Ten Burning Questions

Somewhere, we knew, "The Sopranos's" big boss was hiding out, clutching a lethal gift close to his heart and awaiting the final barrage. It was High Noon in New Jersey, and one man now wore the largest target on his back.
The wanted man in question? We refer not to Tony Soprano but rather to the boss: David Chase. Somewhere, the series creator was holed up, having gone mum and underground, brandishing the finale's hush-hush script at an undisclosed location.


Is Paulie firmly behind Tony or is he behind what may happen to Tony in the finale? (Craig Blankenhorn/HBO)

Fortunately, we had our best man on the case. Tom Shales tracked down Chase at his safe house this week in France -- far from Hollywood, New York or Newark and somewhat out of the line of hype. Chase talked, but did he give up the goods? We'll have to wait till Shales files his report to the home office (look for it in Style this week).

In the meantime, though, we pose our top-10 list of pressing questions to Chase, if he were filled to the gills with the "truthiness" of sodium pentothal. They are:

1. Has Paulie turned traitor? Is Paulie "Pepe Le Pew" Walnuts working both sides of the asbestos-laden river, Mr. Chase, or were you just serving up cinematic red herrings in the previous episode?

2. Have we really seen the last of Melfi? Sure, the doc endured a ripped-out rib eye recipe -- and more profoundly, of course, the mockery of her professional peers -- but is that really enough to prompt her to go cold turkey on Tony? "Departures," indeed.

3. Have we seen the last of Agent Harris? Was Harris's tipping-off to Tony his final plot relevance, or will the feds prove integral in the finale?

4. Must a child die for the sins of the (god-)father? Given so many nods to both William Shakespeare and Mario Puzo, must AJ or Meadow really be sacrificed in the finale?

5. What will be the show's last big water moment? The pool's been drained, the ducks have flown. Bobby, AJ and Paulie (unlike Big Pussy) all escaped potential watery graves this season, but mustn't someone yet sleep with the fishes, if not the mallards?

6. Will we get a cinematic showdown a la "High Noon"? In the penultimate episode, the Tony/Melfi showdown scene opened with the classic Western long-shot -- two lone figures facing off, armed only with verbal darts and unresolved tension. But what spur-chinging Gary Cooper moment will the finale hold?

7. Will Parisi live up to his name and really end up the patsy?

8. Will we see the sudden return of a long-lost character? Wherefore art thou Furio, say, or the "Pine Barrens" fugitive?

9. Would whacking Tony be too, well, cliched?

10. And what will be your last classic-rock track? The Stones? Floyd? Doors? Mott the Hoople? In its own way, this is almost as tantalizing a question as finding out who'll be rubbed out next.

TOMORROW, we offer our thoughts on each of these questions. For now, we leave it to you so that the minds of cooler, wiser "Sopranos" addicts might prevail. What are your thoughts and theories?

-- Michael Cavna,
TV Editor, Style

By Christian Pelusi |  June 5, 2007; 1:12 PM ET  | Category:  Theories
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Comments

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My thought for the final twisted ending -- which I've had for months -- is that Carmella will pay for Tony's sins in a perfect stunning retribution. I think the offing of Phil's girlfriend and her father sealed the deal last episode. I think the kids are too obvious; if I were Edie Falco I'd watch my back.

Posted by: betty | June 5, 2007 03:16 PM

Betty, I suggest that you go back and watch the penultimate episode again. You missed something. Something big.

Posted by: Ukrainian | June 5, 2007 03:46 PM

My 10 cents:

1. Has Paulie turned traitor?

I don't think so. Wasn't it written in his contract (the actor's) that he would not be a rat? Or does that apply only to talking to FBI? Anyways, I don't think Paulie would let the team down.

2. Have we really seen the last of Melfi?

From a plot relevance point of view, yes. But I am sure we will see her again in the finale - reacting to the news of Tony's death?

3. Have we seen the last of Agent Harris?

Yes, methinks. I am not buying into the Tony going on witness protection plotline.

