'Sons of Anarchy': Kim Coates talks 'Poenitentia'

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Image Credit: Prashant Gupta/FX

Spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched this week’s episode of Sons of Anarchy, “Poenitentia,” stop reading now. We talked to Kim Coates (Tig) and Billy Brown (August Marks) about key moments.

After hearing that Clay wouldn’t turn on the club (which meant he’d be headed to a certain death in Stockton), and suspecting Tig offed the missing Ghanezi brother instead of cutting him loose as instructed (which made Jax look weak in Barosky’s eyes), Jax made a new deal with August: August’s men would allow Clay a chance to live (so he can help Jax navigate the club’s messy divorce from the Irish if need be), and Jax would offer August the opportunity to be a silent partner in Cara Cara — and serve up Tig. Jax sent Tig to the Iranians’ old porn studio at the docks and told him to wait for a prospect to come with a van to move the equipment they were stealing to the gun warehouse. Jax gave August that address. The episode ended with August and his men quietly walking in and Tig saying, “Oh s—.”

According to a poll in our recap of the episode, most fans think Tig’s time is up: 33 percent think he’ll die in the next episode, and 33 percent think he’ll die the following week after August has made him suffer. Only 34 percent believe he’ll survive, somehow. Of course, Coates isn’t telling, but here’s what he will say about that surprise face-to-face: “I actually didn’t want to say anything. It was one of those moments where I didn’t want the ‘Oh, s—‘ to be funny. I didn’t want, ‘What the f—.’ I mean, I could have said a bunch of swear words that FX wouldn’t allow. But I almost didn’t want to say a damn thing. It’s like, that’s it. There’s no way I’m gonna get out of this. This is the beginning of the end for Tig, for sure.” Adds Brown, “Even though it doesn’t have a lot of screen time, there’s a lot of weight there. Kim and I discussed that with the history, and what a history it is: me being a part of Damon Pope’s burning of Tig’s daughter with kerosene, in a pit, by the train tracks, at night, with him watching chained up. I mean, it doesn’t get much more intense than that. So we talked with the director about finding the right tone to let the audience know what’s at stake here and what’s about to go down.” Even the table read was tense, Brown says. “It’s a tight room. Often times the AC is not enough to compensate all the testosterone and the heat coming off of all the male bodies. So it’s a very thick room from the start. You start adding in the writing. One scene after the next. The pages are being turned. And we get to that moment, and yeah, it was palpable. Of course. You can see the looks and the glances.”

And how about Jax lying to Tig’s face when he sent him to the studio? “This show, as you know, has turned into such mayhem, and it’s sad, and it’s full of lies,” Coates says. “Even in [creator Kurt] Sutter’s writing, he writes in between the lines: ‘He’s speaking the truth.’ Or, ‘This is the truth.’ So to find the truth interwoven in between all these frickin’ lies that we tell each other now, I mean, it’s hard. I’ve always thought that Tig is a pretty straight-up, straight-shootin’ guy. Even though he shoots first and asks questions later, which gets him in a lot of trouble, he’s a pretty honest guy. And I think Jax now running the club has to balance lies with the truth.” Was Jax’s ominous “I love you, brother” the truth at least? “We’ve seen the Godfather movies: they kiss you on both cheeks and then they put a bullet in your head. That’s probably true love, in a way,” Coates says.

Whether or not it’s Tig’s cut burning in the promo for next week’s episode, fans need to be prepared for the worst. “Here’s the thing: We’re all gonna die by the end of next season. Whether that’s the complete truth or some of us survive, I really believe that,” Coates says. “So how many they take out this year or next year — at the beginning, or at the middle, or at the end — you’re just gonna have to keep watching. That’s the thing about this show: You cannot stop watching. Once you’re in, you’re in.”

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