So I’ve come to a conclusion about the series finale of The Sopranos.  I liked it.  From what I’ve read today (and everybody from CNN to just about any blogger you can find has something to say on the matter) opinions are decidedly split.  Since it’s all over the place, I might as well describe it too.  I’ll save my thoughts for the end of this writing, so you can be blessed by reading about the rest of my day.

Amanda and a couple girls from work have started carpooling.  Well, they started last week, but Amanda was the one driving.  This week the car’s staying at home, which is nice since I still haven’t gotten my brakes fixed and I had a little running around to do, such as picking up my paycheck and putting it in the bank to make sure all my bills get paid.

I marinated some chicken and Amanda fixed it when she got home.  I also picked up some green beans and baked beans to go along with it, and Amanda added in some small baked potatoes.  Amanda and Michael played Jeopardy; Amanda got four right and Michael got two right.  To be nice, Amanda wagered two points for Final Jeopardy and Michael wagered none.  They ended up tied.

We watched How I Met Your Mother later.  It was one of Amanda’s favorites, the one with Robin’s big secret (Robin Sparkles) and the slap bet.  Right before that was over I left with Michael to go see Hostel Part 2.  He’d been wanting to see it pretty badly since Friday so I agreed to go with him.  It was alright, nothing special I thought.  There were more penises in it than there was any kind of boobage, which is a negative, but it did show a couple more aspects to the whole “kidnap people and auction off for the privilege of killing them” thing.

So, what are Zach Dotsey’s thoughts on The Sopranos Finale?  There were three highlights to me.  The first was the death of Phil Leotardo, who had put the hit out on Tony and his top guys.  At a gas station, Phil said goodbye to his twin grandkids and stepped out of his SUV to make a phone call.  A gun crept into the scene and shot him.  His wife, hysteric, got out of the SUV without realizing it wasn’t in park, so the twins, babies, were still in there.  You see the SUV creeping with one of the back tires starting to go over Phil’s head then it cuts to a shot of the babies for the bump.  Throughout you see some reaction shots of people standing around the gas station, and after the SUV runs over Phil’s head you see one group, a group of black guys who look like they were just hanging out, and one of the vomits.  I laughed out loud.

The second part I liked was when they wrapped up Junior’s story, even though, as Jason pointed out, it seemed like an unlikely thing to wrap up on a show where they ended up going out of their way not to wrap things up.  Tony went to visit Junior, but Junior’s mind was so far gone that he couldn’t remember running Jersey with his brother.  When Tony told him that he and his brother used to run Jersey, Junior’s response was something like, “Oh.  That’s nice.”  It seemed to sink in for Tony that you do all this stuff and you worry over all these things and you have all this money and power, but in the end it doesn’t really amount to anything.

And then there was the final scene.  Whatever you think about the ending of the final scene, I thought it was very well done, aesthetically-speaking.  (Jason said that it was a direct take-off of a scene in Boogie Nights, but since it’s been so long since I’ve seen that movie and can’t really remember, it doesn’t bother me.)  Anyway, in it, Tony arrives at a restaurant where he’s going to meet his family for dinner.  He puts some money in a jukebox and Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing takes over.  There’s a guy with some Boy Scouts in one corner of the restaurant, a trucker with a woman over somewhere else.  Carmella walks in and joins Tony at the table, followed by AJ, who walks in at the same time as a shady Italian-looking guy.  The Itialian-looking guy sits at a counter and keeps glancing nervously towards Tony.  Then Meadow pulls up outside the restaurant and tries to parallel park.  It shows this about four or five times while two black guys walk in and the Italian-looking guy gets up and walks towards Tony… to go to the bathroom.  Then Meadow hurries across the street and you hear the door jingle.  Tony looks up just as the music gets to “Don’t stop-” and then it does.  Stop, that is.

I think just about every household in America was wondering if their cable had gone off.  I was recording the show and usually there’s a short blackout if the DVR stops recording, which, as it was then after 10:00 (the time the show was scheduled to go off) is what I’d assumed had happened.  I stared at the TV, eyes wide, mouth agape, waiting for the picture to reappear for what seemed like minutes, until, silently, the credits began to roll.

So the joke was on us, the audience.  David Chase knew that some people wanted Tony to die and some people wanted Tony to live, and with all the red herrings in the final scene one has no idea what happened.  The cut to black seems to allude to a while back when some of the guys in the show were talking about when you get whacked you don’t see it coming; there’s suddenly just nothing.  In light of that, some people think Tony did end up dead.  I don’t agree with that- I like what I read at some point today that says that David Chase whacked the audience and Tony went on.  Not everything was neatly wrapped up- Silvio’s fate is unknown as he’s last seen on a respirator in the hospital, and there was talk of people testifying against Tony and that an indictment was likely coming.  I like to think that, like in Tony’s visit with Uncle Junior, you worry about all these things from day to day but in the end, whatever happens life goes on and passes you by.

So yeah, I’m in the camp that liked it.

Zach Dotsey