Slouching Toward the Showdown

With seven days till showdown, Tony Soprano quite literally is on a fast-car to End Times.

And show creator David Chase -- who at the end of the day loves him some Rolling Stones as much as any group -- all but played "Sympathy for the Devil" over the end credits.

T., visiting son A.J. prior to his release, punched the sixth-floor button last night while on the elevator car. Cut to close-up: Tony's pudgy digit is pressing the lighted "6" next to the raised-symbol "6" and -- apparently -- a Braille "6." (Did you see it differently?) Mark of the rough beast, indeed.

Not much later, Bobby Bacala -- the former chauffeur who in his own play-world wears the conductor's hat -- gets his train ticket punched. (Confirming widespread rumors given the show's "The Blue Comet" title -- about as obvious a tip-off as Chase would ever allow.) This not long after Tony, in regards to Bobby, references the Stones's "Exile on Main Street."

Little did we know the Main Street in question would be populated with tiny little train people, hands over their mouths in comic horror.

And of course, the episode ends with Tony "Moonlight Mile" Soprano alone in his room, awaiting his O.K. Corral moment, bathed in the moonlight. (Although he's sharing the safehouse with the way-too-cool Paulie, who seems conspicuously two-faced at this point.)

Now, with one episode to go (reportedly titled "Made in America"), cue Stones music:

"Please allow T. to introduce himself...."

And now cue to your responses: What did you think of last night's episode, and where is the finale headed?

-- Michael Cavna,
TV Editor, Style

By Maura McCarthy |  June 4, 2007; 10:54 AM ET  | Category:  Theories
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Comments

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Foist.....

Posted by: T | June 4, 2007 11:47 AM

Foist.....

Posted by: T | June 4, 2007 11:48 AM

Foist.....

Posted by: T | June 4, 2007 11:48 AM

What's up with the Melfi subplot? After seven years of treatment, she abandons Tony because of ONE study on the sociapath/therapist relationship?

Posted by: Jim | June 4, 2007 12:13 PM

I almost feel like Chase is showing us that this psychological study was the inspiration for the show. Maybe he read that study and decided to play out this scenario. Interesting.
So "whatever happened to Gary Cooper?", Tony is fond of asking. It's Tony. I definitely saw shades of High Noon when everyone kept passing the buck on taking out Phil. My feeling is that Tony ends up alone and is saved by someone who is totally innocent (like Cooper's wife in the film). Meadow? Melfi? AJ? Who knows?

Posted by: Cap'n Charlie | June 4, 2007 12:46 PM

Tony has lost his crew and is about to lose his family, perhaps his own life. After ordering A. J. to pack, on his way out of the bedroom, Tony glances over to the computer where the news headline was about Terrorism. Tony knows deep down that his only friend left is agent Harris. It would be ironic justice if Tony turns himself into the Feds.

Posted by: Chet | June 4, 2007 01:05 PM

I think it'll end in a Shakespearan bloodfest with all of the Sopranos (maybe, maybe minus Meadow)gone. Paulie definitely seems to be working for NY too as evidenced by him questioning Silvio and Bobby when told about taking out Phil.

Posted by: md | June 4, 2007 01:54 PM

Paulie's not working for the other side. He provided a reason for questioning Sil's orders (something about barely surviving the Columbo war) and he still carried out the plans for the Philly Retardo hit (didn't work as planned, but Paulie could not have had any influence on the outcome).

Posted by: Jim | June 4, 2007 02:49 PM

As a final thanks to the All-American, anti-terror Tony Soprano, a plot is hatched to lure Phil out of hiding to kill Tony.

Then what is left of the Sopranos, with the help of Det. Harris and the FBI, gun Phil down, all to the tune of, 'You can't always get what you want'.

Posted by: nova4ess | June 4, 2007 02:52 PM

A lot has cleared up, but still too many possible ways to end the series.

I was also stunned that Melfi is calling it quits, but there is so much karma built into their relationship that I imagine that somehow they will meet again in the final episode.

