Sons of Anarchy captivated audiences with the saga of Jax Teller and his band of biker outlaws for seven seasons. So much mayhem unfolded across those seasons that it’s tough to come up with a tally of deaths in the series. However, several characters’ final curtain calls stand out as especially gutwrenching. So slip on your MC cut and settle in for the top five most tragic SOA deaths…
Half-Sack (Jonathan Kendrick Lewis) was the first prospect of the series, making him the target of merciless hazing from the more established SAMCRO members. His willingness to endure anything to prove his worth made him an endearing character, and his death a particularly tough one.
In the Sons of Anarchy season 2 finale, “Na Triobloidi”, Half-Sack valiantly gives his life while protecting Jax’s son, Abel. In a tragic turn of events, he faced off against a gun-wielding Cameron Hayes and suffered a fatal knife wound. Despite not having taken a life, he became the first main character to meet an untimely demise.
4. Tara Knowles
Over the course of the series, the relationship between Tara (Maggie Siff) and Jax (Charlie Hunnam), deepened from on-and-off again to full-fledged queen and king of the Sons of Anarchy. Of course, Gemma (Katey Sagal) never approved of Tara, leading viewers to know the dagger (or in this case, kitchen knife) was always hanging over the character.
In the season six finale, “A Mother’s Work”, Gemma throws down with Tara in the most intense kitchen fight scene on all of television. Initially, Gemma attempted to submerge her daughter-in-law in a basin filled with dishwater. Then channeling Michael Myers, she stabs Tara in the head several times with a meat fork. The murder was compounded by Gemma’s false assumption that Tara had betrayed Jax.
3. Piney Winston
Piney (William Lucking) was one of SAMCRO’s original founding members. He had an old-school code of honor that endeared him to viewers. Plus, Piney was the father of fan-favorite Opie, further cementing him as a bedrock of Sons of Anarchy. Nevertheless, when Piney threatened Clay (Ron Perlman) with letters that proved he killed Jax’s father, his time had run out. Piney met his unfortunate demise with a shotgun wielded by Clay in season four’s episode “Family Recipe”.
2. Bobby Munson
Mark Boone, Jr.’s performance as Bobby Munson served as the backbone of Sons of Anarchy. Bobby provided a lot of levity. However, he always managed to have an undercurrent of menace that perfectly fit the show’s tone. This is why it was tough for fans to see the character tortured over the course of the final episodes. After being taken prisoner by August Marks, his goons broke Bobby’s jaw, chopped off some fingers, and plucked out an eye. Marks ultimately ended Bobby’s suffering in the episode “What a Piece of Work Is Man” by delivering a fatal shot to his head. However, the death was truly shocking because Jax had just arranged for Bobby’s release… but it wasn’t to be.
1. The Most Tragic Sons of Anarchy Death… Opie Winston
Hands down the most tragic death of all of Sons of Anarchy belongs to Opie, portrayed by the show’s breakout star Ryan Hurst. After being compelled to select a member for execution in prison, the club found itself in a difficult position. Opie, who had already suffered the loss of his wife and father, selflessly offered to take the fall on behalf of the crew. In perhaps the most cynically named episode of the series, season five’s “Laying Pipe”, Opie meets his doom after being bludgeoned to death by a lead pipe. Adding a layer to the tragedy is that his best friend since childhood, Jax, witnessed the entire thing.
The fan-favorite character exiting essentially at the show’s peak was a shock to viewers. However, it was an even bigger blow to the cast, who had clearly bonded. So traumatic was Opie’s death that when Hurst shaved his epic beard after the shooting for his final episode wrapped, he and cast members Charlie Hunnam and Mark Boone Junior openly wept.
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