Sopranos. The end. (SPOILERS, surely)

31 Responses

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  • Danielle,

    Ack! I am trying very hard to resist the temptation to read finale wrap-ups until our, erm, 'friends in America' finish sending us the episode... but realistically, I'll probably give in at some point today. I have no willpower.

    Also: AJ's facial hair this season has been wonderfully horrendous.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Ha HAH! I know what happens!

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Well - the list of links to comment at TV t a t t l e certainly runs the gammut - from "Worst. Ending. Ever." to "I want to have David Chase's babies!"

    Starting with the bad:

    David Chase proves he's a TV hack with his "screw you" to "Sopranos" fans

    Angry "Sopranos" fans crash HBO Web site

    We waited 8 years for this!

    A big, raised middle finger: This was Chase's passive-aggressive shot at all of us

    What a &%#@! gyp!: "Sopranos" whacks its fans

    Left viewers screaming

    What the . . . ?: Finale was spectacularly disappointing

    What a cop-out!

    Ambiguity is fine, pointless manipulation is not

    Most exasperating ending

    Abrupt finale was almost like a prank, a mischievous dig at viewers

    And moving to the good:

    David Chase crafted the most perfect "Sopranos" ending

    Why wouldn't a show that's taken such pleasure in rewriting the rules of storytelling go out in the least conventional way possible?

    Genius ending: Set up every sign of mafia doom, without pulling the trigger

    Right ending: More violent, more disturbing, more unfair than a savage murder

    Imagine how David Chase feels: Ending a cultural phenomenon ain't easy

    Think of it as the "Sopranos'" final dark joke -- with a fitting ending
    Finale seemed dedicated to thwarting all the theories that had sprung up about it

    "Fill in the blank," Chase seemed to be saying, leaving the ending up to viewers

    David Chase WANTED us to be mad

    Perhaps the most original final scene ever

    That "power failure" may go down as the 2nd most-TiVoed moment in TV history

    Upon closer inspection, the final scene was brilliant

    Perfect: Unsentimental, underplayed

    No hugging, no moral lesson, no pat ending

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3205 posts Report Reply

  • Giles Reid,

    I can kind of get the frustration of some of those people, but I'm not sure what would have counted as a good ending for them. Everyone getting blown up or something?

    There were some really amazing moments in this episode I think. The "It's Alright Ma" bit was fantastic (who knew it was about mobsters?), the bit with Meadow talking about the state trampling Tony's rights (was that sarcasm or...), the FBI guy saying "we're gonna win this one", the glint in Tony's eyes as he got up from talking to Uncle Jun...

    Christchurch • Since May 2007 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Nobody Important,

    wow, this is crazy. I'm posting a comment without reading anything else (since I don't want to know how it ends!). Anyway, here's what HuffPo said:
    The line to cancel HBO starts here. What a ridiculously disappointing end lacking in creativity to The Sopranos saga. But if you're one of those who found it perversely interesting, then don't bother to read on. Even if David Chase, who wrote and directed the final episode, was demonstrating the existential and endless loop of Tony's life or the moments before the hit that causes his death, it still robbed the audience of visual closure.

    AAAARRRRRRRGGHHHHHHHH - I just read what happened while 'previewing'!! Am I the biggest dumbRs or what!!! (that's rhetorical, thankyou). This is my last post on PA, it has sucked my brain out - or at least fried it. I don't deserve to be here anymore. Bye Bye.

    </shoots self>

    expat • Since Mar 2007 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    Please don't go NI, but also, please don't read any further. CONTAINS SPOILERS

    I enjoyed it hugely. The comedy was especially generous in the midst of all the debris. I especially liked Pauly: "They can take 2007 and give it back to the Indians." It's the way he tells them. Tony's reaction to Meadow on the opressive State - "What, New Joisy?" was also splendid.

    I was impressed by this piece of anorak work today which suggests that you will find that all the answers lie in the characters in the restaurant.

    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. .... Apparently, he is the nephew of Phil. Phil's brother Nikki Senior was killed in 1976 in a car accident. ..... .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?).

    Enemies accumulate. Don't know if the the more apt expression for that last scene is "We have you surrounded" or "Tony Soprano, this was your life".

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Good work!

    Where did you get that from David, I'd like to send it to Berardinelli. who reviewed & liked the finale.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    And didn't those two black guys who tried to clip Tony get killed? Could all those menacing people be dead?

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    Urban legend in the making? I got it from bitsandpieces, but I've just started tracking it back. It appears to have started on the HBO boards, but might not be correct.

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Hell, I've already told him. Oh well, I don't think the Press Council have jurisdiction over me.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    From the HBO discussion boards, a couple of good interpretations of the final scene.

    1. Motive. Phil was dead, peace made with NY. No one that we know of was out to kill Tony.

    2. Opportunity. Other than AJs chick, no one that we know of knew they were going to that restaurant. So how was the hit set up there, especially by the man at the counter who was there when Tony came in?

    3. Motis operendi. Why would the killer sit there for 5 minutes drinking coffee then go to the head? I am not a killer but my understanding is that the prefered approach is do it as soon as you get an open shot.

    4. Actual evidence. There is none. There is your expectations, and there is a man that goes into the bathroom, and there is a cut-to-black as Meadow arrives at the diner. But no gun, no shot, no nothing.

    I think the "life-goes-on" theory is much more plausible.

    And on the other hand :

    It was NOT a "fade to black"! It was a "cut to black" - far more sudden and severe. Tony got whacked.

