Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sopranos Rewind: Made in America

Don't stop... until you go over to NJ.com to read my very spoiler-y thoughts on "The Sopranos" series finale. And, no, your cable was not malfunctioning at 10:01.

138 comments:

Mary said...

I loved the dread-soaked ending, but most people at Television Without Pity are calling for Chase's head.

Anonymous said...

I think the people who like to think that they are above the fans who want gore and gunshots are going to love the finale. But I think they are only saying that because they think they are above those fans. If that ending is how you reward eight years of viewership, then it is simply not worth the hype. You can't take all the benefits of your show being a cultural phenom and then pat yourself on the back for an ending like that. I didn't want gore; I didn't want gun shorts. But I didn't want to be saying, "That's it?" either.

Ted F. said...

I think Alan was absolutely right about the crowd outside the Bing in last week's episode being stand-ins for the audience demanding gore and gunshots; and that implicit criticism telegraphs this week's ending, which permits the series to maintain a symmetry. I'm okay with the ending, but I can certainly see how so many people are calling for Chase's head.

Paul Chalmers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ted F. said...

But I thought for sure that Scientific-Atlanta had screwed me over by cutting my episode short.

Abbie said...

I thought it was a beautiful, perfect, daring ending, and I think I'm proved right by the amount of people currently screaming about it on internet forums. But what do you expect? It would have been lame any other way.

And I loved how he was obviously flirting with different music throughout the episode, winking at us, and then ending it like that without a sound. Excellent.

I actually cried at the ending, and I don't do that.

Walker said...

When you're in love with something you don't want it to end. Was it the lady or the tiger who walked through the door? Was it integrity or the pending movie deal?

I forgive the ending because it drives home what the show was always about. His family on one side and the uncertainty of his livelyhood on the other.

Anonymous said...

You called it. It was a non-ending. I think that would be great if the motive was other than to screw with the audience. But as you say, he likes to screw with the audience, and this non-ending did that, and its only purpose is to do that. I don't think that is a good enough reason.

JZ said...

I think anytime a *series* ends with me shouting out, "What the (eff)?" and not in a good way is, in a word, crap.

Six Feet Under did theirs with class. Mash and Cheers as well. This, well, the blank screen completely distracted and killed an otherwise fine finale.

I'm disappointed.

paul c. said...

As I posted over at the Throwing Things blog, I'm not sure yet what I think of this. I fully expected a non-conclusive ending, but still feel like I'm trying to push Chase's hand with middle finger extended away from my face.

BF said...

I know the saying goes that you should "leave 'em wanting more". Who knew Senor Chase would take that to heart.

Going back to a previous thread, was anyone else thinking of Scrubs during the Journey-thon? "they're called The Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin's and they rock! Book 'em now, thank me later."

Anonymous said...

Makes me wish Alan Ball had written this episode.

Diane said...

Well, I must say, they got us! I actually think the ending was genius, as we all kept expecting SOMETHING(someone getting whacked, or turning out to be a snitch, or playing both sides), and it leaves it up to us (and also a follow up movie). We WERE played, though, and after 8 loyal years we did get screwed - especially thinking the cable went out in the end! Bravo, HBO, and goodbye!

sofa king said...

chase, you magnificent bastard.

that ending was perfect...

Linda said...

Reposting after I jumped the gun on the previous thread.

I loved it but I think 90% of the audience is going to be pissed off.

And you called it Alan. I did go nuts for about a minute when I thought the cable had shorted.

I also think Chase was screwing us a little AND also letting everyone write their own finale in their head.

Anonymous said...

DON'T STOP BELIEVING...is AJ really the director CHASE?

Anonymous said...

How artful can it be if people reasonably believed it was a technical malfunction? After eight years, I can't believe his farewell was simply an "Eff you."

Anonymous said...

My cat is sitting and staring at the black screen...life goes on.

Mike Mac said...

I think what is important to realize is that, in Chase's world, the Sopranos are not "finished". He doesnt see the need to "finalize" anything because, basically, life isnt that simple.
The Sopranos has time and again displayed an innate ability to allow us to see ourselves, our friends, our enemies, and our neighbors in these characters, and never does life wrap itself up in the same fashion as a typical TV series finale.
Had Tony ended up "dead or in the can", it may not have been the worst thing in the world for the series. But to show the true elements of nature... how quickly we can fall back into our habits, and how much mystery lies in each waking moment, for everyone from a mob boss to a cub scout and all the conveniently placed demographics from the ice cream parlor in between... THAT is an appropriate send-off for a show that has continued to spark debate, discussion, and reflection for a decade.
This wasn't a non-ending, because it wasn't an ending. It was just the point at which we cease to observe these characters in their universe, and we'd be doing ourselves a disservice not to learn a thing or two from their experiences. In the meantime, though, I certainly enjoyed the ride.

Mufilake said...

But what if, as another blogger posited, that final shot (Meadow coming through the door) was the last thing Tony saw before being killed by the guy who just went into the bathroom? The timing; the suddenly halted frame; the blank, silent screen; all scream death in a split-second seen from Tony's perspective. Which is where this show began and ended. If that were the intent, then brilliant and so tragic.

Mary said...

I'm starting to lean towards the TWoP theory that the blackout was Tony -- or maybe the whole family -- getting whacked. "You never see it coming."

Anonymous said...

This wasn't a non-ending, because it wasn't an ending. It was just the point at which we cease to observe these characters in their universe, and we'd be doing ourselves a disservice not to learn a thing or two from their experiences. In the meantime, though, I certainly enjoyed the ride.

Perhaps. I think there is a difference, though, between criticizing the final scene as it was set up with the scouts and the guy in the USA cap, et cetera, and the abrupt cut-off of the series. I liked the ice cream parlor scene and its elements but I did not appreciate the jarring and sudden ending.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't a non-ending. It was Chase saving us from having to deal with watching our hero's downfall.

Tell me anyone of you hasn't watched season one and two and felt the pangs of sorrow when you see Big Pussy. Or didn't hope against hope that Tony B. would just keep up his plan to go straight. Or maybe even that Jackie Jr. would have just listened to Tony.

Did you all really want to see Tony being hauled off by the feds? Then what happens? a lengthy trial? Nobody wanted to see him dead, I'd wager.

Tony's world came crumbling down, and we, the viewers, got out just in time to still be able to see him free and alive.

Did no one else feel relieved by that?

mufiake said...

"Anonymous said...
My cat is sitting and staring at the black screen...life goes on."

That's hilarious.

Scott Tobias said...

Count me among those who thought the ending was absolutely brilliant. The editing in that final sequence was, to me, far more sophisticated than the overrated Bacala hit from last week and I love that you were left with no sense of closure, just a build-up of unresolved dread. Perverse as it may be, this is truly groundbreaking television in that it so completely confounds expectation yet stays true to the spirit of the show.

What ending would have been satisfying? And more to the point, how could you get through six seasons of The Sopranos thinking that satisfying the audience was anywhere near the top of the show's artistic agenda? Cheer to Chase for having the stones to stick to his guns, even if it means that people won't feel inclined to carry him out on their shoulders.

YouCanBeFit said...

