With a show that revolves around a biker club, there’s bound to be a ton of violence and death. Since the main stars of the show are considered antiheroes, seeing them triumph against the very worst people in the show can be extremely cathartic. Watching these awful villains get what they deserve can get literal cheers from the audience.
On the other hand, there are moments in Sons Of Anarchy (SoA) where the innocent don’t always make it. There are numerous character deaths throughout the show’s eight seasons. Some may not have had much of an impact, but then there are others that got a huge emotional reaction from the fans, whether it was anger, sadness, or just plain joy! Here are five deaths in Sons of Anarchy that broke our hearts, as well as five that we loved.
10 Heartbreaking: Dawn Trager
Dawn Trager’s death at the hands of Damon Pope is definitely regarded as one of SoA’s most disturbing moments. Even though Dawn is barely in the show up until season five, seeing Tig watch his daughter get burned alive is harrowing to watch. It’s made all the more heartbreaking considering Dawn has absolutely no idea why she’s there in the first place.
While we understand Pope wanted revenge for his daughter after Tig accidentally killed her, he took his vengeance way too far and on someone who did not deserve it. At the very least, he should have killed Tig in retaliation. We would’ve been upset to see Tig go, but Pope would’ve been justified in his actions.
9 Enjoyed: June Stahl
Leave it to SoA to make a federal ATF agent just as bad, if not worse, than the violent criminals she’s tasked with taking down. June Stahl was a ruthless agent who would stop at nothing to get ahead in her career, even if meant murdering her partner/girlfriend. Her other actions included setting Opie up as a rat, as well as framing Gemma for killing Edmond Hayes, which in turn, resulted in baby Abel being kidnapped.
Due to this, fans were not at all upset over her demise. Props to actress Ally Walker’s acting, though, as she almost made us feel slightly bad for her when she realizes it’s the end for her. Emphasis on the word “slightly.”
8 Heartbreaking: Opie
Opie is, without a doubt, SoA’s most tragic character. This guy went through hell in the show’s first four seasons. His wife, Donna, was needlessly gunned down because of Stahl making him a rat and his own father is killed. Almost all of this leads back to Clay. It’s sad knowing that Opie never truly got his revenge on Clay before he’s gruesomely beaten to death in prison.
As if we couldn’t be more upset, Opie did this as a sacrifice for his best friend since Jax was forced by Pope to choose one of his men to be killed in prison. Let’s also not forget how sad and bittersweet his funeral scene is in the following episode.
7 Enjoyed: Damon Pope
We all know Pope would eventually get his comeuppance by the end of season five. After what he did to Dawn and Opie, we were sure Jax would have some sort of plan to take him out. Although, doubts were shown after it appeared that Jax was actually going to give Tig up to Pope.
All of this turned out to be a ruse and Jax allowed Tig to shootPope in the head. What makes it all the more poetic is how untouchable Pope felt. It was very satisfying to see Tig shoot the man who forced him to watch his daughter get roasted alive.
6 Heartbreaking: Bobby
Whenever the club was in a rut, Bobby was usually the one to give the best guidance. While he may have been just as violent as the rest of the club, he always held a high moral ground, which made him a fan-favorite. Seeing him get abruptly shot in the head by August Marks was shocking and heart-wrenching.
His death really takes a toll on the club after this. Even still, he went out like a badass considering he had just been brutally tortured for days, yet never once gave up the club.
5 Enjoyed: Galen
If there’s one character that just got under everyone’s skin, it was Galen. He had a burning hatred for Jax, which was undeserved. This hatred led to the constant berating of Jax, which definitely annoyed the fans. Galen even went as far as killing Phil and the prospect, Chrisx as a message.
It seemed throughout season six that Galen held all the cards and SAMCRO was helpless to defeat him. As we’ve seen with the show, the club had the perfect plan. After an intense prison break, Galen is pleased to see Clay free. Out of nowhere, Jax shoots Galen in the head, along with the rest of his men. In just a few seconds, one of the most aggravating villains is satisfyingly taken out.
4 Heartbreaking: Tara
Tara may have been cold-blooded and unrelenting with her actions in season six, but it was always to protect her children. She wanted nothing more than to get Thomas and Abel away from Charming and SAMCRO since it clearly brings nothing but death and destruction.
Unfortunately, she never lives to see that happen as she’s mercilessly stabbed to death by Gemma. Even worse is that all of it could’ve been avoided. It was just a giant misunderstanding that makes her graphic demise completely needless. Tara’s death is pretty much the beginning of the end of Jax going into the final season.
3 Enjoyed: AJ Weston
Weston was just a disgusting human being. After all, he’s the leader of a violent white supremacist organization. That would’ve been enough for fans to hate him. SoA took it another step forward in the season two premiere, where Gemma is sexually assaulted by Weston and his men in a vicious attack.
It’s an unpleasant scene to sit through. All season long, we just kept waiting for Gemma to finally confess what happened. When she eventually does, Jax and Clay are filled with rage. We couldn’t help but cheer when Jax finally unloaded his gun on Weston, finally getting his justice for his mother.
2 Heartbreaking: Gemma
It’s not so much saddening that Gemma is killed. After all, not many shed a tear for her considering all the damage she had done, specifically killing Tara. What makes this death so tough to take in was the fact that Jax, her own son, had to do it. Fans had to watch their main protagonist commit matricide to get revenge for his wife.
The look on Jax’s face as he’s about to pull the trigger is the most heartbreaking aspect of that entire scene, even if fans wanted nothing more than to see Gemma get what she deserved. We feel more for Jax in this scene than anything. It’s definitely some of the best work actor Charlie Hunnam did on the show.
1 Enjoyed: Clay
Since SoA is a loose and modern-day version of Hamlet, it was clear that Clay Morrow would eventually become the ultimate villain of the series. Not only do we find that out that Clay killed Jax’s father, but it’s made apparent that Clay will do just about anything for his own selfish gain. This includes shooting Piney, putting a hit on Tara, and even beating Gemma to a bloody pulp.
It was time for the prince to finally get his revenge, which all culminated in an ominous scene where Clay realizes the entire club has voted on his death. Jax looks into Clay’s eyes one last time before he pulls the trigger. It was shocking to lose such an important character that was there from the start, but we couldn’t be happier to see Clay finally get what was coming to him.