More on the Sopranos

Given the amount of buzz, heartbreak, despair, and accolades David Chase's finale of the Sopranos has garnered, it must be considered a stunning success. I am not (yet) of the opinion that Tony died at the end, probably at the hands of the Members Only jacket guy, but this argument here has me half-convinced. [NOTE: I read somewhere that "Members Only" was the title of the episode where a hit was attempted on Tony in Season 1, but it's actually the name of the episode where Tony was shot by Uncle Junior]

What Metcalfe says about Meadow is also interesting. Meadow and AJ have been the most hated of the Sopranos characters, because most of their screen time has been spent being burdens to their parents. However, it should be noted that if Meadow IS different, that she can be like Tony's younger sister Barb and have a normal life, then perhaps the fact that she was having trouble parking her Lexus is a clue. It could be interpreted as her discomfort with her parents ill-gotten luxury...Meadow doesn't really know how to handle the car, and she can't seem to make it fit properly into the parking space, despite ample room. In contrast, previously 20 year old AJ zipped along in his new BMW to pick up his 16 year old girlfriend.

Chase has always toed the line with being willfully obscure and/or haphazard -- for example, he throws characters into the show, not even giving them a name, then having them be the focus of an episode a few shows later (my favorite is the dude who hung himself over the inheritance in Season 6; the first we saw him, he was throwing a glass in the face of another mobster at the construction site in Season 5. In the inheritance episode, not only is he told by Tony that he can't retire, but the FBI tells him to stick around, too...like he really thought the FBI would let him go??). Or episodes go off on tangents that seem to only incidentally reveal or deepen character (the Pine Barrens episode, Vito's trip to NH, the coma dreams, etc.).

Consider too, the episode Kennedy and Heidi, where Tony kills Christopher. First, we know the names of the girls in the car because how? Because they address each other by name--only for the audience's benefit. And then Tony dreams of a meeting with Melfi and then actually has a meeting with Melfi where he basically says the same thing; of course in the dream he is more open, but you could easily get his meaning from the "real" interaction. This episode is just a prime example of how Chase can mix brilliance with basic Writing 101 mistakes.

I'm not sure the Sopranos would be better if it stripped away the excess and stuck to a more propulsive story theme season to season, like The Shield. There are so many great moments in those episodes. I do wonder, though, if the Sopranos went on too long. There did seem something rushed about the last season, despite its length.

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