Throughout its seven season run, Sons of Anarchy captured the hearts of millions of fans worldwide on its route to becoming a revered fandom. While adored by fans, this show also received much praise from critics. SOA received a whole host of award nominations, which culminated in Katey Sagal winning a Golden Globe for her performance as Gemma Teller.
While the series did well to captivate viewers as a whole, there were some exceptional episodes that stood out from the pack, and defined the story of SAMCRO. Let's take a look at the ten greatest episodes throughout the run of Sons of Anarchy.
In what was one of the most harrowing moments of the entire series, Gemma, who was grief-stricken at the thought of never seeing her grandchildren again, came down on Tara in a final confrontation between the two. Drunk and depressed (particularly after her breakup with Nero), she bashed in Tara's head with an iron, forced her head into a kitchen sink full of water and stabbed her in the back of the head with a carving fork.
This gruesome death eliminated any chance that Jax may have had to escape from Charming with his family intact in pursuit of a better life. It was also incredibly tragic, because while Gemma killed Tara due to assuming that the latter had turned on Jax, the opposite was true. With the right information, Tara's death could have been avoided.
Even after losing his SAMCRO Presidency, Clay remained a necessary asset to the club, due to his stable relationship with Galen O' Shea and the Irish Kings. This meant that Jax was unable to take revenge for his father's death as well as those of Piney and Donna; a fact that frustrated both Jax and the rest of the club.
It is perhaps for this reason why many fans found themselves breathing a heavy sigh of relief once Jax finally pulled the trigger on Clay, ending one of the bloodiest eras in SAMCRO's history. In addition to this defining moment, a thrilling prison transport ambush as well as SAMCRO turning on O'Shea resulted in rollercoaster ride from start to finish.
Like Tara's death, this episode contained yet another murder that could have been avoided with the right information. After ATF Agent June Stahl detained Opie for questioning and later attempted to get him to collaborate, Clay became increasingly wary of him. Despite Opie refusing to rat on his club, Tig found that Opie's truck had indeed been wiretapped. This resulted in Clay ordering a hit on Opie.
After Abel's homecoming party, Tig was ordered to follow Opie's truck and subsequently shoot him. Unfortunately, Donna was the one who decided to take Opie's truck for a spin, and once Clay found out that Opie was innocent and attempted to contact Tig, the deed was already done.
This was one of the most important episodes in the series with regards to club politics. After considering Clay's confession about the break-ins with the Nomads, what he did to Piney and the John Teller letters, the club needed to vote on whether or not he would be required to lose his patch, and perhaps, his life.
While he was able to keep his life, viewers were treated to vivd scenes of Clay losing his patch, all of his SAMCRO-related tattoos being blacked out by Happy with the club looking on. Also featured in this episode was Jax's brutality; after Wendy threatened him with legal action because of Abel's abduction, Jax threatened her in her apartment, before injecting an illegal substance into her arm.
The penultimate episode of the second season saw SAMCRO go into complete lockdown; all club members and their families taking shelter at the clubhouse while stocking up on food, weapons, ammunition and other supplies before having their final showdown with the League of American Nationalists.
Following Jax's crafty arrangement for A.J. Weston's kids to be taken in by Child Family Services was an intense battle between the revenge-driven Sons and the Aryans, as well as a long-awaited confrontation with the mastermind behind the League of American Nationalists, Ethan Zobelle.
This episode sees Jax finally accept his fate as a tragic hero, with no way out from his life of crime, angst and heartbreak. Not only did Jax come to terms with the deaths of his father, Opie and Tara, but he also learned the traumatic truth about Tara's death and the nature in which his mother carried out the gruesome killing.
At this point, viewers witness the true extent of Jax's cruelty, as well as the fact that he is now far beyond redemption. Unlike his past self, Jax has no problem pulling the trigger, and finally brings an end to Gemma's life as well as Unser's.
Keeping constant with the themes of revenge and karma, this episode exposed SAMCRO to the full extent of Damon Pope's ruthlessness, teaching them not to double cross the most powerful gangster in Oakland. In Jax's first episode as president, he finds himself dealing with the aftermath of Tig's actions that resulted in the death of Pope's daughter.
What followed was Pope's brutal revenge, which involved luring Tig out to a rail yard, tying him up and making him watch his daughter be engulfed by flames, which provided a vivd and haunting image sure to ingrain itself in the minds of fans for a long time to come.
In a thrilling follow-up to "The Culling", SAMCRO found themselves on a mission to rid Charming of Ethan Zobelle once and for all. After both Zobelle and his daughter as well as Weston were released police custody, the Sons made it their mission to take these adversaries down.
This episode saw fatalities in the form of Weston and Polly, as Jax showed signs of his growing lust for vengeance for the first time in the series. To top it off, IRA member Cameron kidnapped Abel, kicking off the plot going into the next season.
In what was arguably the most heart-wrenching episode of the series, Jax, Opie, Chibs and Tig find themselves navigating life in County Jail. Due to Damon Pope's far-reaching influence, Jax found himself in a meeting with the Oakland gangster, in which he was told that one member of SAMCRO would have to die in order to repay their debts.
Jax now had an impossible task in front of him,; either he would have to select a member for murder or allow the shift commander to choose for himself. Unfortunately for Opie, his decision to head butt the guard saw him thrown in the cage where four prisoners beat him to death, with a horrified Jax, Chibs and Tig looking on.
This episode got off to a joyful start, with Jax and Tara laying peacefully and talking about their unborn child, as well as everyone celebrating Abel's homecoming after being recovered from Belfast. What followed was a large dose of satisfaction for many a fan of the series, as unlike most other moments in the series, this episode delivered justice in bucketloads for many fan favourites.
After all of his ill-treatment of Chibs, including taking his wife and daughter away from him, Jimmy O was double crossed by the Russians and given back to SAMCRO, allowing Chips the opportunity to finish him off and thus get revenge for all the abuse he endured. On top of this, Opie was able to eliminate pesky ATF Agent June Stahl, and thus get revenge for all of her actions that led to Donna's death.