Anyone who was predicting a return of Junior, David Chase just flung a $20 bill at you. I guess with inflation that is what 2 cents is worth now. Nice touch.

No telling how the battle with Phil will end up, but T's ability to sense the word on the street has sunk to a new low, Agent Harris. But I think he has a surprise in store for Phil.

Seems like Tony's crew was a bit flat footed, Sil was too late. An echo of 'I didn't see that one coming' when Phil took out Doc.

And using the same Italians who put the hit on Rusty, Phil must have known that was coming.

But there is probably another reason for Phil being a step ahead, I agree that the rat is Paulie. This has a Departed vibe to it, will Tony figure it out in time?

There seems to be a whole karma theme about coming full circle. Seems Tony must be asking himself, all this over asbestos? There have been plenty of instances where Tony has flown off the handle over something equally trivial, but there was always something more substantial behind it . Now we finally have a clue about what is really bothering Phil after a lot of red herrings: they make anybody in Jersey, basically he is concerned with the weakness of the Soprano family. First Vito, now Christopher. His guys couldn't even figure out who was #3.

Sorry, I think the Meadow story line is so wooden at this point it is dragging the show down. At least the AJ story from last episode has some relevance.

Yet to be reconciled is Carmela, who seems to have made a token appearance in this episode. I can't believe that there won't be any reckoning, unless Tony dies.

Will he?

Posted by: Peter | June 4, 2007 02:53 PM

Bad guy that he is, I'm going to miss Tony Soprano. If Tony finally gets to meet his Maker in the last episode, I hope Phil goes down with him too. I never liked Paulie either and wouldn't be surprised if he already switched sides. The only one of the cast that I really thought had some good qualities was Carmella. I think Meadow will turn out OK. Maybe she'll go to law school and end up as a district attorney.

Posted by: Gene | June 4, 2007 02:54 PM

I'll be so glad when this program is over. To me it ranks as one of the worst of all time. The characters are irredeemably evil, selfish, and banal. I don't care how it ends, as long as it ends.

Posted by: Sam | June 4, 2007 03:06 PM

Unless Paulie tipped Frank off that the hit was coming. Hence --Frank not being at the site when it went down.

I feel as if this season is winding down a bit too rapidly. There has been an ending to all main characters storyline -- Chris, Bobby & Sil are all gone. Junior is in a state of dementia. Melfi just dumped Tony. All that is left is Tony's wife, kids and Paulie. Paulie tried to join the NY crew a few years ago when Big Carmine was alive (remember he was the one that told Johnnie Sac about the joke that Ralph told about his wife). I sense a Paulie turning on Tony. For some reason I think Melfi will have some sort of role in the finale. She has turned on TOny -- maybe she will come back as the only decent person to provide salvation.

As this season moves on -- I actually find myself having little sympathy whenever these characters get knocked off. At the end of the day Bobby, Vito, Sil, Christopher et, al. are just a bunch of thugs and gangsters with gallons of blood on their hands. Live by the sword die by the sword. If Tony meets the same fate -- he gets what he deserves. That is the risk of doing business in his line of work. I feel little sympathy for the wives (Janice, Carmella, Mrs. Sil, Kelly) because they have enjoyed the lifestyle while knowingly or with wilfull denial/ignorance knowing what their husbands do for a living.

I think the kids may be a bit of a focus as well in the finale. We already see what happened to Little Vito, poor Bobby's kids are now completely orphaned with no parents other than step-Mom Janice. They are the ones that suffer the greatest impact by their parents choices.

Posted by: | June 4, 2007 03:07 PM

I can't agree enough with you, Sam. I like the characters on Gilligan's Island far more than anyone on the Sopranos. What a depraved bunch.

Posted by: Lara | June 4, 2007 03:10 PM

The FBI/Agent Harris/terrorism story line is one of the biggest threads unresolved to date - it will factor large in Tony's final destination (witness protection or further tips to allow Tony to "defeat" Phil).