    I don't think David Chase had the heart to THAT to The Sopranos audience. Did you REALLY want to see THAT???

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng,

    I mean, what were we looking for? What were we anticipating? It was more than "killed or not killed", it was "redemption or judgement". It was about whether Tony did something that earned him the right to live, or whether he got what he more than deserved.

    And of course, the point of the AJ arc - and the title of the episode - was to draw the parallel with America: the sins, the violence, the mindless consumerism, the greed, the post-9/11 feelings of apocalyptic doom, the brief burst of patriotism, and finally, the reversion to the old hedonism, as if nothing happened.

    That was the ending. There is no redemption, there is no judgement. Despite all the life-changing, nothing-will-ever-be-the-same-again events, everything was exactly the same. Tony has been to Hell (well, purgatory) and back, he'd had 7 years or therapy, and he's the same man we started with.

    But saying that there's no judgement, he's still living in constant fear, seeing dangers all around him (that was what I thought the last scene was all about). And saying that there's no redemption, there's still the family man in there - he might not be redeemed, but there is redemption within him.

    And isn't that beautiful?

    (I actually found it really satisfying.)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 543 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    Some of the interesting theories in favour of death I've seen note that:

    1/ Huge amounts of the series have homage to the classics of Mafia films; the shifty guy who goes to the toilet is emulating Michael Corleone's first kill.

    2/ Tony's outfit and surroundings chop and change. Ghost? Dream?

    3/ There were foreshading conversations with characters earlier in the series along the lines of "you never hear the one that gets you" - hence the abrupt end.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    The Reuters article on Stuff carried this entertaining bit:

    The finale, aptly titled "Made In America," will likely go down as one of the most memorably offbeat in TV history, alongside the trial of "Seinfeld" and the conclusion of Bob Newhart's second sitcom, in which he awoke from a dream in bed with the wife from his first sitcom.

    How hilarious does the final of Newhart sound? Wikipedia tells me it was named "most unexpected moment in TV history" by TV Guide in 2005. Who thinks this tops it? Or is Keith wrong, and he's just dead?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3205 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    I like Keith's version. Partly because I suspect two of the people in the restaurant have already been killed (but I might be wrong :).

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng,

    1/ Huge amounts of the series have homage to the classics of Mafia films; the shifty guy who goes to the toilet is emulating Michael Corleone's first kill.

    2/ Tony's outfit and surroundings chop and change. Ghost? Dream?

    3/ There were foreshading conversations with characters earlier in the series along the lines of "you never hear the one that gets you" - hence the abrupt end.

    1 and 2 seem a bit inconsistent. (And did his outfit actually change?) If he's already dead, why would people try to kill him? 3 makes sense, though...

    Still, I don't think we need to obsess over whether he actually died or not (as interesting a past-time as it is), and I think Paulie's sage advice is instuctive in this regard: "In the midst of death, we are in life. Or was it the other way around? Either way, you're halfway up the ass."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 543 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    1 and 2 seem a bit inconsistent. (And did his outfit actually change?) If he's already dead, why would people try to kill him? 3 makes sense, though...

    Well, I guess in that interpretation you're seeing Tony looking back at his last moments, then it goes black as he dies - rather than "it's all just a dream", "it's his life flashing before his eyes."

    Another explanation for that is that it's another dream sequence (roll on the Sopranos movie for the resolution), or that it's symbolising one of Tony's fundamental problems thoughout the series: is a mob man ultimately alone, a sociopath who's disconnected from the rest of us, or is he a family man?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    One suggestion that I haven't seen advanced: our window to Tony's life is essentially through the proxy of Melfi, an outsider treating him. The series starts with the events leading to him seeking therapy. By the end, she's deciding not to treat him. The blackout is the abrupt closing of that window.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng,

    Or maybe the people coming in are just easter eggs for the diehard fans?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 543 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    Rogerd's Melfi theory is interesting but I think everyone is overthinking it. Tony got whacked without warning, he didn't know it was coming, because one never does. Having the (possible) hitman wait 5 minutes before going to the bathroom is straight out of the Godfather, so clearly creator David Chase was having some fun with his final episode. And he can have his cake and eat it too if offered mega-dollars for a movie franchise ie "who said Tony got whacked? did you __see__Tony get whacked?"
    If they make a movie it will be like Bobby Ewing stepping out of the shower in 'Dallas'. Which is where Newhart got his idea from, surely.

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    "who said Tony got whacked? did you seeTony get whacked?"

    Most Yanks will never have heard of the "Blake's 7" ending.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Most Yanks will never have heard of the "Blake's 7" ending.

    Some have

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    BTW if it matters, Heather Havrilesky at Salon.com thinks he lived.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Parry,

    I must be about the only one, but it seems to have been crafted so that they can do this if they want....

    "Coming this fall 2010, to a theatre near you, for the first time on the big Screen, Tony Soprano. All the answers you thought to ask, and some you didn't."

    Since Jun 2007 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    Creator David Chase is adamant that this is the end. There will be no more Sopranos, in any form.
    But money talks, and people sometimes need money they didn't need back when they first said 'never'. It's a key revenue stream for Playboy.
    OTOH does anyone really care about a Sex & The City movie anymore? Seriously, they'll all be the grand old dames of NY by now. By the time a Soprano's movie comes out it could just be another Rocky Balboa.
    (I'm too lazy to link, just go to imdb.com)

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

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