Like millions of fans of The Sopranos, I’ve been watching the series for years with dedication. I came in during the second season, and quickly caught up with the show by catching all episodes from the pilot. Since then, my Sunday nights have been “Sopranos time.”
The show has actually been rather personal for me. I’m of Italian descent (my last name hasn’t even changed in about 600 years) and so much of the background of the show reflected my life growing up. The language, the food, the attitudes – and several of my uncles would have fit in quite well on Tony’s crew. And I’ve been a fan of Mafia shows and movies for years – The Godfather trilogy comprises, well, my top three favorites movies. I have a collection of La Cosa Nostra DVDs that would probably raise the suspicion of the nearest FBI office… by the way, I’d like everyone to know that the Mafia doesn’t actually exist 🙂
Of course, last night heralded the end of The Sopranos. After eight years of following Tony’s two “families” – sometimes with awe, sometimes with irritation, but always with anticipation – it’s now over. And I’ve had time to think about how I judge last night’s final episode.
Frankly, I’m disappointed. Series creator David Chase (and director of last night’s closer) ended the show by literally pulling the plug. Similar to the way the title song ends at the start of each show. At a local diner, Tony is joined by Carmella, AJ, and then daughter Meadow comes to the door. Tony looks up and the screen immediately cuts to black. The credits roll in absolute silence and the saga is history. For those last couple minutes, we’re on the edge of our seat wondering if that mysterious-looking fella at the counter is there to whack Tony.
I’m unfulfilled by the ending, Mr. Chase. Sure, we got some closure by seeing Phil Leotardo get the whacking he deserved (and which I think we all expected) but there are too many questions unanswered – way too many, in my opinion, for the end of a series. The closing should/could have, also, been a two-hour special. Others have done it. Instead, at the end, we spend about three minutes watching Meadow try to parallel park her damn car.
Series closings normally don’t end with cliffhangers, and that’s what we got. Carlo flipped – how much is he singing about Tony? What will Tony be indicted for? What happens to the NY and NJ families – who steps on the throne – does Little Carmine, or could it be Tony? FBI Special Agent Harris helped Tony find Phil, would he assist Tony’s indictment in some way? What path does AJ take to his unresolved future? Does Sil wake up?
Too many questions. Too many for a series ending. For instance, we have eight years invested in Tony’s personal life (putting aside his Mafia life) and there’s just no resolution beyond Dr. Melfi throwing Tony out of her office in the previous episode.
I know, I know, there’s those “artistic” answers that maybe Chase was trying to give us. In the end, we’re left to ourselves – hence the split from his therapist. It doesn’t matter what happens to the Mafia family – it was all about Tony’s own family. And what happens in the next 30 seconds when the final show ended, or what happens over the next 30 years is anything you want it to be.
Okay, fine. I haven’t checked any of the myriad of message boards about the show, and I’m sure there will at some point be interviews with cast members, and maybe even Chase, about what the final episode really meant.
But I’m still unfulfilled. I truly think Chase and the show owed its dedicated viewers more resolution, more of an indication of where it goes from there. Don’t get me wrong, I love and loved the show, and always will. In my opinion, it will stand as the greatest drama in history thus far. But I don’t think the final episode will stand as the great closing bell like the finals were for shows like M*A*S*H. I want a “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen” and I don’t feel we got it. There should have been more.
Hey, maybe my prayers will be answered – maybe HBO will announce that there’s actually one final episode to air next Sunday. It would be the greatest hype in TV history, and perfectly fitting.
Time to check the HBO website – maybe there’s an announcement about it…
Greatest line in the episode – FBI Agent Harris, upon being told that Phil Leotardo had just gotten popped: “Damn, we’re gonna win this thing!”
Caio, Tony. Great having you in the living room for eight years. Have a plate of ziti on me.