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June 12, 2007

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SidSeizure

A couple of points. First, I think Simmons is dead on when he says that even if you like the artistic value of the ending, the execution of the fade to black clearly could have been better. Half of the country thought their cable boxes went out. Might have been a good idea, but it should have been done in a way that didn't leave millions of jaws on the floor wondering "wtf?". As for interpretations of the final scene, I think Chase intentionally left lots of little clues and symbols intended as misdirection, so that we'd all spend months analyzing the final episode/scene trying to figure out what it really meant. If you read many of the online forums the theories running out there today are numerous and far out there. I've seen quotations from Shakespaere, Dante, theories of dream sequences, Tony's death, etc. And they all have some clue from the episode to back up these theories. People are analyzing the lyrics to the song on the jukebox, and the titles of the other songs he passed over. Apparently the FBI guy's line "We're gonna win" is a direct quote from a real FBI guy involved in the Columbo crime-family wars of the '80s. I'm sure people who know the real history of THAT understand the true significance of that line. I read one guy suggest that the way they all ate the onion rings in the last scene was exactly the way Catholics eat the wafer when taking communion. Bottom line, I think Chase wanted us all coming up with these wild theories, without any definitive answer to satisfy us. Maybe Tony's really dead (he didn't see it coming, everything just faded to black), maybe life does just go on with Tony constantly in fear, maybe it was all a dream sequence Tony has while asleep on the bed at the end of the penultimate episode. Bottom line, I think Chase wanted all this speculation with no clear answer.

Bill

Check out this article from the Star-Ledger that interviews David Chase -- he explains a lot here and I think the Theory #1 that the article writer attempts is exactly what I was trying to say (although perhaps not as elegantly).

http://www.nj.com/columns/ledger/sepinwall/index.ssf?/base/columns-0/1181623651270570.xml&coll=1

Bill

The link is too long on the above post... so click on my name below here to get to the Star-Ledger interview. It's very informative.

Zack

Personally, I loved the last episode, and just don't understand how someone can watch the Sopranos over the years and then want/expect something conclusive at the end. This wasn't a "whack-a-week" mobster drama; the whole show was about this great, ever-expanding space that grows between people, and the Mob-tribal dynamic that fights that. I think the whole episode was about that inescapable distance, and it's something that's finally caught up with Tony after 7 years. His best friend is gone, and every member of his family is moving on with their own things--AJ is on his (insanely funny) idealist tangent; Meadow is starting a new life; Carmela is busy with the remodel. Even Dr. Melfi is out of the picture.

I think the most poignant part of the whole episode (and maybe, the entire show) was Tony's visit with Uncle Junior. It just shows the continuance of this idea. Just as his Uncle and father, Tony will fade away, eventually to forget and be forgotten. I think Chase, who grew up around these kind of people in Jersey, is saying that there's nothing left to say--that the lives of these people just flicker out in their lack of meaning.

It's very possible that the sudden black at the end simply means that the diner blew up (which I was almost certain was going to happen, Meadow being the sole survivor), or that, in true Godfather fashion, the sketchy man at the counter went to the bathroom to retrieve a pisto; the silence at the end credits (the first time in the series without music, right?) could even lead to this, going back to when Bobby and Tony talked in the first season of the sudden quiet of death. But, I think that Chase meant more here, that the tale just ends because the characters succomb to the blackness of their lives. 7 years and they are all left fairly unchanged.

I don't believe that the end was a McGuffin meant to get the audience talking, or even a set up for the much-hyped-yet-hardly-probable Sopranos film. I think that Chase is done with Tony Soprano; it all depends on his future in other projects. But, for the sake of this brillant ending, I hope this is the last of the Sopranos.

homeowners association

That story arc got explained and ended when Phil got killed and Harris exclaimed "we're going to win!" So I think that worked.

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