Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Sopranos Finale

After many years investing my time in "The Sopranos", it was time to cash out. The finale was much anticipated, especially considering the events taking place leading up to the finale.

But as the final moment of the final episode transpired, I, along with I'm sure millions of others who were watching, were left muttering - "What the hell?" or "Well, that was stupid!" or a combination of both.

I was left a little speechless. After all that time watching, that was the big finale?! That was my payout for all that time I had invested?!

Well, after several minutes of contemplating what had just transpired, I was left with one thought - "David Chase just made one of the most brilliant endings of any TV series!"

With so many people having so many theories of how this show should end; with so many other endings from other shows which could be copied; with so many people who could be let down by an ending that didn't suit their tastes; Chase went and created an ending for everyone!

How, you ask?

By letting the viewer create the ending in their own mind!

Depending on how each and every viewer sees the world, and depending on how events in each episode impacted that viewer over the years, will combine together and lead to the creation of whatever ending they create for themselves.

The way the ending was set up played on the aforementioned criteria brilliantly!

I'll explain (and if you haven't seen the episode yet - things are going to get a bit "spoiler-ish")...

The family gathers for a simple meal at a local diner (well, Meadow was a little late - but that works into the equation as well). A lone, older, white guy, comes in as well wearing a "USA" cap. The Italian guy with AJ gets up to go to the restroom as the ending gets nearer. A couple of African American/Middle Eastern looking guys walk in as well near the end. Also, as mentioned earlier, Meadow has a hard time getting her car parked which leads the viewer into thinking about all sorts of scenarios (depending on their outlook concerning the two criteria mentioned earlier). To top it off, Tony selects from the Jukebox, the song - "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey.

OK, here goes...

Depending on your view of the world and how you viewed events that took place in the series, what entered your mind when they would cut to the older white guy in the "USA" cap? Did you think he was an undercover law enforcer who was going to bust Tony? Did you think he might do something crazy and violent? Did you not think anything about him at all? I think it all depends on how you view the world and how events throughout the series impacted your thought process.

Depending on your view of the world and how you viewed events that took place in the series, what entered your mind when they showed the Italian guy that came with AJ, getting up (what looked like) to go to the restroom? Did you think he was going to betray the Soprano family? Did you think he was going to take out Tony right then and there? Did you not think anything about him at all? I think it all depends on how you view the world and how events throughout the series impacted your thought process.

Depending on your view of the world and how you viewed events that took place in the series, what entered your mind when they cut to the two young-ish African American/Middle Eastern-looking males walking into the diner? Did you think they were going to harm the Soprano family or Tony? Did you think they were going to blow up the diner? (This is where the thing with Meadow comes in - I have to admit, I thought the diner was going to blow up just as Meadow was crossing the street...so what does that say about me and my views on the world and how events throughout the series impacted my thought process? I guess a little prejudiced, actually, when it comes to my views on the world; and since Tony had been giving information to the Feds about the two Middle Eastern guys coupled with the way the whole scene was playing out, I thought the show might go out with a literal "BANG".) Did you not think anything about those two guys at all? I think it all depends on how you view the world and how events throughout the series impacted your thought process.

But the piece of brilliance that ties it all together is - the song. "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey.

With all the bad crap we see in our journey through this world - violence, greed, jealousy, deception, ignorance, etc.; with all the crap we saw happen to characters in their (and in a way, ours, as we watched) journey through the show - violence, greed, jealousy, deception, ignorance, etc.; at the end of the day, you just have to sit down with those that you love, enjoy the simple moments in life, and - "Don't stop believing". Don't stop believing that though there's a lot of crap in the world that can fertilize a bad outlook on the world and the people in it, it can also fertilize the growth of something good - it just depends on how you deal with the stench.

"Don't Stop Believing".
(A Journey song. Who would have thought?!)

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