Did you guys notice "magic moment" was in the list for Tony to choose? I'd like to see what other choices were in there when I watch it again...

Also, I liked it...I thought all week 2 or 3 Sopranos were going to get killed with Tony left to have to live without them.

He seemed happy at the end. Though, we know his life won't be all happy, life goes on...

Perfect Chase endind as you said Alan. Nice, quick writeup, too!

Andrew said...

After watching "I Dream Of Jeannie Cusamano" this weekend, I was struck by just how similar the final scene was to the closing scene of the first season finale (with just the family), except, of course, for the dramatic editing of dread. And Journey.

Jeff K. said...

I'm in the "very satisfied" camp -- tho the Mrs. was convinced the cable cut out or TiVO had screwed with us, since it has been acting up the last few times its recorded the Sopranos.

I don't think the blackout was Tony getting whacked, tho it does provide the closure that seems to be so necessary... so I'll buy it as a legitimate theory, tho I don't subscribe to.

(And to nitpick the nj.com article, Meadow was parallel parking, not double parking.)

jdj said...

The finale only supported the theory that David Chase isn't aware that new music has been created in the past 25 years.

rockovergraceland said...

Hmmmmm loved the cat….Maybe that ending was David Chase saying to the viewers … alright wiseguys you finish it cut…have it end anyway you want it to.
1.) they have a nice dinner and some Ice cream for dessert…
2.) Mr. Members Only comes back from the men’s room and pulls a Michael Corleone from “ONE” and wacks Tony…
3.)The feds bust in…
4.)Fade to black and you find out the whole show was a screen play by a hack writer that looks like Christopher Moltisanti's
5.)Tony becomes the Boss of Bosses and rules both NJ and NY...
6)...the Russian is working at the dinner as a short order cook.. sees Tony and all hell breaks loose...

TuckPendleton said...

Goodness, there are a lot of complaining ninnies around here who need to be spoon-fed. If you have watched all six seasons, you should know to expect anything from Chase -- with the exception of the pat, trite, or easy.

My personal take is that the cut to black, leaving the viewers with nothing but uncertainty, is your window into Tony's world from here on out. Every time the door at Holstein's opened, there was a potential hit man coming in. Every time a door opens in Tony's life for the rest of his days, he's going to be wondering if this is it...or if it's the Feds coming to take him away for good, etc.

But really, it doesn't matter...Chase leaves it up to you.
And trusts you, I think, especially if you are a long-time fan of the show, to go with the ending.

I also like the theory of the blackout representing Tony being whacked by the going-to-the-bathroom-guy (shades of Michael Corleone). However, we've seen very consistently that when hits are carried out, they are done very directly and with no waffling. Which leads me to think the GTTBG was just Tony's (and our) paranoia.

Eric said...

A Godfather red herring: Wasn't Tony eating an orange in the safehouse early on?

As to the final minutes, I'd like to say I loved it for its uncertainty and artistic value, but then again the primitive part of me just wanted to see blood. But maybe that's the point.

Paul Chalmers said...

"Complaining ninnies"? How about arrogant asses who deem themselves superior because they "got" the ending?

spickoli said...

Perfect ending! True brilliance!!! You refuse to finish something because the entire world had outlined every possible scenario and you are too smart for that! Hell ya, don’t rely on any sort of “Craft”, just refuse to participate.

This just-in….France having pulled out of Iraq, is auctioning 100,000 bullet proof vests… one catch the Kevlar is only on the back.

DC is a coward!

TuckPendleton said...

@ Paul:

Gee, bitter much?

I think if you'll take the time actually read my post, I don't think I have the answer, because I'm not sure there is one. I threw out my PERSONAL take, but I think I made it pretty clear that it is only one of many, many possible answers. And if not, consider it done now.

If you'd like to email me directly to continue the conversation, my email's in my profile.

Paul Chalmers said...

No, not bitter Tuck. I just see no room in discourse for throwing names around. It can easily go both ways, and then what is accomplished? Bring the analysis. Save the ad hominem attacks.

Anonymous said...

DC is a coward!

Um, why, exactly? He's cowardly for providing definitive resolutions to every plot thread?

Anonymous said...

I meant "not providing..."

Captain T said...

I don't think there was anything to "get" about the ending. It just ended. And like a previous poster said, it's up to the viewer to decide what happened next. Or not.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, tuckpendleton. I guess I am too dumb to "get it." If I only had a brain . . .

jdj said...

I don't think Chase is a coward for that ending. In fact, it was very original, something new, etc....it just didn't work.

Any ending that make people think their cable/satellite screwed up, rather than knowing it's intentional, just doesn't advance the show.

I wasn't expecting a Hallmark ending, where everything was neatly wrapped up in 60 minutes. Instead, like the Seinfeld finale, we got something original, something new, that just didn't do any justice to the previous episodes of the show.

John M. said...

I thought the ending was perfectly in line with the other season finales. Dinner with the family, some things have been settled, some things have not.

Tony is living on borrowed time, whether its the Feds or New York or his crew. The final shot, the bell ringing, and Tony looking up, wondering who is coming through the door, and what is coming with him or her, is just perfect. Tony doesn't know, and neither do we.

TuckPendleton said...

OK, Paul, point taken. Fair enough.

Let's just say I am surprised that for a show that is consistently throwing change-ups and curves, and going against the grain, -- and has done so throughout its run -- that so many people were expecting/wanting/feeling entitled to a traditional or spelled out ending.

Maybe Chase will give the answer to Alan when AS interviews him, or maybe Chase will pull a Ridley Scott "Deckard is a replicant" in 20 years, but until then, for me, I'd rather have a show that challenges to the very end than rolls over and plays to conformity.

I think if this had been a show like the Wire, that for all its brillance still adheres to fairly traditional storytelling approaches, then this ending would deserve some umbrage. But since (to me, anyway) this is a Sopranos ending through and through, it seems like a perfect fit with the rest of the show.

And isn't that what a series finale should be about?

Anonymous said...

I loved it... perfect ending had me laughing for 15 minutes.

Anonymous said...

As a Soprano's fan from the beginning, I think we can all agree the show has seriously lacked any of the originality it had in the first few seasons. What was once a groundbreaking, cultural phenomenon ended with an empty, pointless fizzle. It will never leave the legacy of previous television giants (M.A.S.H., Cheers, Seinfeld), but sadly, COULD have had it ended several seasons ago, when it was on top of it's game.

nanno said...

as a remedial parallel parker, my gut reaction was that Meadow finally enters the establishment only to find her family demolished, the hit men already fled.
Not saying I was at all satisfied with the ending, just that this is how I interpreted it...

Adam said...

Or, as a writer on MSNBC put it, if you knew nothing about that family at the table in the diner, you'd think it was a normal, all-American family, that nothing special was going on.

Knowing what we know, the whole room's full of dread and tension.

Anonymous said...

Well, the Sopranos is over. Right. And I saw The Who's farewell tour in 1982. They'll all be back and for the same reasons you can see The Police at a stadium near you this summer. Oh well, I remember reading that David Chase had always wanted to be in a rock band. And if they can't get Gandolfini to play Tony, hey, Sammy Hagar isn't doing anything.

Anonymous said...

