Thursday, June 14, 2007

comfortably numb

00soul's imaginary friend left VHS tapes of this season's sopranos in our mailbox on tuesday, and we devoted a good chunk of that day and the next to watching all nine episodes. we'd managed to remain unspoiled 'til viewing them, although i did have an inkling that christopher would die.

anyway, my basic reaction to the wrap-up was ... "ok, then." for a guy who seemed so intent on making grand statements, david chase disappointed a bit with this finale (titled, oh-so-ironically, "made in america," according to hipspinster head researcher 00soul). i mean, sure -- i get it. and i don't feel cheated or angry, particularly. i am actually sort of amused by it, but it didn't satisfy me. and it felt like a cop-out. it seems like the whole show was leading up to something happening, and yet we were left with all tension and no release. not my favorite kind of pop song -- and not my favorite kind of tv-show ending.

much virtual yakking has already gone on WRT all this. i haven't read a lot of it, but i've noticed some emphasis on yeats's "the second coming" in terms of analyzing this season. i guess, but to me it's all about pink floyd's "comfortably numb," which tony sings while coming downstairs after waking up one morning (and is it me, or did practically every episode start with him waking up?), and it's also playing in the car when tony and christopher are driving on their final trip together.

tony is numb to the point of killing his beloved christopher and not even caring. he's GLAD christopher is gone b/c it erases one of his most visible mistakes. christopher tries so hard but can't escape the need to become numb. AJ is beyond numb, practically comatose -- the family sin-eater, where all trangressions are absorbed. uncle junior gives up the fight and surrenders to the medication. carmela has been numb all along. even the deaths, from johnny sack to paulie's mom, have a kind of numbness surrounding them, a sort of shellshock that keeps the pain from really coming through.

maybe the numbness extends to the viewers. some of them. too much death, too much carnage. in part it's a grind, in part an assault. you don't feel it as much, whether shock, sorrow, outrage, etc. i do think, as christopher says for different reasons, adriana's murder poisoned the story. if you loved any character, you had to withdraw from them a little to keep from feeling too rotten when chase offed them. and nobody was safe.

tony's own survival -- whether his stature after being beaten up by his brother-in-law, or his actual physical life -- has always been paramount, and he's done whatever was necessary to ensure it. but he felt bad sometimes. he was haunted by some things. therapy helped him rationalize why he did what he did. it was never about him changing his ways, of course; it was about, in the short term, dealing with his panic attacks, and later, IMO, finding a way to become guilt-free. i am not sure he actually became guilt-free, but i think he is more inured to the things that once bothered him about being a mob boss. comfortably numb.

blah blah ... enough of that. (read mick farren's piece in citybeat this week for another take.)

but, since chase has invited fans to imagine their own ending, here's mine:

many people have noted the episode's final frames of pitch black and recalled the conversation tony had with bobby on the boat at the lake, where he opined that when you die everything just goes black. (a comforting thought, no doubt, to one as catholic and evil as tony.) while watching i kept imagining that the guy at the end of the counter was going to stand up and shoot tony in the head. instead, he goes into the head -- har har. but in any case, i've since learned from the internets that the guy is a nephew of phil (along with all the other connections of others in the diner, but they don't matter in this scenario). meanwhile, outside, there's all this business with meadow struggling to parallel park. obviously, she's trying to fit into the right place, metaphorically speaking. so what happens is, nephew comes out of head and shoots tony, just as meadow comes into the diner. whereupon she pulls out her own weapon -- which she's been carrying since that fucking asshole talked shit to her in the restaurant -- and blows the guy away. and just like that, meadow finds her place. as head of the family.

ridiculous? so what? i like it. i've always thought meadow should take over. (sheesh, if the family in italy can have women as bosses, why not those made in america as well?) and you can't prove that's not what happened. so, nyah!

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