4. Must a child die for the sins of the (god-)father?

No. "You know the family won't be touched" - Tony

5. What will be the show's last big water moment?

No idea - may be the pools of tears of the die-hard fans :)

6. Will we get a cinematic showdown a la "High Noon"?

In the penultimate episode, the killing of Bobby was quite drawn-out, with ample premonitory warnings to the viewers to let them know what is coming. And this was for the "number three" in the chain. If Tony were to go, I think it will be quite a lengthy setup and take-down.

7. Will Parisi live up to his name and really end up the patsy?

Nah...

8. Will we see the sudden return of a long-lost character? Wherefore art thou Furio, say, or the "Pine Barrens" fugitive?

May be Ade..

9. Would whacking Tony be too, well, cliched?

Anything but - would be my guess...

10. And what will be your last classic-rock track?

Speaking of cliches, the ending will be Doors, obviously...this is the end :-)

Posted by: Srikanth | June 5, 2007 03:57 PM

the last song, Roy Buchanan's Sweet Dreams.

Posted by: paniolo | June 5, 2007 04:20 PM

I think Tony gets killed at the very beginning of the finale (Harry Nilsson's Coconut would be fun here, a nod to Reservoir Dogs). Paulie is the rat. A.J. realizes it's Paulie and tells Meadow. Meadow kills Paulie, Sil (just for laughs), Phil, and the rest of Phil's family (to Mozart's Requiem), then brings Furio back to whack A.J.

Here's the beauty of it. 1) Meadow is cool. 2) This not only invokes Shakespeare and Puzo, but also would come close to redeeming the entire entertainment world -- and maybe the universe itself -- for Sofia Coppola's presence in G3. And 3) It's totally believable. Really.

Posted by: T | June 5, 2007 04:32 PM

Betty- you were not paying attention to the last episode- listen to the Ukranian and watch the episode again.

Tony going out in a blaze would be very Scarface- but not very Tony. I think AJ is going to be sacrificed/put out of his misery. I think Paulie will get it in an embarrassing way because he always went out of his way not to be embarrassed, or severly punished those who tried to embarrass him.

At any rate, David Chase is a wonder- not because he focused on the Mob, but the way in which he chose to do it- brilliant. I will miss the show dearly. It made you really think- that's rare in a dramatic television production.

Posted by: Millie | June 5, 2007 04:41 PM

I have to agree with Millie...I'm not expecting a shoot-out ending b/c that's not Chase's style. Tony has always survived by luck and by knowing when to run, and I'm starting to think that the botched assassination attempt at the Bing will lead the feds to Phil's crew (too many witnesses), thereby saving the big man.

Regarding those loose ends mentioned above, I'm not expecting many of those to be answered, either. It's part of what makes the Sopranos so great and so infuriating at the same time.

Posted by: R | June 5, 2007 04:52 PM

Tony goes down -- guns a blazing like Jimmy Cagney in White Heat -- he was top of the world, now he's a big empty nothing. In the end, his friends let him down.

Paulie is the last man standing -- someone Phil can do business with. Paulie recruits AJ and the cycle continues.

Posted by: Tom | June 5, 2007 05:06 PM

If history teaches us anything its always been about the dollars. Do the heads of the other 5 Families know what is going on?
I say Phil goes and because its the last episiode Chase throws us a big bone, Joe Pesci or DeNiro come in as the next boss of the NY family that is Phils charge now.
Or Tony somehow takes over the NY crew and Jersey. Perhaps some or all of the other 5 Families makes that happen to make up for the major losses that will befall Tony in the series finale. He gets more power but the cost is his family.
As long as he keeps seeing that Isreali girl from Vegas I am open for anything.

Pauli is not a turncoat. He is a loyal soldier. Tony comes out alive and on top.
Melfi takes him back and on and on this thing of ours goes my friend.

Tony does NOT flip. The FBI guy is in it just to throw the ill infomed off.

Is that it? Any other questions?
Pine Barrons? Why cares. Furio, no chance.
I miss Adrianans belly.

