2. Phil was a completely delusional, narcassist who had and was continuing to put everyone in the NY mob in danger. Butchie, in particular, who when he asked for a sit down with Phil so he could find out what was in it for him to run such risks got hung up on. Now, if you think that this guy was interested in running not only the entire NY thing but the NJ thing too for a few extra bucks, that's your theory. Butchie showed not the slightest inclination to be the king of even one hill, much less two. Why didn't he take out Tony first, by the way, in your opinion. Do you think Phil was wrong in believing it was purposeful? If so, your theory is all wet. If not, your theory is all wet since Butchie was one real dumb mobster, we're talkin real dumb.
Butchie was so wedded to the rules that he would not go against Phil himself; was willing to pay Tony. Why? Because, killing a boss makes you fair game for your subordinates, undermines everything the "thing" is built upon.
Phil had ordered Tony dead, had had his brother-in-law and Sil, his underboss, taken out; this goomay thing was necessary collateral damage to a guy doing what he had to. (have to admit, I didn't get that the daughter of the guy who they thought was Phil was actually Phil's goomay, but now, with your insistence, I can see it. (That entire scenario was not one of Chase's high points).
3. Patsy's son was marrying Meadow. Next. You don't take out the Boss in front of your future daughter-in-law's family, not to mention your daughter-in-law herself, unless you are certifiable.
4. What in heaven's name did Paulie have to gain by killing the one friend he had left on da earth? Phil had mentored Tony and in recent times told T his deepest secrets. That scene in front of the pizza joint was priceless. Sidesplitting too. In his darker moments, Paulie was capable of anything; near miniacal. But only near and he would never off Tony out of rage. Besides, he had nothing but love for the guy during the end game with Phil. That was left ambiguous until the last two episodes, but they made it clear.
5. Paulie also had no reason whatever to want Tony gone at that moment. He didn't even want the added cash from the waterfront, which Tony handed to him on a silver platter. And, when the Feds came down on T's mob, way better from Paulie's perspective to have T there calling the shots; Paulie was crude and an animal, but he wasn't stupid. He don't kill Tony that night in a million years.
June? "There was a man from another galaxy," June? That's your example? Maybe Artie did it because of the fire? Hired somebody to tail AJ so . . . . Please, Tony survived that night.
BTW, we are not talking the last twenty years; rather the last 60. And there almost always is a business reason, whether it's within the rules or not. Even for Gallo that was the case, and he Was crazy.
Passionate points of view make threads interesting... and you certainly are passionate about your take ;-)
(pssssst: not gonna change my mind, though... Tony got popped as Meadow ran in... re-watched it again tonight and no way does Chase cut to black so that the Soprano family can merely eat onion rings).
There will be no movie simply because James Gandolfini is over this role... he says so in just about every interview.
I have no expectation of a movie, and have nothing but disguest for what mobsters present.
Have long been fascinated, however, and believe that Chase captured quite well, to misuse Leonard Cohen's words, "the garbage and the flowers" in it all. My take on mob life, they have their ups and downs, certainly in NY through the Gotti fall. I do not see gangsters lamenting their fate during down times; they circle their wagons and just keep on keeping on with what they have until that time comes, if it does, when they can grow the business again. They are stronger and more resilliant in that way than most of us. That, I believe is what the series leaves us with; the blackout is a tease to fantacies that we have about what their lives are supposed to be.
By the way, Chase's use of Dylan's, It's Alright Ma, the thinking man's My Way, in the final episode was smashing. As much as I despise what I know of that world of Tony's, G-d help me, I did love that show and, truth be known, rooted for Tony: "if my thought dreams, could be seen, they'd probably put my head, in a guillotine, but It's Alright Ma, it's life and life only."
Salon had a few comments on this-- in one of them, their "I Like to Watch" columnist came out with both barrels.
This column also made a number of interesting observations which I haven't seen in this thread yet:
1) Tony does not "watch himself in the diner, and then he's there at the table in different clothes" (suggesting some sort of post-death dream or out-of-body experience). In actuality, there's a cut, after which he has taken off his jacket and sat down.
