June 11, 2007

The Sopranos - Made In America - Episode 86 - A Few More Thoughts

There are definitely spoilers to follow in this post and the one I wrote last night which appears right after this one, so if you haven't yet seen the finale - Stop Reading Right Now.

Here are some random thoughts with regard to the final episode of the Sopranos

After AJ's SUV blew up and his parents bawled him out for not being more responsible with his very unsafe catalytic converter (still don't understand this one), AJ discussed the incident with his therapist. It was the second time or third in the final episodes that AJ seemed positively delighted watching something violent happen in front his eyes. You may recall how excited he was when AJ participated in the maiming of that poor college kid who owed the two Jasons money for a football bet. And I seem to remember AJ laughing at the same kid coming to school a few days later on crutches. I may be reading into that behavior but it reminds me how often Tony turns to violence to relieve his own feelings of frustration.

After Bobby's funeral, Janice goes to see Junior in the institute where he's wasting away into nothing. She told him that Bobby had died. I thought it was because Bobby was like a son to Junior but it turns out she was just trying to get at Junior's money. Now that Bobby's dead, she needs a new ATM. This thought was confirmed when Janice tells Tony that now she has to find a a new husband. She laughs it off as a joke that only Tony would understand, but Tony knows it's not a joke. When Tony asked Janice about Bobby's kids, she was willing to let Bobby's son go live with an aunt, but wanted to keep Bobby's daughter around because her own daughter was so fond of her "big sister". She's a witch. When Tony realizes that Janice is going to ruin those kids and after Uncle Pat tells him that Janice is trying to get to Junior's money, he went to talk with Uncle Junior to make sure that he left his money to Bobby's kids but it's for naught because Junior has completely lost his mind. He became the crazy man he pretended to be to get out of being prosecuted.

I've read a few recaps and comments that suggest that characters who had died in episodes past were seen throughout all the scenes but I didn't see that. I could be wrong but I feel like a pretty dedicated and knowlegeable fan of The Sopranos.

The Blank Screen
I've also read a lot of theories about the blank screen at the end of the episode.

I agree with anyone who said that Chase left the ending up to the audience but I still believe it to be a big F--- You to his fans.

Even if nothing happened, he should have just ended his story.


NJWT said...

Well, "fuck you" to the audience is the most cynical explanation I've heard yet. That ending was brilliant, and demonstrated David Chase strutting his stuff as a film maker. He's able to pull suspense out of something as mundane as a three second sequence of someone parking a car with no context. He did it throughout the episode, never needing to build up to create expectations, and then making a complete left as to where the plot was going. He manipulated the audience throughout, and in the last five minutes laid it on incredibly thick, one lead on after the other. It's not an easy skill, and it also says something for the sharpness of the audience in being able to read foreshadows, and his ability to surprise. (as opposed to say, the OC, where Marissa's impending death at the end of the episode was obvious after about ten minutes)

The best explanation of the black out I've heard was that we were seeing Tony's murder - through his own eyes.

Valerie said...

Actually, it's not that hard to create suspense with good editing.

It wasn't brilliant. It was a cop out.

Walt said...

It was brilliant, it saved them a lot of money by doing it that way.

NJWT said...

You missed my point.

Gun Nut said...

Your point is well taken. Dave you are an extraordinary writer when you are inspired. I have not yet seen the show, but obviously the cleverly shrewd and mysterious ending, has left the door wide open for many possibilities.

Valerie said...

No. I got your point.

You believe that Tony died in that moment of darkness. He may well could have but we'll never know, because it wasn't shown and the conclusion was left up to the viewer.

I think he saw Meadow and continued eating onion rings, but I'll never know for sure because David Chase left it up to the viewer ultimately.

So. Believe me. I got your point. I just don't agree with you.

Danielle said...

I agree with you, Val. We, the audience, got whacked. While I think the paranoia-inducing device that Chase used for the final three minutes was effective - we get to feel what it's like to walk in the shoes (or sit in the seat at Holsten's) of Tony Soprano for a short time - it was still a cop out of an ending. I wanted an ending worthy of a series finale, and that wasn't it.

Walt said...

It's an old trick of the trade, and it still works very well. Only time will tell if it's really the end.