Agent Harris already has a weakened NJ mob family - now he has a chance to use the chips he's earned by making "friends" with Tony to use Tony's remaining crew to weaken the NY mob. Nicely played by Agent Harris!

Glad they wrapped up the Dr. Melfi storyline - its been stale for a while. She clearly wasn't helping.

Bobby's death ends all speculation that the guy he killed in the first episode of this mini-season would come back to haunt Tony (or Bobby) for ordering the hit.

Sad to see Silvio gone (probably) although it was a great scene (reminiscent of the original Godfather and the ambush of Sonny).

I'm suspicious of Paulie - someone needs to take his cellphone away.

Carmella, Janice and all the kids in one room with Janice big mouth and anger at Tony for Bobby's death (whether warranted or not). Fireworks!

Posted by: Richie Aprile | June 4, 2007 03:15 PM

My predictions: A.J. must die, perhaps in a "heroic" effort to save his father; Tony will, Prospero like, symbolically lay down his gun. Paulie will die like the two-faced slime he is. Carm & Meadow will survive. And Phil will die horribly of course -- perhaps A.J. will "take him out;"
Questions: Will the ducks reappear? Will Dr. M. suffer for her unprofessional abandonment of her 7 year patient. And could Peter Bogdanovich please stand in some cross-fire?
Can't wait.

Posted by: Julie | June 4, 2007 03:21 PM

My predictions: A.J. must die, perhaps in a "heroic" effort to save his father; Tony will, Prospero like, symbolically lay down his gun. Paulie will die like the two-faced slime he is. Carm & Meadow will survive. And Phil will die horribly of course -- perhaps A.J. will "take him out;"
Questions: Will the ducks reappear? Will Dr. M. suffer for her unprofessional abandonment of her 7 year patient. And could Peter Bogdanovich please stand in some cross-fire?
Can't wait.

Posted by: Julie | June 4, 2007 03:21 PM

what a great show last night! there will probably be some loose threatds, but who cares?

i always thought the series would end with meadow taking over as the mafia princess boss. but that doesn't look likely now.

chase won't let tony go down in a hail of bullets. for better or worse, he is our story's hero. i bet tony takes out paulie (the obvious rat, but fantastic comic relief)and phil at the same time. i can hardly wait until next sunday!

oh, and you aren't SUPPOSED to feel pity for any of these thugs who get whacked. they ALL have it coming! they are remorseless cretins. sure, they entertain us. but they aren't to be pitied, ever!

Posted by: wats | June 4, 2007 03:29 PM

Sam and Lara:

Perhaps you are the subjects of some kind of a bizarre "Clockwork Orange" experiment in which you're eyes are pinned open and you are forced to watch the Sopranos, but if not, why so much effort spent watching, reading about and writing about a show you consider the "worst of all time"?

If you will be glad when the series is over, the solution is easy: it's over for you the second you stop watching, reading about, writing about, and obsessing over the show. Good luck on your road to recovery. I know the name of a good psychiatrist who just had a slot come open in her schedule.

Posted by: Thurston | June 4, 2007 03:31 PM

I'm still looking for Furio to make a showing on one side or the other. I thought Tony was going to live, if only for a feature film opportunity. Looks like I was dead wrong and he is just going to be dead. This is probably the best series ever done. The real proof is all of the I hate comments above. The show is so good it makes people hate the characters as if they were real.

Posted by: DuffyShort | June 4, 2007 03:34 PM

I think the little tag line the trailer gave us last night says it all, "no more hiding." Phil has made Tony kill his cousin, lose his brother-in-law, probably Syl, and has forced him to take refuge at Junior's. He just got the rifle he was holding at the end of last night's show earler this season, and I think he's goes in the city looking to use it on anyone he can find, especially Phil, if he can be found.

Posted by: Ashburn | June 4, 2007 03:39 PM

Paulie Walnuts takes out T by shooting him in the back, either figuratively or literally -- an ironic payback for T's decision NOT to wack Paulie from behind on the boat down in Florida. Then Phil rubs out Paulie. A resigned Carmela weeps over T's grave. Meadow decides to become a doctor after all. AJ goes back to the nuthatch.

