Note:? It’s been weeks since I first watched the last episode of the Sopranos and I’ve been working on this post forever.? It’s taken me forever to write it and I may edit it later, but for now, here it is!
Journey? At this point I have to take a second look at everything I’ve ever seen in the opranos. David Chase looked us straight in the eye, cranked up Don’t Stop Believing, and kicked the teeth out of Sopranos fans everywhere.
Or he made the greatest television show of all time.
My impressions of the final episode and the entire season after the jump. Please don’t read it unless you’ve seen (almost) every episode.
In 1999 the Sopranos kicked off a movement on HBO that led to other great shows such as Six Feet Under, The Wire, Deadwood. I even loved Carnivale. I started watching Tony and his crew during the second season, which featured Richie Aprile’s return from prison and the arrival of Janice. Each show seemed to flawlessly execute the three goals of good “cinema”: Writing, acting, and directing. This was Goodfellas for the 21st century and it had unprecedented ratings for premium cable.
But eventually David Chase and a talking fish decided to see how far his audience would follow.
The first clue that the Sopranos was about to go from great to legendary should have been the dream sequence where Tony’s subconscious figures out his best friend is the FBI informant. Later on Chase uses dreams, narration, and odd visual cues in much more subtle ways to explore the motivations and true natures of the characters, but it all started with the talking fish.
Tony’s coma induced dream as salesmen Kevin Finnerty delved into parallel universes, cause and effect, fate vs free will, and how perceptions shape our reality.? The doctor’s pen light shining in his eyes and occasionally from a distant lighthouse was meant to say there is more out there than we see.? Tony later sees the signal again in the “real” world while on a drug infused fling in Las Vegas.? Does that mean he’s still in a coma, or is there a level above the real world like the real world above the Finnerty dimension?
The ending rocked.? Is Tony dead?? I can’t see how you could think anything else.? Either he was killed in the real world by a guy who just fetched a gun from the bathroom, ala Godfather, or he was still in a coma the whole time and finally died, or maybe it’s just the fact that the show has ended kills Tony for real.? The level above the “real” world is our real world.
Great stuff.? Best show ever.