And then there was one.
All good things must come to an end. Well, last night was the end. The last episode of "the Sopranos", the one fans of the show have all been waiting for (and at the same time dreading) all along. Would it live up to the hype? More importantly, what would happen to Tony? What exactly did creator David Chase have in store for the man? Only time would tell.
Just to get you up to speed, last week’s tremendous (seriously, probably one of the best of the series) and incredibly suspenseful episode left Tony a marked man with a severely depleted crew. A botched attempt to off Phil saw the Head of New York retaliate by taking out several key members of the Soprano crew. With Bobby gone and Silvio down for the count in the hospital, that left Tony alone in a safe house, holding a rifle, prepared to go to war on anything that came through the door to his room. And that’s how the stellar episode ended and left us hanging for the week.
But the story was far from finished. Here, minute-by-minute, is the final episode of "the Sopranos".
9:03 – The opening credits, featuring "Woke Up This Morning", one of the best theme songs ever. Take it in folks, this is the last time we’ll get to see Tony drive up to his house. Well, unless you plan of watching any of the DVDs, the old episodes OnDemand, or the reruns on A&E. But other than that, you know, this is the last time you’ll ever see it.
9:05 – Tonight’s episode is written and directed by series creator David Chase, who maintained from the early episodes that he knew exactly how the Soprano’s story was going to end. We’re only about 55 minutes away from knowing as well.
9:06 – It seems Tony made it through the night. Picking up where "Blue Comet" left off, Tony wakes up in the same room we left him last week (which is good because if someone killed him during the night it would be, oh, a little anti-climatic), still clutching the machine gun he bought from Tony Montana on eBay.
9:07 – Tony and Paulie sit outside an airport waiting for a meeting with a mysterious stranger. That stranger turns out, uninterestingly enough, to be a member of Terror Squad! Tony tries to exchange some additional information about the two Arabs (this time a bank account) for a lead on the whereabouts of Phil, who apparently has managed to disappear from the face of the Earth. The agent balks and Tony leaves into the snowy night disappointed and still with a target on his back.
9:08 – Tony now turns his attention to a visit with the in-hiding Carmela, who informs him that Silvio is still alive (although he probably won’t regain consciousness) and that New Jersey smells bad. Nice. A.J. is also there, but really, who cares?
9:11 – From a FBI surveillance truck, we catch a few glimpses of Bobby’s funeral. Afterwards, eating helps the family to ease their pain, as we pan down dish after dish of food. Meadow invites Paulie to sit at their table and mourn Bobby’s passing. Paulie responds by taking a seat and unzipping his pants to help his digestion, right in front of Bobby’s kids no less. Brilliant. Maybe not his best season, but from the insane laughing at "Three’s Company" to tearing up Christopher’s lawn, he’s still can bring his A game when he needs to.
9:13 – A.J. goes on another politically fueled rant about how much he hates everything about everything. Again, I ask, why are we spending so much time bothering with this waste of a character? Paulie responds to A.J.’s rant with some typical Walnuts’ wisdom, if you replace the word "wisdom" with "total gibberish".
9:14 – We leave the funeral to return to Tony’s safe house, with his loyal crew, who now include the fat driver, some random old guy, and two goons who both look like the young version of Joe Pesci’s character in "Goodfellas". Not exactly the best guys to watch your back. Oh, and there’s also a cat, which Paulie is terrified of, for some reason. Jesus, this has been a dull 15 minutes so far.
9:16 – Phil finally shows up, making a call to his goons to berate them for not whacking Tony first as opposed to hitting Bobby and Silvio. Also, apparently the Mafia is involved in one big game of Hide and Seek, as Phil has no idea where Tony is hiding out either. The pair seems to be at a bit of a stalemate, but Phil is insistent on ending the war and not making truces. "We can’t go back". Which basically means either he or Tony isn’t making it out of the episode alive.
9:17 – Tony pays his respects to Janice who, surprise, surprise, is still a money-grubbing whore. Well, at least she’s been consistent for the duration of the show. She mentions she wants to take a crack at raising Bobby’s kids. One would think this to be relatively noble at first, until you realize she’s probably only doing that to get whatever money Bobby would have coming to him from the Family. Then you’re right back to thinking she’s a whore again.
9:19 – Well, that conversation with Janice went absolutely nowhere, as she’s become more and more like her mother. Let’s all pray for Bobby’s kids. It’s a good thing A.J.’s didn’t kill himself or the title of "Worst Character in Sopranos History" would fall directly to her. Shortly after leaving his good-for-nothing sister, Tony receives a call from Terror Squad!, giving him a possible lead as to Phil’s whereabouts. The Terror Squad! agent seems to feel somewhat guilty about this. Or maybe he feels guilty about touching the naughty bits of a female FBI agent (who is clearly not his wife) in a seedy motel room. This female agent also doesn’t seem too pleased that he’s leaking information to Tony, as proven by the icy cold stare she delivers as she puts her clothes back on. Either that or she was angry because he left the toilet seat up. Women hate when you do that.
9:20 – At this point in the show, I found myself (as I’m sure you did as well) asking, "Hey, you know what this kinda slow episode needs more of? A.J. doing something asinine." I quickly found my prayers answered as A.J. and his new girlfriend listen to Bob Dylan and pretend to give a damn about the world around them. This leads to them making out and somehow managing to light A.J.’s SUV on fire (I don’t really know either) which promptly explodes, but unfortunately not promptly enough that it kills A.J. Again, we were this close to having him gone.