2) The Journey song on the jukebox tab with "Don't Stop Believin'" is "Anyway You Want It." Heh.
3) The actor who played the FBI guy says that in this ending, Chase originally had the Members Only Guy approaching Tony's table before the blackout, but has clearly removed it.
Regarding item 3) above, I think this would have been a much stronger ending. The artistry of the "everything goes black" ending would still be there but the ambiguity would be gone, and Chase could still have avoided giving us some sort of cliche'd end scene by cutting there.
The fact that Chase deliberately cut that out tells me that the "Tony is Dead" theory is not "correct," but in fact one of two co-equal possibilities of a "Lady-Or-The-Tiger" ending.
And, as I've said before, the utter ambiguity means Chase won't have to go through any contortions when it's time to do the Sopranos movie.
1) Fat Dom worked for Phil/Johnny. He visited the bing and Paulie and Patsy killed him for breaking their balls re Vito. And no, it was not preordained that Butch would do that. In fact, the NY crew was very deliberate when asking to retaliate against Ralph when he insulted Johnny's wife.
2) Butchie made no mention of 'what's in it for me'. We don't see nearly enough of him, especially interacting with Phil, to have the slightest clue whether or not he wanted to be king. As for taking out T, he told Phil he thought he was at the Bing w/ Sil. Why would he be so swift and eager to kill Bobby and Sil, and thus incur Tony's wrath, if he didn't also want to kill T? If he intentionally decided NOT to take Tony out after hitting his B-in-law and consigliere, leaving himself as the #1 or #2 target for retalitation, that would be even dumber than assuming Tony was at the Bing.
3) Probably unlikely. Patsy has intended to kill T in the past, and had his brother killed for a fairly minor reason by T. Patsy wouldn't do it himself, but was linked to foreign hit men, so he could easily do it and disavow responsibility to Meadow.
4) Again, probably unlikely, though Paulie for years was on the edge with T. He had tried to get in with big Carmine and Sack with the implicit understanding that he would move into the big chair with NY's help. Tony once again abused him throughout the final show.
June tried to have Tony killed long before he shot him personally. You obviously aren't too much of a fan of the show if you can't remember the hit June ordered on T in season two when he was perfectly sane. There was no retaliation.
There have been other bosses killed in the last 60 years - Castellano was not some 1/2 century outlier. Some by subordinates, some by rivals. It is far from a far-out idea. Hell, folks have theorized the FBI was in on some.
If you want to believe Tony lived, fine. I just happen to think that his dying is a far more reasonable belief given Chase's almost didactic foreshadowing, and because it fits the overall tone and narrative direction, especially of the last few episodes, much more elegantly than any other outcome. 'Cut to black' as a bleak outlook of our ultimate end - reflective of Chase's bouts with depression - is also completely original, while cut to black simply to leave the plot unresolved, though rare, is not. Chase has always been original.
I loved the Tony character as much as anyone (loathsome as he was), and it is a tough mental jump to believe he died brutally in front of his family. That said, my opinion is that it is grasping at hope to try and rationalize his continued existence in the face of so much effort by the author to show otherwise. Deducing probabilities based on real world crime hits is fool's gold.
I think Chase wound up creating the near-perfect tragedy. Regardless, he certainly has generated an unbelievable amount of discussion, which is quite an accomplishment in and of itself.
This column also made a number of interesting observations which I haven't seen in this thread yet:
1) Tony does not "watch himself in the diner, and then he's there at the table in different clothes" (suggesting some sort of post-death dream or out-of-body experience). In actuality, there's a cut, after which he has taken off his jacket and sat down. [QUOTE]
I strongly suggest you watch that scene again if you can. I have watched the last scene about 10 times. There is no question that the shirt Tony is wearing under his leather jacket while he visits Junior and then enters the restaurant is different than the one he is wearing while sitting at the table. Also, the way that last scene is edited, there is no question (at least in my mind) that Tony looks at the table and nobody is there, he looks again and there is Tony sitting at the table. The Tony at the table almost looks up and makes eye contact with someone in the doorway.
