Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Sopranos - Season 6

This is the last season of The Sopranos, and also by far the longest. There was a long break after twelve episodes, and then they wrapped it up with another nine. To be honest, for a while, the show didn't feel like it was ending soon. It's hard to say a show so unafraid of killing characters off has a real formula, but as long as they kept pumping fresh blood in and keep the core cast together, the show could have gone on a lot longer. That was never the goal though. It's the story of Tony Soprano, and season six wraps it up while staying true to the original spirit. The beginning and end of the season are unique. In the first episode, Tony gets shot and spends a lot of the time in the hospital inside one of the show's famous dream sequences, although it's different than they usually are, and the last one in the series. Every "last" felt significant - the last psychiatrist visit, the last appearances by favorite characters. I still say The Wire is better, but there's no denying the brilliance or importance of The Sopranos. It's really amazing how these horrible criminals manage to become sympathetic. Not truly sympathetic, of course. They're despicable people I'd never want to meet. But I sure enjoy watching them live.

A few episodes from the finale, a particularly brutal beating by Tony defending his daughter's honor triggers the beginning of the end. You could say it started a bit earlier with the demise of a certain character, but the tone clearly shifts as the final conflict really falls into place and you just know that it's finally happening. The constant head-butting between Tony's crew and one of the New York families that has been going on for years turns into a war, and almost every moment is as intense as anything that's been on television. You can just tell in these shows when something bad is about to happen, and seeing it happen to some people is harder than it usually is. I was waiting to see how the ending fits into the rest of the show, and I have to admit I liked it quite a lot. Sure, I can see how doing what they did could be disappointing or even infuriating to people who have been watching for years, and maybe I would have reacted negatively if I didn't already know about it. But the final scene is just so perfectly constructed, and the ending just works with it so well, that I couldn't help but smile. It's not the most closure you'll ever get from a series finale, but it really is a great scene. I haven't really decided what I think happened, although I'm leaning one way. There are good, differing arguments about what could have happened. What did happen doesn't really bother me too much, though. It was a fitting conclusion to a great show.


Anonymous said...

Nice review of the show.

If you're really ready for some hard core analysis of the final season and then the final episode, just follow the link below.

It's a remarkable bit of writing (although very long) and will force you to watch the series again (at least the final season).

Thank me later.

Adrenaline said...

Yeah, I read that not long after writing the review. Pretty compelling.