Well, dear reader, despite all the bloodshed lately, you and I have arrived unscathed at the last ever sopranos episode, the final chapter in the saga of the Soprano family.
The Recap will post here starting 9 PM June 10 2007, and fill out as the episode airs. Please have Kleenex and anti-depression pills handy as needed.
It's been a beautiful ride and I want to thank all my Sopranos readers for being here with me for the end.
Until then, enjoy these collected spoilers which I will add to as the end comes near.
I moved the spoilers here to make room for the recap..
Tony wakes up with the AR-10.
Next scene it's night. Tony and Paulie are waiting for someone near Newark Airport. A car pulls up. Tony gets out and walks over and gets in. It's Agent Harris. He tells Tony that hey received intel that a Salafist cell was at Newark Airport boarding something into a 767 in London. But that isn't why they met. Tony wanted the meeting to tell Harris that regarding the two Arabs, his nephew mentioned a bank. They had an account, a branch: the Midner First Merchant's Bank.
Harris wonders, "You just remembered that?"
Harris, motioning for Tony to leave: "Thanks."
But Tony doesn't want to leave yet, he asked if Harris' mole knows where Phil Leotardo is. Tony tells Harris that he wants to avoid any more of his guys getting hurt. Harris chuckles.
But Tony persists, "If you heard anything, from your pal..."
Harris: "I haven't."
Tony exits Harris' car.
Tony and his driver Dante drive down to the shore. In a safe house are Meadow and Carmela. Meadow leaves to see Patrick in the city (Is that being safe?). Carmela complains about the odor in the old house. Carmela says she went to see Syl (Is that being safe?) and feels sorry for Gabriella. A.J. comes down and lets Rhiannon out (Is that being safe?).
Tony tells A.J. that Uncle Bobby's funeral is set for Thursday.
Tony: "you're going to be there."
A.J.: "How's that going to work? We're all in DEFCON 4." (Except for everyone visiting everyone else.)
A.J. worries that they're going to be standing out in the open at the cemetery. Carmela reassures him they'll be a large FBI presence (as there usually is at any mob guy's funeral). A.J. merely mutters unbelievable and trundles upstairs.
A television screen shows Bobby's tombstone. It's an FBI van with four screens trained on various areas of the cemetery. Paulie and Patsy Parisi attend as well.
Scene shifts to Bobby's wake at Vesuvio's, where we see pans of ziti, fish and chicken. Everyone is enjoying the buffet; Barbara Soprano Giglione and her husband Tom, Rosie Aprile, Carmela, Paulie, Tony, Meadow and Patrick, Jason Gervasi, Carlo Gervasi. We see Tony staring at the mural of Mount Vesuvius. [Recall from episode 17, Commendatori, after Tony sees the actual Mt. Vesuvius: "I'm going to tell Artie that mural they spent all that money on looks like a used Trojan compared to this."]
Meadow asks her Uncle Paulie to join them at the table. Paulie sits next to a nice young thing and asks her who she is. She tells him that she's Tara Zincone, Bobby's niece. Paulie puts his hand over hers and says, "My condolences." But you can tell Paulie is lusting after her. He still has a thing for young girls. Paulie unbuttons his pants and loosens up a bit and slaps his stomach, "Did I eat!" "In the midst of death we are in life." A.J. doesn't appreciate the sentiment.
Just as everyone begins discussing various things, A.J. blurts out:
"You people are f*cked. You're living in a dream. You still sit here talking about the f*cking Oscars. What rough beast slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? Yeats. [A.J. quotes Yeats but pronounces it Yeets. He's corrected by Tom Giglione] The world, don't you see it. Bush let al Qaeda escape, the mountains. Then he has us invade some other country... It's more noble than watching these jack off fantasies on TV if I were kicking their ass. It's like, America.... I'm mean this is still where people come, to make it. It's a beautiful idea. And what do they get, bling? And come on for shit they don't need and can't afford."
