Monday, June 11, 2007

The Sopranos' Swan Song

In the moment, it was a "WTF???" The cut-to-black was so "cut" and not "fade", that I (and everyone else I know) was cursing the cable company, the DVR, and HBO... not sure which one had fucked up. It wasn't until the credits began to roll that I realized I had been whacked by David Chase.

I was pissed off. I had my own version of what was going to become of Tony Soprano: He was going to "flip", feed his Fed friend everything he ever wanted, and ride off into the Witness Protection Program with his dysfunctional nuclear family, leaving his other family to rot in the can.

But no.... I didn't get my ending, nor did anyone who thought Tony was going to get popped in the end get theirs. Those who wanted the missing Russian to return as Tony's assassin were sorely disappointed as well.

In retrospect, however, I see Chase's brilliance. We were left wondering if there would be a Corleone move when the shifty guy came out of the men's room. Or, if we were simply getting a closeup view of what it must be like when you see every stranger as a potential threat, even when you're enjoying a couple of onion rings with the wife and kids. And Meadow's ineptitude at parallel parking could only mean that she would be either spared or killed as a result. But noooooooo...!

To his credit, David Chase gave us the HBO equivalent of a "make your own adventure" book. Sure, we know that part of his cleverness has to do with leaving the door open (and enough live characters) for a movie. Why else is Silvio still alive?

Still, although the general consensus was irritation, I believe this episode will go down in TV history as one of the most memorable and talked about series finales ever. And who knows... maybe when the DVD comes out there will be some alternate endings, giving all of us a peek at what our fantasy finale would have looked like. Now THAT would be fun.

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