The End of the Sopranos
The Sopranos ended this Sunday, not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with . . .
Nothing. A blank screen. I’ve been reading a lot of blog commentary, and some are arranging a hit on David Chase while others are extolling his brilliance. The best blog commentary on the ending I’ve read is the following:
Tonight’s episode was the series finale, but it wasn’t the end of anything. Chase’s chosen arc for this season was never about endings, because life is never about endings, really. It just ends, often suddenly, at some point, and people eventually move on.
Chase used television and mob movie conventions to make the viewer feel like all these threads were converging together, combining into some glorious pastiche of mob war and family strife and glorious death. When Tony fell asleep with the gun on his lap last episode, we expected that to be the image that took us to our finale, but ultimately that was a powerful, iconic image that meant almost nothing. Tony never fired that gun — or any gun — in this episode.
If the end was a let down, I’d argue that it was meant to be a let down. Because that’s what Tony’s life has been: a series of build-ups with no pay-offs, an ending cycle of violence and depression all building toward essentially nothing. His best end is a pathetic one, taken down by federal authorities, or shot in the head at a gas station like Phil Leotardo.
If that seems existential then, well, that’s The Sopranos, isn’t it?
So the ending was fitting, yet ultimately unsatisfying.