Tara tells him that he's all over the place and she doesn't understand what he's trying to say.
Paulie, laughing : "He's saying that the framus intersects with the ramistan approximately at the pater noster."
Back at the safe house they're watching The Bard, an episode of the Twilight Zone on TV, here's the dialogue:
[A little comment from David Chase that the writer, not the viewer, rules?]
"Give me a chance. Give me first dibs at this uh, this – this television series thing or whatever it is. Let me do the pilot please.”
"Julius, my boy, sit down. Julius, I’m not a hard man - I’m not a mean man, but the television industry today is looking for talent, they’re looking for quality - they're preoccupied with talent and quality and the writer is a major commodity."
Benny is playing cards with Tony, when Anthony Maffei enters with a collection envelope a bit light on the money. Tony is not pleased. Benny, Patsy Parisi, Dante, Carlo Gervasi are in the room with Tony when the door opens suddenly and Dante pulls out a pistol - but it's only Walden Belfiore.
Carlo asks Tony if he wants to go to the hospital to see Syl. But Tony declines picking up his AR-10, "Shit I gotta do. My daughter..." The crew knows he's just making excuses, that he can't bear to see Syl. When Tony shuffles up the stairs, Benny says, "Yesterday it was his gout."
A tour bus is driving through light snow in Little Italy. Butch and Ray Ray are in front of Lombardi's Restaurant on Mulberry Street. Butch gets a call from Phil. Butch asks him, "Where are you?" But Phil tells him, "Let's do this over the phone." Butch tells Phil that they don't know where our "friend" is. Phil is upset that there's no progress. Phil says that Tony should have been done first. Butch explains that they expected to find them both (Syl and Tony) at the Bing. Phil says he heard this already. Butch suggest that perhaps they should reach out to Tony and make amends. Phil tells him he's nuts, there's no going back. Phil warns Butch that after this is over they are going to have to sit down. But Butch misunderstands that Phil wants to castigate him for his ineptitude. Exasperated, Phil hangs up saying that the connection is breaking up.
Butch realizes that he's wandered into Chinatown and heads back to Little Italy.
Tony goes to visit Janice at Johnny Sack's former home. She's lying back on a beach chair. He asks if she wants some pastries, but she says she has to watch her weight if she wants to snag another husband. They both smile at the attempt at levity. Janice: "You're the only one that realizes that's a joke." They talk about Bobby and how he took Tony's comments (in Soprano Home Movies) about Janice so seriously.
Janice: "Thank you for being here."
Tony: "What happens now."
Janice tells Tony that Robert wants to go live with his aunt and that she won't let Sophia leave because her daughter Nica is attached to her older sister. "Sophia is out of her mind if she thinks she's getting out of this house."
Tony thinks she's joking. Tony recalls that 5 or 6 years ago when Johnny Sack bought that house there were cornfields all around, now it's filled with other homes. Janice says she's willing to give it a shot with Bobby's kids, "Bobby would want it." Janice says she can be a good mother, that she put all of Ma's shit behind her.
Tony jests that she could form a new nuclear family by bringing Harpo down.
Tony gets a call from Agent Harris (looks like he's in a motel) that Phil was traced back to a payphone in Oyster Bay Long Island. A gas station, Harris suggests. A female agent comes out of the bathroom nearly naked, she's obviously upset with Harris for talking to Tony.
Benny and Walden are waiting near a gas station in Oyster Bay watching a payphone.
A.J. and Rhiannon are in his SUV parked over leaves listening to Bob Dylan's "it's alright, Ma" and begin to have their first sex when his car starts to smoke and then catches fire. They run down an embankment and watch as the car burns. Just as A.J. says at least his gas tank is almost empty it explodes.
Back at the safe house Tony yells at A.J. telling him that he's warned him about catalytic converters and parking over leaves.
