Season 6 is finally underway, and with one episode already behind us, the only thing we know for certain is that there are plenty of shocking moments in store. With one cheating husband, a man drowned in piss, another raped, one pissed-off US Marshall and a school shooting, Sons of Anarchy is already flooding the newsreels with controversy. So with another incredibly shocking season opener under our belt, let’s take a look back at some of the best, most shocking moments throughout the entirety of Sons of Anarchy.
10. A Jealous Boyfriend’s Sudden Departure
From the very beginning of Season 1, Jax Teller was constantly questioned whether he could dirty his hands with another man’s blood. Especially when his high school sweetheart, Tara, rode back into his life. Jax was a wild mustang caught between his outlaw ways and the woman set on taming him. However, their relationship becomes complicated when her crazy ex-boyfriend follows her to Charming. Using his resources as an ATF agent, Josh Kohn begins surveillance on Jax, Tara and the Sons.
Kohn presses his luck to drive a wedge between Jax and Tara, but it only gets him tossed through a window. Driven mad with jealousy and anger after having lost his love and his job, Kohn decides to break into Tara’s house and rape her. Tara’s able to grab his gun and pop a cap right into his belly, where she keeps him at gun point until Jax arrives to “fix” the situation. Not one to keep his mouth shut, Kohn verbally abuses Jax until he turns on Tara, calling her a “biker slut.” Having heard all the justification he needed, Jax doesn’t hesitate to put a bullet right in Kohn’s head, leaving Kohn’s legacy in flames, so to speak. And like any rational person faced with the reality of witnessing/committing homicide, Jax and Tara start rubbing friction on each other like two nickels making a dime.
9. Marijuana Causes Car Accidents? Oh Gemma
Gemma showed a different, more shady and unreliable side to her throughout season 5. Compromising the club, her son and even falling for a scam artist who steals her car, Gemma shows poor judgement practically every episode. Nero, Gemma’s new boyfriend, is able to patch the rift between her and Jax enough to allow Tara to give Gemma a chance to care for the kids for one night. But during the ride back to her house, Gemma falls asleep at the wheel, under the influence of marijuana, and crashes off the road to avoid traffic. The end of the episode teases that Abel’s wounds are possibly fatal. Having trouble coping with his best friend’s death, Jax almost cuts ties with Gemma, but opts to cut a deal instead.
Jax and Gemma don’t exactly share an ideal mother/son relationship, but this isn’t your run-of-the-mill show either. After the ordeal Able went through during Wendy’s pregnancy, and after all the trouble the club went through to deliver him back from Belfast, seeing him in another life/death situation was just too much for my heart to handle. Thankfully, we only had to wait a week, but the way that episode began made the event seem so anti-climactic. On its own though, seeing the blood drip off the tree branches left hearts hurting and minds wondering why Kurt Sutter puts us through such hellish scenarios.
8. Otto Bites his Tongue…Literally
Much like Tig, Otto’s chaotic impulsiveness tends to get the best of him while worsening the club’s situation at the same time. In season 5, Otto turned on the club after finding out Bobby Elvis slept with his deceased wife. Tara attempts to help Jax by appealing to Otto to drop the charges held against the club. After receiving an old cross belonging to his wife, Otto uses it to kill the accompanying nurse, by repeatedly stabbing her neck. Horrified, Tara is eventually implicated in the crime, and is sent to county jail for her trouble. Meanwhile, the dead nurse’s bad-ass former US Marshall of a brother, arrives looking for answers. After promising Otto a world of pain he would never have imagined, Otto, making good on his deal with Tara and not being one to be outclassed in lewd, violent behavior, sticks his tongue out, slams his chin on the interrogation table, barbarically severing his own tongue. Translation: No confession = No RICO case = No looming charges over the Sons of Anarchy = Freedom from the Galindo cartel. Well, since some of these plot points have yet to play out in the new season, I’m sure that’s the intention.
