So, the grand series finale of The Sopranos is about to happen and the dedicated viewing public awaits it with bated anticipation. The big question: Will Tony get whacked?
The great war, created over a long-standing dispute between Mafia family leaders Phil Leotardo and Tony Soprano and exacerbated by some recent machinations over asbestos removal racketeering and assorted inter-family violence, pits the Brooklyn family headed by Phil against the New Jersey family headed by our hero, Tony. Phil, having decided that the situation is completely untenable, has ordered a hit on Tony and his top lieutenants.
In last Sunday’s episode, Phil’s guys got to Tony’s brudder-in-lawr and to Tony’s right-hand man, Silvio. The brudder-in-lawr was slain in a hobby shop while buying a toy train. Sil (whose actor, Stephen Van Zandt has been known to play guitar with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band as “Little Stevie”) got his in a car. He’s currently unconscious and not expected to recover. All dis has sent Tony and his remaining henchmen to da mattresses. They are hiding out until this thing is over.
Before these latest, most significant hits happened, Tony was apprised of the contract on his head by an FBI agent who used to watch Tony but who has been reassigned to terrorist surveillance detail. Reacting to the contract, Tony ordered a hit on Phil, calling in a couple of goombas from Sicily to take him out. However, a case of mistaken identity by the boys from the old country botched the job in a move reminiscent of Jimmy Breslin’s The Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight, whacking a Ukrainian guy and his daughter instead of Phil and his mistress.
The troubles are mounting for Tony. They’re coming at him from all directions. Tragically, his psychiatrist for seven years, the formerly very sympathetic Dr. Melfi (played by Lorraine Bracco), turned on him. She was conflicted due to influence by her mentor and her peers, who maintained that sociopaths essentially fake empathy and compassion. She even mockingly employed some foul language as she told Tony to take a hike. The problem here is that Dr. Melfi knows too much. Will she breach the confidential patient-therapist relationship and rat Tony out to the FBI?
Tony has problems in his immediate family, too. His son, A.J., attempted suicide when his Puerto Rican babe left him high and dry. A.J. is turning into a save-the-whales tree hugger, just what every heir to a Mafia family should be. He gave Tony his typical spoiled, brooding kid crap when Tony told him to pack his bags and join his mudda in hiding, and I really wanted Tony to kick the shit out of him for it. He came close. Who da hell has the patience for whining kids when ya gotta Phil Leotardo button-man on your ass?
So, with all this going on and Tony now on the lam, what will Sunday’s big conclusion bring? Will the last blast series finale fizzle, like Seinfeld, or score big points, like Newhart?
The possibilities are endless, but I don’t think there will be any happy endings here. As Phil said in the last episode, “[Tony] has never served time. Not really.” Serving time is a major possibility if Dr. Melfi blabs to the FBI.
I don’t think Phil will whack Tony’s immediate family, because of the unwritten code stating dat you leave families alone (you just make a lot of widows and fatherless children).
An interesting possibility is that with everything up in the air and the world closing in on him, Tony offs himself. Last Sunday, as he retired in the safe house, he waved a shotgun around suggestively like he was about to pull a Papa Hemingway on himself, before going to sleep hugging the weapon. Recall that a few episodes ago Tony had a moment on the boat with Paulie during which he contemplated suicide.
What do I think? I think that no matter which way it ends, the writers will make it ironic. Tony will establish his empathetic and compassionate side, perhaps even renouncing his past, before either dying or going to prison for a long time.
Who will head the family with Tony out of the picture? Not Paulie—he’s been prone to reminiscing about the past, and although close to the top and the toughest of the old guard, he’s no longer suited for leading the gang. Besides, he’ll be dead shortly. Not A.J., because he’s just a wimp who is destined to be the next Ralph Nader. Here’s a longshot for you: Meadow, Tony’s hot looking daughta. I know, I know—how the hell could a woman head a Mafia family? Well, a couple of things, here. First, Hollywood would love to break through the old Mafia tradition dat broads stay outta da family business. Last year, it was homosexuals, as Fat Vito came outta da closet; this year, it will be women, as their final statement will be putting a broad in charge. In doing so, they’ll have asserted subliminally that Hillary Rodham can and should be our next Presidentess. (Yeah, right. A broad for POTUS—as if! What’s next? Rosie O’Donnell for Secretary of State? Gimme a freakin’ break!) Second, Carmela made such a big deal about Meadow dating some character named Daniel Parisi that maybe this Parisi character will wind up being the front man for the head woman behind the scenes. Finally, Meadow is the only major character left standing after Tony, Phil, Carmela, Paulie (who will probably take a bullet himself), and the aforementioned simpering wimp A.J.
Meadow’s first act as capa will be to merge the New Jersey family with the Brooklyn family, as crazy Paulie will have personally whacked Phil Leotardo before falling on his sword, leaving Brooklyn leaderless. Her second act will be to purge all the potty-mouths from the combined families. Profanity is just not nice. Finally, she will appoint A.J. as Vice-Capo for Environmental Affairs and Uncle Junior as Vice-Capo for Mental Health. In concert, they will clean up all the remaining asbestos in da city and environs while taking control of the mental health industry. One remaining hit will be ordered before murder becomes a no-no in da family. In a uniquely unexpected twist, look for Michael Moore to get whacked.
OK, so that’s my wacked out scenario. What’s yours?