First off, HUMONGOUS SPOILER ALERT! For your own sake, don't continue reading this article if you missed this week's episode of 'Sons of Anarchy.'
This week, we mourn the passing of one of the greatest characters in Sons of Anarchy history: the incomparable Clay Morrow. The ex-president of SAMCRO, superbly portrayed by , may have been a ruthless son of a... well, of anarchy, but that never stopped fans from elevating him to the altar of Favorite Elements of the show. Executive producer and SoA head honcho even remarked:
As much as people say that they want Clay dead, they don't want Clay dead. They want to see it be complicated. They want to see how Gemma feels about betraying Clay. They want to see how Juice feels about betraying. They want to see that play out even though they, in their gut, they know the guy should be dead.
Now that Clay's gone, however, I can't think of a better way to celebrate his six-season-long presence in SoA than reading this great interview Perlman gave Entertainment Weekly while on set on his last day of shooting.
Some of the highlights of this comprehensive EW Ron Perlman interview are:
Were you told at the beginning of the season about your impending death?
Yeah. There was not a whole lot that was shared in terms of how it would play out. I’ve always been a fan of not knowing, of getting the scripts and dealing with what I see when I see it. So I was okay with not knowing what it was going to look like. Kurt Sutter did mention that Clay would be seeking some sort of personal redemption. I didn’t know how that was going to play out, whether it was going to be a material kind where he was given back some of the things that were taken from him or just a spiritual kind, where he was going to commit some sort of act of self-sacrifice.
Were you surprised to die this season?
I'm playing Claudius, and Claudius doesn't make it to Act 5. So I was ready for this. If it's an examination of power, you have to see the new king when he’s not mirrored by the resonances of the old king. You have to see what he does when he stands alone in the world. And as long as Clay is around, he can't do that.
What's it like around the set when someone dies?
It's a very traditional rite of passage. There's mourning. When the dynamic of a family is asked to change, people scratch their heads. Is this necessary? People get very sad, a little frustrated. Sometimes people go, 'who's next?' There's an examination of how we're all just passing through here. You have to cherish every moment because we're already in rarefied air that we've made it this far.
Did you have a wish on how you wanted to die?
I just wanted it to be connected to something completely unselfish. This is a sociopathic world. We’re not nice guys. We’re outlaws. We’re ruthless.
Talk about Clay’s state of mind this season.
I’ve lost everything except my life. I've lost Gemma. I've lost the club. I've lost every friend I ever made. I've lost all my material, earthly goods. Every single thing that I spent my entire life working to obtain has been taken from me except for my life. So that puts you in some sort of contemplative state... I always wanted to play a hero. I always wanted to find, no matter how nefarious, no matter how dark, no matter how questionable the things that Clay did were, I always needed to think that I was playing a hero.
What’s your fondest memory?
I remember the chapel scenes. When I'm sitting on my rocking chair in the old age home and all the other actors are sitting there thinking about great moments in their lives, I'll be thinking about the chapel scenes with Tig on my right and Jax on my left, me at the head of the table where I'm smoking cigars and we're making plans, kicking ass and taking names. That's what I'm gonna remember about the show because that, to me, was quintessential 'Sons of Anarchy.'
What say you, SoA fans? What was your reaction to Clay's goodbye? Where do you see the show going from this point onward? Let us know, as always, in the comments.
Season Six of Sons of Anarchy airs Tuesdays on FX at 10 PM (EST).