Re: Sons of Anarchy: Season 5 (Discussion Thread, SPOILERS)
After re-watching a number of the episodes from the end of last season, and the first few from this season, I've come to the conclusion that Opie HAD to be the one to die if Sutter is to keep on the story that he has been telling. It's pretty firmly established that without clay that Irish deal falls apart, and without that deal the CIA lets RICO come down on the club, destroying it. If Opie would have lived, the choice Jax would essentially have is between Opie and the rest of the Sons. Opie wouldn't have allowed clay to live much longer, so if he wouldn't have died in prison, Jax would have had to kill him to save the rest of the club.