We all knew Otto was batshit crazy, but to actually go so far as to bite his own tongue off? As shocking as the nurse’s death was, Otto has killed before, so the situation didn’t quite feel out of left field, especially when you compare it to the rest of the list. What I found most disturbing was the fact Otto was laughing the entire time. It would have been one thing to see an excessive amount of blood all over the table while watching him squirm in his seat, but when he adds that Joker-esque laughter to it, we’re able to see just how demented Otto truly is. So for me, it’s actually harder to pinpoint whether it was his true nature revealed or his sick act of defiance that was more shocking. Either way, it left me feeling very uncomfortable for the next few minutes, like many an Eli Roth film tend to do.
7. When Rape Means Sealing Your Death Warrant
Sons of Anarchy quickly became a series known for its Season openers and their finale’s. Season 2 opened where most network shows rarely dare to go. On the cusp of Season 1, Season 2 opens happily enough, with the MC throwing a huge party. A new group of white supremacists led by Ethan Zobelle and AJ Weston, played by Henry Rollins, arrive to kill everyone’s buzz. They seek to make a deal with the Sons whilst getting them to stop selling guns to Blacks and Hispanics. When Clay tells them to find the nearest light pole and stick it up their rear ends, the LOANers decide to send a message by kidnapping Gemma, then beating and raping her and having her relay the night’s events to the MC, in an attempt to cause chaos within their ranks.
Of all the shocking moments in the series, Gemma’s rape stands as the most unsettling moment that made me want to crawl out of my skin and punch the TV with all I had. The only problem with LOAN’s plan is Gemma herself. Gemma ends up telling no one from the MC until much later in the series, and by then Jax and Clay settled their differences and reunited for a brief, but beautiful, moment in where Jax puts an entire magazine of bullets into Weston’s head, but not before driving a wedge between him and Zobelle, whose favorite color was not white, but green since Weston found out Zobelle was trying to get in on the heroin game with the Mayans. Sadly Zobelle escapes his inevitable fate, but with two seasons left, I feel we’ve not seen the last of him.
6. An Old Man and His Correspondence
For both Piney and Clay, John Teller’s letters were the key to regaining the club’s confidence in them. For Piney, it meant finally getting out of guns and going back to John’s original vision. For Clay, it meant to keep gun-running and setting money aside for retirement. Season 3 left us on a veritable high, but once Season 4 found its footing, the drama kicked into full throttle. Clay visits Piney in order to get John’s incriminating letters, and to keep Piney from telling the club that Clay killed John. Piney doesn’t back down to Clay’s bully-mongering, and Clay finally relents. Just as fans were on the edge of their seats waiting for something to happen, nothing comes of their altercation.
Sutter has this certain magnificence with timing though, doesn’t he? Clay suddenly forces his way back into Piney’s house, aiming to just kill Piney and take the letters. Piney succumbs to his own old age, fumbling with his shotgun, which Clay manages to snatch away and blow a hole the size of Charming right through Piney’s chest. With Piney’s immediate death, viewers were left with little warning and with too little time to process what they had just witnessed. The worst part is Piney not being found for another, I think, 2 episodes. As his vacant body lay victim to countless flies and rigormortis, I was too busy picking my jaw up off the floor. Although Piney’s death wasn’t as big a deal as Opie avenging his father, shooting Clay in the chest during the Season 4 finale, his death alone carried a riptide of repercussions that carried on through the rest of the season, while also changing the status quo for season 5. Clay was actually better off leaving Piney alive. A sad turn of events for the Original 9.
5. Not Quite The ‘Eye For An Eye’ I Was Expecting
Zobelle can thank the Club’s misfortunes for his miraculous escape of fate. Thanks to a series of events orchestrated by one Agent Stahl, who’s hands down the most vile character to exist, probably in all of TV land. Stahl kills one-half of the MC’s IRA father/son gun dealer contacts, Edmond Hayes, then stumbles onto Gemma killing Zobelle’s daughter, pretends to cover for her, then pins Hayes’ murder on Gemma. When Hayes’ father, Cameron, finds out he loses his shit and tales the first SOA member he finds.
