Sunday night was the last time we’re going to see Tony Soprano (probably), and I want to make a brief defense of David Chase and company for how they decided to end the program. I’ve read and heard all the people who are upset at the way Chase ended The Sopranos, and that reaction has me confused. Do people realize what’s happened during the six seasons leading up to this moment (captured in the photo to the right)? I can’t say that all of the episodes were of the same quality, but this last episode really did wrap-up the story. The end was . . . there is no end. Tony and “this thing” they have goes on, unchanged, because the nut of it is they are cowards.
I agree with the response by David Chase after the finale aired: “I have no interest in explaining, defending, reinterpreting, or adding to what is there.”
Did people really think the end of the show would be Tony’s death in a blaze of glory (gory)? I didn’t. Chase wanted to do something different than most television; he wanted to short circuit our expectations for how television could or should be, and that last look did say it all. There have been many themes during The Sopranos run, and I found it awe inspiring that Chase was able to address each of these in the last episode.
Tony’s last glance holds a lot of meaning for me. Is that Meadow walking through the door? That isn’t clear because you never actually see her coming through the door, only approaching the door (unlike A.J., who we see walk through the door). And who were all those other people the camera (and Tony) focuses on? I think those people are all potential enemies of Tony and “his thing”: FBI agents, rivals from New York, black people, excreta. The all sort of resemble former enemies. Now look at that image capture again; is that a look of happiness at seeing his daughter? No. But that’s the look he will always have when the door opens; nothing changes because Tony is not strong enough and he is a sociopath (which Dr. Melfi finally realizes after being seduced by his charm for so long).
No, I’m glad Chase didn’t end the show like the ending of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.