David Edelstein on ‘The Sopranos’: Tony Got Whacked

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Outrage turned to admiration. Questions lingered upsettingly, interfering with sleep. The editing and use of music in the diner scene was unbearable. Bobby had said something early in the season about not hearing the sound of one's own death — underlined in flashback in last week's episode — which suggests that the last thing Tony did hear was the sound of the bell as his daughter enters. But did Chase wish to end with Tony's POV? And what about that diner? We'd never seen it. We'd never seen the family in such a setting. Who would want to finish Tony off with Phil dead and smushed? The lyrics of the song suggested that something would go on and on and on and on … but what? Now that the FBI was leaving him alone (indictment? Ha! His FBI adversary gave him the location of Tony's rival!), would his way of life endure?

My own reading, nevertheless, is that the sudden blackness signaled the end of Tony, and that it was merciful, at least for him. He had prevailed on his uncle — who now can do no harm — to do right by Bobby's kids, even as (let's remember how balanced Chase has been) he had hit Phil in the presence of two infants (who felt a bump as they went over his head). A.J. was on course — i.e., he had adapted to life, likely forsaking his sudden burst of adolescent idealism. Meadow was on course — i.e., to have a career and be a goody wifey. A good time to die.

On the other hand …

What balls. 80-off episodes and we end with The Lady, or the Tiger? —David Edelstein