Leaving Phil on top in the end, Fortinbras-like. Because David Chase knows that in the end, murderously efficient evil always triumphs over interesting and vulnerable evil.

Posted by: Peter Principle | June 4, 2007 03:41 PM

Oh, Lara, like the characters on Gilligan's Island weren't depraved. Skipper physically and probably more harmfully mentally "beating up" his IQ challenged little buddy Gilligan. Not like they had a Dr. Melfi on the island for counseling. Thurston and Lovie treating everyone liked hired hands on their island "vacation" home. The professor and his intellectual superiority. Ginger and Marianne playing the single men against each other for their own shallow purposes.That Island was a den of vipers and you know it! Sorry for the detour folks!

Posted by: Richie Aprile | June 4, 2007 03:42 PM

Phil said they'd decapitate and deal w/what's left. Looks like Patsy is left, not that he ever struck me as a leader AND Meadow is dating his son which means she COULD eventually be a mafia queen like her mother...

Posted by: to wats | June 4, 2007 03:50 PM

Maybe it's just me, but I have always seen the saga of Tony Soprano as the conflicted modern man, no longer sure that the
might-makes-right-let-the-strongest-survive system he grew up with is working for him, or against him. He is good at the brutal necessities of the old ways, but frightened. Part of him feels that there might be a better way, a better life. The story was interesting while Tony confronted this dilemma, but lost steam when he proved himself unable to change. There is no way to redeem him now, and he has to go down. Exactly the fate of our current administration. Bravo! Let the new world begin.

Posted by: shaman7214@sbcglobal.net | June 4, 2007 04:04 PM

Maybe it's just me, but I have always seen the saga of Tony Soprano as the conflicted modern man, no longer sure that the
might-makes-right-let-the-strongest-survive system he grew up with is working for him, or against him. He is good at the brutal necessities of the old ways, but frightened. Part of him feels that there might be a better way, a better life. The story was interesting while Tony confronted this dilemma, but lost steam when he proved himself unable to change. There is no way to redeem him now, and he has to go down. Exactly the fate of our current administration. Bravo! Let the new world begin.

Posted by: shaman7214@sbcglobal.net | June 4, 2007 04:04 PM

Carmela, Meadow, and A.J., after bringing Tony down for the FBI, become spies and are whisked away to Pakistan where Carmela becomes romantically linked to Bin Laden. The family proceeds to bleed his wealth and then nags him to tears. He eventually kills himself, thus this mini Soprano terror cell saves the nation.

Posted by: nova4ess | June 4, 2007 04:10 PM

Paulie will kill Tony from behind, abruptly...remember how he was tempted way back when to go with the NY mob? And how he said he remembered the 70s with the Columbo family wars?

Posted by: lakewood | June 4, 2007 04:14 PM

Mr. Cavna, I couldn't understand a word of what you wrote in your "review". Reviews should make sense even for those viewers who missed the episode. Thanks.

Posted by: elizabeth schumann | June 4, 2007 04:18 PM

Paulie as a traitor seems to obvious. I did pick up on the reference to Tony's driver who was told to 'go home and take care of his wife's flu.'

Shades of the Godfather I'd say--a driver out sick, or something?...

Posted by: Andrew | June 4, 2007 05:05 PM

Phil's statement as he ordered the hit that Tony had never been to prison may well have been a foreshadow of things to come. It seemed like a strange comment otherwise.

Posted by: mptaylor | June 4, 2007 05:11 PM

Tony is having everything stripped away from him. He will not be killed but will end up alone staring at his empty pool. David Chase's homage to the final scene of Godfather II where Michael Corleone sits alone at the Vegas lakehouse, comtemplating the destruction of his family.

Posted by: godfadda | June 4, 2007 05:20 PM

how can Tony be killed if there is going to be a move?