Posted by: jay servidio | June 5, 2007 05:07 PM

Tony will have an attack of panic/depression and go to Dr Melfi's apartment seeking a session. She will think it's a burglar and blow him away.

Posted by: D | June 5, 2007 05:09 PM

What bone does Chase throw?

Posted by: Noslip H | June 5, 2007 05:34 PM

One possible scenario is that Phil's judgement is going downhill. Perhaps he suffered some brain damage when he had his heart attack. Because his mistress was hit he ignores the rule about not going after family members. Tony gets wind of this and decides that to protect his family and also to save himself he decides to flip and go into the witness protection program (it's also difficult for him to fight back against Phil and his mob because of losing two senior members of his mob, Bobby and Sil). To rebel, to prove himself, and to commit suicide by insurgent AJ joins the Marines and goes to Iraq (remember in the last episode AJ and his girlfriend were looking something up on the internet re "Terrorism"). Meadow goes to law school to become a prosecutor. Along the way Phil gets whacked by his own men because he's getting too nutty and reckless.

or another possible scenario is more simple. Phil gets whacked by members of his own gang and this takes the heat off of Tony and his gang. There is now the possibility of peace. Carmela tells Tony that if he doesn't stop his evil ways and leave the mob she will divorce him and this time she means it. Because of his experience with peyote and the benefits of therapy (he really did get something out of it) Tony has started developing a conscience and some empathy for others so he agrees to get out of the mob and move permanently to Florida and for the first time Tony is free of depression and panic attacks). The ending will still be somewhat ambiguous regarding what happens to AJ and Meadow leaving the door open for possible episodes in the future and/or movies. The end of the last episode will probably have some body of water in it (the ocean or a swimming pool in Florida) and probably some kind of bird other than ducks or some other kind of animal as a metaphor all to symbolize change in a new and more hopeful direction.

Posted by: Gil | June 5, 2007 05:36 PM

10. And what will be your last classic-rock track?

Speaking of cliches, the ending will be Doors, obviously...this is the end :-)

I think the Doors "The End" was playing at the Bada Bing while Tony sat at the desk and spoke with Silvio about their next move after they were certain Phil brought on the war.

Posted by: Markus | June 5, 2007 06:56 PM

Did anyone else think Tony looked notably thinner in last week's episode? Is this symbolic?

Posted by: Garfield | June 5, 2007 07:08 PM

Correction on the Doors song, it was "When The Music's Over".

Posted by: annanemas | June 5, 2007 07:17 PM

Last track - OK, maybe these are too obvious to be it - but it has to be from a Jersey guy, either Sinatra ("My Way" - TOO cliche?) or Springsteen (maybe "Independence Day"). Springsteen doesn't license much of his music for TV shows, but how could he pass up this one, if he was asked?

Posted by: RBW | June 5, 2007 08:35 PM

Bruce Springsteen's "State Trooper" has already been on the Sopranos, and appeared on a soundtrack CD.

Posted by: Brian in Michigan | June 5, 2007 09:02 PM

Given that this is all about family and the confined circumscription of its bonds and how wrongs are rationalized into pricey ends justifying the means...

I think it will be Carmela who gets herself a gun and saves the day. And Tony and the kids.
At the loss of her most precious possession-- and I use that word deliberately-- her soul.

She's always been the most truly conflicted of the characters and her crises of accomodation are the ones that have been the most weightily memorable.

Posted by: gala1 | June 5, 2007 09:12 PM

I woke up Monday morning thinking "Paulie's a rat. How'd the hit men know when and where Bobby would be for the hit?' Why the flash fire between Paulie and Bobby earlier in the last episode? Didn't Paulie think Tony was going to whack him on the boat in Florida, a la Big Pussy?
How's this? Carm and AJ and Meadow ALL get whacked, T gets the word by cell phone and, after he kills Paulie whose perfidy he figures out, he uses his gun on himself, the last act of a chronic depressed sociopath. Everybody ends up dead and the camera lovingly pans over the corpses to the tune of Roy Orbison, or Roy Orbison and K. D. Laing singing "Crying."
That's my story and I'm sticking with it, till next Sunday night at 9 Eastern time.

