I thought at first something happened to the feed and was going to call the cable company. Then I realized the writers had completely diverted from the predictions of the fans of the show. Tony getting whacked was out of the question and my thoughts that he'd take over New York as a triumph on the other hand was also not on their minds. This was a story of ordinary family supported by money from illegal means. Why shouldn't their ongoing dysfunction end on a mundane note. The diner, the onion rings, the song on the jukebox, the bad parallel parking, the mysterious man at the counter (probably thinking, "Hmm, isn't that Tony Soprano"), the final dialogue. I was more shocked by the ending than if there had been a big final hit or, a la "Six Feet Under," a future review of what happened in their lives. Except for the machinations of the mob, the violence, the intrigue, their lives end up being dysfunctionally ordinary.
I like the way it ended with the usual day-to-day of a family. I preferred that over some big shoot out. I just didn't like the deliberate five minutes of buildup. It was a way too obvious ploy and we, their loyal viewers, deserved better.
So, in my mind, when the scene went black I thought it was because Tony got whacked. It seems like they are leaving it up to our imaginations.
(I don't have cute little dots over my vowels to throw off the system.)
Oh, and what was the deal with meeting at an old diner for their last meal? No friggin' ziti? Ya gotta be kiddin' me! They go out eatin' friggin onion rings. Was there something to that that I am missing?
I thought there was plenty of symbolism in that very last scene, too. The man at the counter (wearing a "Members Only" jacket!?), David Chase making a cameo (guy in the ball cap), that painting/mural Tony stares at when he first walks in, the white haired Boy Scout leader...
Last 4.50 minutes....
Yeah, I enjoyed the juxtaposition with the boy scouts.
See, youre all only making the point that this show (and its finale) will be tsalked about for years and will be studied in film classes. (Or it should be). Chase has always manipulated us and not really given a damn about what we want.
Tony had always had 3 options
1 get whacked
2 go to jail
3 spend eternity with eyes in the back of his head.
Chase chose number 3.
Fuggedabout Phuggin CLOSURE, ATs Bullshit. Dis is life.
The ending grows on you , you either get it or you dont. Dont think too hard, its only a TV show .
Except there is a fourth -- the scenario I suggested of Tony taking over the New York mob (which would also be the "eyes in the back of the head"). The meeting took place but the results were different (or will they be?). The man going into the restroom was an homage to a scene from "The Godfather" when Al Pacino goes into the restroom, picks ups his hidden gun and goes out into the restaurant firing. In this imagined ending, the Sopranos are all gunned down with onion rings not even digested.
There was no way to end the series without leaving someone disappointed. I was not disappointed.
I don't need to see Tony get whacked to know he might end up whacked. I don't need to see him go to trial to know he might end up doing time. I don't need to see him age to know he could end up senile like Junior.
Neat endings don't happen very often in the real world. Or neat beginnings, for that matter; where you begin and where you end are really more or less arbitrary decisions necessary in a work of fiction, with no clear corollary to life as we know it.
I thought the tension in the final scene, the suggestion of a hit on Tony or Meadow having some kind of accident, was acute and spellbinding. Leaving all the possibilities all on the table, far from being a cheat, was true to the spirit of a show which has always resisted the paint-by-the-formula resolutions of the average television show, and allowed the show to go out on a grace note that surpassed settling on any of the particular options that were implied.
Tony's cozying up to the FBI agent could suggest a Joe Massino fate for him.
It's fun to extrapolate what will happen to the Sopranos and I agree with Greyfan -- I was glued to the screen expecting an FBI arrest or a whacking. I think I knew it was going to be neither but a scene similar to what other season endings left us with. That this looks like an opening for a movie, I wonder?
I just can't get past the fact that we have brilliant writers and this is the best they could do?
I'm sure that will be debated for years to come. If a movie is in the offing (!), I don't see how they can top the last decade of The Sopranos.
Couple of comments from yesterday's NYT
"This show was never what people expected," ~ Michael Imperioli
"We had a scene this season when Chris and I are talking in the bar about whatever happened to that Russian guy. And in the script we were supposed to go outside and there he was standing on the corner. But when we went to shoot it, they took it out. I think David didn't like it. He wanted the audience just to suffer
." ~ Tony Sirico
But here's the NYT take on the last episode. I must say, I agree -- there is no satisfactory ending, so BLACKOUT!
There is another option besides the movie. They had supposedly shot a host of possible endings, Can we expect a DVD that covers these options?
According to what I've read, they wrote only one ending -- I don't think Chase would create alternate endings for a DVD but it would sure sell that final season set, wouldn't it? I think the sardonic sense of humor dominated that cap -- the classic last line and blackout. Not nearly as classic as the last line and blackout in another mob movie, but a more outright comedy -- "Some Like It Hot," but rather in that spirit. There's more than a little influence of Billy Wilder in Chase's concept, probably more than "The Godfather" or "Goodfellas."
The man going into the restroom was an homage to a scene from "The Godfather" when Al Pacino goes into the restroom, picks ups his hidden gun and goes out into the restaurant firing.
And it seemed so lame. Of course we all remembered that scene. Why did they include it in the show? Because they wanted us to connect? And add to the suspense? Why?
I hear ya farmerman. End the end, it's only entertainment. But after going around and around on the final scene as I'm sure Chase and his people did, I think they eventually took a very cheap way out and I expected better of them.
I wokred sunday night.... I'm working day and night today.... I'm trying to rest at some point tomorrow and then going to Greensboro to work tomorrow night. Therefore at lewast Wednesday until I get to see it. I tried to avoid knowing, but... impossible. So I know what happens but don't get to see it unfold until Wednesday.
Yeah, PB, there should have been a S*P*O*I*L*E*R warning when the discussion of the final episode began.
As to the why Chase and Co. decided on this ending, it could have something to do with what the NYT article suggests -- that no imagined ending on forums, blogs, et al, would have really satisfied all the fans of the show.
They are probably secretly laughing at the controversy they knew would ensue. I love the ending even though at first it bowled me over. It's also a stimulant to go back and see the entire series from the beginning. The thread running through the entire story was the family ups-and-downs -- some who watched the show would be disappointed there wasn't some new inventive whack.
I really did love the ending. No neatness. Just the end as if the door were closed and we could no longer look in and watch these people's lives.
Some of the mob stuff was semitidy. The FBI telling Tony where to find Leotardo made me laugh out loud. When the G man assigned to his case cheered the hit, I laughed even louder.
But this show was mostly about family. A screwed up, neurotic, dsyfunctional family, whose members love one another. And that will go on. We just won't be there to see it. That's what the ending said to me.
If it's a setup for a movie or some such thing, then I say phooey. Otherwise I smile.