As you would expect from a show centered on a violent motorcycle gang and their numerous enemies, there is a lot of bloodshed and heartbreak throughout the series. These scenes are generally hard to watch, tug at your heartstrings and really make you care about these make believe characters and their lives.
In a show full of heartbreak and despair, it was hard to narrow this list down to 10, so some really gut wrenching moments are missing from this list. Also, before reading this list, be aware that it is full of spoilers.
10. Half-Sack is Stabbed to Death
Kip “Half-Sack” Epps is the loveable prospect who was usually used in the show for comedic effect, but got into a more serious role in season two and was about to become a fully patched member into the club. However, just before being voted in as a full time member of SAMCRO, Half-Sack was murdered. This heartbreaking moment took place while Half-Sack was attempting to protect Jax’s son Abel from the Real IRA, and was then subsequently stabbed to death before he was ever a real member of the Sons of Anarchy. He eventually got his wish, though, as he ended up being patched into the club posthumously. In a sad twist of fate, the actor who played Half-Sack, Johnny Lewis, died in sad and disturbing circumstances on September 26, 2012.
9. Tig’s Daughter Burns Alive
Following Clay being shot and reporting that it was a “black male” who shot him, Tig decided to go after Laroy Wayne, who is the leader of the One Niners gang. However, it turned out that Clay lied about who shot him, but by then it was too late. Tig had already attempted to run down Laroy in his car, but ended up killing a young woman instead. As a result, there were severe repercussions throughout seasons four and five, but there is no more heartbreaking moment in the sequence than when the young girl’s father, Damon Pope, got some sick and sadistic payback on Tig by burning Tig’s daughter alive while forcing him to watch in despair, unable to save his daughter.
8. Abel Gets Abducted
If you’re a parent, chances are one of the worst things that could ever happen in your life is to have your child abducted. And that is exactly what Jax Teller had to go through when his son was abducted by the Real IRA and taken to Ireland. As you would expect, Jax was in an absolute frenzy when he found out his son was abducted, and the cliffhanger scene with Jax screaming on the dock as his son is driven away is one of the hardest to watch of the series. The following season of the show takes place in Ireland and is centered around SAMCRO finding and rescuing Abel.
7. Clay Beats Gemma
Despite there being a pattern of domestic abuse and rampant violence throughout Sons of Anarchy, the scene in which Clay Morrow beats down Gemma Teller is about as horrific as the show gets. This all stemmed from a failed hit on Tara by Clay, which Gemma discovered and then threatened to expose his plan to Jax. When Clay lunges, Gemma misfires her gun and then Clay proceeds to chase her around the room, eventually pins her down and slaps and punches her repeatedly in the face. This is the point in the series when there was no longer any sympathy for Clay in any way; it was on this day that he truly became a monster.
6. Clay Killing Piney
Everyone knew this was eventually going to occur, but that still didn’t prepare us for this dreadful moment. Ever since the two started to butt heads, the battle between Piney and Clay was a true battle of good versus evil. The battle hit its climax when Clay visited Piney out at his cabin where he has been hiding out. Piney begs Clay to leave Tara out of it, but Clay says it is too late and proceeds to shoot and kill Piney. Throughout the series, Piney acted as sort of the “moral compass” for SAMCRO and his death at the hands of the “evil” Clay Morrow set the stage for how brutal this series was about to get.
5. Gemma Kills Tara
This was a complete shock and one that not many people saw coming at all. Of course Tara and Gemma had their differences, but it was never thought that it would culminate with Gemma murdering Tara. The battle began when Gemma thought that Tara took a deal which would send Jax to jail. Without details, Gemma attacked Tara as soon as she saw her and tried to drown her; then, while Tara was fighting back, Gemma grabbed a carving fork and stabbed Tara numerous times in the back of the head, which is one of the most vicious scenes in the entire series.
4. The Rape of Gemma Teller
This is easily one of the most gut-wrenching and disgusting moments in the entire series and is one that can make most people physically ill. This incredibly hard to watch scene began when Gemma was abducted and tied up in what looks like to be a warehouse by some white supremacists. What follows next is absolutely horrific to watch as Gemma is raped multiple times by multiple assailants. The white supremacists did this in an attempt to send a message and demotivate SAMCRO, but it didn’t work that way, as the club banded together once they found out about Gemma and her ordeal with the rape.
3. The Death of Donna Winston
This moment had the potential of coming in at number one on this list because of how truly heartbreaking it was when it took place. This all began when Clay Morrow was fed false information that Opie Winston was working with law enforcement to bring down SAMCRO. As a result, Clay ordered a hit on Opie. Now this is where the real heartbreak sets in. Instead of Opie taking his truck home, his wife Donna took it instead. So when Tig pulled up to the truck and fired shots into the back window on the driver’s side, he thought he just completed the hit on Opie as instructed. But what nobody knew until it was too late was that they got the wrong Winston.
2. The Death of Jax Teller
Everyone who was watching the show knew that this is how the series had to end, but nobody was prepared for it. This was as emotional a scene as any in the series and the combination of the acting, the music and the setting was the perfect fit. The scene begins with Jax visiting the site of his father’s death to talk one last time. Then, Jax is spotted by police, fires a few shots at them and then the chase is on. The following scene is very picturesque, as Jax is calmly riding his motorcycle while being chased by a fleet of police officers. Then Jax slowly removes his hands from the handles, stretches them out, and leans his bike right into oncoming traffic and is struck by a large truck, thus ending Jax Teller as we know him.
1. The Death of Opie Winston
This one hurt. A lot. The way this scene makes the viewer feel makes it a clear choice as the most heartbreaking moment in the entirety of Sons of Anarchy. Opie was a true friend, right hand man and go-to guy for Jax Teller. But once his father and wife are killed by SAMCRO members, Opie desperately wants out of the club and feels he has nothing to live for. When Damon Pope needs one of the Sons to die, Opie volunteers and then we are treated to a horrific scene as Opie tries to fight off multiple assailants before finally succumbing to the beating. There is arguably no more heartbreaking and gut wrenching scene than this in the entire series, so it was a simple choice for the number one spot.