Monday, June 11, 2007

The Sopranos conclusion (spoilers)

The non-climactic series conclusion was foreshadowed in the penultimate episode. Seven years of therapy were simply ended. There was no catharsis, and Tony didn’t grow as a person. Tony never grew as a person, so no stopping point was better or worse than any other stopping point, as Jennifer Melfi and David Chase both realized. Like the onion rings, the best in Joisey, Tony’s life is circular. Admit it, a week from now you’d have looked back on one of those dramatic endings – Tony or Meadow or Carmela gunned down, Tony arrested, etc etc – and it would have seemed cheap and false in a way that this non-ending won’t. Also, and for Chase this may have been more the point, such an ending would have allowed you to draw a line under the show and move on. Now, it’s stuck under your skin forever.

Oh sure, if you can’t live without moral closure, you can imagine that Tony was shot ten seconds after the screen went dark by one of those suspicious-looking characters in the restaurant – suspicious-looking characters in a New Jersey restaurant! what’re the odds? Or that the latest in a rather long line of rats will succeed in bringing Tony down where all the others have failed. But if you need to believe one of those things happened, it probably says more about you than it does about Tony Soprano, The Sopranos, or life.

However, if you’re looking for Tony to get his karmic comeuppance, think of him stuck in Satriale’s with only Paulie Walnuts and that cat for company.

Or imagine what his auto insurance premiums must be like, between Christopher’s driving (and that wasn’t the first of Tony’s SUVs we’ve seen totaled), A.J.’s leaf fire and Meadow’s total inability to parallel park. 86 episodes, and the height of dramatic tension in the final minutes was whether she’d ever fit her car into that spot.

If A.J. had hilariously high expectations about what joining the military would do for him, isn’t Meadow almost equally deluded about the noble work she’s going to do as a lawyer for the oppressed, at $130,000 (or was it $170,000?) a year? Her talk about Tony being oppressed by the FBI because he’s Italian shows that at long last she’s reached her mother’s exalted level of denial and self-deception.

By the way, I’ve been wondering this for years: the supposed rat they killed at the end of the first season, Jimmy Altieri, was he an actual rat or did he just get blamed for Big Pussy’s rat-fuckery?

I just realized something I should have picked up on much earlier: A.J. wanted to go to Afghanistan, and was preparing by learning Arabic. Oh yeah, that’s A.J. alright.

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