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Monday, June 11, 2007

Life goes on?

I know a few of you come here for charts and technical analysis, but the vast majority visit the blog to get my take on news, entertainment, and pop-culture! I am proud to know that I turned many of you onto life-changing shows like "Entourage", "The Shield", "24", "South Park", and of course the best movie of all time "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle"!

As everyone knows, The Sopranos ended last night. The initial reaction from most is anger - people are pissed off because they wanted more. They wanted closure, or at least a lot of violence where everyone (or almost everyone) got killed. 99% of us thought our cable went out during the last 60 seconds - don't kid yourself...you were looking at your TV, looking at your remote, and asking WTF happened to the cable/satellite?

My first reaction to the ending was "that sucks". But as some time passed, I changed my opinion; the ending was actually very fitting. Before I get into it, what most people fail to realize - especially people who just jumped on the "bandwagon" during the last few seasons - is that The Sopranos was never a show about violence and killing. Sure, there were some brilliant flashes of that stuff over the years, but at its core The Sopranos was about Tony - a father, a tortured son, an imperfect husband, a person struggling with depression and other mental issues, and head of a crime family. It was about his trials and tribulations in each of those areas as he moved through life. And for the most part, we liked him. Sure he was a cold-blooded killer...but no one can argue that despite his shortcomings and moral deficit he really did care about his family. And a few times every season he did things that made you think "hey, he could have been a good guy given different circumstances".

So most of the people who complain don't get what the show was about - they just wanted to see two mafia families kill each other in a bloody, violent, tragic end.

"You probably don't even hear it when it happens, right?" - Bobby Bacala

Fade to black. There are really only two things that could have happened at the end - life goes on for The Sopranos, much as it started with the family sitting around the table for dinner, trying to be as normal as they could for the family that they are.

Or, Tony was shot in the head as Meadow walked through the door to the diner (shout out to Bloomfield, for all my NJ readers - did you guys catch that?).

What do I think? First, I know anything can happen if they decide to make a movie or add to the show...the ending was such that Chase could craft any kind of continuing storyline he wants. But, if you look at the episode - and the series - for what it is without speculating on the future, then (in my opinion) it is obvious that Tony was killed.

Bobby's words from two episodes back - also highlighted at the end of last week's episode - were foreshadowing to the event. David Chase built the tension in all of us during the last 5-minutes; we were looking at the situation through Tony's eyes...understanding what it was like to be in his shoes. What about the guy in the hat? What about the guy at the counter who got up and went to the bathroom? What about the guy that walked in before A.J.? What about the two black guys (long time viewers - remember the last time two black guys tried to kill Tony?)? It was tense, and you were on the edge of your seat just like me. Every time the door to the diner opened and the bell rang, we all said "f*ck".

I think the last time the door opened Tony looked up and saw Meadow walking in - and then he was shot in the head. There was no sound because we were seeing things from Tony's point of view - he would not have heard the gunshot before the bullet killed him (physics, people). Things would simply fade to black. You probably don't even hear it when it happens, right?

Sure, "Don’t Stop Believin’" was playing on the jukebox - but that is not enough to sway me. It was a brilliant choice, however. And A.J. telling Tony "Isn't that what you said one time, try to remember the times that were good?"...a nice touch.

But Tony took one to the head.

There were other loose ends to discuss - is Paulie a rat? Did he flip? His actions and everything he did - and didn't do - point to yes, and Tony probably should have killed him on the boat earlier this season. And what was with the cat? Was it a reincarnated Adriana? Or Christopher? Or did it drive home the "rat analogy" because it was stalking Paulie?

But back to the ending - I can actually see my scenario playing out if they ever make a movie. Picture this - Tony was killed in front of his family. Fast forward five years...A.J. took it the hardest, and harnessed all of that bitterness and anger and ultimately killed the people that killed his father. And once he started down that road, there was no turning back...it became his life, and he worked his way up. The movie (or series) could pick-up with him as a Captain, and fully immersed and following in Tony's footsteps. Hell, that could be another 8 years worth of shows right there.

So, in the end I thought it was a fitting end to a great series.

note - it was great to see Phil get clipped. That was closure we all needed.