Unless there was a continuity mistake with the shirt, there is definitely some sort of gap there.
Last edited by mr. synellinden; 06-14-2007 at 10:46 AM.
2. As for Butchie boy, what did he say to Phil when Phil told him that the reception was fading out and hung up? Don't remember. Go back and look. He told Phil that he wanted to meet to discuss his, Butch's future, in the thing. Phil had opened that prospect after rebuffing Butch's suggestion that they try to make the peace with Tony. Butch said something to the effect, "I should hope so," and Phil hung up.
Second, why did Butchie suggest that Phil make the peace with Tony if he didn't want peace. He did not know that Tony had a line on Phil, and did not know that Tony would reach out to him. Ditto for agreeing to meet with Tony. Talking about theatrics, that meeting with Tony indicated that both men knew that the killings were all just business, driven by Phil's craziness.
Business killings are forgiven, if it makes good business. Even Phil was on board with that until he did a 180 on his decision to step back, and decided to take out Sack's successor anad then Tony, all in the name of some egomanical vision of what their thing had been but in nobody's mind but his. Look back on the things that Phil said, in particular in announcing his plan to go after Tony, and you will see how chillingly maniacal he was. It got him killed, with Butchie's complicity.
How your vision that Butchie had it in him to execute a revenge murder and throw everything into complete turmoil escapes me. BTW, Tony was no easy guy to kill. You really think Butchie was going to break the peace that had existed between the two families for two generations and risk having Tony go after him like he did after Phil. Hey, in case you missed something, Tony took Phil out, even though Butchie himself had not a clue where Tony was. Make some sense man.
Had Paulie been able to make a deal with SacK and big Carmine, it is not a forgone conclusion that that would have lead to an assassination of Tony. However, if it had, Paulie was a much younger guy who had not had cancer and had not witnessed the decimation that had just been inflicted. Sack turned Paulie down flat; Paulie was no boss, and everybody knew it, including Paulie himself.
Look, you examine that last scene again, carefully. Not from the loaded eyes of the viewer who is expecting mayheem, but from a cool, dispassioned perspective of how this last season played out. If Tony got whacked in the context of how this thing wound down, Chase left way, way too much inexplicable to me. Perhaps the interstices that would make that last scene explainable as an assassination were on the cutting room floor. They did, after all, miss a holiday weekend show. So, if you are right, and you might be, there are two principal themes of this show which Chase resolved in a way that profoundly disappoints. The first, as I've mentioned, was the Melphie thing; without more, the 12-step like confrontation engineered by her schrink was unfathomable (spelling?). But that would be small change in comparsion to how the show ends.
I think the attempt on Tony's life by Junior that 3rdgen is referring came in the 1st season. It has been awhile but this is when Tony's mom and Uncle June decided to get rid of Tony. The reason behind this was Tony and his captains had all moved their mothers into the same retirement community and Junior perceived this as a move being made on him. Livia on the other hand wanted to see Tony killed because she felt she had been disrespected by her son. The episode that this hit took place was when he had the long daydream about the beautiful exchange student at the Cuisamano's.
In the 2nd season Richie Aprille came to June for his blessing to kill Tony. June told Richie to ask the other captains but as June told Bobby "He could not sell it" and he decided to side with Tony. Of course this was all made moot be Janice shooting him twice (still one of my favorite Sopranos moments). These are the only two instances that I can think of were June tried to make a move to eliminate Tony.
By the way it has been great to read some of the analysis about the last scene.
Phil says to Butchie "after this we've got to sit down and talk" to which Butchie replies "I would hope so". No real indication of what the conversation would be about. Butchie wanted to make peace because he was a huge target after missing T, not because business was bad. NY was clearly taking NJ business. I don't think Butchie would have taken out Tony for revenge, per se, but because NY (all of them) always had a thing against NJ, and there seemed to be a clear opportunity to take business. Tony didn't have any idea where Phil was, either, until he was fed it by the NY informer - which had to be either Butchie or Albie.