Meadow tries to defend her brother when Tony tells her to butt out. She gets up and leaves, calling her father, "Mr Fat Mouth." Carmela asks him what was he thinking about. A.J. whines that's he's depressed, is he supposed to worry about a pile of leaves? Tony: "want to be depressed, $30,000 for that car." A.J. "Isn't that what we have insurance for?" Carmela, "Excuse me? You're not getting another one." A.J. thinks that's a good idea, it'll force him to take a bus, break our dependence on foreign oil.
The FBI listen in on a phone conversation with Tony asking George Pagilieri, a NY Boss, at the Cafe Napoli to reach out to the little guy, Little Carmine, to set up a meet that would guarantee everyone's safety...
We are now transported to a location where this meet takes place. It's freezing inside. Paulie and Tony get out of the car and are searched for weapons. He meets George who assures Tony that the other party has been patted down as well. Looks like a truck repair depot. At the table is seated Little Carmine, Albie and Butch. Tony blames the current tension between the families on Johnny Sack who constantly stirred up trouble. They all agree it's gone too far. Butch guarantees that they'll back off. But Tony knows that the guarantee is no good while Phil is alive. He asks Butch if he has a location for Phil, but Butch says he can't comply, "But you do what you gotta do." Paulie gives Tony the nod, that he likes what he hears. Tony mentions that because they whacked his brother-in-law Janice needs to be compensated. Butch says they'll come up with a number and they shake on the deal.
With the crisis over, everyone moves back into the Casa Soprano.
In the back of Satriale's, Paulie complains about the cat that was brought from the safe house. He calls the cat a snake with fur and wants him thrown out, but Tony wants the cat to stay.
Later Paulie is scouring Oyster Bay for gas stations with payphones.
Uncle Blundetto is visiting Uncle Junior when Janice drops by. He doesn't recognize Janice, calling her Livia. He's obviously senile. She tries to tell him that Bobby is dead, but it didn't get through.
Later Uncle Blundetto explains to Tony that Janice was there only to try to find out where Uncle Junior hid his money. Blundetto wonders why Tony isn't even curious about Junior. "He can f*ken rot."
Paulie walks into the Bing, sees it empty, calls out for Carlo.
Almost expecting to see the apparition of the Virgin Mary (See Ep 74 The Ride) again he quickly hustles by. He calls Tony telling him that he had a meeting with Carlo who was a no show and he doesn't answer his phone either. Tony says he'll call back on a prepaid phonecard.
Tony calls him back. Paulie muses that perhaps they've been had by Butch and they killed Carlo. Tony wonders perhaps Carlo flipped. Then Paulie mentions that Carlo's kid Jason got picked up the other day for selling Ecstasy. Tony is convinced.
Carmela goes into Meadow's room to let her know that Patrick and his parents will be there shortly to go over wedding plans but unexpectedly sees Hunter Scangarelo who was kicked out of college for being too much of a party girl. Hunter tells Carmela that she's in her second year at med school. Carmela is flummoxed at this. She abruptly leaves, obviously disappointed with Meadow for dropping out of med school.
Donna and Patsy Parisi are over for a chat. Tony asks about Jason Parisi, Tony heard that the other Jason got into a little trouble. Then they talk about Meadow's career opportunities and when Tony hears that Meadow may have a starting salary of $170,000 he gets excited. Perhaps Meadow leaving med school was not such a bad thing. When Patrick mentions that he's working on a bid rigging case with bagmen and other criminals, Carmela is speechless over the type of case Patrick is into, too close to home.
Paulie catches the cat staring at a photo of Chris. Walden is pumping iron. Paulie is spooked by the cat and is ready to hit him with a broom when Tony walks in. Paulie complains that the cat staring at Chris gives him the creeps. Tony asks Walden to leave. Tony offers Paulie to skipper Carlo's crew, originally Cifaretto's, now that Carlo is absent. But Paulie doesn't seem pleased. Paulie says he'd like to think about it, he's no spring chicken that it takes a younger guy to take it on. Tony is either miffled (miffed and baffled) or biffled (baffled and miffed), I can't tell which, but Tony gives him time to think it over.