Posted by: P Bosley Slogthrop | June 5, 2007 09:48 PM

The whole show has been a parody of "The Threepenny Opera".

Phooey on the Bard talk. We're talking Macheath here, not Macbeth.

Why do you think it's called "The Soprano's" anyway? It's an opera about begger kings.

Phil is The Beggar King, Peachum.

Melfi may be Phil's daughter (But even if she isn't, she is still Polly Peachum - a Soprano part in the musical, Mac's wife). Maybe Melfi has kept this secret because she is embarrassed by her father; now she is trying to make Tony right. She realizes she has failed.

Agent Harris is the Queen's messenger.

Tony goes to live in a big mansion with a pension.

"Mac the knife" plays to tease us about the joke.

All the characters don't match up exactly, but they never do in fun little allegories. After all, that is part of the joke.

Posted by: Brian in Michigan | June 5, 2007 09:48 PM

Lest we forget...Tony's mom was the primary antagonist early in the show, and she tried to convince Junior to off Tony long ago. Janice has filled that role of late, and in the last episode, Tony showed her up in a big way, basically telling her that Bobby was done in the family with the "Exile on Main Street" line. I think that Tony is going to survive the Phil thing and get killed by Janice, who is convinced that Tony is responsible for Bobby's death.

Posted by: gwillmac | June 5, 2007 10:25 PM

OK, I see this thing getting much nastier, and Tony fearing for his family's continued existence turns and enters the witness protection program. That opens the door for something later on, while closing this door. Something we can almost all live with as hope springs eternal that Tony comes back in Vegas, the Big Easy, or some other place ripe for the pickings! We will need a Soprano fix in the future!

Posted by: Joezenith | June 5, 2007 10:27 PM

There are three possibilities: Tony dies; Phil dies or Tony goes to the Feds. Any combination of these is possible, the other casualties are secondary.

I don't see Phil surviving. I suspect Tony kills Phil in a massive fit of anger using his AK-47 (the Feds or Little Carmine tip Tony off on Phil's location). Tony's anger stems from the news that Phil has sanctioned a hit on Tony's family. After killing Phil in a public place with lots of witnesses Tony has little choice other than turning himself into the Feds in return for them taking are of his family.

Posted by: Billie | June 5, 2007 10:54 PM

Tony will kill himself as he hears all hell break loose in the safe house.

His need for control requires that he has the final say in his own demise.

The final song will be Hallelujah by the late great Jeff Buckley, who drowned while swimming in the Wolf River with steel-toed boots and all of his clothes. Still a mystery to many. Jeff had followed his father's footsteps into music, though his father died at an early age of a drug overdose.

The melody is sublime and the lyrics are:

"I heard there was a secret chord
That david played and it pleased the lord
But you don't really care for music, do you
Well it goes like this the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall and the major lift
The baffled king composing hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah

Well your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to her kitchen chair
She broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah

Baby i've been here before
I've seen this room and i've walked this floor
I used to live alone before i knew you
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
But love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah

Well there was a time when you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show that to me do you
But remember when i moved in you
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was hallelujah

Well, maybe there's a god above
But all i've ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you
It's not a cry that you hear at night
It's not somebody who's seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah"

On second thought.....I hear clear tones of Dr. Melfi's abandonment and Tony's loss of wisdom and shelter......might she do him in?

Posted by: Athena Falls | June 5, 2007 11:40 PM

Janice, holding Tony responsible for Bobby's death--and at the same time embodying their mother's animosity toward Tony (and all men, perhaps)--kills him in the final scenes.

Posted by: alan | June 6, 2007 05:05 AM

In the closing scene, we see Tony sitting alone in a chair outside his villa. He slumps forward and an orange falls from his hand. A small dog plays nearby, oblvious to what has just happened.

Posted by: Ralph | June 6, 2007 06:54 AM

It's been said that the Sopranos is all about family. So as the Sopranos comes to its bitter end, we'll witness the destruction of Tony and his 2 families. Remember, blood is what matters to T. (last week we saw a lot of it).

