Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sopranos, etc...

I'm late to the game, but I had to fly to Toronto late Sunday night for business and my hotel didn't have HBO (damn Canadians). I DVR'd the episode, and stayed away from newspapers and any internet sites that might mention the show. I tried to read the sports section at breakfast, but had to put it down because the headline read, "Spurs or Sopranos: What Did Viewers Watch?"

On to the episode (if you're one of the three people who haven't seen the episode, stop reading).

First off, this season was a godsend after the last one. Every episode had a purpose, the narrative kept flowing, and there was a minimum of pointless subplots that went nowhere (pooping in the shower notwithstanding).

Like most Sopranos fans, I went through a dozen different scenarios trying to guess how the show would end. Needless to say if this was an NCAA pool, I would have finished dead last. But so would everybody else.

Let's concentrate on the final scene.

Aside from the controversy, this had to be one of the most tension-filled scenes I've ever watched. And I've watched a lot of TV. Every time the diner door opened, I was twitching. Now what does the ending mean? A lot of theories have been thrown about, and David Chase himself has refused to comment on specifics.

A popular theory is that Tony was killed. Recalling his conversation with Bobby Bacala, about how when death arrives "You never see it coming," the show cutting to black might have been Tony's death (at the hands of one of the 284 potential suspects in the diner). Because the show is predominently from Tony's POV, if our world went to black, so did his.

My opinion? I think this scene was meant to recall the final scene of season 1, when the Soprano family dines at Vesuvio during the thunderstorm. AJ even makes mention of Tony's comment about cherishing the good times. While Tony might have meant this seven years ago, he can barely remember it now, and dismisses it. Rather than dining among friends in a classy restaurant, the Sopranos have been relegated to a dingy diner, alone. Rather than arriving as a family, they all arrive separately. The family has been split apart.

Carmela and Tony's marriage has suffered breach after breach, and the intimacy is all but gone. They are parents now, more than husband and wife, not to mention business partners due to Carmela's spec house.

A.J. is no further along than he was years ago, stuck in a permanent cycle of laziness disguised as misery. He has accepted a job working as a D-Boy (recalling the Jon Favreau D-Girl episode) for Little Carmine, which is one step away from working for the mob. Even if, as Tony claims, Carmine is "branching out" from porn. A.J. is closer than ever to following in Tony's footsteps, as evidenced by his thrill at watching the SUV explode. One thing this season has done exceptionally well is show that, like his father before him, despite his vocal disapproval, A.J. is innately drawn to violence. And as worthless as AJ is, we've been led to believe Tony was very similar as a youth (except for the desire to learn Arabic).

Meadow still bounces from relationship to relationship, but like all women from the Soprano bloodline (Livia, Janice), she is about to embark on a life (in the legal system) that will put her at odds with Tony. And, like Carmela, the prospect of money has corrupted Meadow's values, as she is content to leave pro bono work for a prestigious firm. Meadow has truly become her parents' daughter.

Give him this, David Chase has mighty big stugots for ending the show the way he did. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to find a way to pry "Don't Stop Believin" from my head.

2 Comments:

Blogger Duane Swierczynski said...

"Don't Stop Believin'" is awesome.

11:20 AM  
Blogger Amie Stuart said...

if our world went to black, so did his.

Dangit I never thought of that. But I love your commentary on that final episode. I couldn't decide if someone was going to kill Tony, kill the whole family, or if it was just a nice, low-key wrap up so I can also definitely see why everyone's ticked off. =)

12:26 PM  

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