Sunday, April 29, 2012
Sopranos Mystery Solved -- Tony's Fate Now Clear
Tony and family eat onion rings in a New Jersey diner. For once, no one seated at the Soprano family table is driving the action forward -- they're just making small talk as any family would. It's soothing at first, but becomes unsettling. We get a nagging suspicion that an outside force is about to rain terror upon the clan.
The family is waiting for daughter Meadow to show up, and the camera shifts to the street outside. Meadow struggles to parallel park, bumping into the curb time and time again. Tension mounts.
Back inside, a thuggish looking guy in a Members Only jacket hovers around the Soprano table. The camera shifts to Tony's point of view. We expect to see Meadow coming through the door as Tony would see her. We see one more shot from a third-person point of view of Tony looking up, and the scene goes black and deathly silent. Credits roll.
Let the fan base screaming begin.
Many people called it a cheat -- myself included. But after thinking it over I believe I know the answer.
It's obvious that this is a subtle way of showing that Tony got whacked, without actually showing it. There are some good solid pieces of evidence to support this. First, there's the technical stuff about how the all-important scene was set up. Throughout the series the camera seldom shifted to Tony's point of view. This was an exceptional directorial decision that puts us inside of Tony's head. The shift in point of view is a bit unnerving, and signals that a major event is imminent -- we're seeing the last sight that Tony will ever take in.
A persuasive piece of evidence of Tony's demise is a scene in an episode earlier in that finale season, "Soprano Home Movies" (#6.13) in which Bobby "Bacala" Baccalieri and Tony discuss what it's like to get whacked."You probably don't even hear it when it happens. Everything just goes black," says Bobby.
And that's just what happens to Tony. Silence. Blackness.
Remember, too, that one of Tony's henchmen whacked rival Phil Leotardo in front of his family -- an organized crime no-no. It makes sense that Leotardo's crew would return the favor and bump Tony in front of his brood.
So there you have it. Tony got whacked in the New Jersey diner before he could finish his onion rings. Case closed. I hate to say it, but there will never be a sequel. Let's just move on, shall we?
Posted by Paul Parcellin at 1:30 PM