Sadly, this happens to be Half-Sack. Cameron trails Half-Sack to Jax’s house where he finds him and Tara with Jax’s son, Abel. Cameron takes Abel and holds a knife to his head, threatening to take Abel’s life in retaliation for his own. Right, because nothing makes more sense than taking a baby’s life. Half-Sack, always being in the YOLO state-of-mind, in and out of real life, attempts to fight Cameron off, but sadly gets run through the belly with a fist full of kitchen knife. By the time Jax finds out, they leave Zobelle where he stands, allowing him to escape. Cameron Hayes is all but out of sight, as he heads back to the bittersweet embrace of Belfast, Ireland.
Half-Sack’s death acted more like the sting of death. Abel’s kidnapping is the slow and morbid realization that the cure won’t come for at least another year. I was seriously on the edge of my couch, hoping another ten minutes would magically appear and the members would hop on the fastest boat they could find and catch that bastard. Sadly, all I was left with was a half-minute teaser and a belly full of heartache and hot soda.
4. Possibly the Worst Kind of Death, Roadkill
In the wake of Season 2’s events, Season 3 begins where it left off, with Half-Sack’s funeral in procession, and the club scheming to get Abel back. As the funeral winds down, masked men in an unmarked van begin spraying bullets on all the attending mourners, hitting Deputy Hale, not with bullets mind you, but with the whole freaking van. As if Kurt Sutter assumed fans would have any glimmer of hope that he’d survive, he made sure the camera was at it’s best position so that fans would know Hale fucking died in that instant. And for any of those that still held hope that the magic of TV would step in and make things all better, yours truly here, Jax and Unser run up to Hale’s mangled body to pronounce he’s dead. Sutter was talking straight to the fans, “He’s dead. Now let’s not waste time, and get to saving a baby.” Hale wasn’t ever really mentioned again, not even from his older brother Jacob, who actually hires the man who killed Hale to do some dirty work for him.
Everyone gets that feeling where a character met their end sooner than fans had hoped, even if there’s no reasonable explanation for why they should have stayed. Hale’s death however, felt like it was written out hastily. Hale had so much potential for the series, that I simply feel Kurt Sutter knew with Hale in the picture, the Sons would meet their end sooner than he would have hoped. The only real plausible way for the show to last throughout seven seasons, is to kill him off, and during the season opener no less. Hale had a penchant for the truth and he was the series’ only true good guy, with no other motivation than bringing justice to lawbreakers. Hale was also interesting in that he had a small glimmer of romance with Tara in the works, potentially creating a love triangle between the two of them and Jax. Now with the revelations in Season 6’s opener, Hale’s would have been an excellent shoulder to cry on once Tara finds out about Jax’s infidelities. So long Deputy Hale. Everyone else may have forgotten about you, but you’ll always have a place in my heart.
3. Karma’s a Bitch Too & the Glasgow Smile
After 3 seasons of skating by on her disastrous cunning, Agent Stahl gets what she deserves at the most opportune time, in the most heinous way possible. Season 3 was slowly ending on a sour note. The entire first half was arguably lackluster, however not without a sense of fulfillment. Even so, the season ends with club discovering Jax’s deal with Stahl, angering them, whilst getting himself arrested along with the majority of the club members. Jimmy O, the True IRA head figure who quickly went from trusted ally to opportunistic kidnapper at the expense of the Sons, was put into federal custody under, you guessed it, Agent Stahl. Accompanied by a caravan of federal agents, many a fan, myself included, could only sit and reel as we watched another season go by without that blonde devil getting a bullet shoved right between her eyes. Everyone was hoping that after Stahl maintained her treasonous nature with every new corpse she left in her wake, that finally, FINALLY, she’d gets her comeuppance.