My hunch is that the final episode will be about Tony's real blood. AJ has had his brakedown but I think there's more in store for him. Meadow will be killed. Ironically, she's been the saviest & strongest of his blood. So the Sopranos will conclude with her death whether by mistaken idenity or by the NY gang's intent, but Meadow dies next Sunday. Tony might even witness her killing but survive to live in a Meadowless world.

And AJ? My hunch is he'll become so distraght about Meadow's death that he'll kill himself. Thus Tony and Carmela will live in a lifeless childless bleak world.

Out, out damn spot.

Posted by: bajamary | June 6, 2007 07:17 AM

the final twist, the Russian storyline is picked up again. from the shadows in the last episode, a young Ukrainian gunman steps into view, empties his gun into Tony. reminding Tony of a long lost dispute gone bad. fade out.

Posted by: P W | June 6, 2007 07:50 AM

You guys are forgetting Little Carmine. He becomes Tony's second and they take out Phil.

Posted by: Iowahipchick | June 6, 2007 09:21 AM

You guys are forgetting Little Carmine. He becomes Tony's second and they take out Phil.

Posted by: Iowahipchick | June 6, 2007 09:22 AM

The haunting and beautiful Hallelujah is by Leonard Cohen, not Jeff Buckley.

Posted by: R from NY | June 6, 2007 09:42 AM

What brings Phil and Tony out of hiding? Pride? Death of a loved one? Since Phil's goomar was killed, I could see him going after someone in Tony's family. I bet Phil torches the Soprano home or Satriales. I wonder how Agent Harris will fit into the finale?

Posted by: mafia donna | June 6, 2007 10:07 AM

I'm with some of the others. Janice whacks Tony.

Posted by: noodle | June 6, 2007 10:14 AM

Tony and Phil will go toe to toe in a knock down drag out fight. Tony will kill Phil with his bear hands. Paulie, will kill Tony and AJ will take revenge for his father and start a new crew.

Posted by: Soldier | June 6, 2007 10:46 AM

Much more likely that AJ gets killed than takes over the family. Nothing AJ has done has shown he has the stomach for, or interest in, the family business. It didn't appear AJ was with Carm and Meadow at Bobby's house - or did I just miss that. If he wasn't there - are they setting up a situation where he is going to "catch up" with the rest of the family, but, too depressed to actually get it together, leaves the house late and gets caught, kidnapped (or killed) by Phil's crew. Although the "family" is supposed to be left alone, AJ has helped out with collections, even if he was just a fringe player and more of a spectator. This could be enough for Phil to cross the line and whack him, or hold him hostage to bring Tony out of hiding or force Tony to have to consider a deal (give himself up to save his son?) Oh, how Tony would be tortured by that . . .

Posted by: Richie | June 6, 2007 10:50 AM

Leonard Cohen wrote "Hallelujah", but Jeff Buckley does a remarkable interpretation

perhaps closing song will be "Closing Time" by Leonard Cohen

Posted by: BronxBoy | June 6, 2007 11:20 AM

All the mobsters are gathered in a room and a good citizen walking by throws a fragmentation grenade though the window killing them all and saving the rest of society from the continuation of their despicable lives.

Posted by: Thomas | June 6, 2007 11:21 AM

There's way too nuch poetry and providence going on in these predictions. The end will be messy and make no sense. All of the symbols are just projections of Tony's sub-concious.

Paulie's the rat, but won't get Tony. Tony has always known how to save his own a$$ and I wouldn't expect Chase to change that now. The question is really what will Tony scarifice to save his own a$$. The choice is his crew or his family.

My bet is that he flips to the feds and has to leave Carm and the kids, which he's been itching to do anyway and that most everything else is left basically unresolved.

