Don't Stop ... Believin' - Spoiling The Sopranos Finale.

Oh, I'm not ready for the day. Here's the deal, it was slightly after 10pm last night when I figured I'd go online and see if the latest Sopranos episode was up and ready for downloading. It wasn't, but 45 minutes later it was. 50 minutes after it started downloading, the file was at 25% and it was only midnight, so I went to sleep with my computer on and my alarm clock set for 5am.

This morning, I got up and watched the series finale; I'll just say this: I liked it. If anyone gleans anything from the news or anything else, you're gonna hear a lot of bullshit about how the finale sucked. Just know that most likely, anyone saying that is retarded; they need to have their entertainment spoon-fed to them like teet-sucking infants. If you enjoy the Sopranos and have stuck with it throughout the duration, you'll watch the ending and know that this is the way The Sopranos was supposed to end. It's fitting with each and every season before it.

That having been said, I'll add two things: having the last sounds we hear come from the band Journey ... priceless. Also, this episode was written and directed by the creator, David Chase. Whenever you see his name credited in the writing portion of the episode, you know something big is going to happen. Every time. Some big revelation, some big event, some major death. Every time. But, you shouldn't think anything major is going to be different directionwise when you see that it's directed by him.

Unlike David Lynch, co-creator of the show Twin Peaks that I just finished watching. My greatest worry came true last night as I sat through the final two episodes of the series. It ended, but it didn't really end. And, this is different than the Sopranos ending in that, I think, Twin Peaks was meant to go on for at least another season.

But, here's the thing: David Lynch is one of the most identifiable directors ever - usually because every movie he makes is so fucking strange. However, what he does with Twin Peaks is create some of the most terrifying television I've ever seen. The eerie moods he sets, the freaky visuals, the disturbing characters, they all amount to one thing: nightmares.

It's just too bad, from what I can tell, that he took a decidedly hands-off approach to the bulk of the second and final season. Once the story of Laura Palmer had run its course - taking up the entire first season and nearly half of the second before its abrupt and unsatisfying conclusion - the show had something like 12 episodes to fill but not much in the way of story to go along with it. They muddled along with the characters they had remaining, flushing the loose ends one by one until the final arc remained of a serial killer and a supernatural Black Lodge. And, just as the show started getting interesting again - with Lynch back in the fold directing the finale - ABC cut the strings and left the fucking show dangling.


For Fuck's Sake! Really!

To those of you who're whining today, "Oh, that's not an ending," ... bullshit! It is SO an ending! See those credits rolling? That indicates the episode is over. Check your TV Guide, you'll see no more episodes of The Sopranos forthcoming. That indicates the series is over.

It's an ending! This show wasn't meant to take you all the way to the conclusion of Tony Soprano's life, or the conclusion of his life as a free man. It started out as a man in therapy bemoaning the quick arrival and departure of ducks in his swimming pool. The show didn't start at Tony From Birth. An arbitrary point in his life was picked up and captured on video; certain parts of his life were recorded over the next few years; then the camera turned off and Tony went on living.

When you think of those ace endings, the Mary Tyler Moores and all that, you don't really think that with the end of the show that those characters' ficticious lives end there, do you? If you consider a TV Show as an alternate universe - which you pretty much have to - then you'll see that you're only privy to a small portion, a selective view of that universe.

What are we all upset about anyway? From the polls, a vast majority of viewers wanted the show to end with Tony Soprano alive ... from the reaction I can see that either the Vast Majority was full of shit and wanted his blood shed all over the diner's walls; or they're fucking stupid morons who don't even remotely understand the life of a mobster, even after watching one for eight years. You got your wish! He's alive to the bitter end! But, you know what? His life isn't all roses and sunshine; there's an element of danger and impending doom around every corner, for every second of every day. If what the polls reflected is accurate, then that means the Vast Majority wanted Tony Soprano to live, they wanted him to avoid jail time, and apparently they wanted him to run off with his family and live happily ever after in some other time and place as the first Mob Boss who escaped The Life and didn't require prison, death, or FBI Informing to do so.

If you truly believed that ... I've got some oceanfront property in Oklahoma to sell you!

You had two options here: Death, or What You Got. And what you got was the odds on NON favorite. Tony was never going to flip; he was the last of a dying breed. The transition of the Old School Mobster to the New School, but he still had enough Old School mentality in him to resist ever sending members of his family to the big house. Also, he was never going to defeat New York. NEVER. Get it through your fucking heads. New York has five families all on their own, Tony has a glorified crew whose numbers have diminished considerably. Sheer manpower and competency alone would dicate that Tony Soprano is a flea on the mangy dog of mafia life.

More than anything, mafiosos simply want to maintain the status quo. Which is why it's a dying breed, because they hardly think of expansion or changing business plans. Which is why they do the same things they've always done for decades and decades. They're stubborn and not as cutthroat business savvy as corporations are. One way of maintaining that quo is to stay out of the papers and out of the hair of law enforcement. Ergo, the murders had to subside, otherwise New York could've been in a world of shit as the bodies continued to pile up. Sooner or later, those deaths would start pointing in a direction and with each body you've got another chunk of prison time for somebody to serve.

That's why it doesn't surprise me that an accord was reached. That's why it doesn't surprise me that Phil met his maker. The show is called The Sopranos, not The Leotardos. Tony has had the FBI up his ass since the show first started airing; it's fitting that they continue to be firmly lodged between hemorrhoid 1 and hemorrhoid 2 after the show's conclusion. Most of the trouble with the New York family stemmed from the elder Carmine, continued through Johnny Sack's reign, and came to a brutal climax under Phil Leotardo. With those three men all biting the bullet, a sense of normalcy between Jersey and that section of New York can finally be achieved; if nothing else, you saw this all happen while the cameras rolled.

Likewise, you saw Meadow grow from a rebellious, gifted high school student to a budding lawyer with a fiance. You saw A.J. grow from a whiney pissant fat little grub to a whiney pissant skinny little wiener with a terrible pile of facial hair and a renewed penchant for speaking his whiney little pissant mind. You saw Carmella grow from a feeble, pious, do-nothing, know-nothing housewife resigned to her husband's infidelities, to a grown, strong, fighting woman who manages her own finances and sticks up for what she believes in, even if it flies in the face of the Catholic church.

And then there's Tony. We caught him in an intense period of personal change - what with the family being betrothed to his hands, juggling his backstabbing uncle and mother all the while secretly running things from his Number 2 ranking within the family - where he suffered from panic attacks and anxiety and depression. And, in the end, while only the panic attacks subsided, the therapy he endured (I use that word as he would use it, because for him a lot of the time therapy was a chore) made him a better leader and helped him keep things in perspective. In the end, though, overall, Tony Soprano isn't a whole lot different than when we first met him.

If viewers didn't get that by now, then lord help them, they never got the show at all.