Just as the curtain call came down on Season 3, one Chief Unser makes his last hurrah as acting Chief of Charming PD. He warns Agent Stahl and her caravan that the Real IRA has an ambush planned further up the road, attempting to bust Jimmy O out of custody. Just as the entire caravan leaves to secure safe passage, another caravan arrives; Kozik, Opie, Chibs and old Piney. Horrified at her inevitable fate, she watches Chibs put the Glasgow smile to Jimmy O, before Chibs brutally stabs him to death. Opie then escorts her to the front seat of her patrol car, as he slides in the backseat just behind her. Opie then mutters about how his own wife must have felt as her head was blown away while driving. Scared out of her mind, Stahl follows Opies commands, puts her hands on the steering wheel as Opie empties every bullet from his magazine into her head. Call it excessive. Call it gratuitous. Hell call it whatever you want. I’m calling it long overdue. Stahls death is hands down the most vindicating one to date, whose build-up trumps any other in the series. In my opinion, Sutter has yet to top this ending, and I doubt he can recreate that kind of magic again. Well, at least in this show.
2. The Worst Kind of Accident
As if Agent Stahl wasn’t already disliked from the first sentence she uttered, the first of her victims was the loving, hard-working Donna. Donna was the only thing keeping Opie as grounded and out of trouble as a reforming outlaw could possibly be. After Opie botches one last hit before his exit, Bobby Elvis comes to salvage Opie’s missed mark. Leaving a witness in their wake, Stahl capitalizes on the opportunity and purposely makes Opie out to be an informant working for her. She lets the info reach Clay, whose anger and paranoia get the best of him. Clay and Tig set a secret plan in motion to eliminate Opie, by killing Opie in a drive-by, making a rival gang, the 1-9er’s, out to be the true culprits.
So on the night this all goes down, Opie swaps cars with Donna, opting to be a good dad and drive the kids home himself. As Donna drives Opie’s truck, Tig unknowingly follows her and sprays the back of the truck with bullets, killing Donna instantly as her head viciously falls into the steering wheel. Donna once told Opie that the Club would get him killed one day, and although that was ultimately realized, Donna never would have counted on the Club killing her as well. Of course, Opie was absolved of all wrongdoing when Chief Hale confides in Jax, who sets things straight with Clay. Too little, too late for poor Donna I’m afraid. Donna’s death marked the first real tragedy in Sons of Anarchy and, along with Kohn’s death, helped set the anything-can-happen tone the show is renowned for. It’s was like Game of Thrones for basic cable access subscribers. Donna’s death also leads to Opie’s regretful, but eventual descent into depression. Even after getting remarried to a hot, hot porn star, Opie was never the same again.
1. Farewell to a Friend
Oh, Ope. After all Opie had been through, he had finally seen enough. Opie had been tested and sent through the ringer more than anyone else on the show, save for Jax. He was stood up on an arson job, having to do five years in prison, struggled with being a family man and was falsely pegged as a snitch by Agent Stahl. This leads to Donna’s death at the hands of a guilt-ridden Tig. Even after hearing Tig’s confession, Opie never retaliated, even going to bat for Chibs, Tig and his own father on different occasions. But for all Opie does to cope with Donna’s death, he marries a porn star, but even Lyla betrays his trust by using birth control when she knew he wanted a child. But even that pales to the compounding sorrow for his dead father. If that weren’t enough, Opie goes as far as shooting Clay, practically at point blank range, to avenge his father but fails to kill him. Instead, Clay eventually appeals to Opie to protect Jax when he’s arrested on murder charges.
In jail, Jax finally comes clean to Opie about everything he has been a part of since Season 1. This frustrates Opie to his breaking point and he lashes out at Jax. Damon Pope, the biggest crime lord in the tri-county area, eventually puts him, Chibs, Jax and Tig in the precarious position of choosing who will die so the others may escape their fate in prison. Opie makes Jax’s decision easy by pushing him aside and headbutting a guard. After fending off a couple of Pope’s goons, Opie falls victim to a metal pipe to the back of his head. Everyone who has watched this scene was surely screaming at the TV, shaking it violently or quietly sobbing into their seat cushions. Even now it’s hard to believe one of the more prominent characters, one who resonated so strongly with fans, could be killed off so callously. Opie’s death will be one of TV’s greatest, and saddest, moments likely to be followed by another fan favorite this season, Tig.
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– The “Law-Abiding” Agamemnon