Dear Dispassionate One,
I would love to see Tony Soprano in a newsroom. James Gandolfini as Sam Zell! Tony Sirico as Howell Raines!
Come to think of it, I have seen Tony Soprano in a newsroom. I once worked for a guy at a major metropolitan daily who had the same explosive temper, and the same uncontainable resentment issues, as Tony, though he didn’t have the same easy access to firearms. But he once threw a bottle of ketchup at me, and not the plastic squeeze bottle kind—the real thing, glass. OK, it was one of those tiny room-service-size ketchups, but it still could have made a real mess.
You raise an interesting point: It is true that David Chase seems averse to tidy endings, in which the bad guy gets justice in the form of a prison sentence or a bullet. The problem is, for Tony to escape justice as this point would seem deeply unrealistic. I’m not suggesting that Meadow Soprano must be gunned down (in the style of Sofia Coppola in The Godfather: Part III, not that anyone found Sofia Coppola’s demise anything but a relief) in order to illustrate the tragic consequences of Tony’s choices, but all signs—on the show, and in actual life—suggest that no mob boss survives unscathed. There are too many looming confrontations to count: Christopher and Tony (Tony did, after all, make half a move on Adriana, then have her killed—granted, with Christopher’s approval, but one must assume some ambivalence in Christopher’s assent); Johnny Sack’s Brooklyn family—in particular Phil Leotardo—and Tony; Paulie Walnuts and Tony; the federal government and Tony; and, of course, my hoped-for ending, Furio and Tony. Yes, Furio. Where is Furio? The Russian in the woods I don’t care about, but Furio is a favorite of mine, in part because of that accent, and in part because he opened up a window onto a thriving Mobworld of which we know not much. Also, anyone who gives Carmela a little happiness deserves resurrection in the series. (As you know, I have a soft spot for Carmela. She is an immoral, money-grubbing harridan, but she’s my sort of immoral, money-grubbing harridan).
So, there you have it: As much as it makes sense for Tony to become captive forever to the federal government, I’d rather see Furio take Tony out and sweep Carmela off to Naples, where at least she wouldn’t have to put up with the execrable A.J. anymore, the least sympathetic character in the whole miserable bunch. Next week, let’s talk about fathers and sons in the mob—it’s really the most interesting aspect of this life, and it’s also where The Sopranos may be heading.