The Sopranos: Made In America (series finale)
(S06E21) It's finally here, folks. The week that we've all been waiting for. Well, perhaps not that anxiously awaiting, as we know that something we've all been into for so many years is going away. That said, it's still something that has the potential of being very, very cool culturally and will definitely dominate the watercooler talk for the next few days or so.
To celebrate this momentous occasion, we're going to have a chatroom live for all of you to join in on as the show goes on and share your theories, reactions, and opinions in real-time.
Click here to enter the chatroom.
Okay, okay, okay. Since this is the first time I've ever written up a series finale before, it seems it has to be handled a little differently. I went into tonight with a completely open mind, because I knew that a) David Chase always has something to amuse us all and b) this show has been such a monstrous success that I would have never expected to see any sort of letdown.
Based on the immediate reaction I had when the show ended, I imagine that when the executives at HBO screened the finale, did they all excuse Mr. Chase from the room and then begin throwing crudites around, all while holding their heads and screaming "why, why?" After sitting on it almost half an hour now, I think there's something to be said about the ending, if only that there are so many possibilities of how this series could have finished off, or how fans would have liked it to be finished, that the lack of all things could be viewed as the "perfect" ending, as has been stated and suggested.
The most obvious ending to the show is that it was, as a number of commenters here have suggested - and makes perfect sense - is that it's simply "lights out" for Tony, maybe from the direction of the restroom, or the table across the floor, or the guys who just walked in. There's no need to preface everyone's death. In fact, think about what had just happened a few minutes earlier in the show Phil got popped by a gun behind him, and never saw it coming. For Tony to die the same death would have made perfect sense. The simplest explanation is usually always the best one, no? More intriguingly, to be honest, is whether Meadow saw it all happen as she ran into the shop.
That said, and while I've already seen dozens of people talking about how this was just what they'd have expected out of Chase & Co., and that there was some quality and value there. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that the masses of people who watch this show are going to be as interested in this type of "ending" as others with different opinions on flim and storytelling might, for instance. What can be said, on top of it all, is that St. Elsewhere's finale, Dallas's "Who Shot J.R.?" and a number of other finales and random occurrences in television history have pretty much been wiped out of the top spot.
So, should we all be impressed or saddened that things ended this way? I mean, we were all speculating, sitting on the edges of our chairs over the last few weeks just waiting for what would come next. It's obviously what HBO, David Chase, and the cast and crew of the show wanted - the "perfect ending." Personally, I feel a bit hurt because while this show is (or should be) completely fresh in my mind from tonight, I'm really having a hard time stepping away from the last few moments and into what was the beginning of the end.
It's funny, because if you start to look at every other point that happened during this particular episode, and those prior, the fact that they're being pushed away so hard in our minds might be the real root of what we were supposed to be thinking about. Seriously, though. Phil being taken out wickedly, in public (by a guy named Walden, no doubt) was something we'd be discussing for weeks, if not longer, especially after the SUV squashed his head, making that kid toss his cookies in the parking lot. Speaking of SUVs, did you notice the bashing of the SUV throughout this week, too? A.J. had nothing good to say about them, especially after he and Rhiannon almost died in his, Phil had his little run-in, and I mean, who wants to be so dependent on foreign oil?
But, back to perspective, however. Our own Jay Black passed along a theory that was given to him, that the ending was completely a metaphor for how Tony had been living his life. You know, how no matter what, that someone was always out to get him. He's gotta check the front door of an ice cream place every time the bell rings not because he's expecting his family, but because you never know what someone's coming to take your life. As abrupt as that ending was (I still prefer the "lights out" explanation), this is totally plausible and at the very least, gave us the Tony Soprano point of view for a little while, making us realize what it's like to be him, something we've seen from the "outside" all along. It also lends a lot of creedence to the "think up your own ending" commentary that a lot of people are discussing online tonight.
Love or hate the ending, I think we can't overlook the fact that the idea that Tony was popped and that he, along with the show, died a quick death that came out of nowhere. It doesn't mean that since 1999, we haven't gotten to see one of the most well-written, well-casted, and well-filmed shows ever to hit the small screen. From Tony's real family to his "other" family, there have been some amazing ups and downs that have always made us stop and think for a moment. Why can't the show end with that same exact thing, just magnified a few thousand times? I'm not saying I agree with the decision or not, but it's a big leap to condemn what this show has been all about for the last 7 years.
I'm giving tonight's finale a 5 on the TV Squad scale. I really got into how things went with Phil and the runaround that was had with the New York crew. Heck, the realization that Little Italy had been pushed into a small area in New York City even made us realize how thought out this show was. All that said, though, it might go down as one of the more off-putting series finales we've ever seen as television viewers, but you can't say for one moment that HBO and David Chase aren't going to have us screaming their names (even in vain) over the next few days, weeks, and months. And hell, we'll all remember the statement that got cut off at series' end, "Don't Stop..."
|Tony was shot (lights out)||1667 (26.0%)|
|The place was blown up||100 (1.6%)|
|My cable went out||1278 (19.9%)|
|A plane crashed into Bloomfield, New Jersey||26 (0.4%)|
|The feds rushed in and took A.J. as a terror suspect||18 (0.3%)|
|Uncle Junior wheeled in and exclaimed 'I remember where the money is!'||55 (0.9%)|
|Nothing. The Sopranos ate their onion rings and went home.||2990 (46.6%)|
|Tony wakes up||284 (4.4%)|