for a while and returned just as Jax, Tig, and Chibs Telford (Tommy Flanagan) were being arrested, leading Opie to punch the sheriff so that the police would take him with the other club members, and they were sent to prison. This eventually led to the Opie Sons of Anarchy death.
Why Opie Had To Die On Sons Of Anarchy
Once inside, Jax was forced to accept a deal under Damon Pope’s terms, which included Jax having to choose which of them was going to die in prison so the others could be freed. Jax refused to choose and was about to offer up himself instead when Opie stepped in and hit one of the guards. Opie became the SAMCRO victim Pope wanted, so the deal was still on, and Opie was killed in front of his friends. Opie’s death is one of the most shocking and heartbreaking moments in Sons of Anarchy, and it wasn’t easy for either Hurst or Sutter to let Opie go. Speaking to Variety, Sutter shared that he loved Hurst and Opie, but the road they took him down “was so heavy,” and that due to all the death and betrayal he was subjected to, he just “organically could not have that guy sit at the table with Clay.”
There were several reasons behind the Opie Sons of Anarchy death, the first of which was its suitability for his character arc. Throughout the series, Opie faced tragedy after tragedy. Most of the characters in the show experienced a downward arc from beginning to end, as was the nature of the series, and Opie’s legacy and journey were no different. By the time he was in prison, he had experienced so much loss that he was a shell of his former self, and it follows that his last act of martyrdom was partly a suicide. To have him die for the sake of the club was a true testament to his character and demonstrated his loyalty to his friends right up to the bitter end.
In addition, Opie’s death in Sons of Anarchy was the incident that Jax needed to push his own arc forward. Without his best friend’s death, Jax would never become the man he was meant to be. Finally, Clay’s actions permanently changed the trajectory of Opie’s life. It was clear from his wife’s death onward that Opie would never truly be the same again, nor would he be fully able to sit with the remaining club members and erase that betrayal from his mind. In the end, the Opie Sons of Anarchy death was integral to his character development and necessary for the show.
The Sons Of Anarchy Creator Confirmed That Killing Opie Helps The Narrative
During a Q&A session on social media, Sutter opened up about Opie’s death and shared that he didn’t enjoy killing any of these characters, but when “you’re telling stories that take place in an uber-violent world, dying is part of the truth.” He admitted that killing off Opie deeply affected him for a while, just like it did to the cast, crew, and viewers. Back in 2012, in an interview with TVLine, Sutter explained that, by the end of season 4, now with Piney dead, he realized there was a “circular dynamic” with Jax and Opie that was “very difficult to get out of”, and knew that Jax needed that one event that “changes the course of his destiny” – the death of his best friend.
As for why Opie stepped in, Sutter said it was his opportunity to go out doing the right thing and be of best service to the club and the family with whom he never fully reconciled. Although Sutter’s reasons for killing Opie are understandable, mostly from a narrative point of view, Opie’s death will continue to be listed among the more memorable but painful moments in Sons of Anarchy, and his arc stands out as one of the most tragic narrative through-lines.
Next: Sons of Anarchy: Why Maggie Siff’s Tara Was Killed In Season 6
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