Posted by: Larry Bud | June 6, 2007 11:38 AM

Thought you'd enjoy this humorous take on who will whack whom.

http://www.audienceoftwo.com/mag.php?art_id=728

Posted by: The Orpheus | June 6, 2007 11:40 AM

Tony does not die. Tony has his crew whack Phil for the Bobby/Dante hits. Tony sells his house moves the family out west to avoid retribution from NY. Paulie is a rat and gets shot, but lives.

Posted by: AaronC | June 6, 2007 01:21 PM

Tony slips on the ice and is run over by his Escalade.

Or

He chokes on the paper as he is eating prosciutto while standing in front of the refrigerator.

http://www.lifeinitaly.com/food/prosciutto.asp

The series ends with Meadow as a 50-something. She is on a nation-wide tour promoting her Pulitzer Prize winning non-fiction account of life in the New Jersey Mob.

Posted by: Patsy | June 6, 2007 01:24 PM

Carmela somehow tips off the NY crew where to find Tony. Maybe she spills too much to Janice the big mouth knowing that Janice will do her dirty work. Tony and Phil have huge confrontation, all the mob guys are killed. The widows get to live the life that they wanted without the annoying husbands. This is the only way for Carmela to redeem herself and save her children from either becoming mobsters or marrying mobsters. At the end, she has the real estate, whatever investments she was making (a couple of episodes ago), and the money that Tony hides in the toolshed. The series closes with the newspaper headline reading "reputed mob bosses killed in shootout" or whatever, and Carmela staring out the kitchen window. There is a pool service there refilling the pool and all of a sudden, the ducks fly back into the yard.

Posted by: MK | June 6, 2007 01:39 PM

I think Tony's going to wake up as the software salesman (remember, he dreamed this when he was in the coma last year!), with a nice wife, 2 nice kids, an normal life. It was all a bad dream.

Last song "sympathy for the devil" by the stones.

Posted by: esquared | June 6, 2007 02:10 PM

My opinion on the final episode is thatit will be the end to both Soprano Families. Tony will get shot by NY and Junior will die undramatically, leaving the Soprano mob family finished. Learning of his father's death AJ will kill himself and in the process leave no living Soprano men, in essence killing the legacy of the Soprano family name. I believe Chase will leave alot of the unanswered questions on the table as "Water Cooler Fodder" for years and years.

Posted by: Pete | June 6, 2007 02:24 PM

Tony is an informant for the Feds, and gets Phil and friends put away, and goes into witness protection.

Posted by: JoeyB | June 6, 2007 06:44 PM

Tony wakes up to discover he's a furniture salesman (at the store on Rt. 22 that looks like a ship). He hears someone in the shower, enters the bathroom and finds Big Pussy toweling off. He recognizes Paulie as the power mall walker at the Willowbrook Mall. Carmella was the waitress at the old Belmont Diner. He thinks he remembers the house that he supposedly lived in as Tony Soprano (he verifies this on a Soprano fan website). He goes to house walks around back and sees the ducks in the pool. The camera pulls back and we see that the house is in a snow globe, held by an autistic AJ, while Tony and Carm watch TV in their Newark apartment.

Posted by: Steve | June 6, 2007 07:54 PM

Oh yeah, we hear the X-files them song.

Posted by: Steve | June 6, 2007 07:56 PM

The final scene with Tony cuddling the gun is a duplicate of the final Jim Bowie (Richard Widmark) scene in the 1960 movie the Alamo, starring and directed by John Wayne. Bowie was in a room, alone and wounded holding his gun. Those around him were slaughtered and he himself went down fighting, taking out about 6 soldiers with is one shot firearms before he was overwhelmed by sheer numbers. This is how Chase will play homage to the Duke, who directed the movie.

