Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Arrivederci Tony

So the final episode of the Sopranos has come and gone, and the virtual watercooler has been buzzing non-stop. First, the theories. I've heard three popular theories about the meaning of the final scene.

1) Life goes on for Tony, but what a life! The building tension of this scene tells us how Tony lives his existence and how he will continue to do so until he ends up either whacked or in jail, that is, constantly on the lookout for enemies, even during something as mundane as a family dinner outing.

2) The sudden ending of the scene represents Tony getting whacked, probably by the guy who just headed to the bathroom, as a bit of a Godfather homage.

3) The sudden ending of the scene means that we, the audience, have been whacked.

I like the first theory a lot. It fits. Tony's existence has been alternatively glamorized and made to repulse us. In the end, Tony doesn't change, and therefore nothing in his life does, hence the final song lyrics "Don't stop--" as in, perhaps, don't stop looking over your shoulder, even when spending quality time with your "real" family.

The second theory just doesn't make any sense. There's no reason to assume that anyone has it in for Tony right now. It's politically expedient based on the episode for New York to keep Tony right where he is, and he has a good relationship with the Feds too. In fact, other than the fact that the core of his casa nostra family has been decimated, Tony has emerged pretty much on top, with his position as Capo di Tutti Capi secure, his daughter looking at a bright future as a sleazy lawyer and his whiny bratty son finding his perfect niche as a future whiny bratty movie producer (anyone notice the irony of Tony pushing his son into the Hollywood life that Christopher longed for but Tony would never let him have?)

The third theory is just stupid. We've been whacked? This show has never broken the fourth wall in any way before, why start now?

All in all, I think the finale was satisfying not in spite of the abrupt ending, but because of it. The bottom line is nearly all series finales are unsatisfying if the series was of high quality, because no matter how you slice it, it's over. Might as well cut it off in the middle to show that nothing ever really ends. In fact

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