Is it just me, or in addition to the Pontecorvo look alike, didn't the guy in Holsten's with the USA hat look like Robert Patrick, who Tony had cleaned out a few years ago? Anyone else notice that, and Alan, what do you think DC was trying to tell us with these look alikes??

JD said...

At the very minimum, I've got to admire Chase's utter bloody nerve....

Homertojeebus said...

One quick thought before bed:"Hit the 57, you stunz!"

Anonymous said...

the ending was a joke on us, don't you think?
chase used all the fear we've generated over all these years watching the show to draw us into what we believe to be the inevitable ending.
we wrote in the ending ourselves.

now, what was with the DEAD PEOPLE at the funeral eating and the guy sil wacked two weeks ago sitting at the table when the men had their sit down and the wife of patsy being the lorraine who was killed way long ago?

were we not supposed to notice?

Kristin said...

Sorry, but that ending was just atrocious. I don't care how artsy or cinematic Chase was trying to be...it was unsatsifying in every way for the majority of his audience.

I was definitely in the Khan group, yelling "CHASE!" at the screen. I kept my HBO going for this??

JimD said...

Loved the ending. When the screen cut to black I paused for a second, thinking my DVR went kaput and then actually jumped up and down, excited by what David Chase just did. I'll get into it a little later, but I'm just floored by the hate flowing David Chase's way right now.

So far, this has been my favorite quote from the episode, lifted from Television Without Pity:

"I think David Chase finally gave the people who were complaining about the Russian something else to complain about!"

It says it all, doesn't it?

zoz said...

Lorraine Calluzzo and Donna Parisi were played by two different actresses: Patti D'Arbanville was Lorraine Colluzzo and Donna Pescow was Donna Parisi.

Nick said...

My mom thinks the whole episode was a dream: the supernatural cat, the abrupt cuts, the weird Agent Harris stuff, the paranoia in the ice cream store, etc. I viewed it literally, but I still anticipate some enterprising blogger looking for Eyes Wide Shut-style visual clues such as the supposed doppelgangers previously mentioned. Anyways, I thought it was great, and I would gladly mount David Chase's head in a position of honor above my fireplace once everyone else is done with it.

Anonymous said...

The lightbulb for me went off when Carmela was looking at the beachfront property brochure and telling A.J. that the plan was to meet at Holsten's that night. Flash back to when she was in bed a few episodes back and looking at the Florida real estate on her laptop....That's when I began to think it was SHE who was going to betray Tony and represent the ninth circle - for traitors - and is the one who has been cooperating as the government informant/witness. She has been planning her new life in the witness protection program.

She seemed to be pushing the whole family to go to Holsten's and I was waiting for the feds to come through that door and put Tony under arrest in front of his family and the series end right there. The way the final scene was edited and the music used, it just could not have been the "life goes on" ending that Alan alluded to. I love the ambiguity of the ending because we will all speculate as to what happened next...did Tony get shot by the shifty guy coming out of the bathroom, or....something else??

Anonymous said...

It’s ironic. The last few years of the show have been building up to an apocalyptic New York-New Jersey War. But David Chase left us with a far more bitter and violent conflict—those who liked the ending, versus those who didn’t.

Personally, I kinda loved it.

Brian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Alan, I screen-capped this from the Spoiler Trailer on HBO.com for this episode:

http://img161.imageshack.us/my.php?image=capok1.png

where exactly in this episode does this appear? (And no, it wasn't from the previous episode when Tony forces AJ out of the bed to pack.. I checked)

Chase and Crew do some false advertising to get us all excited.

JimD said...

Another quick note on the episode: The return of Hunter (Meadow's friend). David Chase finally brought his daughter back for another cameo, and it was a wonderful bookend. (She was in the pilot, but hasn't appeared on the show since Season 2 and hasn't been mentioned since Season 3.)

I love how Carmela wanted to rub her face in the fact that she dropped out of school, only to find out that Hunter is in medical school. Carm can no longer use her children to make herself feel superior to others or as a way to white-was the life her family has chosen. That's her punishment.

But seriously, thanks David Chase for eight great years.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it makes sense that the ending "was through Tony's eyes" and it went black because he died.

The whole show, we were the observers - we saw things that Tony didn't see, we knew things that Tony didn't know - the story wasn't told through Tony's perspective. (for instance: Janice visiting Junior - was Tony there?)

It went black because "we" left the story.
fin.

ps - but I still don't know what's up with all the "dead" characters all throughout the episode! any thoughts on that, Alan?!

anon said...

I thought it looked like David Chase in the USA hat, but I couldn't really tell -- I've never actually seen a standing picture of him.

The ending -- really, the final edit -- seemed more about Chase than the Sopranos. For all the talk about nonconformity, this episode was all about resolution -- the family and the Family come home. Meadow married (and pregnant?), Paulie faces some fears (he did take the Captain job in the end, right?), Phil's reign ends, and A.J. getting a job and a girl. Tony even has a heart-to-heart with Junior. Sure, these situations could change, but there was a strong sense of a show wanting to check in with most of its characters. And I thought it was all well-handled -- though I did think the writers had been laying it on a little thick with A.J.'s political awakening in these last few episodes, veering close to agitprop, his reversion to form in the finale was very satisfying and thematically resonant.

But the edit...That seemed to speak more to Chase's preoccupations with closure than anything else. I can't see what would have been so horrible (or against form) about letting the scene end -- it would just have been a callback to the season one(?) finale, right? Tension builds, but release is not given.

That's why I like the "Tony gets shot" theory. I didn't immediately think of that, and it does work with building tension in the scene, Tony's earlier comments about shooting, and the Godfather reference already noted. It is a cute fit with the cut off Journey lyric ("Don't stop..."), and it's even foreshadowed by having Phil killed in front of his family. Under this theory the last "shot" is all about the universe of the show and not about the show as a vehicle for Chase's opinions about narrative. I don't necessarily disagree with his opinion, but if that's all that final edit was meant to be, it was pretty artless. I would prefer to just believe my initial impression was wrong.


Anon

Brian said...

"but most people at Television Without Pity are calling for Chase's head."

Granted I haven't been there in a while, but when I was posting there and reading over the threads, most people struck me as the sort you'd want to punch because they're so obnoxious. At least that's how people who talked about "The West Wing" came across. They'd watch the episodes but constantly bitch about them. It's no surprise that Sorkin attacked them on an episode after he registered and wrote some comments.

Part of the reason I was pissed at first was that I had about 100 different distractions as I was trying to watch. But once the episode ended and I did a few other things, taking some time to think about it, I decided I liked it. It's different, to be sure, but I think it worked.

"I love how Carmela wanted to rub her face in the fact that she dropped out of school, only to find out that Hunter is in medical school. Carm can no longer use her children to make herself feel superior to others or as a way to white-was the life her family has chosen. That's her punishment."

Excellent point. Although I have to admit, I'm confused, because it seems like they've blurred the line about where Meadow was in her education. If she says she wasn't doing pre-med any more, it sounds like she's still an undergrad. And then, in this episode, she's being talked up as a potential hire for a law firm when she's done? When did she go to law school? I must have missed something.

Interestingly enough, Purchase, a SUNY school, is where Edie Falco went. Any hidden message there?