Posted by: Ed | June 6, 2007 10:18 PM

Brian in Michigan, you are onto something. I do see "The Sopranos" as a pistol opera - but of a slightly different and more classic kind. A great final scene for Tony can be found in Shinoda's classic 1960s yakuza noir "Pale Flower". Entirely silent, and show in slow choreographed motion, the killing/shoot out/and or suicide should be accompanied by "Dido's Lament" from Henry Purcell's "Dido and Aeneas", the oldest opera in English. Here's the text - and by the way Athena - Jeff Buckley (among a million others) did a version of this, too:

When I am laid, am laid in earth, may my wrongs create
No trouble, no trouble in, in thy breast.
When I am laid, am laid in earth, may my wrongs create
No trouble, no trouble in, in thy breast.
Remember me, remember me, but ah!
Forget my fate.
Remember me, but ah!
Forget my fate.
Remember me, remember me, but ah!
Forget my fate.
Remember me, but ah!
Forget my fate.

Now, Dido had a plan to kill herself; and in "Pale Flower", the hit (in a restaurant) is in a sense a suicide mission - so it would fit beautifully. Indeed that movie is worth watching for that one scene - a truly beautiful death.

Posted by: Jean | June 7, 2007 03:23 PM

ive been running through so many different scenarios in my head for the conclusion of this series. although i dont know what it will be obviously i think it can be narrowed down by what it CANT be. i feel david chase is much better of a writer then to do the generic everybody shoots everybody end of story. its too late wit this being thee final episode to have tony indicted or enter into the witness protection program. i dont see any past character such as the russian coming back bc like it or not this series always leaves a few random loose endsand the russian is one of those loose ends but not a big enough figure to reappear and close the series. i think one way or another AJs new gangster attitude will be tonys downfall by AJ getting arrested and talking or even forcing the rest of the family into hiding. but what i really think is going to happen is that after getting beat up by tony AJ refuses to go into hiding and is found by phil. i think phil is going to convince AJ to give up his dads hiding spot in return for a spot in the new york family. this will all climax with AJ supposed to shoot tony to prove his loyalty but before he can try tonny steals the gun kills phil and in a blind rage kills his traitor son AJ. when he realizes what he just did he becomes convinced that it is his fault AJ is dead, his rotten genes. this plus the fact that dr melfi cut him and his meds off will lead tony to put the gun in his own mouth and kill himself. that will leave carmela in the widow position she became so concerned about during the last few seasons.

Posted by: chad in philly | June 8, 2007 04:03 AM

Hmmm.... no one thinks AJ might be the one to off Tony? Regardless, AJ will play the biggest role in the finale. Hopefully it will just end in the safehouse with all the boys eatings sandwiches, smoking cigars and playing poker.

Posted by: Rich | June 8, 2007 04:19 AM

Paulie and Patsy are the rats, why would Phil tell them not to kill Paulie he is higher up than Bobby and Patsy is still bitter about his brothers death so it makes sense he would flip. Also the tangled web of his son dating Meodow makes an interesting story.
When they killed the wrong guy instead of Phil I don't think that was an accident. Everything happened so fast after that we never heard a good explanation how it could happen, which I'm sure was David Chase's intent. He is a brilliant writer.
As far as Tony living or dying I don't see Phil being the killer, it would be a family member most likely Janice, first his mother then his uncle why not his sister.
That is if he dies.
Going into witness protection program would be a way he would lose everything which the ducks symbolized when they all flew away.
Anyway can't wait till Sunday

Posted by: Molly | June 8, 2007 05:26 PM

In the old Italian/Irish gang wars in New York, early 1900's, it was said that you don't kill somebody to make them suffer. You kill somebody they love. Tony survives, but...

Carm gets it. She either gets in the way, or Phil's guys find her instead of Tony, get frustrated and do her in. AJ then goes totally catatonic and/or psychotic, requiring permanent hospitalization. Meadow then has to take care of Tony and AJ for the rest of her life. Tony, of course, then has unending anguish at what he's done to his family. Witness Protection? Maybe, maybe not.

The entire family (except Carmela) suffers long-term for their sins.

Posted by: Ed | June 9, 2007 08:20 AM

The final scene? Over the shoulder of Phil, in shadow, looking out of a New York highrise at New Jersey across the river.

Janice offing Tony? A great way to do it, if Tony is to be offed.

I don't think so, though. Carm gets it. She's been the one who has most often and deeply been regretful of her lifestyle, but continued to live it and even use it to her advantage.

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