After watching tonight's episode and reading a few comments on some message boards I couldn't help but consider a question I read about the character of Opie. Some people wrote that Opie needed to die because he was weak. I don't believe that. I think Opie had lost so much (wife, father, best friend - as Jax told Opie he planned on leaving SAMCRO) that in his grief, Opie did what he felt he needed to do in order to protect the last thing he had let in his life: his devotion to Jax.
Opie had devoted his life to the club and made so many sacrifices because of SAMCRO. I don't think it was weakness that drove him to do what he did. I don't think he committed suicide by entering a fight to death because he was a coward, and could no longer face life. I think he did what he felt needed to be done to protect Jax. Opie may have lost faith in SAMCRO but he still loves his friend. Although Opie feared Jax would change as the new president of SAMCRO, his loyalty to Jax remained. He deliberately went to prison to "stay close" to Jax. Once Opie realized that Jax was about to sacrifice himself as the guards entered the room in the episode, he made a decision. If he was going to die, he was going to die protecting the one solid truth that remained in his life: his friendship with Jax. I think Opie's smile to Jax right before he was killed is a good example towards my point.
Opie is one of my favorite characters on the show. I think Ryan Hurst plays the role wonderfully. I liked Opie because there was a sweetness to him. I think deep down he was a nice guy who was not really meant for "the life." All the other characters, including Jax, were born to be outlaws. But in my opinion Opie followed Jax into SAMCRO, which is why he became so upset when Jax revealed to him that he planned on leaving. Opie even stated, "I can't do this without you", or something to that effect last season.
I think Opie died a hero fighting to protect the last thing that remained pure in his life, which was his friendship to Jax. I read some comments posted about Opie needing to die because he was a coward, he was weak, he did not "man up", etc... so I just wanted to post this to see if I am the only one who disagrees with the notion of Opie as a coward, or if I am alone.