Little Paulie Germani (with neck brace) is polling gas stations pretending to be a cop, showing around a photo of Phil. He's told that very few gas stations have pay phones anymore.
Tony sees A.J. running on the road and tatatadas the Rocky theme and asks A.J. to get in. A.J. announces that he's going to join the army. Tony thinks he's nuts, that he'll go to Iraq. A.J. says Afghanistan.
Tony and Carmela meet with A.J.'s therapist and complain that A.J. wants to join the army. Tony thinks maybe it might do him good. Carmela says right, if there wasn't a war going on. She also mentions that A.J. has a CD to learn Arabic.
The therapist says that A.J. wants to get past the hate and focus it on the terrorists. Then Tony starts to talk about his own bad childhood. He says he never could please his mother. Carmela shoots him a look.
Later Tony has dinner with Meadow and asks her what she thinks of A.J. going into the military, but then get into a heated discussion of how the government can crush people. Meadow says that she sees how Italians are treated imagine new immigrants. "If I hadn't see you dragged away all those time by the FBI then I'd probably be a boring suburban doctor."
Phil is in his wife's car with his grandchildren at the gas station ready to make a phone call. He's talking with Patty when Walden's gun comes into view and pops him in the head and another in the heart when Phil's on the ground. Patty screams and runs out of the car but left it in drive. Patty is unable to open the back door to get to her grandchildren. After Walden leaves, we see the car slowly turn toward Phil's head and we hear a CRUNCH and see the car bump up. Four black youths see this and one of them pukes in disgust.
Agent Harris is watching an Al Qaeda tape when agent Goddard comes in asking if he's seen Metro News: Phil Leotardo got popped. Agent Harris exclaims, "Damn we're going to win this thing." Agent Goddard is perplexed as to who the "we" is. I wonder how much Agent Harris won in the office pool. Is there a bet also on when Tony buys the farm?
Carmela and Tony try to dissuade A.J. from joining the army. A.J. says he want to go to Officer Candidate School but Carmela reminds him that he's an idiot who flunked out of college. When Carmela says she doesn't want to see him get his legs blown off, A.J. says, "Always with the drama." A.J. admits his girlfriend doesn't want him to go either.
Carmela has a suggestion: become a development executive on a film that Little Carmine would produce about a private detective that gets sucked into the Internet through a data port on his computer and has to solve some murders of virtual prostitute. Tony says if A.J. gets some real world experience under his belt he could then consider putting up the money for him to run his own club.
Neil Mink, Tony's Lawyer says someone is giving grand jury testimony. Tony says, "so Carlo has flipped." The lawyer says they don't know but subpoenas are flying and that 80-90% chance that Tony will get indicted. While he's talking he can't get the ketchup out of the bottle onto his hamburger, in frustration Tony grabs the bottle and gives it a try but fails in disgust. Interestingly Mink can't keep his eyes off the Bing monitor as half-naked women walk and bounce along.
Tony visits Syl at the hospital. Tony sees "Little Miss Sunshine" (2006) playing on the TV. He grips Syl's hand but says nothing.
Tony says the cat is helping to catch mice at Satriale's and Paulie wants to drown the cat. Also that the cat staring at the picture is probably because some rat died in the wall. Paulie says he moved the photo and the cat stares at the new spot. Tony says his gambling luck has done a 180 since Chris' death.
Paulie admits to Tony that one time in the Bing he saw the Virgin Mary. Tony asks him why he didn't say something, they could have had holy water sold, they could have made millions. Paulie, "I tell you something deep in my heart and you laugh it off?"
Tony then tells him that if he doesn't want the job he'll give it to Patsy, now that he'll be part of the family.
Paulie: "Prick. You always know what to say to me, dontcha?"
Tony: "I'm serious."
Paulie, reconsiders: "I live to serve you my liege."
Tony leaves Paulie alone at the table, letting him sun himself. A lonely image that, once filled with many a crew. The cat comes by a few feet away and also suns himself.
