As far as Jax and Opie go, Sutter says that they just can’t give up the MC, despite its best efforts to hurt or kill their loved ones.
“It’s really for the most part all these guys know. It’s the crux of the drama, at least with Jax, is that he was raised in this world and it’s all he knows,” says Sutter. “Can he leave it? Can he abandon it? And if not, can he fix it?”
“[With Opie], it was just too neat and simple for Opie to come back. Opie’s a complicated dude … it took marrying someone else for him to really begin to grieve the death of his wife. It’s just all sort of catching up with Opie and he’s not the guy who processes things quickly,” Sutter continues. “In my mind, it’s going to take a minute for Opie to get back to that table, if he does get back … but he’s not necessarily ready to be at Jax’s left.”
There were several deaths this season and the show seemed to be building towards killing off either Tara or Clay, but Sutter says that would’ve also been too easy.
“We weren’t gonna kill Tara. I’m all about surprising and I’m all about having no problem killing off main characters, but I also have to, in some ways, protect the show, and I think it would be very difficult for us to continue with Jax and tell that story without Tara,” says Sutter.
“I just think death sometimes is just too easy. To me, it’s a much more complex and interesting story to take away the thing that defined Tara,” Sutter continues. “What happens when you take that away?”
“Same thing with Clay. It would’ve been way too easy for Jax to have that reveal about his father that we’ve been playing with for four seasons now and have Jax kill Clay … On ‘The Shield,’ when we had Vic become aware that Shane was the one who killed Len, we had that awareness happen and we got to play that out for a season and a half … we get to play that out now with Jax and Clay, and I think that’s great turf for potent storytelling. I want to see what that looks like for a season or two … rather than have the reveal and have him avenge [right away],” Sutter finishes.
Moving on to Gemma, we couldn’t help but comment that way back during the Season 4 premiere, we were struck by how much Tara resembled Gemma now physically. Which Sutter tells Zap2it was by design.
“We’ve actually really been playing with that idea since Season 2,” Sutter chuckles. “We had conversations with wardrobe and hair about slowly, with Tara now in this world, having it sort of rub off on her. She couldn’t help but become a part of it and we’re able to play that out with wardrobe and hair. And then obviously, towards the end, having some of the emotionality match it as well.”
But Tara is NOT Gemma yet.
“Tara is not Gemma, she’s not there yet. Not that I’m going to take a step back and bring her back to the Tara she’s been. But she will have the struggles in that role,” says Sutter. “How do I stay who I am and navigate in this world, not unlike the way Jax has the last few seasons. But Tara is not Gemma. The example I give is that when she slides over that syringe and says, ‘This is how you do it,’ if it had been Gemma, it would’ve already been done.”
The Tara coming over to the dark side, so to speak, was just one of the things set in motion for Season 5. Another one was Tig running down Laroy and his girlfriend, whose father is Damon Pope, a very dangerous gangster in Oakland.
“The club is potentially facing a very dangerous foe because of their actions,” says Sutter. “I don’t know the level of threat yet. I’d love to be able to bring in [the character of Damon Pope] … that has a lot of swag and is just a few steps above the club in terms of influence and connections. I haven’t really given specific thought yet to what that conflict looks like and whether or not it will take precedent [over internal conflicts].”
“The internal conflicts … will be a slower boil, it won’t quite be as fast and kinetic as this season was with the cartel and Jax wanting to get out,” Sutter finishes.
“Sons of Anarchy” will be back September 2012 on FX.