I listen to the radio going to work in the morning and today the airwaves were filled with analysis of the closing episode of The Sopranos. Everyone seemed to have an opinion, even, as I was to discover later, Joe Carter at Evangelical Outpost. The fascination and interest in this dysfunctional crime family made the HBO series the most famous in television history. Everything else, even Seinfeld, are in the minor leagues by comparison.
I have not watched the Sopranos in ages. While I admit the writing, acting and directing were excellent, and you could argue it was really a morality play (a bit of a stretch, but some have argued it), the whole thing got to be too much for my moral/visual filter to handle. However, despite not watching the program, the general entertainment milieu guaranteed that I would be kept abreast of the happenings on the show. Over the last few weeks, after hearing the gist of the final season unfold, I came up with my own “ideal” ending, which I adjusted this morning based on what happened in the finale.
I thought a fitting ending to the show would have been as follows:
I would have had Tony killed in a holdup at the restaurant. In the closing scene where everyone is wondering who is going to come through the door, I would have had it be two thugs who have come to rob the restaurant. Then, Tony being Tony, he can’t keep his ego in check (“What do you think you are doing? Do you know who I am?” “No! Why should I care?” Bang! Bang!) and he ends up getting shot.
As the two robbers leave, clutching the register receipts, and Tony’s bloody Rolex, which they callously removed from his wrist, he lays gasping for breath on the floor. The family rushes over and gathers around Tony who is shown on the floor bleeding to death from two chest wounds. The camera moves in and rotates vertically, focusing on a high shot, which slowly moves in on Tony’s face as his eyes, wide at first, slowly go dark as the scene fades out, both by the screen getting smaller and smaller and getting darker (symbolic move to insignificance).
In the end, after all the manipulations, power assertions, whacking of others, and the search for individual significance through a life of crime, the big gumbo is killed by a common punk who didn’t even know who he was during a run of the mill robbery. It would have been so poetic, so perfect an ending, at least for me.
But then I am not the writer.