“I think people can relate to a lot of these characters. They say, 'Oh, I am sort of like that, and my kids go through stuff like that, and I had to deal with that.' And then Tony Soprano goes and kills somebody.” - Edie Falco

“Tony Soprano is an everyday kind of guy, bringing up teen-agers, having a daughter, trying to get her into a good school. God, half of America can deal with that.” - Lorraine Bracco

"To the people I love. Nothing else matters." - Tony Soprano



Robert said...

You may have swayed me. I will think about it.

John M. said...

Good analysis, but except for Phil getting whacked I hated it.

Flatwallet said...

aaaaah...I can't read this...I couldn't catch it last nigh...On Demand...

Ronnie said...

Nice catch on Bloomfield. I grew up in Clifton.

OONR7 said...

X... you're killing me. I got 3 words into your post and realized it could be a spoiler. Don't you realize you have an international appeal and some of us have to wait to illegally download these episodes :)

ListAfterList.com said...

Black screen...? Really? So what do you think happened in the finale? Here are some possible explanations:


While you're at it, who is your favorite character from the Sopranos?


And what was your favorite moment?


From ListAfterList.com

Jamie said...

Good analysis.

All I know is it left me wanting more.

FDR said...

I was frustrated at first but like you came around. Good post.

Anonymous said...

listafterlist above = SPAMMER.

Nice pic though.

Little C said...

I was never so happy to see someone get killed as when Phil got whacked. Nice, and good touch with the SUV rolling over his head. See ya!

Bigfish said...

Nice job, I think HBO will be giving you a call!

Anonymous said...

While Chase left some symbolic and conflicting breadcrumbs in this brilliant final act, it's my belief that the screen turned black on us, the 9 year Sopranos viewers, not Tony. Chase snuck up on our blindside in the most unanticipated way and whacked us. As the show died so did its viewers. We're the ones that didn't hear the usual soundtrack that accompanies the rolling credits, not Tony. For Tony, life's travails continue; in reality there are few neat, tidy resolutions, only glimpses of things to come such as Meadow becoming a mob lawyer who with her husband will defend her legally besieged extended family. Essentially, we arrived and departed during a 9-year fractal of his life. For him life reverts back to his version of normalcy; but for us, our existence as the Sopranos audience is jarringly over along with the show. At least that's my inclination after a night of reflection. I also was peeved, but it gradually dawned on me just how brilliant and unique this finale was. "Don't stop believing" : the Journey's far from over for Tony and his families.

Myk in SoFla

Gordo said...

I was pissed until I read your post X. Thanks!

Jesse Bruch said...

As far as the symbolism of the cat is concerned...
I think it has to do with the running theme of luck in the series.
After Christopher dies, Tony seems to have lost the biggest thorn in his side, and his luck has changed (literally seen in the las vegas episode).
The cat has nine lives. It does not fear death and escapes it whenever it presents itself. Tony does not seem to fear death, and he has escaped it on a myriad of occasions, including having been shot multiple times.

Paulie, on the other hand, is completely cold and alone with no family to call his own. The self-absorbed killer fears death and the fact that he will not be remembered when he is gone with no legacy to pass on.

The cat is just the symbolic figure that brings forward the glaring differences between Tony and Paulie, as Tony likes the cat while Paulie is disgusted by it.

Also, perhaps the cat centers itself on Christopher's picture to indict Tony of murder because Christopher probably would have survived the accident and evaded death if not for Tony.

Anonymous said...

X is so eloquent in everything he talks about...I read this blog every day - read X's words - and think to myself, "X is so poetic."

As you said, "the vast majority visit the blog to get my take on news, entertainment, and pop-culture!" And since I know nothing about trading, that made me feel so good about reading your blog- that you aware that there are those readers who enjoy your thoughts! (although I am trying to learn about trading from the best! hint hint)

Thank you so much for your thoughts, X. I love your mind! Your blog should be "Numero Uno" to match everything else that you are! I have a question for you: Will you marry me?

Trader-X said...

Thanks anon, but how do I know you don't just want me for my body?

Brian said...

Good analysis, but I think they are all looking for a big payday in the movies.

OONR7 said...

Finally got around to watching the finale. The beauty of it is that it does indeed lend itself to personal interpretation. Your take on it was brilliant. However, I think it ended the very same way that Tony summed up a lot of big events on the show: "What's done is done... let's move on."
I personally don't think he was clipped because there was no threat at the time. Phil was gone and that was pretty much sanctioned by his guys. Honestly, I would've been bummed if he was clipped or went to prison.