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Sleeping with the Fishes

Like everyone else, Kelly and I watched the final Soprano's episode last night. The thing I always like about the Soprano's is that it is "layered" television. Sometimes, actually most times, absent a second or third viewing plus some thought/ reflection, you don't "get" everything that happened. But then once you do, it's great.

Last night's episode was like that for me. At first, the whole, cut to black thing left me confused, shocked, disappointed, etc. But, after some thought, I think I get it. And now I think it was a brilliant way to end the show.

Tony and company have let us follow them in their world for the past 8 years. During that time, just like in our own lives, people and situations come and go. And just like in real life, regardless of what happens, life goes on. And that's the dilemma they faced here. Just because the show was ending, doesn't mean all of the world's of Tony and company could be neatly resolved through a single event. Say for instance, that instead of last night's show, Tony got hit or arrested? Would that have "properly" ended the Soprano's? No. You would still have no idea what happened to Carmela or Benny or Paulie, etc. Their world's would have continued and gone unresolved.

The fact that this was the last episode of the series meant that there was really only one presence that had to be removed from this world. Ours. And given this was a mob drama, how do you get rid of someone you don't want around any more? Of course, you whack them. So true to form, they created a scene where tension ran high, lots of shady characters around and then bam...cut to black. We, the viewer, got whacked. If you could've filmed the scene in the gas station from Phil Leatardo's perspective, it probably would've looked exactly that way to him.

So rather than trying to tie up a million loose ends in 60 minutes, the Soprano's did what they always do - they let us know the world goes on. We just won't be around to see it anymore. Like Richie Aprile, Ralphie, Big Pussy, Jackie Jr, Bobby, Livia, etc., etc., tonight we, the viewer, sleep with the fishes.


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Comments (1)


Well said Mikey. I, for one, thought the cable went out. Seriously. While initially frustrated, I quickly came to appreciate the masterful final 5 minutes. Let's break it down to the bare essentials, Tony didn't know this was the last episode, only the viewers did. Therefore, to us, simple acts like strangers coming into the diner, Meadow trying to parallel park, and a guy going to the bathroom were maddening. I was about to start pacing! All because we expected SOMETHING to happen. I agree that D. Chase didn't want to take the easy way out by killing a few, some or all, so he took the difficult (yet intelligent way out). Life goes on. That's Chase the artist.

As for Chase the business man, I know it's been said that there will be no movie, but man o man did he create a lottery ticket for himself last night. The new and incomplete storylines from last night alone include: Tony about to be indicted, the revelation that Junior has a nice stash of cash somewhere (and he may not be crazy), Meadow is going to work for the law firm that is handling a fraud case involving Tony's political connection, Paulie is clearly waivering, Silvio is still alive, the terrorist angle, Agent Harris is waivering, Janice is in search of revenge, etc. In 5 or 8 years a movie would make a killing.

I also came across this interesting tidbit from Deadspin. I'm no Soprano's historian to know if its all accurate, but it's certainly food for thought:

"So here is what I found out. The guy at the bar is also credited as Nikki Leotardo. The same actor played him in the first part of season 6 during a brief sit down concerning the future of Vito. That wasn't that long ago. Apparently, he is the nephew of Phil. Phil's brother Nikki Senior was killed in 1976 in a car accident. Absolutely Genius!!!! David Chase is truly rewarding the true fans who pay attention to detail.

So the point would have been that life continues and we may never know the end of the Sopranos. But if you pay attention to the history, you will find that all the answers lie in the characters in the restaurant. The trucker was the brother of the guy who was robbed by Christopher in Season 2. Remember the DVD players? The trucker had to identify the body. The boy scouts were in the train store and the black guys at the end were the ones who tried to kill Tony and only clipped him in the ear (was that season 2 or 3?)."

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