Anonymous said...

cast at hard rock in south florida....here's a link to string of pics...

Jim is sporting the beard and shades...

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/sfl-sopranos_finale,0,3544898.photogallery?coll=sfla-home-utility&index=8

Anonymous said...

article and video (on right of page) from tonight's cast at Hard Rock...


http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/southflorida/sfl-11sopranosjun11,0,2639115.story?coll=sfla-home-headlines

ironheart said...

Well, this is weird.

People are saying that, in the first broadcast of the episode, the last scene the audience sees before things fade to black is Meadow running through the door. But in the later showing, people are claiming that the last shot is of Tony's face.

SJ said...

I loved this episode! Funny as always...Paulie and AJ cracked me up.

"We should reduce our dependence on foreign oil"

Then AJ laughing at "MC Rove" and Bush's ridiculous dance (which was what, at most a month ago?)

I have to say they did wrap everything...except for Melfi. I was hoping to see Lorraine Bracco one last time.

ironheart said...

It seems like the ending of the episode actually played tricks with people's minds more than we realized:

http://imdb.com/title/tt0141842/board/thread/76607344

ironheart said...

That's 76607344

Anonymous said...

can anyone shed light on agent harris' "damn it, we're going to win this thing" comment?

Is he now Tony's ally, happy for him

or

is he referring to the case against Tony, etc.?

thoughts, please!!!

JimD said...

In a weird way, they did wrap Melfi up last night. When Tony was talking to AJ's therapist, he mentions that "I could never please my mother" or something to that degree. He did finally learn something from Melfi and accept that he had a mother that didn't love him. It was a bit of a throwaway moment, but for Tony, I think it was a breakthrough. Therapy did help Tony, but I also would argue it emboldened his criminal enterprises.

But after that bit of closure, Chase lets us see Tony going to confront Uncle Junior and getting .... nothing. The poor guy is so beyond senile, he can barely remember who Tony is for more than five seconds. Just like in Season 1 when Tony goes to confront his mother about her planning to have him killed, he's robbed of that release because she had a stroke. The scene with Junior paralleled that. Tony walked away hurt and frustrated because he can't get closure on that part of his life. We do learn things, but sometimes life doesn't allow us to apply it.

Thomas said...

I think Chase did a great job of keeping us on the edge of our seat for the past hour. I thought 5 people were going to get whacked. Great buildup of suspense.

I love Phil getting his head crushed by his daughter's SUV.

dez said...

Every time a door opens in Tony's life for the rest of his days, he's going to be wondering if this is it...or if it's the Feds coming to take him away for good, etc.

I thought along those lines, too, that Chase was giving us a glimpse of what it feels like to be Tony, that palpable feeling of constant dread and paranoia. I would certainly hate to live my life like that.

Or maybe Chase is just a dick. :-D

Anonymous said...

...we, the viewers, just got whacked. and we never heard it coming....

Anonymous said...

Alan, what are your thoughts about Tony entering the diner wearing a black leather jacket w/ an olive colored shirt (with matching olive collar. At the table, he's wearing a two tone shirt w/ a black collar. Plus, when he enters the diner "All that You Dream" is playing?

dez said...

For the people carping about the posters at TWoP, please note that many of those calling for Chase's head are "Just Tuned In"s. Some of the regular posters are being more circumspect and analytical, though it's harder to find their posts because of the high signal-to-noise ratio :-)

I loved the reaction of the onlookers to Phil vs. the SUV. Is that how the audience should be reacting, with revulsion vs. cheering for the gore?

I loved that cat.

Anonymous said...

re: Shirt in Dinner

He is always wearing a three tone black/green/olive vertical stripe shirt. When he enters the black color fades into the black leather jacket and only the center most vertical stripe is seen. later with the jacket off all is seen.

SJ said...

Btw, can anyone tell what Junior said to Janice in Italian?

It is kinda sad how the forefathers' language(s) are not being passed on to the next generation...

Which reminds me, it was hilarious how AJ spent $200 on Arabic-learning CDs.

Woodrow L. Goode, IV said...

It would have been most appropriate if we'd learned, in the last scene, that Junior has been dreaming the series since his stroke(s). If you're going to flip off your audience, go all-out, like St. Elsewhere did.

Is this a great episode? Can anyone list some great books, plays or movies where no one knows what happened to the protagonist at the end? They don't exist (2001 or Once Upon A Time in America don't qualify), and there's a reason: the first rule of storytelling is that you must finish the story. You can't just stop; you have to resolve.

The best endings are startling (you didn't expect them) but they become more appropriate and inevitable the more you reflect on the characters and the story.

This sort of ending was the exact opposite. Everyone knew Chase was going to mess with his audience; the only question was "What stunt will he pull?"

That no one can agree on what happened proves it isn't a satisfactory resolution of the storyline. Ambiguity is not artistry. Any tyro can leave an audience confused; it takes a pro to drive a point home.

I stopped watching closely when I began to think the show was more interested in poking sticks in its viewers' eyes than creating a richly-layered novel for TV. This episode did nothing to make me regret that decision.

Anonymous said...

He is always wearing a three tone black/green/olive vertical stripe shirt. When he enters the black color fades into the black leather jacket and only the center most vertical stripe is seen. later with the jacket off all is seen

Wrong. The "tell" was the shirt's collar. Olive color entering the diner, black collar while he sat at the table. "All that You Dream" playing was quite enlightning. Google the lyrics

ooda said...

I don't consider myself all that arty, but I did like the episode, and f--k, I almost s--t myself at the end. I think it was a great end, as it had the humor, it had some violence (would anyone have thought the finale would have only contained two gunshots?), but generally, what we've grown to love. If you watched The Sopranos just for the violence, then you should be watching network television instead.

I still put Six Feet Under at the top as far as endings go, but I can't say I'm disappointed with this one, and I don't feel like I have to justify my liking it.

Side not: F--k, why can't people just get over the Russian in the woods?

Valerie said...

Alan, I screen-capped this from the Spoiler Trailer on HBO.com for this episode:

http://img161.imageshack.us/my.php?image=capok1.png

where exactly in this episode does this appear? (And no, it wasn't from the previous episode when Tony forces AJ out of the bed to pack.. I checked)


That is a close up Tony's face from when he was pounding on his attorney's ketchup.

jim treacher said...

The more I read about the finale, the gladder I am that I stopped watching this show after the "Tony's an insurance salesman from Ohio" episode.

Anonymous said...

I wish I had stopped watching it then, Treacher. There's an "Emperor's New Clothes" feel to this finale in that a number of us are saying "The ending was silly!" but everyone else is so wrapped up in praising Chase that they don't realize what an amateur ending this really was. I mean, I could believe a hack like Rhimes pulling a stunt like this, but Chase? I doubt there was any other motive in this ending than fostering his own glee at pissing off viewers.

Louis said...

Last night, I wasn't sure how I felt about that last scene. Having slept on it, though, I've decided it worked, and was perfectly in keeping with what The Sopranos did for its entire run.

It wasn't the ending that I predicted, or that I would have written, but Chase doesn't owe me -- or the TWoP knuckleheads -- anything. I appreciate the fact that he stuck to his vision for the show.

