So, it looks as if my previous prediction as to the end of THE SOPRANOS is NOT going to come true. AJ is obviously still too fucked up to step up (how agonizing was the attempted suicide scene?). So what then? It does seem as if all signs are pointing towards Paulie Walnuts switching his allegiance to New York, due probably to nothing more than the poor showing at Nucci’s funeral. “It’s a fundamental lack of respect and I’m never gonna forget it,” swore Paulie. And what was up with him speeding off in his Cadillac when he saw the hitmen getting their instructions outside of the Bada Bing? And let us never forget his desire to go to New York in Season 4. While it’s been reported that Tony Sirico said he wouldn’t allow the character to be “a rat,” does that apply to switching families or just cooperating with the Feds (something Tony’s been doing, albeit in reference to Agent Harris’ Anti-Terrorism unit).
Phil Leotardo’s cross-Hudson underboss when New York fully integrates New Jersey’s activities and soldiers, what happens on Sunday in the final episode? Is he successful? Does the series end with its most sociopathic longtime character getting his way at long last? Does Tony die? At Paulie’s hand? Or does Tony figure it out in time? And even if he does, what happens? Paulie’s whacked and Tony’s left with a completely crippled family: Bobby and Chris are dead, Silvio’s in a coma from which he’s unlikely to recover… that primarily leaves Meadow’s potential future father-in-law Patsy and Carlo (whose cousin was just killed by Sil… is there a connection there, too?). So, is this the ultimate tragedy of The Sopranos? Not jail, not death, not Phil’s declared “decapitation” so much as a castration?
Regardless, odds are it’s going to be a hell of a finale. These last nine episodes have been across the board spectacular, with the tension, the shocks and the drama amped up with each successive episode.
My only complaint: I don’t buy Dr. Melfi’s dumping of Tony as a patient due to the study she read that says sociopaths use therapy to become better criminals, and for one key reason (which was the topic of discussion at last week’s Sopranos Sunday): Tony is not a sociopath. The entire concept of the series lies in the fact that Tony Soprano, despite being larcenous, murderous, selfish, violent and duplicitous, DOES have a conscience! That’s why he has the panic attacks! That’s why he’s in therapy! True, he’s been less than honest, and he’s not likely to ever be “cured,” but after sticking with him through some pretty rough shit, it felt like a forced cap to their story.
But that is, as I am fond of saying, a minor quibble. And while I am greatly looking forward to the final Sopranos Sunday (featuring a pot luck Italian dinner and semi-requisite costumes), it’s gonna be a sadder TV landscape when this show is officially a thing of the past.