Paulie was not rebuffed by John, as a matter of fact, John encouraged him, though he didn't take him too seriously. It was clear to Paulie after big Carmine didn't know who he was that John was promoting him in the NY circle. This means little, though, in regards to whether or not he was capable of scheming behind T's back. Obviously he was. It was driven home again this season in FL that T didn't totally trust him.
I agree that the final scene was far less 'edgy' after you know what was going to happen. The 'member's only' guy looks far less threatening. But that's part of the point. Tony, and thus the audience, through Tony's eyes, 'never saw it coming'. From the perspective of how the last season went, Tony getting whacked fits perfectly. Everything/everyone in his life was falling apart more than ever. The gyre was widening. The rough beast slouched towards Bethlehem. Everything was getting more and more f'ed up, with the grand finale being T finally getting smoked.
You must have been a Yankee fan. Butchie encouraged Phil to make peace with Tony because he thought that Tony would take him, Butchie out, in revenge for Sil and Bobby? Wow. Jackie really must have been out, just like Yogi says.
How come Tony wasn't after Butchie then? How come Tony had no concern that Butchie might be after him? He got where he was by being stupid about such matters? Tony reached out for a deal with Butchie, but did not know that Butchie would come after him, because Butchie really feared that Tony would not live up to a deal that made perfect sense for both of them? Say what?
What exactly would Paulie have left if he took Tony out? Who would he talk about good stuff like all the guys that they killed and how with? What about the story about seeing the Virgin Mary. He put that out there to throw Tony off. To get him to let his guard down. "You overestimate me kid. I'm not that smart."
Nope, 3G, you are blinded by your respect for Chase which is either warranted, in which case he was just toying with us, or the end story, your version that Tony gets whacked, is completely incompatible with the lead in. I accept that you might be right, in which case one can only hope that he wanted and had more intervening shows that didn't fit with HBO's timing--that would have run into the summer season and disappointed those of its viewers who would be summering in their vilas in the South of France or North of Italy where they could have sats but it would be oh so unchic. In that case, which now that I say it is entirely possible, you might be right as to the ending.
But, please don't tell me that story about that fight with my sister. It insults my intelligence, Carlo, it makes me mad. LOL.
Nobody is budging on their take on Tony's fate... hey, my Mona Lisa ain't smiling, lol! (see prior posts if you have the time).
I'll submit this: the opening scene sure looked as if Tony was in a coffin... foreshadowing? I saw on another site that Tony pushed K3 (strike three??) to play "Don't Stop"...... and Tony, Carmela and A.J. placed whole onion rings in their mouths not unlike communion wafers. A final sacrament?
In each prior year, Tony stared down the dread/fear of possible, if not imminent, death or arrest without such a startling season ending. If this were just "Tony has to live with the burden of being Tony and life goes on," then why not pan out on an idyllic Soprano onion ring-fest, lol?? If he did not get popped, then this false drama is all a big wank... and Chase is quoted as saying that he did NOT ***!!!*** with the fans.
And he could still do a movie with Tony in flashbacks (if Gandolfini signed on.... and he says he has taken this part as far as he can).
Don't get bogged down on "whodunit"..... all signs, IMHO, point to Tony R.I.P.
Or not, ;-)
Of course Butch would feel he is a target having taken out two of T's main guys, and what on earth makes you think T WASN'T going after Butch? Whatever. Arguing about motive interpretations in a mob war is getting tedious. Chase routinely introduced random violence throughout the show, and made it clear for years that death was lurking, often unknown and unheard, for just about everyone. Why would it be different for Tony?
For the record, and HBO exec came out at msnbc.com saying that Chase indicated to him that Tony was whacked, that he (Chase) did not have an ambiguous ending in mind. The guy who played detective Harris felt the same thing seeing the full script. When all is said and done, that will be the final interpretation. You can cling to the notion that Chase really isn't trying to say what he is obviously saying, but that won't change things. T is dead. It is a bitter, bitter pill for fans to swallow, me included, who reluctantly admired Tony's good traits and his obvious charisma, despite his hideous deeds. But this was a tragedy, and it ended tragically.
