The endings of some tv shows are clear. Rachel and Ross just had to end up together, so did Carrie and Mr. Big. Magnum returning to the Navy felt just right, as did Crockett and Tubbs headed toward the Keys for “a career in Southern law enforcement,” together. The Buffy team driving out of town on a Mrs. Frizzle school bus left me cold, but Angel and his team heading out to do a final battle was just right.
The Sopranos is more complex, and therefore more maddening.
Here are some thoughts about the ending (let’s not call them predictions) before the final hour strikes:
•The episode title is “Made in America”: As someone posted somewhere (sorry I didn’t capture who/where): it echoes the very first line of The Godfather: “I believe in America,” spoken by Amerigo Bonasera, the Italian immigrant. It is a very fitting tribute ("In the beginning was the Word"--and that word was "Godfather.")
It also echoes being a "made man" in the mob, that you've killed for your team, and the phrase we use on products--both literally, as people often look at lables to "buy American," and figuratively stamped on the pop culture that we export to the world.
But I like it best as a synonym for “Born in the USA”: that stark anthem from the genius from freehold New Jersey (who is a second generation Italian on his mother’s side), that Reagan mistook for pride in this country. Springsteen has deep love for our country, but that song was about the shameful treatment of returning Vietnam vets.
The entire Springsteen catalog captures so much about growing up in Jersey in the shadow of New York, and the deep, driving yearning to make it big. He’s got to be a huge influence on Chase. And I would think he or at least one of his songs would be in the finale. (We know that he’s in the last Studio 60. Now isn't that a strange twist of fate.)
“The highways jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive
Everybody's out on the run tonight but there’s no place left to hide”
•One end game theory is that someone, maybe Paulie, is on Phil’s payroll or turns Fed on Tony. Some people think Sil may not be dead. I didn’t think much of that, but on a second watching of "The Blue Comet," several things jumped out:
*Paulie can't reach Sil by phone the night Faux Phil is killed;
*Sil uses the phrase "go underground" and says that's what "they" call it, when he's talking to Tony in the garage, and Tony's ears prick up;
*At the end, Tony tells Paulie that he can't reach anyone at the hospital to get a report on Sil's condition, and Paulie tells him that Sil isn't likely to recover.
Betrayal by a trusted partner is the gravest sin. In Dante’s Inferno, in the very bottom of the 9th circle of hell is a three-faced Satan himself. And in his three hideous mouths are Brutus, Cassius, and Judas.
I think it’s possible that Sil isn’t dead. That he’s made some deal, and that Paulie is part of it.
•I think Tony will come to a violent end. Chase once sited the 1931 Public Enemy as one of his favorite films as a kid. It has one of the most shocking ends in film. James Cagney plays an Irish gangster during Prohibition who starts a gang war and is violently killed. But the shock is when he is delivered to his mother’s door, wrapped up like a mummy, while “I’m forever blowing bubbles” plays on a music box.
That’s as far as I’m going. Que sera, sera.