Monday, June 11, 2007

Sopranos cut to black

Sopranos2Last night, after eight years, 86 episodes and 18 Emmy awards, The Sopranos finished its run on HBO, not with a bang, but with a whimper.  At first I felt disappointed with the ending.  Well actually, for the first few seconds, I thought my satellite went out..then I realized that the show was over.  The more I thought about it the more I was OK with it.  Who knows, I might even get to like the way it ended in time.

Did Tony get whacked?   There seems to be quite a difference of opinion among Sopranos fans and critics. 

Comments I’ve read: 

I loved it. I was really upset at first, thinking "how dare they do that to me..." but after a few chuckles and "what the hell was that" minutes, I realized it was so appropriate for Chase to make me guess what happened.
He strung us along like a girlfriend we knew never intended to stay, but all along said what we wanted to hear. You deserve what you got, mister! Next time you won't be so foolish to fall in love with a gangster.
What a terrific show it was.

I thought it was an excellent ending - if you were expecting it to be wrapped up into a nice neat package, then you are watching the wrong show.

I figured it out! It hit me a memory of a small clip that was shown twice in the last episodes that explains the whole thing about the ending.
Look, remember, in the boat scene with Tony & Bobby...they're talking about how "you don't hear it when it comes" (talking about how when you're whacked you don't hear it're just dead). They flashbacked again to
that same scene I think in last week's episode.
Now, look at the last scene.
Here's why the parking the car thing was important. It held Meadow up. It delayed her just enough so that she would be out of the way of the hit on Tony. Look at the seat placements in the booth. Had she gotten there on
time, she'd have sat down by Tony, and had been in the way of any shot on Tony. Having trouble parking the car MADE HER LATE!
She was coming in the door, and as he looks up to see her, I guarantee you one of those guys hit Tony. Probably the guy that went in the bathroom, because then he could turn around, and have clear line of site and direct shot at Tony without clippin' the family members, because as Tony said "they don't touch family".
And guess what...WE DIDN'T SEE IT OR HEAR IT COMING!...neither did
Tony...instant black screen just as instant as a bullet to the head.

I'm glad Phil got what was coming to him and relieved that Tony didn't - I'm positive he didn't get shot, Chase was playing with us in the last scene, showing us what it's like to be worrying about every person coming in to the Diner, and building tension with Meadow's dodgy parking, making us think she was going to miss something big happening.

Well, Chase and Co. certainly showed us that if nothing else, they cared enough to send the very best -- and save it for the ending.
That's not to say these last episodes were immediately gratifying, because that often happens when you take chances.  Even tonight's episode, I suspect, will start to develop little imperfections tomorrow morning.  And the choices made in the leadup -- killing Christopher, taking out Bobby and Silvio, even some of the smaller decisions will likely be questioned for years to come, like the decision to write Melfi out in the second-to-last episode. In fact, the figure of Melfi, who dates back to the very start of "The Sopranos," has been handled oddly over the years. Her relationship with Tony seemingly stalled after the fireworks of early seasons, where she ran for her life and then survived a brutal rape that Tony avenged (though unbeknownst to him, as a reader noted). Was writing her out, on a quickie plot line, the right move? That itself will be analyzed for years to come.
On the other hand, there will be more to appreciate, I suspect, once we get some distance from "The Sopranos" and can watch it over and over on DVD.  Here's one I caught: the rich irony of the fact that, after several seasons of looking like clueless idiots, the feds finally got some things exactly right? Some fans many argue with the decision to have the FBI/Homeland Security guy tip off Tony to Phil's diabolical scheme to have the Jersey mob "decapitated" ... but I liked it. Having an employee of Michael "Katrina" Chertoff be not only in possession of excellent intel but knowing what to do with it, serves as a fine reminder that "The Sopranos," after all, is fiction.

I'm wondering now if The Sopranos will return - my guess would be that it would not as that is almost too conventional these days, either way I salute David Chase et and wonder if a better television drama will be broadcast in my lifetime.

WOW!!!! AMAZING!!! OK, at first I was really angry. I mean really, really angry. I can't believe though that no-one has posted by now what happened. The only thing I saw that was right, was that in the last scene we are seeing through Tony's eyes. Remember when he was speaking with Bobby...basically saying that you don't see it happening? So here is what I found out. The guy at the bar is also credited as Nikki Leotardo. The same actor played him in the first part of season 6 during a brief sit down concerning the future of Vito. That wasn't that long ago. Apparently, he is the nephew of Phil. Phil's brother Nikki Senior was killed in 1976 in a car accident. Absolutely Genius!!!! David Chase is truly rewarding the true fans who pay attention to detail. So the point would have been that life continues and we may never know the end of the Sopranos. But if you pay attention to the history, you will find that all the answers lie in the characters in the restaurant. The trucker was the brother of the guy who was robbed by Christopher in Season 2. Remember the DVD players? The trucker had to identify the body. The boy scouts were in the train store and the black guys at the end were the ones who tried to kill Tony and only clipped him in the ear (was that season 2 or 3?). Absolutely incredible!!!! There were three people in the restaurant who had reason to kill Tony and then it just ends. This was Chase's way of proving that he will not escape his past. It will not go on forever despite that he would like it to "don't stop". Not the fans!!! Tony would like it to keep going but just as we have to say goodbye, so does he. No more Tony and I guess we are supposed to be happy that Meadow didn't get clipped as well (she would have been between the shooter and Tony) since she is the only one worth a crap in that family. Thank you David Chase for making it so obscure that I feel
bad for hating you at first. Absolutely amazing!!!

And maybe Tony did die. This morning some are even suggesting that the quick cut to black that ended the final episode of The Sopranos and the lack of music over the final credits were Chase's way of telling us that Tony is dead. Over the years, there have been several discussions about the quickness of death. Earlier this year, Tony told Bobby that you probably don't even feel anything, that it comes quickly. Was that final cut to black, mid-chorus of "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey, Chase's way of telling us that the smarmy guy who looked like he might be a hitman had just shot Tony?

First I thought my satellite feed went out. Then, finally, the credits came up and it was kind of a let-down, until I read themoodyblue's reminder. Now I think they done good. No one wanted to see Tony get whacked anyway.
But I'm still confused. (Yes, I did watch the whole season, and all the preceding ones!) Was the FBI behind Tony's and Phil's shootings?

I just hope when I get near the ending of next Harry Potter book J.K. Rowlings doesn't end it with a blank page while Harry and his friends are hanging out in Hogswarts.

 Update:   Much more discussion here.


Anonymous said...

A non-ending isn't clever, it's lazy. End of discussion.

Anonymous said...

Wrong answer, more discussion...

Obsessing year after year over a third-rate, Al Pacino wantabe is lazy. People that care about this drivel also support idol and survivor shows. They are known as sheep, living their dull lives vicariously through tv. How pathetic.