Posted by: | June 4, 2007 05:22 PM

I think it will be a dark horse traitor. My money, based on that peculiar throwaway scrapbook comment by Phil, is on Ro, Carmela's friend, putting photos in to a scrapbook. She is going to have something to do with being a turncoat.

I don't think it will be Paulie. He would have had way more than enough opportunities to have done it by now.

And I think Melfi will have a change of heart. Italians don't abandon each other in a crisis. It goes counter to the persona. The guilt will get to be too much for her.

But I do think AJ is going to play a pivotal role. I just hope we aren't in for a parody of how the Godfather ends with the daughter as sacrifice to the sins of the father.
Considering Chase's mindset, maybe it's AJ that goes down and Meadow heroically saves part of the day. If all the women are herded together , Ro will have a chance to get at them and Meadow can then save them.

Posted by: gala1 | June 4, 2007 05:27 PM

This will end much like an earlier story when as a young man, Tony and his cousin pulled a job and when the cops came around Tony ran and left his cousin to take the rap. Phil's crew will discover the hideout and when the shooting starts Tony will run and hide. Afraid to show his face anymore he will turn to the FBI and get into the witness protection program.

Posted by: Bruno | June 4, 2007 06:19 PM

I've always been suspicious of the Russian that got away from Syl and Christopher in the snowy woods two or three years ago. Until last night, that was the most tense episode for me. I think the episode was called "The Pine Barrens" or something like that. I've been waiting for him to come back to exact his revenge in a major way.

Posted by: Jim | June 4, 2007 06:22 PM

I did not think last night's episode was very good, everything seemed so obvious, so Chase must have a really suprising ending rolled up his sleeve. The series has been too good just to have it end with Paulie knocking off Tony. AJ has been given a lot of air time this season, so he must be involved somehow in the ending. Its time to end the series for good, because all the great characters have been knocked off or on the way out. I always had the feeling that Tony would end up all alone, especially after seeing the first episode this season. There will likely be a return of the ducks in the end.

Posted by: janet | June 4, 2007 07:04 PM

Well, the ducks won't be back @ Tony's pool because he drained it Sunday night. Maybe they will follow him to his witness-protection program or will fly in V-formation over his prison yard during their spring migration or the lake at Bobby's summer house. That's the closest I will get to predicting the finale of this magnificent TV series. Now what will we watch?

Posted by: ann | June 4, 2007 10:33 PM

OK, call me naive, but is it realistic to think that Tony might end up in witness protection? As the head of the Family, wouldn't it be more likely that one of the underlings (most of whom are now gone) would have turned on him and ended up living in Nebraska? I guess he could always turn on NY...

Posted by: | June 4, 2007 11:31 PM

Don't you see it? Patsy Parisi is the rat. How did he not get hit in that bullet-fest outside the bing. They even had an open shot of him while he was running and still missed! Remember he was not to happy when T had his twin brother wacked. He's the dark horse

Posted by: JJB | June 5, 2007 06:41 AM

I can't believe that Elliott outed Tony as Dr. Melfi's patient. I think the Melfi will be back, I see Tony begging to go back for at least 1 more session.

Also, the fed contact for NY has to be the consigliere, the guy with the glasses who went into the bikini wax shop on the most recent episode. I know it seems unlikely, but maybe Phil will be arrested in the last episode.

I can't wait to see how it ends. No matter what, I think Tony is done, either dead or out of the NJ mob business. His crew has lost too many people, Christopher, Bobby, Sil, etc.

Posted by: no he didn't | June 5, 2007 10:07 AM

After Sunday's show, it becomes more clear that Paulie is playing both sides. I think it would be an extremely ironic end if he ends up being the boss after Tony's death or defection to the witness protection program. An unjust result to a life lived unjustly.

Posted by: neelie | June 5, 2007 10:27 AM

After Sunday's show, it becomes more clear that Paulie is playing both sides. I think it would be an extremely ironic end if he ends up being the boss after Tony's death or defection to the witness protection program. An unjust result to a life lived unjustly.