9:23 – Tony and Carmela take turns screaming at A.J. for destroying a 30,000-dollar vehicle, as he sits there and complains about being depressed. More depressed than A.J. at this point? Me, as I realize that the show is halfway over and nothing has really happened yet.
9:24 – Enough of A.J. for the moment, Tony turns his attention back to Phil. Calling Little Carmine, Tony has him arrange a meeting between himself and Phil’s goons (who are not all that happy with the war that Phil has created). This is a good thing. Not so good, however, is that the FBI has a tap on Tony’s phone and is listening in on his conversations.
9:25 – The meeting occurs as planned, apparently held in a warehouse in Siberia, and Tony and Phil’s crew agree to end the war between the families. Basically this means, "Good bye, Phil."
9:27 – The Sopranos move back into their house and life returns to normal. Or as normal as it was before. Now back in their old digs, Tony introduces the newest member of the Soprano crew, the cat from the safe house, who promptly leaps over Paulie on the Family ladder.
9:28 – Janice pays a visit to Uncle Junior, who has no idea who she is, in an weak attempt to get at his money. Did I call her a money-grubbing whore yet? If I didn’t, she’s a money-grubbing whore.
9:30 – A.J. (who shouldn’t have given up so easily after his first suicide attempt. Seriously, back up on that horse, kid) is back in counseling. He discusses with his alarmingly attractive therapist how exhilarated he was when his SUV exploded. Does this mean he’s a pyromaniac? Is he re-charged with life the same way Tony was after he survived the hit his mother placed on him back when the show was good? Or will it lead to something much, much dumber? Something tells me it’s the last one.
9:31 – Back at the Bada-Bing, Paulie is set to meet Carlo, who is no where in sight. A quick call to Tony leads the pair to the conclusion that Carlo very well might have flipped and spilled his guts to the FBI. Not a good sign for Tony.
9:33 – Back at the house, Carmela finds Meadow reconnecting with her fuck-up of a friend, Hunter. And guess what? Hunter is in her second year of medical school! What a delight for Carmela, who probably couldn’t have been any more disappointed with her daughter at that point if she walked in on her Meadow sacrificing a goat to Satan or she and Hunter having some late night Cinemax style one-one-one intimate sessions.
9:35 – The cat eerily stares at Christopher’s picture hanging on the wall of the crew’s office in the Bada-Bing. Paulie wants to beat the creature to death, but Tony interrupts the killing with a promotion for Paulie. Paulie, realizing he’s no spring chicken, decides to think the offer over.
9:38 – Based on the tip from Terror Squad!, the Family know that Phil routinely uses a payphone at a gas station in a certain area. Paulie’s nephew, wearing a neck brace from when Christopher threw him out of the window (good times), continues the hunt for Phil. It’s really only a matter of time now.
9:38 – Tony is driving along and sees A.J. out jogging. He quickly decides to end his son’s pain and slams his SUV into the boy, killing him instantly, but he backs up and runs over him again, just to make sure he’s dead. Unfortunately, that was just in my imagination. In reality, Tony picks up his son, who tells him that he’s going to join the Army (I don’t know about you, but I feel safer already knowing that my personal freedoms are going to be defended by A.J. Soprano). Tony, needless to say, is less than thrilled. He insists that A.J. keep his mouth shut and that neither one of them say anything to Carmela about A.J.’s decision.
9:39 – Tony tells Carmela. Hilarious.
9:40 – Tony and Carmela go to discuss matters with A.J.’s therapist. The therapist reveals that A.J. wants to get past his hate and instead focus it on the terrorists. So that’s nice of him. Tony debates her at first, but then begins to reveal some personal information about himself, showing that perhaps Dr. Melfi was wrong and that he does belong in therapy after all.
9:41 – Tony and Meadow have dinner and discuss Meadow’s future, which includes marriage and her career as a lawyer. Tony, however, still clearly wants her to be a doctor. So what made Meadow decide to leave medicine and focus on law? The way the FBI dragged her father away in cuffs so many times. So apparently, Meadow is going to do the same head in the sand impression that her mother has pulled off for years. Which is nice, since she’s going to be marrying a mobster after all.
9:43 – Phil’s back, doing all the things a man who loves life does; playing with his grandkids, stopping for gas, yelling at his wife about a prescription to pick up at a pharmacy. Ah, and what a sweet life it is. Of course, it doesn’t last much longer as Phil greets his day not with a piping hot cup of coffee, but rather a bullet in the brain. And just in case you thought Phil might pull through, his wife leaves their Ford SUV in drive as she rushes to tend to her husband which results in the SUV running over Phil’s head, mashing it to a pulp, and all the onlookers (who apparently had no problem with the actual shooting) to gasp in horror and vomit. Good times.
9:44 – Terror Squad! agent (does this guy have a name?) is informed of Phil’s murder and responds with a hearty slap of his desk and a "We just might win!" apparently forgetting that he’s not a Soprano and, in fact, is trying to put men like Tony Soprano in jail. Or maybe he just had "Tony lives" in his office pool.
9:45 – Tony and Carmela have a meeting with A.J. in an attempt to get him to rethink his plans to join the Army. This rethinking comes in a form of an outright bribe, as they offer A.J. the chance to be a "Development Executive" (which is probably a fancy term for "Guy Who Gets the Latt