Distraught is the only word that comes to mind regarding my state of mind at 9:59 last night. After an hour of heart pounding anxiety, what the heck happened?
On the way in I heard interpretations of people dumber and smarter than me. The former suggested that when all was said and done, the show ends with Tony sitting down to a nice meal with his intact family, having triumphed over Phil. This is idiocy to me. The Sopranos was all about what was just below the surface, and it makes no sense that they’d abandon this in the show’s final moment.
The latter reminded me that Tony always said you never saw it coming, and that the show was always told from Tony’s perspective. Last night the last thing we heard was meadow opening the door, and a pop… then blackness. Silence.
Was that what Tony saw? Was the silence Tony’s own death?
That the fate of this character remains open to interpretation by Ph.D. candidates is further testament to the fact the The Soprano’s, IMHO, is the greatest show in the history of television. Crap dominated TV when the Soprano’s premiered 7 years ago… now there are complex, deep and insightful dramas on every network. The reason is that the Soprano’s made it cool for artists to come back to TV, and raised our collective expectations of what could be done.
So what’s my theory on the ending?
I think Chase was saying all that needed to be said at the end of this opus… that something really bad is about to happen to Tony, and it doesn’t matter what. Think of the last few hours of the show. It’s a litany of the bad things that happen to people who live like Tony lives. Christopher is killed by his best friend. Sil is hooked up to a ventilator. Phil (in my personal favorite outcome) has his head crushed in an SUV with his grandkids in the back (twisted, but brilliant.) We’re teased with the possibility of turning state’s evidence in Tony’s relationship with the FBI agent. Even Paulie gives us the rundown on everything bad that happened to the heads of Vito Spatafore’s old crew.
Will Tony go to prison? Is the guy in the hat putting milk in his coffee a cop? Are the group of kids who walked in about to shoot up the whole joint? Is the guy who walked into the men’s room going to walk out, whack Tony and his whole family?
One of those things is going to happen, either in this restaurant, tonight, or in another one not far down the road. In the end of real consequence of Tony’s choices is that – while the details remain open – only bad things can happen to him and his family.
Tragic. Genius. We are all better for having had The Sopranos, and less for not having it anymore.