Louis said...

Oh, and good job on All Things Considered this morning, Alan.

Crewgrrl said...

I mostly liked the ending. I liked the "Life Goes On" aspects. I wasnt' as crazy about "DC is just Fing with us," because it seemed a little mean. But it was kind of fun too gasping everytime someone walked in a door.

Also, I want to give props to all the reader comments here. I've enjoyed reading all of you guys after the shows. Thanks for the great analysis everyone. It's been fun.

thomas tucker said...

I don't have a problem with life going on in an ambiguous ending, but why end it with everyone thinking their cable had gone off?
There are plenty of other ways of having stopped- rmemember the last scene of The Godfather with Diane Keaton's face and the look on it? That's what this reminded me of, except that he could have faded to black, or pulled the camer back, or something less sophomoric than "pulling the plug."

k said...

late to the game but some thoughts

my favorite part of the ending was AJ quoting Tony about being positive and Tony realizing that maybe he isn't just passing on depression and hate like Livia--for all the times I said they were the same, this seemed to suggest that perhaps Tony's kids are trying to raise themselves out of that mire a bit--that's a pretty optimistic statement I know but it was the only thing I could think of.

I liked the ending, I shouted and bitched for a moment but when I stopped to think about it I really loved it, the total tension of that scene how it built until i was gnawwing on my fingernails (not something I normally do)--then it cuts to black. It doesn't matter what happened, that will be tony's life, that tensions--all the time. pretty unbearable I think.

homertojeebus--i was shouting hit the "57" the whole time--are you from pittsburgh? that's how i know how to the work the heinz bottle--

Sara Anne said...

Thanks for the good reading, Alan.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought my cable went out.

lady t said...

I haven't watched the Sopranos for a few seasons now(partly due to not having HBO for awhile)but just had to see the series finale. I've seen the final episode of many a show,some that had time to plan it out and some who were canceled before their time. The ending of The Sopranos last night was a severe yanking of the carpet right out under the feet of the audience.

I wasn't the only one who thought that something was wrong with my TV with such an abrupt cut off to black. And I agree with those who say that it didn't have to end in a hail of gunfire or a big arrest,it just needed to have some sort of ending.

Chase might have thought he was making an artistic statement but it was more like a blunt baseball bat to the back of the head. Ambiguity is fine but not outright assault on the viewer for no reason. Some will appreciate the boldness but I for one felt robbed.

LV said...

I haven't read all the comments yet because I'm pressed on time but I wanted to throw this out there for now... didn't Tony, at one point, tell Bobby that when you die, it just "all goes to black?" Hmmmm is this Chase's way of letting us draw our own conclusions?

TuckPendleton said...

Alan --

Any info on the reports that the characters in Holstein's at the end all had a tie to Tony?

JZ said...

Alan,

Upon further review, I'm now loving this ending -- mainly because of the suggestion that Tony was shot, and it all went to black.

Other things I loved:

1. AJ trudging down the stairs in bathrobe, just like daddy.
2. Phil's death ("Bye BYYYYEEE" and BLAMMO) -- although I wish Benny would've done the deed.
3. The revelation that Harris is cheating on his wife with an agent.
4. That freaking cat.
5. Paulie sunning himself. And the cat joining him at the end.
6. Carm's look when Tony started in on the new hot therapist with his mother issues.
7. Carlo as the informant -- remember the awkward scene at Tony's bed when Christopher died? Carlo came up six times in 10 seconds and Sil pointed it out. Hysterical.

My only complaint, sans final shot, which I'm still thinking about, is why would Butchie do an abrupt about face? He was all for hacking Jersey to pieces throughout the season -- I thought.

Dan said...

Did anyone else recognise the line in the Journey song - "Working hard to get my fill" or in Tony's case - Working hard to get my Phil.

Anonymous said...

I really liked this last episode (although I did scream at my Tv at the end thinking that my satellite died). After sleeping on it and reading your blog I liked how it ended. I loved the cat/Paulie story! (With the cat lying on the sidewalk near Paulie near the end... hilarious). I am satisfied with the end. Good ending to an excellent series that I will miss! Thanks Alan for the excellent writing and analysis of the Sopranos.

Tom said...

I think the main problem I had with the ending wasn't the abrupt stop or the dangling plot points. It was the black screen before the credits rolled. The sudden stop I get. But those five seconds of dead air felt like Chase was mocking the viewers for wanting more. He was rubbing our face in what he had done.

It felt like this was an ambigous reference to a lot of other famous series finales.

Life goes on = Cheers.

It was all a dream = St. Elsewher. (or Newhart if you prefer)

The least qualified (Paulie) gets the big promotion = Mary Tyler Moore Show

Ironically missing from my list...Seinfeld aka "They all end up in jail". ;)

k said...

oooh good points---and you jogged my memory--it seems like harris is not just cheating on his wife, but with an agent--and my husband and I both got the sense that she is the "brooklyn" connection that was giving him info--which he was passing right on to tony. could he have been sleeping with her just for the info--and if so, why?? i love that this just keeps me guessing.

Dave Sandell said...

I thought the ending was perfect, maybe even satisfying. Tony goes on living the life he's always lived. Patterns continue to repeat - Tony had his awakening at the beginning of season 6, but ended up becoming even more like his mother. Janice is going to give motherhood a go, even though this mundane idea is her craziest scheme yet, given her penchant for motherhood (or lack thereof) and her role model. AJ was finally digging for meaning in life, but ended up making a quick jump at the first sign of easy wealth. Tony & Carmela continue to parent the way they've always parented, Meadow has lofty dreams but she even makes parallel parking in a rather large spot (by city standards) difficult.

He's no longer surrounded by friends. He even has a nice meal with Parisi. I bet he misses Artie. I remembered season one when Puss, Sil, Chris, Paulie & Tony would sit outside Satriales. It happens here again, but he's surrounded only by Paulie, who Tony loves like an uncle but not like a friend.

Tony visits Uncle Jun and sees that all of this may someday be taken - no memories of the sex, drugs, money, or the rush he must feel when something awful is about to happen.

Tony visits Sil in the hospital, remembers what it was like to be in Sil's shoes, what it was like to wake up from that coma a changed man, and resigns himself to... something.

Maybe he'll die, maybe he'll go to jail. Maybe he'll grow old and senile, but he'll never be happy, never do anything worthwhile, never make the world a better place to be. Phil is right - what is romantic about the mafia, Tony let go of long ago. This isn't Vito Corleone helping the lady get her apartment.

But Tony lives, somehow, in a state of ignorant bliss. And the end says that any one of those things may continue to happen - death, violent or not, RICO cases, family dinners. Tony goes on being Tony.

That being said, some closure to that scene would've been okay by me.

I liked the audience as the feds idea (cheering for a whacking) when the show has always seemed anti-whacking. There never seemed to be great joy in it by the writers. It was simply part of the job. People didn't get whacked nearly as often as the audience clamored for. But the audience ate up every one of them. I think this explains why so many people are disappointed with the ending. It's not a show about plot twists and whackings. It's about the characters, period. It was a brilliant drama that happened to be set in the mob world. The show always seemed to disappoint viewers who wanted it to be more than that.

