These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
YMMV: Sons of Anarchy
Alas, Poor Villain: Clay's death is oddly moving and saddening even though most fans agree that he was on the show about two seasons longer than he needed to be.
Margaret Murphy (Tara's Boss) being a biker chick in her younger years. That kinda came out of nowhere.
Romeo and Luis being CIA and completely negating the Potter investigation in season 4. Also the Irish suddenly refusing to work with anybody but Clay.
An innocent bystander being randomly killed who coincidentally has such a ruthless and powerful immediate relative that the situation becomes a real threat to the survival of the Sons as a whole. Pulled off not just once, but twice (with Pope's daughter and Toric's sister).
Although Veronica Pope was a certainly a case of wrong place, wrong time and "collateral damage", she wasn't really a random bystander but the girlfriend of the intended victim. It's likely her boyfriend, Laroy, met her via his dealings with her father – or, to take a more cynical view, he may even have started a relationship with her to strengthen his ties to Damon Pope and make them more personal.
Award Snub: Katey Sagal did win a Golden Globe in 2011, though.
Badass Decay: Toric is introduced as a vengeful Genius Bruiser with military training, police contacts and an Ivy League degree. In the next season, it's revealed that he's a paunchy, strung-out junkie who makes a few major mistakes that ultimately cost him his life.
Broken Base: The Season 6 finale. Was it the most traumatic and devastating Wham Episode in the entire series that left you weeping for several minutes, or was it an absolutely frustrating finale that resulted in the death of two characters all because everyone seemed to be playing with the Idiot Ball?
James "Jimmy O" O'Phelan, season 3's Big Bad (he also appears near the end of season 2), is a member of the True IRA, a Northern Irish terrorist organization and criminal syndicate mainly involved in gun running. O'Phelan previously ran current SAMCRO member Chibs out of the IRA and stole Chibs's wife and daughter (Fiona and Kerianne), years later threatening to dump Fiona and marry Kerianne next to Chibs's face. He goes rogue in the third season after receiving a demotion back in Ireland. He tries to kill all of SAMCRO and SAMBEL in an explosion, and after his family escapes his wrath he kills an IRA member in a failed attempt to get them back before torturing and executing another one to find Jax Teller's kidnapped baby son Abel. He murders the adoptive family Abel was placed with and takes the child to ensure his escape to the States, before exchanging him for another hostage whom he later kills. Aside from his bodycount, O'Phelan stands out among the show's many gangsters in that he has no real loved onesnote He tells Chibs to "take care of our girls," but he may just be trying to taunt Chibs and rob him of the pleasure of killing him., shows no remorse for any of his crimes, and only ever displays purely selfish motives.
Season 6's "Sweet and Vaded" bring us Venus's Evil MatriarchAlice Noone. It's revealed that when Venus, as Vincent, was ten and confused she was part of having Venus constantly drugged and raped, and from there it grew into a lucrative child porn ring. Alice later kidnaps Venus's son, drugs him, and is going to have him raped. When SAMCRO track him down to the studio they are sickened by portraits of the children that Alice had taken to be raped, the videos on the computers and a video camera aimed at a crib. When Alice arrives, she threatens that Venus is a freak and Venus's son is going to kill himself over it, until Jax blows her brains all over the wall. Venus is left a wreck over the emotional torture, and the Dirty Cop says he would have killed Alice if Jax hadn't.
Chibs also counts; originally just a background character who might get one or two lines, he came to the forefront in season two and was given a major storyline.
He also gets a lot of respect for being the Only Sane Man who won't go flying off the handle and is not emotionally unstable (unlike several other club members).
Beyond his Kavorka Man status onscreen, Tig seems to be emerging as a lust object for a lot of female viewers.
Case in point - a photo was recently posted of Kim Coates (Tig's actor) sitting on a chair. The comments went a little something like this:
Commenter 1: I want to sit on his knee!
Commenter 2: No, I want to sit on his knee!
Commenter 3: Ladies... He has two knees.
Commenters 1/2: Oh, yes he does!
Two fingered compulsive masturbator Chuck Marstein reaches darkhorse status by the end of season three.
Opie. Not even billed in the opening credits at first. Eventually became an integral cog in the story arc.
Genius Bonus: The title of the episode "Capybara" counts as a mild one, since it's completely nonsensical unless you know that a capybara is an abnormally large species of rodent. The episode was about Opie being wrongly framed for acting as a ATF informant (i.e. being a "big rat"), though the title could also be seen as an allusion to Opie's innocence (a capybara looks like similar to a rat, but is a completely different species).
Jax sleeping with porn star Ima as a way to push Tara away may have made his character irredeemable to many fans. Ironic given that the entire world of SAMCRO is a study in ambiguous morality and viewers' ability to consider members of an Outlaw Motorcycle Club as anti-heroes.
AJ Weston and Ethan Zobelle when they rape and beat Gemma.
In Season 1, Gemma goes to Jax's ex-wife, recovering from an overdose in the hospital, and slips her heroin in a bible. Then she outright tells her she's human garbage and should just end it already. Another episode has Gemma holding a baby at gunpoint and threatening to "cut this baby in half" to force a nun to tell her and Jax Abel's whereabouts.
In the penultimate episode of Season 3, Stahl beats out everyone on this by murdering her lover and fellow ATF agent in cold blood and pinning the safehouse debacle on her. And then she does it again by revealing that Jax cut a deal to the club, just to mess with SAMCRO. Of course, they were in on it the entire time. It could even be argued that she crossed it in Season 1 by setting up Opie to look like a rat, knowing full well the danger it would put him in. Of course, it wasn't her fault that Opie and Donna switched vehicles.
Clay has finally crossed it by killing Piney to keep the letters a secret and may have crossed it even further by paying the cartel to kill Tara because she's read the letters. Take it another step further with Clay beating the hell out of Gemma.