A.J. exits the offices of Lone Wolves Productions. He takes off in his new BMW (there's no public transport to the office) and picks up Rhiannon at school. So much for A.J.'s convictions and concern for the world.
At home, Carmela tells A.J. that they're not eating at home tonight they're going to Holsten's. Carmela is looking over real estate photos of a beach house.
Tony is in his yard and thinks he hears ducks and looks for them but no ducks. Carmela tells Tony that everyone is OK for Holsten's. Tony has to meet some people and he'll meet her there. The "some people" is Uncle Junior.
At the State mental facility, Junior doesn't recognize Tony. Tony asks if Junior forgot that he shot him? Tony says that Pat Blundetto told him that Janice was asking about the money but Junior says he doesn't know anything about the money. Tony says any money should go to Bobby Bacala's kids; he should tell Pat so Tony can hold it in trust for Bobby's kids. Tony realizes that Junior has no clue who he is. Tony tries to stir Junior's memory.
Tony: "You and my dad, you two ran North Jersey."
Junior: "We did?"
Tony gets a bit teary at seeing Junior like this and leaves.
Tony arrives early at the Ice Cream Shop. He looks at the door. He's turns through the song menus and selects a song "Don't Stop Believing." when Carmela walks in. She says Meadow will be a bit late, she had to go to the doctor, switched birth control. When she asks if he spoke to Mink again, Tony says it's Carlo, he's going to testify. Tony looks at the door. A.J. comes in. We see an Italian looking fellow seated at the counter.
A.J. mumbles "Try to remember the times that were good."
Meadow is having problems parking her car.
Tony keeps looking around the shop.
The Italian guy goes into the bathroom.
Tony keeps looking around the shop. We see families, just ordinary people.
Meadow still struggles to parallel park. Finally she gets it right.
We see Meadow running toward the Ice Cream Shop.
Tony, Carm, and A.J. are enjoying onion rings, a family like any other American family.
Meadow just gets to the shop. Tony looks at the door. The last thing Tony hears is the bell of the door opening and
And the closing credits roll. Not even a closing musical number. Just silence.
And so it ends, much like real life, with many questions unanswered. As to the awful silence and empty black screen we have to go back to the first episode in this last season, Soprano Home Movies to remind ourselves:
Bobby: "You probably don't even hear it when it happens, Right?"
To add to the confusion, HBO's own website episode summary ends like this:
Tony is the first to arrive at Holsten's for a family dinner. He sits in a booth and plays a song on the jukebox, watching the door. Carmela enters and joins him, asking about his meeting with Mink. He tells her Carlo's gonna testify and she takes the news with a sigh. AJ arrives next, complaining about the more mundane tasks of his job but quotes old advice from his father: "Try to remember the times that were good." Meanwhile, Meadow struggles to parallel park outside. Customers come and go - a shady looking guy who's been sitting at the counter enters the restroom. Finally parking the car, Meadow runs inside to join her family, just in time for dinner.
What's worse, there will now be millions of fans expecting a movie because Chase picked "Don't Stop Believing" to be the last song we hear:
Cut to Black
Some will win, some will lose
Some were born to sing the blues
Oh the movie never ends
It goes on and on and on and on
So the series never ends...
