Monday, June 11, 2007

Sopranos Finale

So, what'd ya think about the final episode of HBO's Sopranos--or, more specifically, what did you think of the final four minutes?

It was exhilirating to me. I guess each of us had our own idea as to how the series would end. . .I have to say that I didn't expect the "cut to black" ending that really resolved nothing. But was that so bad?

The tension leading up to the final scene in the family diner was palpable. I looked at the clock and saw there were only a few minutes to go. . .time for one final scene. . .how would the show go out? The longer the scene went on, I was sure that one of the shadowy customers in the diner would whack Tony, Carmella and AJ, and that Meadow's difficulty in parallel parking her car would cause the delay that would spare her life. You knew it was coming. Just knew it. Then. . .darkness. Guess I was wrong. Guess we all were.

Actually, the ending was perfect. Lots of folks felt cheated and ripped off, that they put several years into watching the show and deserved a big payoff. But anyone familiar with series creator David Chase's style knows that he rarely delivery what you think he should.

The series ended with so many storylines unresolved. So. . .un-Hollywoodish. As if that should be surprizing from a show that featured Tony talking to a fish. . .

Phil got whacked, and his head being crushed by his wife's SUV as he lay dead on the ground was actually the comedic highpoint of the evening (who even did this hit? Tony's guys or Phil's? And did Tony even know what went down by the end of the episode?).

AJ's depression seemed to evaporate as soon as he got another girlfriend. Maybe the exhiliration of being so close to sex and death at the same time when his Xterra burst into flames brought him around. . . who knows? But by the end of the episode, AJ--who earlier railed against consumerism, the wasting of our lives watching stupid TV shows, and the value a life spent fighting terrorism as a soldier (a career path that would lead to working for the CIA, or Donald Trump's personal helicopter pilot!) --instead found comfort in a new BMW, watching television on the couch, and having daddy setting him up with a job in the movie industry, as a prelude to daddy fronting him the money to open a nightclub.

In the end, nothing was resolved. Life goes on for the Sopranos. Tony still needs to take care of business, Junior continues to waste away into senility, Carmella is moving ahead on renovating a small house, Meadow continues to pursue her law career, and AJ, poor AJ, will probably, after starting his own nightclub (just as club owner Silvio did with the Bing), follow his father into the business.

Chase let us build up our own expectations, then tossed em in the trash.

Ultimately, what we got was just another day in the life of the Sopranos.

Or, did they all end up dying in a hail of gunfire just after the screen went black?

We'll never know.

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