Pope leaps over in his first appearance, by forcing Tig to watch as his daughter is burned alive in front of him.
Jackson Teller crossed the line by forcibly injecting heroin into his ex-wife, a recovering addict, in retaliation for her threatening to sue for custody of their son Abel.
And Gemma bashes Tara and threatens she'll be fist raped in prison for aiding Otto in his murder if she tries to leave Charming or not hand over custody of her children. She's there when the police arrest her for handing over the crucifix on the pretense of premeditation, indicating she set Tara up anyway.
Tara, of all people, crosses it when she bangs her abdomen on the corner of a desk and fools nearly everyone into believing that Gemma kicked her in the stomach and made her have a miscarriage, even though she was never pregnant to begin with. Of course, considering all the hell's she been put through, many fans agree with Tara's decision.
Narm: Some viewers reject Tig's understated reaction to his daughter getting burnt alive.
One-Scene Wonder: In the third season, Stephen King utterly steals two scenes of one episode with his sudden inexplicable appearance. It's amazing since he barely has any lines.
Padding: Many think that season 6, with every episode being 90 minutes, is filled to the brim with this.
A lesser example would be Bobby's storyline at the beginning of season 6. Season 5 ends with him cutting off his VP patch seemingly in disdain of Jax framing Clay after Bobby had gone to great lengths to make sure Jax didn't cross the line to kill him. Season 5 starts off with Bobby seemingly trying to set up another chapter to get back to the roots of what the club should be about. Then all of a sudden a few episodes in it turns out that Bobby was actually trying to recruit new members for Jax. Why he had to stop being VP and distance himself from the club to achieve this is never explained.
Tig's apparent attraction to both the dead and to livestock.
Jax and Tara getting it on about 5 feet from Agent Cohn's gently cooling body.
For those of you who enjoy chili, donot highlight this spoiler: Chuck hides a severed head inside a pot of chili so the cops won't find it, and then later serves some of the same chili to two police officers.
Otto biting off his tongue in the Season 5 finale, and then flicking it at a window.
Tara's death, which features a Gross-Up Close-Up of her getting stabbed in the back of the head with a carving fork.
Trapped by Mountain Lions: Gemma (and, to a lesser extent, Tara) in Season 3. After being framed for a murder in Season 2, Gemma (oblivious to the fact that her grandson was abducted) is on the run at some hideout while Tig watches after her. Gemma breaks loose and visits her dad who's suffering from dementia. While Tig is screwing his caretaker, he gets shot in the back by Gem's father. Gemma calls Tara who stitches him up. The caretaker gets wind of Gemma being wanted and tries to alarm the police. Gemma locks her away. Gemma's father runs off, and Gemma is looking for him. Tara accidentally frees the caretaker, Gemma comes back home and accidentally kills her. They call a cleaner. Gemma brings her father to a nursing home, has a breakdown and decides to turn herself in. As she gets back to Charming, she gets a call from Maureen that Abel is in Belfast. She falls unconscious and awakens in a hospital, tied to the bed. With the help from Tara, she escapes and joins the Sons on their way to Ireland. And that was only the first half of the season...
The shows depiction of Irish people has caught a lot of grief. Especially from Irish fans. Aside from badly inaccurate accents and slang, the fact they saw fit to cast Fake Irish actors to play such stereotypes and then actually went to film on location in Belfast doesn't help. Some Irish viewers actually stopped watching due to the story arc.
With the season 6 finale where Gemma brutally murders Tara under the mistaken assumption that Tara sold Jax out to the DA, writer Kurt Sutter went on record to emphasize that it wasn't Gemma's fault because nobody told her what was really going on. In essence, Gemma violently killing her son's wife, and the fact she was summarily absolved of the crime by the creator of the show, sort of leads credence to the notion that Gemma is a Creator's Pet.
Villain Decay: A rare antihero example. In the early seasons, the Sons are little more than a brutal criminal organization, and Jax is conflicted about the club is corrupting his soul. As the seasons progress and Jax gains more control over the club, the Sons becomes more noble. By season six, the Sons are doing favors for a battered transexual and calling her "darlin'."
In the Season 6 finale, Unser clearly doesn't want Gemma to drive anywhere because she's high, drunk, and overall, unstable. So why did he carelessly leave the keys to his truck right there on a counter where Gemma can see them?
And then there's Roosevelt from the very same episode. Even if he did see Unser's truck in Tara's driveway and thought it was him, why didn't he, at the very least, check Tara's house in advance to make sure the coast was clear, and then let her go inside?
Tig becomes this in season 5. No matter how you felt about him before, if you didn't feel heartbroken for him during the scene where he was forced to watch his daughter die, you're not human.
Juice, as of Season 5.
Tara. Just look at her life: Her mother died when she was nine years old, and her dad was a worthless drunk. She goes to medical school and becomes a gifted surgeon, and gets the hell out of Charming, only to return because of her abusive, stalker boyfriend. Said boyfriend follows her back to Charming under the guise of investigating SAMCRO, but he's really after her. He breaks into her house, she shoots him, and she calls Jax in to finish him off. They wind up getting back together, but her in-laws stop at nothing to make her life a living hell. Then she stumbles upon a long-lost family secret, which leads to Clay hiring hitmen to shut her up. She survives, but her hand is crushed and her career is ruined. Then she unwittingly becomes an accessory to murder, which leads to her becoming the target of the district attorney and a sociopathic former US Marshal. Just when her husband announces his plan to give himself up so she can raise their sons in relative peace, she is murdered by her mother-in-law in an extremely cruel and brutal way, and all because Gemma was too messed up to make a phone call! Who WOULDN'T feel sorry for her?
Otto. The guy literally lost everything for his club.