Matt Servitto (Agent Dwight Harris)
Carl Capotorto (Little Paulie Germani)
Max Casella (Benny Fazio)
Donna Pescow (Donna Parisi, Patsy's wife)
David Margulies (Neil Mink, Tony's Lawyer)
Arthur Nascarella (Carlo Gervasi)
Gregory Antonacci (Butch DeConcini)
John "Cha Cha" Ciarcia (Albie Cianflone, Guy who sits with Butch at meeting)
Frank John Hughes (Walden Belfiore, guy who shoots Phil)
John Cenatiempo (Anthony Maffei, guy who hands Tony envelope)
Michael Kelly (Agent Goddard)
Daniel Sauli (Patrick Parisi)
Joe Perrino (Jason Gervasi)
Michael Drayer (Jason Parisi)
Emily Wickersham (Rhiannon Flammer)
Michele DeCesare (Hunter Scangarelo, Meadow's Friend) [Daughter of "The Sopranos" creator David Chase]
Anthony J. Ribustello (Dante Greco, Tony's Driver)
Ricky Aiello (Ray-Ray D'Abaldo, guy with Butch in Little Italy)
Frank Albanese (Uncle Pat Blundetto)
Peter Mele (George Pagilieri, NY Mob Boss)
Melanie Minichino (Tara Zincone, Bobby's Niece)
Don Striano (Priest)
Rajesh Bose (Gas station manager)
Jeffrey M. Marchetti (Peter "Bissell" LaRosa)
Danielle Di Vecchio (Barbara Giglione, Tony's Sister)
Ed Vassalo (Tom Giglione)
Anita Salvate (Mary)
Mike Sullivan (Paulie's Friend)
Frank Pando (Agent Frank Grasso, In Van)
Matt Pepper (Agent Ron Gosling, In Van)
Michael H. Ingram (FBI Agent)
Colleen Morris (Nanny)
Angelo Massagli (Bobby Baccalieri, Jr.)
Miryam Coppersmith (Sophia Baccalieri)
Avery Elaine & Emily Ruth Pulcher (Domenica Baccalieri)
Saidah Arrika Ekulona (Bus Tour Guide in Little Italy)
Tony White (Orderly)
Shortee Redd (Teen #1)
Rydell Rollins (Teen #2)
Dante Bacote (Teen #3)
T.J. Allen (Teen #4)
Alan Levine (Lavoo)
Paolo Colandrea (Man in Members Only Jacket - the Italian who goes into the bathroom)
Jimmy Spadola (Man in Diner)
Carol Scudder (Diner Waitress)
Du Kelly (African American Man #1 in Diner)
Sharrieff Pugh (African American Man #2 in Diner)
Patrick Joseph Connolly (Truck Driver in Diner)
Patti Karr (Old Woman in Diner)
William Severs (Old Man in Diner)
Adrianne Rae Rodgers (Young woman in Diner)
Henry O'Neill (Young Man in Diner)
Jack Weston (Julius in Twilight Zone - The Bard)
Amy Russ (Female FBI Agent)
Jenna Stern (Dr. Doherty)
Geraldine Librandi (Patty Leotardo)
'Sopranos' creator's last word: End speaks for itself
What do you do when your TV world ends? You go to dinner, then keep quiet.
"Sopranos" creator David Chase took his wife out for dinner Sunday night in France, where he fled to avoid "all the Monday morning quarterbacking" about the show's finale. After this exclusive interview (agreed to before the season began), he intends to let the work -- especially the controversial final scene -- speak for itself.
"I have no interest in explaining, defending, reinterpreting, or adding to what is there," he says of the final scene.
"No one was trying to be audacious, honest to God," he adds. "We did what we thought we had to do. No one was trying to blow people's minds or thinking, 'Wow, this'll (tick) them off.'
"People get the impression that you're trying to (mess) with them, and it's not true. You're trying to entertain them."
And if you think Chase purposely made the series ending ambiguous in order to set up a potential "Sopranos" movie, you got another thing comin'. "I don't think about [a movie] much," he said. "I never say never. An idea could pop into my head where I would go, 'Wow, that would make a great movie,' but I doubt it... I'm not being coy. If something appeared that really made a good 'Sopranos' movie and you could invest in it and everybody else wanted to do it, I would do it. But I think we've kind of said it and done it."
'SOPRANOS' FINALE: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ADJUST YOUR SET
If Tony was indeed an anti-hero, the show he helmed came to an anticlimax. There's no question fans will be frustrated. Those who've defended the show all along will claim Chase is brilliant, leaving fans to finish the plotlines in their own minds, while those who had other expectations were likely be furious.