Post by Andrew
Anyone have any comments on that last episode? It definitely took me
some time to think over that final scene before I could process it, but
I think I've got a pretty good handle on what went down there....
rewatch the show for sure. There is nothing else like it , or anything
near as good. SFU was fun, but had a misogynist streak a mile wide,
and did foolish stuff with the characters, like trading personalities
of David & Keith from season one to two.
But as to your request for thoughts on the Sopranos, go to Google
Groups, and search the archived comments from the Sopranos group. I
participated there and used to write up a commentary & breakdown of
HBO lists the air date of any given ep, and plug in that date & the
next 3 or four to get a flaovr of what fans were thinking.
There is a lot of chaff with your wheat, but several thoughtful
posters as well.
I will end by offering my comment on that last episode:
Sopranos #86: Made In America
We open to the iconic recurring shot of Season 6, Tony recumbent, in
the same framing as when he was crippled and bleeding on Junior’s
linoleum. This time, he’s waking in the safe house to the strains of
Vanilla Fudge. They just “keep us hangin’ on”...
Then it’s night, a blustery winter night, and Paulie and Tony are
listening to doo wop, waiting on a meeting that’s over an hour late so
far. When the car pulls up, it’s Agent Harris of the FBI. Hearing
about the concentration on terrorism, Tony says “My kid’s obsessed wid
dis shit. We keep tellin’ him he’s making a molehill outta it. Is he
right?!” Tony fishes for info about Phil’s whereabouts, but Harris is
not talking about that.
Then it’s off with Bissell for a ride “down the shore”, which is
deserted in mid winter, except for Tony’s family, on the lam in Carm’s
newly purchased house. Carm does not care for the smells of “lamming
At Bobby’s funeral, it’s all about the food, in a fitting testament to
the big guy. “Pop, they got roast pork!” Jason Gervasi tells Carlo.
Everyone is over talking and elbowing each other about food.
It falls to AJ to be the voice of conscience at this gathering. “You
people are fucked! Living in a dream!!... watching these jackoff
fantasies on TV...” Is this Chase’s “Dear John” letter to his
AJ quotes “Yeets” and is corrected in his ID by Uncle Steve.
Back at the safe house, there’s a twilight zone episode on the TV and
the envelopes are light this week . “power vacuum. They take
advantage” says Carlo. Tony has other business and does not care to
visit his hospitalized and comatose consiglieri.
Little Italy is shrinking, and Butchie emerges to talk with Phil
calling in from his “undisclosed location”. When Butchie has a pause
in the conversation, Phil rushes in with “We can’t go back! Are you
outta your fuckin’ mind?!” Butchie is thinking, maybe Phil can’t go
back... Phil promises butchie a meetin’ about his prospects, and then
feigns a bad cell connection and hangs up on him. Butchie appraise s
the cold winter night, and we notice that Little Italy has given way
Tony visits Janice, and she recalls the rude remarks about her
teenage promiscuity he made at the Monopoly game. “Bobby took it so
seriously” he says, and they both marvel. Janice is ready to
distribute Bobby’s kids as if they were a pile of loot she found;
she’ll keep Sophia, since Domenica is very invested in her older
sister. Bobby Junior? Not so much “I had therapy. I’m a good mother.
I put Ma and all her warped shit behind me”
“Good” says Tony
“Do I get any thanks for it?” she whines, contradicting her claims to
be free of Livia.
Tony suggests she invite Harpo down from Canada. Janice scowls, not
happy to hear opposing evidence of her parental skills cited, and
says he’s changed his name.
Rhiannon has a Dylan song , “It’s Alright Ma, I’m Only Bleeding”to
play for AJ:
Advertising signs that con you
Into thinking you're the one
That can do what's never been done
That can win what's never been won
Meantime life outside goes on
All around you.
AJ is enthralled, by the song and Rhiannon. As they lean in toward
romance, he says “This could be a mistake” unaware of his mistake in
parking over the leaves and starting the SUV fire. As she peels off
her blouse, their tryst is interrupted by the fireball that was his
ride. Bob Dylan’s voice slows to a slur as the CD player goes up,
just like AJ’s embrace of 60s Dylan will soon come to a stuttering
halt. “At least my gas tank was practically empty” he says, just
before the tank explodes with a roar.
As his parents scold him for his carelessness, he says it’s fine his
ride went up in smoke. “We have to break our dependence on foreign
oil”. He mumbles about taking the bus, as a life goal.
