The Sopranos Ends Without Even Fading to Black


David Chase just was not up to doing justice to all the hype created by the talk of the series finale to The Sopranos. Possibly there was no ending which could have really been totally satisfactory. Some loose ends were tied up, including the war with Phil. We get an idea of how Tony’s organization will go on with the loss of some of the top lieutenants. There is closure of sorts to the story with Uncle Junior, and we see what A.J. and Meadow will be doing at least in the immediate future.

I feel David Chase was toying with us in the final minutes. So much was done to create a feeling of imminent dread, and then nothing. Literally nothing. We are left to imagine our own endings. The other patrons of the diner who were made to appear ominous may or may not have threatened or even killed Tony. Assuming he lives, Tony has a legal battle ahead which he may or may not win. There’s sure plenty of material left for a movie if that is the goal. It may also increase sales of the DVD assuming that the other two filmed endings are included in the hopes that one of them will be more satisfactory. It is not even known if the other potential endings provide a finale for the scene in the restaurant, showing whether Tony gets whacked, or if they show a totally different situation.

Ending the series by having life go on without a clean ending would have been fine. The problem is the manner in which this was done. Viewers shouldn’t have been left with the first reaction consisting of wondering if their cable went out. Fading out over a scene of a family dinner might not have created as much internet buzz tonight, but would have been a more conventional way in which to end. But then David Chase never wanted to be conventional.

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Cable Finales: The Sopranos and The Tudors

There are two major finales on cable television tonight, The Sopranos and The Tudors. Both involve families which are greedy, dysfunctional, and power-hungry. The Sopranos is receiving by far the most discussion, due to both being a series finale and being a far more significant landmark in television history.

The Sopranos probably did more than any other show to make pay cable an important medium, even if the audience is smaller, making more recent shows such as The Tudors possible. Thanks to On Demand I have already seen the excellent season finale for The Tudors, but the ending for The Sopranos remains a mystery. While I have previously discussed it briefly, I am reluctant to try to predict how tonight’s finale will end. My guess is that, in order to both preserve the reputation of The Sopranos as a ground breaking work, and to keep the sales of those DVD’s going, David Chase will come up with something to surprise everyone.

One reason that it is difficult to predict what will happen is that, as in real life, David Chase often leaves plot threads out hanging with no conclusion. Sometimes subplots are predictable. There was little doubt that we would eventually see a gang execution of Vito for being gay, as opposed to a spin off entitled Vito in Vermont. There are so many elements hanging that it is hard to predict if they will play into the war between the New York and New Jersey mobs, or even if this will be the final conclusion.

We’ve seen from the start that A.J. is a failure, and continued to feel this even when he briefly had a job and a girl. A.J. hit a new bottom with his botched suicide attempt, and he may or may not play a part in Tony’s fate.

The subplot on terrorism may provide justification for a deal between Tony and the F.B.I. There are theories that Tony will wind up in a witness protection program. Under normal circumstances this is unlikely as Tony is the type of big shot they make the deals to bring down. However, what if there is a connection between Phil and the terrorists? Phil certainly stands to profit from rebuilding parts of New York following an attack. If so, this could provide reason for the government to be willing to make a deal with Tony to bring down Phil, finding Tony’s crimes of less significance.

If we are considering informants and witness protection, Adriana comes to mind. We were reminded with a recent replaying of her final scene that she is seen crawling off, but we never actually see her death. If Sylvio showed mercy, or she was saved, it is possible she has been feeding the F.B.I. information. I haven’t been a follower of the “Adriana is alive” theories, but there may be a reason they replayed this scene recently.

If we are to consider recent subplots, I can see the worst possible ending for The Sopranos. Imagine the protests of fans if it turns out that the salesman of Tony’s hospital halucinations is real and the rest is really the dream. Such an ending worked wonderfully in Newhart, and to a lesser degree in St. Elsewhere, but I cannot imagine doing this with The Sopranos which worked due to its feeling of authenticity.


The Tudors provides an excellent season finale, but as it loosely deals in history there are no major surprises. We see a final attempt by Cardinal Wolsey to regain power with disastrous results. My impression of A Man For All Seasons will never again be the same after seeing how Thomas Moore responds to differing religious views. We see much in this episode which I bet foreshadows major developments for next season with regards to both religion in England and Moore’s personal fate.

The major story line this season dealt with Anne Boelyn, and this remains important in the finale. Anne Boleyn shocks many in wearing royal purple, but those aware of history will find this perfectly understandable. If you only watch the ads for The Tudors you might get the impression that this is more soft core porn than historical drama. While Anne continues to string Henry along, the male fans who have felt Showtime has been stringing them along with the previews will be more satisfied than Henry with the conclusion of the season.

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