Anyway, I loved the end and with the exception of most of season four and the first half of season six, I thought it was a fantastic run that I'll be thinking about for awhile to come. Thanks, Alan, for always digging deeper into the episodes than the average critic.

(Oh, and there was a more obvious traitor in Carlo. I love the Dante idea - especially Bobby as the innocent in episode one of the Dante string. Very cool.)

TuckPendleton said...

Some other random thoughts...

1. Even though Bobby says "You never see it coming," taken literally, that's not really true. Even Bobby's death -- while unexpected to him, certainly -- was "seen" -- his assassins shot him face to face. And offhand, it seems the case that about half the hits are like that...the others, like Phil, are in fact "blackouts."

2. I wonder if part of the reason for people crying out for closure re: Tony, is that every other character and situation seems resolved. AJ is working and has a girlfriend, Carm is on to the next model house, Meadow is getting her JD and getting married, on track for 6 figures. Even Tony's gun charge is resovled in a way...Hesh says that the case is there for winning (by him) and we don't have reason to not believe him.

3. If in fact, all the people in the diner are tied to Tony and Phil, it does make sense that it feeds into the dread Tony will feel from here on out...maybe Member's Only guy did *think* about whacking Tony, but instead wimped out and went to take a leak. Maybe the black guys decide to take another shot at Tony. Maybe the trucker seeks revenge. Now that Tony has taken out Phil, he's that much more powerful, with that many more enemies around every corner...or behind each door opening.

TuckPendleton said...

...and who's to say that next time Member's Only guy runs into Tony, that he doesn't take a shot at killing him?

I guess we'll never know...

Susan said...

While the ended left me frustrated, the more I think of it, the more I think it is appropriate to the show and a really good choice. I hesitate to say ‘brilliant,” but it works for me. I think the ending is a great view of what Tony’s life – and his family’s life – is like now. Everyone is suspicious, every situation is a threat. He could be killed at any moment, or arrested, or just have pizza and ice cream.

The screen went black just at a tense moment, right when the song said “Don’t stop –“ I’m surprised people thought it was a cable malfunction.

A few comments I want to comment on:

“Six Feet Under did theirs with class. Mash and Cheers as well. This, well, the blank screen completely distracted and killed an otherwise fine finale.”

But those shows had characters we loved, that we empathized with and didn’t want to say goodbye to. They wanted to give their audience a proper farewell to characters we had started to think of as our own friends and family. The Sopranos was never a show like that.

“The finale only supported the theory that David Chase isn't aware that new music has been created in the past 25 years.”

I think it was in Entertainment Weekly where I read the theory that Chase’s whole theme of the show was that people always think things were better before, that the “good old days” will never return. The music choices for this episode seemed just right to me.

“People are saying that, in the first broadcast of the episode, the last scene the audience sees before things fade to black is Meadow running through the door. But in the later showing, people are claiming that the last shot is of Tony's face.”

I saw the first broadcast – or I’m assuming I did, since I’m on the east coast. And what I think we all saw was Meadow just reaching the entrance, then we see Tony’s face as he hears the bell tinkle, indicating the door has been opened. I think a lot of us imagined that we saw Meadow actually enter – but we never did. The show ended on Tony’s face.

JZ said...

Susan, well put. I'm still thinking about this, which is I suppose a testament to this being a good ending.

I cry every single time "Breathe Me" hits and Claire starts driving. To me, the closing sequence of Six Feet Under -- even with the weirdly shot Keith death -- is the best closing sequence of all time.

Susan said...

A few other thoughts and questions:

- I loved the cat, but what are people's theory on what it was doing in this episode?

- It occurred to me that the guy at the counter at the end could simply be someone who looks suspiciously at Tony Soprano because he knows him from seeing him as a famous mobster on tv and in the newspaper.

- Who was the guy who actually killed Phil?

- I also think they were doing a "audience as Harris" idea - Harris was rooting for Tony, even when he knows he shouldn't be, just as we did for all of these years.

Anonymous said...

Get over the shirt. It has a black collar but a small bit of olive transition as it becomes the buttons in front. If you have Tivo look at it... if you don't, then take others word for it.

Anonymous said...

I thought the salient point of the whole episode was that both families are circling the commode as they all eventually go down the drain.

The NJ crew is decimated. Recall the scene at Satriale's a few years ago where there were 6-7 guys out in the sun with Tony. Now it is just Paulie. The envelopes will be very light with the reluctant Paulie as leader of what used to be the cash-cow crew. I do not think barber scissors will make up the difference. Sil will not be there to revive the shuttered Bing. This thing is getting as small and as insignificant as Little Italy.

AJ is heading into another cycle of random nothing-ness, Meadow has regressed to a point where she is using the old tired Italian bias arguments, Carmela is desparately holding onto her lifestyle.

New and dynamic ideas or ways of being are not in the cards for the Family or the family. They were considered, but were rejected. This group of people will continue to erode and fade to nothing but bitter remnants of what was and what might have been.

I personally think that Chase was whacking the audience with the abrupt fade to black. I was sensing a payoff like many of you - but like a lot of things in life there was no final scoreboard result. Surf's Up!

Jen said...

complete disappointment!!!

rockovergraceland said...

Thanks Alan for all the great feedback and reviews...ya the best.. ya should write a book or at least an episode guide to the Sopranos for all the seasons.( btw how far back do you have reviews for)

can you confirm that 'MR. Members only' guy was a member of Phil's NY crew ??? if so then we know that Tony went out like Sterling Hayden in "one"

Anonymous said...

Have you already interviewed David Chase? Please, you have to ask him about The Seven Souls. I still think the life we were examining was either the typical network TV drama or perhaps this show, season by season. And, as I posted over at TWoP, Chase was talking to us when he had Phil say numerous times, right before the final violent scene of the show, "Bye-bye, babies." Could you ask?

thomas tucker said...

Why was Paulie so nervous and troubled after every conversation with Tony during this episode???

Toeknee said...

Susan said...

- Who was the guy who actually killed Phil?
_________________

Wild Bill Guarnere! (kidding - a little Band of Brothers humor there)

The character's name was Walden - remember earlier in the episode either Tony or Paulie said to him something like "What kind of Italian is named Walden?" and he explained he was named after Bobby Darrin's real name. This character just showed up a few episodes ago.

BF said...

I loved the cat, but what are people's theory on what it was doing in this episode?

It wouldn't be the Sopranos without a character named Pussy.

BF said...

Who was the guy who actually killed Phil?

Phil was killed by Gonorrhea. (a little more BoB humor...)

dez said...

Why was Paulie so nervous and troubled after every conversation with Tony during this episode???

I think it's simply that he didn't want what he perceived as the "automatic death sentence" job. Paulie is very superstitious (as noted with his reaction to the cat).

Homertojeebus said...