Agent Harris phones in doing his bit of “living the life” in his tryst
with a fellow agent (maybe she works Brooklyn?). He tells Tony Phil
is in Oyster Bay, Long Island.
The FBI is taping Tony’s request for a sit-down with New York from a
retired mobster, George at the Cafe Napoli . Butchie and Albie show
up for New York, with Little Carmine as a mediator and “Hair
Apparent”. When Carmine says “It’s gone too far”, even Butchie
“Phil, I dunno... he’s changed. We’ll back off”. Tony demands they
give up Phil’s location, but Butchie “can’t go there. But you do what
you gotta do”.
Tony demands a piece of change for Janice, since her husband was
killed. Butchie sees no problem: “Come up with a number”.
As the sit-down concludes, Carmine at first gets up form the table
following the Jersey boys, but then switches to follow the New
Yorkers, a reluctant leader following his followers.
At Satriale’s Paulie does not care for the cat they picked up while on
Janice goes to the “snakepit” to try to find some hint of where
Junior’s stash of money might be found. Uncle Pat witnesses the
“inveigling” and reports with alarm back to Tony. ”He can fucking
rot” says the nephew.
AJ is still struggling to find a bus schedule. His heart’s in the
right place, even if his butt is being chauffeured around town by mom
Paulie’s at the Bing in the early morning hours, but Carlo has not
showed, nor has the Virgin Mary. Tony smells a rat.
Popping into Meadow’s room, Carm is surprised to find Hunter
Scangarelo. Carm is too polite to refer to her drunk driving and
getting booted from school, but once Hunter corrects her, she’s happy
to rub it in. “That was always you!”
Once she hears Hunter is in her second year of medical school, both
her chattiness and cattiness end abruptly, as she withdraws,
The Parisis and the Sopranos are getting acquainted as potential in-
laws, and when Carm suggests Patsy needs a refill, there is some
initial discomfort in the reversal of roles of boss and service
recipient. But Tony jumps up to embrace this strange new world with
Patsy. Patsy’s wife Donna examines Carm’s china pattern bug-eyed,
like a rube in the big city.
IN a bit of guilt by association, Tony rubs the Parisis noses in the
Jason Gervasi’s arrest for ecstasy smuggling. Patrick tells of the
new trial he’s working on, “It’s got bid rigging , bag men, whores,
it’s fascinating!” Tony loses his enthusiasm for discussing legal
At Satriale’s the cat has discovered a zen like mediation focused on
Christopher’s portrait. Tony wants Paulie to run the Cifaretto crew,
“It’s like a Chinese fire drill over there!”
Paulie receives the invite like he’s being invited to play keyboards
for the Grateful Dead. When he expresses hesitancy, Tony says, “I’m a
little miffled, but...” he’ll give him a few days to mull it over.
Little Paulie is canvassing gas stations in Oyster Bay, in a neck
brace and with a police badge for effect. He shows a picture of Phil
that , appropriately enough, also shows half of Doc Santoro, with a
rip right through his face.
When AJ announces he wants to jon the Army, Tony asks the question he
already knows the answer to: “Are you nuts?!”
Meeting AJ’s therapist, Tony can’t help but revert to sessions with
Melfi : “I could never please my mudda”. Carm rolls her eyes and has a
“here we go again” look.
Tony seeks Meadow’s input about AJ, and she informs him that “If I
hadn’t seen you dragged away all those times by the FBI, then I’d
probably be a boring suburban doctor”. He looks like he wants to
blurt, “But I am a gangster!”
Phil pulls into the Raceway and jumps out of the SUV. The sign warns
drivers to “Stop motor while being served”. Phil tells Patty that he
should get a 60 day supply of Plavix at the pharmacy, but he won’t
need it, as Walden pops one into his temple. Patty shrieks as
Belfiore pops a few more in the Shah, and jumps out of the SUV,
leaving it in park to roll away , (pilotless, like the New York mob?)
with the Leotardo infant twins in the back seat. As the SUV rolls
onward, like the baby carriage on the Odessa steps, it rolls neatly
over Phil’s dying body.
“Bye bye Pop Pop!” “POP!”
Agent Harris gets the news that the New York capo’s been capped with a
“Hooray for our side!” His case against Tony can continue as long as
AJ’s in a sit-down with Carm and Tony. He says the country is in
crisis. Carmela asks “What can one soldier do?” Ask Walden Belfiore.