Posted by: neelie | June 5, 2007 10:27 AM

The Sopranos is all about family- the intersection of Tony's mafia family and his wife and kids. And trying to reconcile his two families, which he's never done well, probably can't be done well, but can be done better. Somethin's gotta give, but I don't see Carmela leaving. Tony's already lost a lot of his mafia family and even if he lives and kills Phil, there'd be too much danger of retaliation from NY. At least Carmela has been socking away cash and can take care of herself. Tony always said Carmela would be taken care of if something happened to him, and I think we'll get to find out what he meant.

Posted by: all about family | June 5, 2007 10:37 AM

Come on now, most of you are neglecting a couple of obvious rules and guidelines.

First of all, there are only three endings for guys like Tony -- Dead, Jail, Witness Protection.

Tony won't die because he is a tragic hero and in a true dramatic arc the way you strip the tragic hero of everything is not to kill him, it is taking away everything he values and leaving him alone to toil in the recesses of his mind. Tony would welcome death over a lifetime to think about everything. Therefore he will live.

Tony might go to jail but it is just too anti-climatic and there isn't enough time to do the jailing and trial part justice. I don't think he will go to jail.

This only leaves witness protection. It is conceivable that Tony could make a deal to be sure his family is safe. He goes to a meet with Phil to set him up for the Feds. But Tony kills him and runs from the Feds because he knows his family is safe but cannot ultimately face being a rat so he even runs from that.

THAT is the only way to then completely strip our tragic hero of everything and leave him living a life truly alone in the turmultuous recesses of his twisted mind.

Posted by: Ryan | June 5, 2007 11:18 AM

I think Melfi got it wrong. Tony may be a cruel ciminal mind, but he is no sociopath, his feeling are genuine. I truly think that A.J. is the true sociopath. his overreaction to the death of Bobby appears to be an act.
A.J. could easily kill Tony without shedding a true tear.

Posted by: Hayden | June 5, 2007 11:34 AM

I see the ending as "business as usual" -- Tony and his crew (new and whatever's left of the old) sitting outside Satriale's, with Carmine Jr. replacing Phil Leotardo who is, of course, toast.

Posted by: Julie | June 5, 2007 12:37 PM

I'm surprised nobody has commented on the fact that the weakened, inept Soprano family (mistaking the identity of the Ukrainian girlfriend & her father for God's sake?) has gotten that way because -- TONY WHACKED ALL HIS UNDERLINGS! Ralph, Pussy, Chris, Anthony -- I mean it would take waay too long to list 'em all. This internicine warfare is finally coming home to roost. As far as the finale, I'm not sure Carmella makes it out alive -- I don't think it was a coincidence that Phil's girlfriend was brutally killed while Tony kept reassuring Carmella that families are off limits. There is no honor left in these thugs and Tony losing both family and Family would be the most perfect, symmetrical and controversial (promised by Little Stevie Van Zandt)ending ever. But we'll see ...

Posted by: Betty | June 5, 2007 03:33 PM

I don't think there is going to be a nice neat "american" ending. no movie and no style. I suspect tony will be out of options and will call upon his son to take over the family business and do what the rest couldn't - kill phil. a nice evil stare right at the end as AJ realized he has found his calling and purpose and inherited the family business.

I absolutely loved the ending on six feet under and that was exceptionally done, but way too neat for this show.

Posted by: kingofzouk | June 5, 2007 04:04 PM

That wasn't Phil's girlfriend who was killed. It was a complete case of mistaken identity - a silver haired man who wasn't Phil, a Ukrainian at that, and the lookalike's daughter. The point is that the imported killers went to the wrong house.

Posted by: Jean | June 5, 2007 04:10 PM

That wasn't Phil's girlfriend who was killed. It was a complete case of mistaken identity - a silver haired man who wasn't Phil, a Ukrainian at that, and the lookalike's daughter. The point is that the imported killers went to the wrong house.