OK, I will leave the deconstruction to others. Artistically, I have no problem with the ending. As a solution to the "Gore vs Bore" audience schism, it's as if Solomon had decided just to keep the baby. Culturally, however, I think that Chase had a duty to balance the scales a little in the end. To this point, the narrative has overwhelmingly glorified these guys. On the other hand, "civilians" have long been treated with contempt and cynicism, without benefit of the "cool" factor that the wiseguys get to balance it out.
The FBI agent who cheers Phil's demise is obviously a standin for both segments of the audience, who sympathize with Tony for different reasons. There's really nothing here for the small number of us who never did.
I guess I can sum it up this way: This ending is pure brilliance if you buy that the show was just holding up a mirror, not leading you anywhere. IF, however, the show was leaning one way or the other, then it's kind of a cheat. By saying, "Life goes on..." you are also saying that what went before was "life", and nothing more.
Either way, the fans who are pissed are completely justified. This was a punchline by a comic who never wants another booking.

Anonymous said...

Why two different shirts at the end?

Anonymous said...

We should sue.

Dr. Hünd said...

Thanks Alan...will miss your analysis almost as much as da' show.

faxman75 (from another board) wrote:
think it's great, people are doing EXACTLY what Chase wanted. Choosing their own ending.


Which is better I think. I can't believe friends of mine who watched every week are so pissed today. "I wanted closure," they whine. First, there was too much to close. Second, this is Chase's style. Just because movies/shows always show scenes/characters for a plot reason and people are accustomed to have everything neatly wrapped up for them after being spoon fed manipulative story **** during the entire feature doesn't mean Chase has to do it. And yeah....he is the biggest manipulator of all....but at least he does it in an impressive art form and doesn't insult the viewer's (especially his loyal viewers) intelligence. The best compliment to Chase now is that his ending last night was no ending and the show actually goes on in millions of individual imaginations...we just don't get to watch it on t.v.

Tony is not dead when the show ends. He could be in a few seconds but probably not. All those characters in the diner could be a mixture of coincidence and mirages...or maybe one of them was gonna whack Tony...or maybe get killed doing so (Tony was ready)....or maybe just a process server....or no one significant at all. Who knows? I know everyone has denied any future movie unless its a prequel (which would suck and probably just another head fake from Chase). Chase doesn't have to touch it again but just in case....five years down the road....so much Sopranos pent-up demand with the series aging like a fine wine with time, so much $$$....well, Chase has the table set up for the most anticipated movie of all time. And all the right characters for that are still alive.

My final thoughts on the series:

1) How could Chase pick out a sappy, dated Journey ballad to close the show? A show that was so genius and actually improving in its music selection with such amazing picks over the last few years like Calexico's Minas De Cobre during Tony's peyote high & Tim Buckley's pristine cover of "Dolphins" during Christopher's return to smack last year @ the carnival. And @ the end, we get the most sappy Journey ballad evah? What the ****? And...I'm not a Journey "hater". Sure I hate a bunch of their stuff but there was some 80's pop bliss in even some of their most poppy #s like "Ask the Lonely" & "Girl Can't Help It". I could see why people including Tony love those Steve Perry led skirt-attracting ditties. In final analysis, I have to give Chase & the show credit here. Tony picked the song himself and it was true to Tony, who loves classic rock...and 80's pop.....plus the song, in a typical Sopranos moment of irony & real truth....fit. The only fallout is that Journey lives now for 20 more years.

2) I was always most fond of the black humor this show had in spades.

3) I love how Chase blew the top off of so many things. Showing the rackets (acceptable and non-acceptable by the populace) in just about everything. Therapy. The ivory-tower PHD pros who are just as ruthless, self serving, and hypocritical as anyone else portrayed in the series. Teachers, FBI Agents, kids, parents. America.

Dr. Hünd said...

Thanks Alan...will miss your analysis almost as much as da' show.

faxman75 (from another board) wrote:
think it's great, people are doing EXACTLY what Chase wanted. Choosing their own ending.


Which is better I think. I can't believe friends of mine who watched every week are so pissed today. "I wanted closure," they whine. First, there was too much to close. Second, this is Chase's style. Just because movies/shows always show scenes/characters for a plot reason and people are accustomed to have everything neatly wrapped up for them after being spoon fed manipulative story **** during the entire feature doesn't mean Chase has to do it. And yeah....he is the biggest manipulator of all....but at least he does it in an impressive art form and doesn't insult the viewer's (especially his loyal viewers) intelligence. The best compliment to Chase now is that his ending last night was no ending and the show actually goes on in millions of individual imaginations...we just don't get to watch it on t.v.

Tony is not dead when the show ends. He could be in a few seconds but probably not. All those characters in the diner could be a mixture of coincidence and mirages...or maybe one of them was gonna whack Tony...or maybe get killed doing so (Tony was ready)....or maybe just a process server....or no one significant at all. Who knows? I know everyone has denied any future movie unless its a prequel (which would suck and probably just another head fake from Chase). Chase doesn't have to touch it again but just in case....five years down the road....so much Sopranos pent-up demand with the series aging like a fine wine with time, so much $$$....well, Chase has the table set up for the most anticipated movie of all time. And all the right characters for that are still alive.

My final thoughts on the series:

1) How could Chase pick out a sappy, dated Journey ballad to close the show? A show that was so genius and actually improving in its music selection with such amazing picks over the last few years like Calexico's Minas De Cobre during Tony's peyote high & Tim Buckley's pristine cover of "Dolphins" during Christopher's return to smack last year @ the carnival. And @ the end, we get the most sappy Journey ballad evah? What the ****? And...I'm not a Journey "hater". Sure I hate a bunch of their stuff but there was some 80's pop bliss in even some of their most poppy #s like "Ask the Lonely" & "Girl Can't Help It". I could see why people including Tony love those Steve Perry led skirt-attracting ditties. In final analysis, I have to give Chase & the show credit here. Tony picked the song himself and it was true to Tony, who loves classic rock...and 80's pop.....plus the song, in a typical Sopranos moment of irony & real truth....fit. The only fallout is that Journey lives now for 20 more years.

2) I was always most fond of the black humor this show had in spades.

3) I love how Chase blew the top off of so many things. Showing the rackets (acceptable and non-acceptable by the populace) in just about everything. Therapy. The ivory-tower PHD pros who are just as ruthless, self serving, and hypocritical as anyone else portrayed in the series. Teachers, FBI Agents, kids, parents. America.

Anonymous said...

Rent the John Sayles movie "Limbo". Because I've seen that film, I predicted at the middle of the diner scene that were were going to go to black screen. Same vibe.

I thought the ending was brilliant. I loved how tense Meadow's paralell parking made me: the boy scouts, Tony sitting alone at the table, everything.

Anonymous said...

Loved it, loved Alan's and Mark's insights, loved it all. What WILL I do with my Sundays now?

This final episode was full of call-backs to past seasons/characters, i.e., the reappearance of Hunter, the ducks quacking, photos of Christopher and Nica (or is it Janice?), the discussion of the deaths of past captains, including Gigi Cestone ("he died takin' a sh*t!"), Tony's attempt to jog Uncle Junior's memory by talking about his father Johnny Boys' hey-day, the Davey Scatino look-alike in the diner, etc.

Did anyone think that maybe the cat was the spirit of Adriana (purring while looking at Christopher's photo)?

Someone on some blog asked why Gab Dante would bother putting on Sil's hairpiece. That wasn't Sil's hairpiece - it was Sils' actual hair(it was *Steven Van Zandt's* hairpiece).

