by Mike MacLean
If you haven’t heard about the Soprano’s finale perhaps you should crawl out of that cave you’re living in for a little sunlight. For you, my pasty skinned friends, I respectfully offer this SPOILER ALERT.
The whole season, I’d anxiously waited to find out Tony’s fate. Would he end up in prison? The grave? Maybe he’d wind up in a white-bread suburb somewhere, a guest of the witness protection agency. Sunday night all my questions would be answered. I couldn’t wait.
As the final minutes ticked off, the tension was masterfully brought to slow boil—impending doom contrasted brilliantly with cheesy 70s arena rock. Then the music cut out and the screen went to black.
Instantly, I fell into the stages of grief. Shock. ANGER! Despair. I didn’t make it to acceptance. Perhaps I never will.
I’m not someone who needs to be spoon-fed his fiction. Writers don’t need to provide all the answers. It’s far more gratifying to interpret and speculate. Why were there so many oranges in film version of The Godfather? Why does Hannibal Lecter really agree to help Clarice? What’s with Hemmingway and the bulls?
And the Sopranos finale surely created a buzz of speculation. It brought the audience into the creative process, allowing them fill in their own blanks and to create their own ending.
Was this a brilliant, thought-provoking move, or was it a cop out?
I’d like to don my artsy-fartsy, literary cap and vote brilliant. But the storyteller in me leans towards cop out.
David Chase is obviously a fantastic writer who has given us a groundbreaking show. After several remarkable seasons, he must have faced tremendous pressure to create a fitting ending. In the end, he didn’t do his job. He brought us to the edge of our seats, made us sweat, and then failed to finish the story.
You might say it was a bold, artistic move on Chase’s part, but I wonder if fear didn’t rear it’s ugly head. Tony’s final chapter couldn’t live up to expectations, so he put the burden on us, the viewers.
Of course, that’s just my opinion. And you know what they say about opinions. Whatever the case, I still thank Chase and HBO for a great show that raised the bar for TV storytelling.
So I ask you murder fans, what did you think of the ending? Would you have written it differently? And of course, what do you think was Tony’s fate?