TV review: Sons of Anarchy

Jesse Tigges, Columbus Alive

At the midway point of Tuesday's episode of "Sons of Anarchy," I thought the writers were doing their damnedest to find ways for Clay (Ron Perlman) not to die. Then we were treated to the superb scene where Unser (Dayton Callie) informs Opie (Ryan Hurst) of all the atrocities Clay has committed over the years, including gunning down Opie's father, Piney (William Lucking).

It was one of the best scenes in the show's run, giving two great supporting actors powerful material. But most importantly, it set Opie on Clay with the fervor of a mad dog. By the way, I officially anoint Hurst's Opie as the scariest man on television - now that (obligatory spoiler alert) Gustavo Fring on "Breaking Bad" is no more.

After Clay viciously beat Gemma (Katey Sagal) for finally confronting him on his actions - killing Piney, drug-running for the cartel, putting a hit on Jax's old lady Tara - it seemed obvious his time was short. That beating also meant any chance Clay had at redemption, especially with the audience, is now gone.

Initially it appeared Jax (Charlie Hunnam) would find out about the hit on Tara (Maggie Siff) from Gemma and kill Clay, but now Opie feels like the button man.

It was a nice twist having Unser realize that after Gemma proclaimed Clay would "die by the hand of a Son" she would eventually backtrack out of love and fear, leaving him to take matters into his own hands.

Now Clay is central to the "Hamlet" theme of "Sons" as the Claudius character, and Perlman brings an intensity to the series that's hard to replace. So I could see showrunner Kurt Sutter not wanting to eliminate a powerful character, but for this season to be a success Clay has to go.

I have no clue what the remainder of this season - which recently received a 14th episode because Sutter felt there was too much story to fit into 13 - will hold, and that makes for an exciting ride.

I only hope my prediction that Sutter has the balls to kill off his best villain is correct.

"Sons of Anarchy"

10 p.m. Tuesdays on FX

3.5 stars