Tony’s got a script to develop , courtesy of Daniel Baldwin. AJ’s just
the right guy to go for coffee for the team involved.
At the Bing, Tony’s lawyer Mink is giving the bad news that Tony is
facing very likely indictment, Carlo’s probably flipped, “But trials
are there to be won”. Tony almost cracks him in the head with the
ketchup bottle hearing the prognosis.
Tony finally goes to see his loyal and comatose consiglieri. At least
Gab is giving him a pedicure when T arrives-- he always was a
peacock. Little Miss Sunshine squeals in glee on the TV, her shrieks
of joy a stark contrast to Sil’s vegetative state.
Paulie is taking the sun with a reflector at Satriale’s, and he
refuses the offer of the Cifaretto crew becaus eall previous captains
of it are dead: “Richie Aprile, Ralphie MIA, Vito, Carlo and Gigi”.
Tony says fine, “I’ll put Patsy in dere”, which causes Paulie to come
AJ’s leaving Carmine’s porn film offices to jump into his BMW M3,
touting it’s ecological benefit “I told them no more SUV. It gets 23
on the highway, that’s not so bad”.
Scratch your name
Into the fabric
Of this world
Before you go
The skin will tear
Under the pressure
Make it deep
So it always shows
Back on the couch at Chez Soprano, it’s all giggles and fun with the
two previous terrorism worrywarts. As “Lifeboat Party” plays on the
soundtrack, AJ and Rhiannon chuckle at the wacky antics of Karl Rove
and GW Bush. Who cares if these clowns are driving us to hell in a
bucket, as long as we’re enjoying the ride in our new BMW?
Carm meanwhile, is reviewing her latest “lifeboat”: plans for redoing
the house on the shore she was just using as her family safe house.
Tony is tidying up the yard, when he hears faintly, the call of ducks
in the distance. He has a small look of satisfaction as Carm
approaches with the consensus of Holsten’s for dinner. He says he’ll
catch up, he has to see some guys first.
When he first sees Junior in the snakepit, he regards him with his
cold dead eyes. Later, he realizes there is no “there” there, any
more for Corrado Soprano Jr. The lights are on, but nobody’s home.
Tony fishes also for the assumed Junior stash, claiming as head of the
family he will guard it (from Janice ) for Bobby’s kids. If he ever
does get it, I wonder if he’ll guard it as well as that $100K for
Marie Spadafore’s Maine house?
When he arrives at the diner, Little Feat is playing:
All of the good, good times were ours
In the land of milk and honey
And time, time adds its scars
Rainy days they turn to sunny ones
Livin' the life, livin' the life lovin' everyone
He reviews some of the titles on the jukebox:
“Only the Strong Survive”
“Those Were The Days”
“Victim of Love”
“Who Will You Run To?”
and Bobby’s theme after his first hit:
“This Magic Moment”
He selects Journey singing “Don’t Stop Believin’”, and appraises the
ice cream shop clientele casually. Carmela arrives. AJ comes next,
followed by a guy in a “members only jacket “who sits at the counter.
A couple of “unidentified black males” eye the selections. “Members
Only” looks back at Tony a few times- has he recognized a local
celebrity, or is there another agenda on his mind? Meadow arrives, and
proceeds to attempt to parallel park repeatedly. Members Only jumps
up, walks up to the Soprano table and then passes them as he heads to
the bathroom. Is this a Godfather homage?
Just as Meadow reaches the front door, the music swells up:
Working hard to get my fill,
Everybody wants a thrill
Payin anything to roll the dice,
Just one more time
Some will win, some will lose
Some were born to sing the blues
Oh, the movie never ends
It goes on and on and on and on
Don't stop --
And everything-- sound and vision-- stops in mid phrase.
The screen goes black for a very long few seconds before the credits
Did Members Only emerge with a gun in his hand? Did Tony not see it
...or was it the young kids down front, hired for their complexion as
Was it Colonel Mustard, in the library, with a candlestick?
Or did Tony just eat too many onion rings and have bad reflux later?
Maybe Chase’s “non ending” ending is his final (one fingered) salute
to all the people who badgered him for years about the Russian in the
Pine Barrens and any number of other loose threads.
As Bob Dylan says in “It’s Alright Ma, I’m Only bleeding”:
Although the masters make the rules
For the wise men and the fools
I got nothing, Ma, to live up to.