Posted by: Jean | June 5, 2007 04:10 PM

After Tony took out Christopher in such a personal way, with his own blood-stained hands, I can't imagine that AJ won't suffer the same fate. Tony always saw Chrissy as the son he never had and seemed to care for him more than the son he did have. In this last episode, when Tony delivered the news about Bobby to AJ, it was clear that he was disappointed by the reaction. AJ focused only on his own sadness and depression and didn't care about Bobby or his family. I think that AJ has become to Tony the embodiment of his own weaknesses, and Tony's growing sense of paranoia will cloud his judgement long enough for him to rationalize that when AJ dies, so too does the side of him he hates.

I found it interesting that Agent Harris knew about the impending NY hit before Phil's top 2 guys had their meeting in the bikini wax shop. Seems there's a rat on the NY side. I predict that the feds are going to take down NY before Phil gets his, leaving Tony to clean his own house of all the rats. A "Second Coming" will be inevitable with Tony as the boss of both NJ and NY, with Meadow by his side as consiglieri and Carmela as his "missing" wife.

Posted by: TJoC | June 5, 2007 04:57 PM

The woman killed by the Italians was Yaryna, Phil's housekeeper - they went to the correct house, but hit the housekeeper's father instead of Phil (hbo.com).

Chase is going to throw us a curveball, as usual, with someone coming out of nowhere to disrupt the course of things. Hesh, anyone?

Posted by: Brian | June 5, 2007 05:13 PM

Was the housekeeper also Phil's mistress? They kept talking about Phil visiting his "goomah" (mistress/girlfriend) once a week and that was where to do the hit. If she was hit, too, not so bad for collateral damage because she was not "family" per se.

Posted by: Jean | June 5, 2007 05:39 PM

Was the housekeeper also Phil's mistress? They kept talking about Phil visiting his "goomah" (mistress/girlfriend) once a week and that was where to do the hit. If she was hit, too, not so bad for collateral damage because she was not "family" per se.

Posted by: Jean | June 5, 2007 05:40 PM

Since Season One, the subtext of this series has been the question of whether Tony is a psychopath or a flawed but redeemable human being. The fact that Chase has brought it out into the open strongly suggests that he intends to answer the question.

And the answer must be obvious. A psychopath is essentially a single-dimension creature. Scary, but not especially interesting: not worthy of Chase's creative energy, nor of all the time and attention we've given the series and its characters. If Tony is a psychopath, then the series is an extended sick joke.

So Tony cannot be a psychopath, which means that he must be a human being. And I think that'll be made clear before the credits roll on Sunday night. T may die, or not; he may flip, or not. But whatever he does, he'll do it as a human being, not as a psycho.

Posted by: Respect Da Bing | June 5, 2007 06:30 PM

One of the most fascinating scenes for me, was T and Carm eating at Artie Bucco's restaurant. HIs world is turning upside down - He knows he has a hit on him, he has ordered a hit on Phil, but he and Carm do what most of our parents used to do - lie to thier friends about how great the kids are doing. Carmen was turning herself inside out assuring Artie and his wife that they were so relieved that Meadow wasn't going to be a doctor, but a "civil rights" attorney (after T told Melfi she wants to be a criminal attorney). "And how's AJ?" "GREAT" says Carm. Fascinating.

Posted by: dotmac | June 5, 2007 10:32 PM

I enjoyed everyone's comments really. Everyone seemed to have such diverse views on what will happen in the finale. I suspect, if it goes to form, a surprise ending will be Mr. T's fate. Whether that be death, life, Witness Protection, or something in between, I know we will all be riveted to the small screen this Sunday.

Kudos to David Chase for providing us such great television over the past five years.

Oh, and one last thought...I just cannot stand Janis...man I hope somebody nails her to the proverbial wall in the finale. She is a loathsome character, in my opinion.

