Be warned, Sons of Anarchy fans. If you still haven’t gotten a chance to see last night’s episode (which, shame on you, you knew it was going to be big) and have managed to avoid the media fallout over the death of [CENSORED] then stop reading this article right now, go fire up your DVR, watch the episode, and come right back for answers. If you did catch the show last night, we’ve got the words of Kurt Sutter, the creator himself, explaining why what happened last night had to happen.
[SERIOUSLY, SPOILERS. STOP READING]
Poor Opie. Last night’s Sons of Anarchy was one of the most painful episodes of television most of us have seen in a long time. Not only did one of everyone’s favorite characters have to die, we had to watch him get beaten to death. I’ve seen some people argue that Op’s death made the most sense. It had the greatest emotional impact, Opie’s story was kind of over, and let’s be honest: He wanted it. I’ve even seen one argument that his death totally fits with the Hamlet structure (Opie is Ophelia, Piney was Polonius, check it out here).
But what does Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter have to say about it? If we want to know why Opie had to die, he’s the only guy who can really say. So what does “Big Otto” say?
“I started thinking about it towards the end of season three, and then I think it all came together with the death of Piney last year. I got to the end of the season and realized that there was this circular dynamic that was happening with Jax and Opie that was very difficult to get out of. As we came into this season, knowing where I want to take my hero … Jax needed that emotional upheaval, that one event that happens in a man’s life that can change the course of his destiny, and I think the death of his best friend is such an event.”
We also forget that Sutter sent Opie out the best way that Opie could go: Fighting.
“I wanted Opie to go out a warrior, with nobility and a sense of protecting the people [he still loves]. I don’t do things arbitrarily or just for shock value. I think there’s a sense of how deeply committed I am to the show and to the fans as well…I do think that there is a sense of [the fans] understanding why it happened and where it will go.”
For any Sons fan still reeling from Opie’s death, Sutter had the following to say:
“What I would say to them is that yes, it’s incredibly sad, but the death of Opie will color the rest of the episodes for the rest of the series. It’s not a death that will happen in vain. Jax will be greatly influenced by the death of Opie, and perhaps that loss, that emptiness, will color him throughout the rest of the season.”
I’m actually willing to forgive Kurt Sutter for the death of Opie, one of my favorite characters on Sons of Anarchy. It’s the Joss Whedon school of killing characters. You’ve got to make it hurt, you’ve got to go for the heart. But you have to make it mean something. That’s the only thing we have yet to see, but from Sutter’s comments, I’m confident in the show moving forward.
Also thanks, in some part, to Ryan Hurst’s humorous reaction to his character’s death:
I wish my beard was powerful enough to mop up all your tears. I love you all.
— Ryan Hurst (@RamboDonkeyKong) September 26, 2012
What did you think of Sons of Anarchy last night? Did Opie have to die? Sound off, Crow-Eaters!