Yes, I watched the Sopranos finale last night. Seeing how I own all the box sets except for the Season 6 Part 1 (and a big thanks to Fineous who got me started on collecting them by giving me Season 1 lo those many years ago. EVERY one was worth EVERY penny), and I actually pissed of a co-worker at Target to arrange to have the evening off, I figured I had to. And since I woke up today I have heard a LOT of people complaining about the ending...
Phil Leotardo's death? Possibly the greatest death on the entire show. Not because of his getting shot in the head right in front of his daughter and baby grandkids. That was kinda mean, even if the sumnabitch deserved a gruesome death for all the crap he had been pulling and the incredibly egotistic power play he was on. But because of what happened after he was whacked, with the SUV. I may have spoiled the fact that he bites it (hard), but you really need to see the actual death for yourself. But other than that, the show was pretty even keeled. And also, it was fraggin' brilliant. A lot of things were tied up, and a lot weren't. Will Sil ever recover? Does Tony get indicted? Does it matter, what with the end scene (more in a second)? Will Paulie and the cat ever come to some kind of an understanding? We might never know.
Do I think that David Chase was just setting us up for the possibility of future episodes or a movie (or movies) down the line? Not really. He isn't much for them, having had a not-so-good experience with the Rockford Files reunion movie under his belt. Plus, James Gandolfini has said that the character is not one he is looking forward to getting back into, since it is such a dark and draining character to portray. I can buy that. Hell, I get exhausted watching him sometimes. So, with that said, the end scene...
Tony is at the diner that was the choice of the family for dinner. A greasy spoon type (if you are local, think Bel Loc), with supposedly the best onion rings in town. And I am willing to bet that Tony knows a thing or two about local establishments and the quality of their onion rings. Anyway, Tony is sitting there waiting for the family to arrive. He scans the jukebox and finally decides on Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" (one other thing about this show. The entire run made some fabulous music choices. This was no different). Tony keeps looking up and around. Carmella walks in. Tony gives her a menu. The song keeps playing. Tony keeps looking around. He is tracking a couple of people (the guy in the Member's Only jacket was my favorite). Are they there to whack him? Are they just random people? Are they possibly FBI? Don't forget, Carlo (I think it was Carlo) turned state witness and Tony was told he had an 80-90% chance of being indicted. A.J. walks in. A couple more people of interest to Tony come in. We see Meadow trying in vain to parallel park. We see from her front bumper that this isn't the first time that she has had problems with this. Tony scans the restaurant. The Member's Only guy looks nervous. He gets up and walks towards them. Meadow still can't park. Member's Only walks past to the bathroom. It seems apparent that Tony is unarmed, but we don't know for sure. Tony looks at the guys at the pastry counter again. The song keeps playing. We hear the bells/chimes that are on the door ring. Tony looks up...
Music stops. Credits roll. And a nation of fans sit and stare. Many start to complain. WHAT HAPPENED?!? they cry plaintively. Was it Meadow (who had FINALLY gotten the car parked and had been crossing the street)? Was it someone there to take Tony out? Was it the FBI there to arrest him? Who knows?
After it had sunk in, while I was taking the recyclables out for today's pick up, it hit me. It was the Lady or the Tiger. You remember that story, right? If not, check this out. What was it that came through that door that Tony saw? Death, or life? His end, or (in the guise of his engaged daughter and the promise of family and grandchildren) the continuation of his life? We don't know. It is whatever we want it to be. And THAT is the beauty of the show. Life does not have any neatly wrapped up endings. Every ending in our lives is the beginning of something else. So to with the end of this show. The Sopranos is no more. The characters are. Or are they? WE get to decide what makes sense to us, and we can debate ad infinitum, because no matter what decision we make, it is the correct one. I know what I think. And no, I am not going to tell you, at least not just yet. Make your own decision and let me know what YOU think. That is why I have a comments section.
And a final quick note to the soon-to-be-Daddy Fineous... if college counted, than a lot of things would be different. And not just by SNIPping. But let me know what you need, and I will see what I can do.
The Lady or the BSR