How will Clay come back from all his evil deeds last season? Just how bad is Damon Pope — the powerful man whose daughter was killed at the end of last season? And whose on the rebound?

Those questions and more were answered during Sons of Anarchy‘s panel at TCA this afternoon. Here’s what the cast — including new players Jimmy Smits and Harold Perrineau — and executive producer Kurt Sutter had to say.

CLAY: As the season starts, Clay (Ron Perlman) is in a whole new form — downright frail. “He’s the same guy but dealing with a totally different set of circumstances,” says Perlman. And considering his state, could this season the end of Clay? No one is safe, says Sutter. Well, except for Jax (Charlie Hunnam). “I will say this, my sense of where the show will end up includes Jax — and perhaps Gemma (Katey Sagal) and Clay” he says. “As we come into season 5, it’s really the first season I’ve had to have a very clear sense of what my endgame is. I realized that this season, I have to write to this endgame.”

DAMON POPE: After the death of his daughter at the hands of SAMCRO last season, new character Damon Pope (Perrineau) is on the war path — in an unexpected way. “To me, the character of Damon Pope was a guy who had come out of the streets and really changed the perception of who he was. I wanted a guy who had refinement and could show some vulnerability. I waned an actor who could play all those levels,” said Sutter.

TIG: Without spoiling anything, there are big, challenging things in store for Tig (Kim Coates) this season. Says Sutter: “For me, it’s part of the beauty of what we get to do. What can begin as a clever joke in season two — when he talks about his daughters Fawn and Dawn, which is just a weird, quirky thing — [can progress] to me thinking, ‘Maybe we should meet Fawn and Dawn.’ Coming into this season, I realized that Tig just killed someone’s daughter, so how do we retaliate against that?”

GEMMA — Holy hot sex, Batman! In the first episode, Gemma wastes no time getting to know new character Nero (Jimmy Smitts) on a very intimate level. But Sutter says seeing his wife get frisky on screen with Smits was just a function of storytelling for the great chemistry the two actors share. Meanwhile, Sagal says this season finds Gemma “falling apart” following the drama of last season. “I believe her hookup with Nero — she feels like a kindred spirit. They have a lot of chemistry,” she said.


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