The last scene of Paulie, in front of Satriale's, sunning himself, then joined by the cat. Just beautiful, and poignantly sad. "And then there were none."

Thank you, David Chase!

Brian said...

"This was a punchline by a comic who never wants another booking."

I remember reading this is Chase's last television show, per his desires, so perhaps you're on to something.

"How could Chase pick out a sappy, dated Journey ballad to close the show?"

I doubt the music selection in any average American diner is very exotic. And not that this necessarily means anything, but this song was played almost every Friday and Saturday night (and sometimes on Tuesdays) at some point in the area where there's no dancing. In one way or another, it's a standard song.

Anonymous said...

Small correction, but Meadow never "quit med school" because she never went to med school in the first place. She was taking pre-medical and MCAT classes in the hopes of being admitted to medical school.

TL said...

How could Chase pick out a sappy, dated Journey ballad to close the show?

Because it's the kind of song Tony would listen to.

dez said...

Actually, the worst part about the finale is that now I have frickin' Journey as an earworm. Damn you, David Chase!

Joe said...

My theory is that the original ending had Meadow walk into the diner and the family had a quiet dinner together, albeit with dread hanging overhead. Then fade to black.

Once the betting and "Will Tony get wacked or not?" hype grew too much, Chase recut the ending so that no one could collect and money but he still ended the show on his terms.

The disappointment people feel is augmented by how ramped up the tension was in the final scene.

Sparky said...

Alan: Re your comments about the Soprano's finale on Keith Olberman today: Please be advised that a "beemer" is a motorcycle, not a BMW automobile.

rcobeen said...

BMW's are commonly referred to as "Beemers."

dez said...

"Bimmer vs. Beemer":
http://www.bmwccbc.org/misc/tech-and-trivia/bimmer.html

Anonymous said...

what's this 8 loyal years crap you losers keep spouting about? you watched the show for 8 years because you enjoyed it. you're not shareholders in sopranos inc.--you're not "owed" anything by chase.

Mark said...

What makes me laugh the most is the constant statement that this ending leaves us all wondering what happens next.

Excuse me, it's a TV show and the last one. Nothing happens next. And thats the point why most people feel ripped off. I wouldn't invest 5 minutes watching anything David Chase does again. It would be a complete waste of time

rockovergraceland said...

Alan
put up some screen caps of 'members only guy " and that last shot,,,we can all go over it now like the zapruder film...I think tony got wacked

http://rockovergraceland.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Actually it isn't the first time a Journey tune has been used as the final track of an episode. "Wheel in the Sky" was featured in s02e10 (http://tinyurl.com/2erach), as Tony and AJ are together fishing, and enjoying a rare father-son moment of joy, as Tony has just beaten a potentially scary court-case.
Thematically "Wheel.." isn't all that unlike "Don't Stop Believing". Don't know if there's any clue in this or whether Chase really just is that much into Journey (I certainly hope not..), but thought I'd mention it.

/Mikkel
Denmark

Chris S said...

With On Demand I have now watched the final scene about 25 times give or take a few... I think I have it....absolute nothingness/genius. We make something dark out of a problem that we all go through daily, paralell parking into a tight spot. We think the shady man is staring at Tony when all he's doing is looking around. When the couple (who is sitting behind Tony to the right) laughs out, the man is staring at them rather than Tony. We see the man in the trucker hat and WE project him as a dangerous figure-but WE see the man with the kids as harmless....its a scene that mixes our paranoia with Tony's...and by the way- the editing was all about the perspective (whether it was ours,tonys,camelas etc.)...the whacking doesn;t add up as it would have been shot from a side angel giving us Tony's perspectice of getting shot from the side and not seeing the guy coming. If I were to give an after scene to the finale it would simply be of Tony coming down his driveway and getting the paper the next morning...it goes on and on and on and on...( Out of all the choices, Chase has Tony choose this happy upbeat song)...also, the other song Titles such as "I gotta be me" were all there to tell us how song titles might trigure certain thoughts and interpretations from Tony...DONT STOP BELIEVING!

- Chris S.

dez said...

Alan, where did you get the picture you used for this entry? I've seen it on another website as proof that Tony is dead (in fact, I think it's www.tonyisdead.com) because he's wearing a different shirt than the one we saw in the finale, and thus, that means two endings were shot, and furthermore, that means Tony was whacked (their logic, not mine).

wingless said...

The theories are totally out there. This is it. Chase's version. Short and simple. The man going into the bathroom was creditted as the man in the "Member's Only" jacket. Unless you are a DIE HARD sopranos fan and own all the seasons, ESPECIALLY SEASON 6 PT 1, you will know the first episode of that season is called MEMBERS ONLY. IT IS THE EPISODE TONY IS SHOT IN BY UNCLE JUNIOR. IT IS THE EPISODE WHERE HE IS WEARING THE EXACT SAME SHIRT HE'S WEARING AT HOLSTEN'S AS HE IS SHOT BY UNCLE JUNIOR. And that's not even it. In this episode there's a guy who's in Veto's crew who gets 2 million from his dead grandmother and wants to retire. THIS MAN CONSISTANTLY WEARS A MEMBERS ONLY JACKET. IN FACT, VETO MAKES FUN OF HIS MEMBERS ONLY JACKETS SPECIFICALLY. One of the jobs this man is assigned in this episode is going into a diner, going up to a man eating, and shoot him in the head twice. The man was seated in a booth, and the man was wearing his Member's Only jacket when he wacked him. The man later committed suicide in this episode before Tony is shot by Uncle Junior in the exact same shirt he's wearing in Holsten's. That and Bobby's comment on how you never even see it coming. Tony's perspective everytime the door opens, yet right at it does on the last time it CUTS to black, and the music stops "DONT STOP-", and it's the first musicless ending in the Sopranos ever. All the subtle hints in the music lyrics, "Some we win, some we lose, some are meant to sing the blues." We're not going to sing the blues. It wouldn't be Tony's way. What is the beginning of the show? it's basicly a view from Tony's car as he's driving down the Expressway. It's fairly from his perspective. It all starts and ends from Tony's point of view. As far as the noise of a gunshot, an earlier episode when a New York guy is wacked while eating with Sil demonstrates how quick it happens, when it went into slow motion when blood went all over sil's face. The man was dead before he or we knew what happened to sil's face, and we hadn't heard the shot yet. That was a huge hint to how quick death can come.

It's the episode name (Season 6 E1 "MEMBERS ONLY") and the jacket and the man in the bathroom that are all linked and are all crucial. This is your basic die hard evidence that Chase was behind his death, but didn't want to make it obvious. There's no other reason for the man to be creditted with that name in the episode.

And who knew it was that obvious. it's all in the episode names and the jackets. Oh, and I do believe Paullie betrayed him, and I think the whole thing with the cat goes to show it. The cat replacing Chrissy outside when Tony gives Paulie his new assignment. Flashback to when they were sunbathing together outside with the reflectors when Tony was recovering from the hospital.

E said...

I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Goode's comment. Lauding Chase for "leaving it up to the viewer" to figure out the ending is like paying your surgeon extra when she tells you to suture the incisions she's made. Chase didn't do his job, plain and simple.