Potential SPOILERS AHEAD for "Sons of Anarchy" Season 5 Ahead! Don't say we didn't warn you.
Two weeks ago, FX kicked off the fifth season of "Sons of Anarchy" as "retired" gangster Damon Pope (Harold Perrineau) escalated his war against SAMCRO and he personally burned Dawn Trager (Rachel Miner) alive as her father, Tig (Kim Coates) was forced to watch. Pope also bribed witnesses to come forward and implicate Tig, Jax (Charlie Hunnam) and Chibs (Tommy Flanagan) on murder charges so that he could have them more easily killed within prison walls.
Unfortunately for SAMCRO and the extended family of the club, it looks like Pope will at least be partially successful. Entertainment Weekly has confirmed that someone close to the club will be killed off in this week's episode. And while EW shared their thoughts on the potential casualties, we have our own theories about who might be heading towards their last ride.
If you've come to hate Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman) after the events of season 4, don't get your hopes up that he's about to face his day of reckoning. "Sons of Anarchy" creator Kurt Sutter swerved us all when Clay managed to survive last season, even if the script had to really reach for a reason to keep him around. If Sutter went through that much trouble to keep Clay alive then he is probably the safest character on the show other than Jax... for now.
Clay may have been reduced to a shadow of his former self, but he hasn't even begun to recover or fully avenge himself on his enemies. When that day comes, watch out. But until then, Clay isn't going anywhere.
Like Clay, Juan Carlos "Juice" Ortiz (Theo Rossi) had a somewhat improbable escape from a season 4 storyline in which he was blackmailed into betraying SAMCRO to preserve the secret of Juice's racial identity. Juice's father was a black man and Juice has gone to great lengths to make sure that information never becomes known out of fear of being rejected and forced out of the club.
Without that threat hanging over his head, Juice is in noticeably better spirits and he no longer seems to be suicidal. But on "Sons of Anarchy," that just means that Juice will still eventually suffer for his sins against the club. Eventually, it will come back to bite Juice in a big way. Jax and company have already concluded that someone betrayed them to the RICO investigation. Once they follow that thread back to Juice himself, his chances of survival will dramatically drop.
However, we think that Juice is safe... for at least another week.
For years, the death of Wayne Unser (Dayton Callie) has been inevitably coming for him. The former Sheriff of Charming is fighting a terminal form of cancer... and he is losing that battle. Someday that illness may finally claim his life.
In the short term, Unser may face danger in the form of Frankie Diamonds (Chuck Zito) and the other Nomads who were recently voted into SAMCRO. The former Nomads are behind a string of home invasion robberies of people close to the club. After Unser was badly beaten at Gemma's house, he began investigating the crime spree on his own. Unser is not exactly a great detective, but he's enough of a lawman to follow the clues in this case. And if Unser is alone with the Nomads when the truth comes out then he may not live long enough to share his findings with anyone.
Pope's war with SAMCRO is almost entirely Tig's fault. When Clay was shot, Tig was told that the shooters were black and he assumed that they were from the Niners. So, Tig attempted to run down the Niners' leader and he ended up killing Pope's daughter. Tig has already paid for that with the loss of his own daughter, Dawn. And the only reason that Tig is still alive is that Pope wants him to continue to suffer.
This is one of Tig's biggest storylines to date and it could very well claim his life. But it still seems a little early to wrap this one up. After all, Tig is due for some revenge of his own against Pope...
Opie Winston (Ryan Hurst) recently reaffirmed his allegiance to SAMCRO by decking Sheriff Roosevelt (Rockmond Dunbar) and allowing himself to be taken away with Jax, Chibs and Tig so that he can help protect them against Pope's men inside of the prison. While Opie's actions are an expression of his deep friendship with Jax, it may also mark him as one of Pope's targets.
In the most recent episode, Opie admitted that he's no longer sure if he loves anyone and he doesn't seem to care whether he lives or he dies. There is a strong possibility that Opie won't be leaving prison alive. But there's still some room to further develop his character, so perhaps Opie's journey isn't over just yet... But if Opie was to die, it would crush Jax.
Which brings us to Chibs... the most likely victim to fall in Tuesday's episode. Tommy Flanagan is great in the role and his Celtic blessing for Jax and Tara (Maggie Siff) during their wedding was one of the show's more touching moments in recent memory.
But Chibs doesn't have a storyline of his own. He's simply a supporting player in everyone else's lives... and that makes him expendable. Chibs has been around since the beginning of "Sons of Anarchy" and his death would rock the club to its core. The audience would also feel the loss more effectively for Chibs than they would for a lesser character. Chibs may not have the spotlight, but he is important to this series.
There's always a chance that Chibs won't be sacrificed. However, if we were placing bets, this is where our money would go.
UPDATE: Wednesday, September 26
SPOILER ALERT for "Sons of Anarchy" Season 5 Episode 3!
Chibs may have been more expendable, but ultimately it was Opie who went down in prison... with Tig getting getting a stay of execution. For now, at least.
But the death pool is never really over on this series. And it never will be. SAMCRO lives in a dangerous world and not everyone will make it out alive. Especially not all of the men currently on this list.
Share your theories on who will die in the comment section below!