Monday, June 04, 2007

The Sopranos: How Will It End?
Wow... the good just keeps getting better. Last night's penultimate episode of The Sopranos was full of blood, lies, and nostalgia. In other words, all the things we love the most about this show.

The last two seasons have been building to a major showdown between New York and New Jersey, but the series has been about many other things. Carmela's willingness to pretend everything's okay, just so she can continue to get the diamond bracelets, live in the big house, and have a nice life. Tony's longing for the way the Mob used to be, and wondering why he's stuck in the era of it all changing. The Soprano kids being pretty useless. Tony's soldiers having wavering loyalties, rather than an undying fidelity to their captain. Tony's sister requiring a good smack upside the head. Dr. Melfi's struggle with helping a criminal, and wondering if she's helping him at all.

In last night's episode, Melfi finally brings Tony's sessions to an end. It's an unfair moment for Tony. Yes, he's a criminal. But he's also suffering from a mental condition, and despite Melfi's arrogant shrink Elliott filling her head with the latest crack psychobabble from the journals, Tony is in need of therapy. Elliott is such a hypocrite, and always comes off as such. On the one hand, he makes Melfi feel guilty for being a doctor to a Mob boss. On the other hand, his eyes light up whenever she begins to talk about "Leadbelly," as Elliott referred to him, in her sessions with him. Her cutting the ties with Tony had less to do with what that journal said than her own psychiatrist filling her head with more craziness than was there to begin with. I'm assuming that's the last we see of Jen.

It's also the last we'll probably see of Charmaine and Artie, as Tony and Carmela dine in their establishment while Carmela keeps up the lies of her family. Tony's also been right alongside her with the lying, but even he raises an eyebrow when she begins going on about how AJ is doing great, Meadow is taking constitutional law, everything's going well for them, blah blah blah. Carmela's blindness to the truth could only be leading to something horrific happening to her -- or worse, her family -- in the finale.

Meanwhile, Tony orders his guys to make the first move on New Jersey, and take down Phil Leotardo once and for all. But that's not how it pans out. He brings in "cousins from Italy" (I was hoping to see Furio and was disappointed when we didn't. But then again, Tony's been looking for him... and not in a good way. So it was unlikely we were going to see him. The goobers that Tony DOES bring in, however, can't seem to tell one white-haired guy from another, and they kill the wrong guy, then send out a call saying the deed was done, but mention their curiosity about the fact Phil spoke Ukrainian. Duh. Only when the paper comes out the next day with a guy who looks remarkably like Phil, but isn't, splashed on the front cover, do Tony's guys know they've f-ed up in a seriously HUGE way.

Tony tells his guys to lay low, sending out a call to everyone. But Bobby doesn't get the call. As he's standing in a model train store, talking to the owner about how it would be great if something as classic as the Blue Comet still existed, which would have brought a better crop of people to NJ and NY, two NY guys come in and shoot him. And shoot him again... and again and again and again... In fact, one of the onrunning themes of this episode is how not only is the Mob losing its respect for the institution and hierarchies within it, but they're just lousy at what they do. In season 1, we saw Tony take a guy outside and kill him with piano wire. At the beginning of this ep, Sil walks into a guy's house, puts the wire around his throat and takes FOREVER to actually get the job done, smashing cabinets and slicing his own hand in the process. In the train shop, they shoot enough bullets to take out an army, not just Bobby.

They then head over to the Bada Bing to take care of Silvio, and they shoot him through the windows in the car, even though Patsy somehow gets away. Again they don't finish the job properly (the NY guys are no better then the Jersey ones), and leave Sil comatose with little chance of recovery, with Patsy running through a back alley. Every single person in the Bada Bing comes out and watches them drive around the parking lot, and they make a mad dash to get back out on the highway, driving right over a motorcyclist in their haste. (Of all Tony's soldiers, Sil's always been my favourite, and I was so sad to see him go.)

The episode ends with Carmela and her kids holed up with Janice and Bobby's kids in Christopher's house (if only his wife knew how he'd died) and Tony, Paulie, and a couple of extra guys hiding out in what appeared to be Uncle Junior's house. Tony walks up to Uncle June's room, closes the door, and sits on the bed, in the very house where he was last shot and almost died. He pulls out the AK-47 that Bobby had given him for his birthday, and sits. And waits.

And now... so do we. Will Tony die? Will AJ die? Phil said no one was off-limits, and that includes the Sopranos. Phil knows where Christopher lived, because he had flowers sent to her house when he died (and then commented on how she didn't immediately call to thank him). Will something happen to Carm? Will Carm kill Janice (now THAT I'd like to see)? Will Paulie survive? He's such a turncoat he'd go over to NY in an instant, but I don't think they'd allow that.

Is this the end of the Mob as we know it?

1 comment:

Samir said...

So sad that this series is coming to a close. Will Tony get bumped? I sure hope not, but everything seems to be leading up to this. Most of his regular loyalists are pretty much gone - who are those people with him in the house at the end?

The one thing I've found really annoying is what has happened to AJ. I understand he is a wreck - but c'mon! If my dad is an "unspoken" mob boss, and he comes in a tells me that shit has hit the fan and it's time to move, I think I'd move! I guess I was just always hoping that AJ would finally develop some balls!

For a little, it almost seemed like AJ was gonna slide into the family business in one way or another, but it was just a tease!

I can't help but wonder which way Paulie will swing? Will he stay loyal and get whacked, or could he possibly even betray? As we saw when they were last together on a boat, Paulie was having his doubts about whether Tony was gonna have him swimming with the fishes. Of course, no one showing up to his mom (or aunts) wake could have been the final straw that made him switch ships.... Such a weasel that Paulie!!