Posted by: Ouch | June 6, 2007 12:23 AM

What are the chances that Tony ate another bad piece of fish at Artie's and this is all just another fever dream, a la Pussy as a dead fish in the Funhouse episode or the non-existant Italian woman visiting his next-door neighbor?

Posted by: Sloopy | June 6, 2007 10:08 AM

What are the chances that Tony ate another bad piece of fish at Artie's and this is all just another fever dream, a la Pussy as a dead fish in the Funhouse episode or the non-existant Italian woman visiting his next-door neighbor?

Posted by: Sloopy | June 6, 2007 10:08 AM

Here's one of my lingering thoughts: What was that throwaway comment (probably the only honest one) that Carmela made during the dinner at Artie's about Meadow not really being very compassionate and therefore medicine probably wasn't the best choice for her? That was an echo of the Sociopaths study reviewed that very night by Melfi and referred to by her mentor/therapist on the previous episode. so what's that all about? Remember the very first episode began with Tony driving Meadow to check out a small college and on the way he just happened to garrott a mob sell-out. Meanwhile Sil just happened to garrott a T. sell-out....parallel themes within parallel themes.

God I'll miss this great show all about murderous sociopaths, psychopaths and families (a small microcosm standing in for our very own culture, nation, world)!

Posted by: Cafe-Risque.com | June 6, 2007 04:45 PM

Since the beginning, Tony has worried about loosing his family, symbolized whtn the ducks that flew off. He's already almost lost his mafia family, and he's lost a lot of control with his wife and kids. AJ is a mess, Meadow is grown up and is perched precariously between getting out or getting in.

Carm is still there, but her patience is wearing thin. She's stepped up to the plate to help, but also done a lot of complaining this season about living in fear of Tony's death or arrest. Also, she's not in the same position as the first time she left Tony and couldn't find a lawyer to take her case. She's got money saved and hopefully a plan. Still, she's never made that choice before...

Also, in the beginning of the series, Tony is saying that he got in at the end of when it was good to be in the mob and how everyone turns on everyone else. I think Tony will have to exit the mob to save his family, but that's not easily done.

Posted by: no more family | June 8, 2007 03:35 PM

As last week ended the cameras went to the door of the room Tony was laying on the bed. Shortly before Tony dragged A.J. out of his bedroom kicking and screaming. Sounds to me like the last episode smacks of Patricide. I know this ain't the way it will happen fuggedaboutit.

Posted by: Thomas Boyle | June 9, 2007 07:25 AM

Here's how it will go down: Adriana returns (we never really saw her die, just crawl away). She and her poodle, Suzette, go after Tony. In some incredibly poor timing, Melfi shows up to make amends with Tony and goes down in a hail of Adriana's gunfire. Suzette escapes with just a flesh wound. Tony feels so guilty, he tries to off himself, but in an ironic capper, A.J. saves him. Distraught, Tony survives only to end up in a mental ward as Uncle Junior's roommate, a fate worse than death. A.J. takes over the family, moves it to the West Coast and brings on Turtle from 'Entourage' as his consigliare. Hilarity ensues and it morphs into a prime time sitcom on NBC.

Posted by: MB | June 9, 2007 10:20 AM

Oops, Adriana's afore-mentioned pooch is really named Cosette. Suzette is the stunt poodle brought in for the action scenes. My mistake.

Posted by: MB | June 9, 2007 10:23 AM

My prediction: With much angst the soprano crew tops phil leotardo's crew. Tony's empire is strengthen. The last scene is tony setting in melfi's waiting room. The camera swings over and pans up to the vestibule door and the door opens. Camera focus's on Dr. melfi's face. she gives tony a stern look, lips tightly closed and her small eyes stare at tony. No words are spoken. Tony rises and walks in to the office. Camera pans back as the door close behind dr. melfi. The last camera shot is the closed door. Fade out. Can it. Dr. melfi character is really us, the viewer and the viewer will always take tony and his violence back. Like dr. melfi we are voyeurs, seeking the sordid and the violence in the mob world.

Posted by: Gov Man | June 9, 2007 03:35 PM

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