Of course, one could argue that losing consciousness instantly in the company of loved ones was a better thing for Tony than going on.
The shirt Tony wears with junior is medium/light gray with matching collar. You never really see the whole shirt, because Tony's jacket is on, although you do see the center.
The shirt Tony is wearing sitting in the restaurant is different than the Junior shirt. It has three wide, vertical stripes. What color is the middle one? You guessed it, gray. Since the middle is all we've seen of the "Junior" shirt we can't be sure it's different EXCEPT that the restaurant shirt has a black (not gray) collar.
So, all we have to do is see the collar of the shirt Tony wears when he enters the restaurant to know, right? Well guess what-- we can't see it! When Tony enters, his black leather jacket is two-thirds zipped. All you see is a sliver of gray. You can see the shirt is gray in the middle (like both shirts), and that it has buttons in the upper third (like both shirts), but the collar appears obstructed by Tony's jacket. I say "appears" because the jacket is black and the collar is black, so it's conceivable that it's visible but we can't make it out.
IMHO, Occam's Razor and all, Tony changed shirts between visiting Junior and going to the restaurant. There's nothing that implies that he went directly to the restaurant-- in fact, when Tony was last shown with Junior, it was bright day. When they ate at the diner, it was night. Plenty of time to goof around town, visit a gumar or two, and change a shirt.
Either way, it's moot. I think if this was a "hint" from Chase as to "what really happened", one would think he would make it clear enough that two folks watching frame-by-frame on their DVRs could agree on what they saw.
Two more things struck me while I was watching it again. First, many of the tunes on the jukebox repeat as Tony flips through them. It's way too fast to notice it live, so I assume this is something for us tail-chasers on the internet to obsess about. I'm going to leave that to others, as I've already wasted enough time. ;-)
The other thing that struck me (and I think someone else has mentioned this) is how much significance this scene has gained while talking about it. When I watched it again, I was completely underwhelmed. Not with its style or composition or anything like that. Just that when I watched it again, all the stuff we're bantering back and forth as "significant" just looks kind of understated and secondary. The guy with the cap, who I remembered as almost as menacing as Members Only Guy (MOG), just looks like a bored trucker now. Members Only guy seems way less threatening than he did.
And, for a hit man, MOG is pretty casual about his fingerprints. But there I go again.
At charlotte.com, the Charlotte Observer's TV critic, Mark Washburn, has a column on the last scene... that pretty much echoes some of the points I made in my last post.
Don't know how to link, sorry. You have to search under Columnists & scroll to Entertainment/Mark Washburn.
Last edited by edensquad; 06-15-2007 at 11:46 AM. Reason: spelling
In fact, Matt Servitto (Agent Harris) said in the original script, Chase DID NOT have an ambiguous ending. The scene ends with Members Only Guy approaching Tony's table menacingly.
Chase could have still avoided a gratuitous/cliched brain splatter and could still have cut to black, and yet left it so that everyone would have been SURE what happened. BUT HE DID NOT. In fact, he deliberately cut an ending that WAS clear.
I am on record as saying that I think the "everything goes black" ending is the most like David Chase. That's a far cry from saying it's clear, and if Chase had wanted it clear, he could have easily have made it so.
And even though he had no trouble finding work and had no trouble being typecast, he still did "Never Say Never Again," the title of which was supposedly inspired by his anti-Bond quote.
I treat "I'll never do this role" again quotes from actors the way I treat "I'm not going pro" quotes from college bball players. They could very well be sincere at the time they say it, but I just don't believe that it has any bearing on their future decisions.
Flashbacks could save the "Everything Goes Black" ending if Chase does a movie, but he'd have serious age issues to overcome with almost all of his charactors-- particularly AJ and Meadow. I'm not buying. Should it come to pass, however, I'll have to throw in the towel.
I'd bet money, but who wants to make a bet with a ROI 5-10 years out? ;-)
Dang, I wish I knew how to link!!! CNN.com has a new article up lending credence to the "Tony got whacked" camp.
Chase should treat the meaning of the end like Carly Simon did "You're So Vain".
Nothing like keepin' um guessing.