Fans of 'Sons of Anarchy' well know that the FX biker drama is famous for its shocking, often brutal violence, and last night's "Laying Pipe" was no exception.  Though series creator Kurt Sutter himself warned fans in advance of an impending tragedy, Tuesday night viewers said goodby to a fan-favorite character, one who it seems has long been destined for nothing but heartbreak at the hands of SAMCRO.

I'd had a feeling that it wasn't going to be Clay, portrayed by Ron Perlman. He's the 'head domino' in everything that has been falling around SAMCRO and is likely the Son that most wanted to see eliminated.

But taking out Opie does more to Jax' character than any other character death besides his wife Tara. Opie was his best friend. I still had to console Sarah (Opie was her favorite character) by telling her that Opie fell on the sword for Jax and the club. It wasn't a wasteful death. It's going to take Jax to a place that, in my head, I heard Samuel L. Jackson in 'Pulp Fiction' when they're cleaning up the car where they accidentally shot someone.:

"I'm a mushroom-cloud-layin' motherf***er, motherf***er! Every time my fingers touch brain, I'm Superfly T.N.T., I'm the Guns of the Navarone!"

Jax is going to be seeing red for a long time and many are going to pay including the jailer and eventually, Pope. I actually felt it was the right choice to kill off for JUST that reason. In reading  series creator Kurt Sutter's assessment, it looks like he agrees:

Sutter spoke to reporters Wednesday, elaborating on the death's role in Jax's journey, and how he felt Opie's life came to a fitting end:

"This is really the first season I’ve had to think about the end game, and knowing where I want to take my hero, and knowing how I wanted to get there, the road I wanted to travel, Jax needed that emotional upheaval – that one event that happens in a man’s life that can change the course of his destiny.

I don’t do things arbitrarily, or for shock value.  Yes, it’s incredibly sad, but the death of Opie will color the rest of the episodes for the rest of the series. It’s not a death that will happen in vain."

More than that, Sutter wanted to make sure that if Opie had to go, he'd die a meaningful death as opposed to some of the other more random acts of violence the series has featured over 5 seasons.  “I wanted Opie to go out a warrior,” says Sutter. “I really wanted him to go out with nobility and a sense of feeling like, ‘I may not have a lot to live for, but at the very least, I am going to go out doing something noble and protecting the people I still love.' "

One thing's for sure: three episodes in, and "Sons of Anarchy' season 5 has featured some of the most shocking, tragic deaths to date, showing no signs of stopping as the series continues with next week's "Stolen Huffy."

What did you think?  Were you sad to see Opie's death, or had the character run his course?  Do you agree with Sutter that his death still had meaning?  Give us your reactions, and pour one out for Opie in the comments below! If Facebook is any indication, Sarah isn't the only one infuriated and saddened by this characters demise: