"Oh my God. Oh my God."
After I watched, white-knuckled, last night’s episode of “The Sopranos”, I couldn’t help think of the tagline from another HBO series, “Six Feet Under”: Your whole life is leading up to this.
Last night’s final scene perfectly captured where Tony Soprano’s life has lead him. Tony is in bed, lying alone with a gun—which I briefly thought he was going to stick into his mouth--haunted by the words of yet another dead associate. He must face the greatest crisis of his life without his most loyal men: Silvio, hospitalized with gunshot wounds from which he is unlikely to recover, and Bobby, who died in a hail of bullets in a model train store.
That Bobby should die while buying one of his beloved trains perfectly underscores the fact that he was ill-suited for the world he inhabited. Here was a man twice damned, first by birth and then by marriage. As I’ve said before, Bobby was the closest we got on this series to a genuinely likable character, and his murder was the most awful in what has been a season of superlatives on “The Sopranos.”
Bobby was Tony’s brother-in-law, and his death is a symbol of the simultaneous disintegration of both Tony’s crime family and his real family. Meadow is drifting through life, heading towards the same comfortable but hollow existence as her mother. And it has become increasingly obvious that A.J.’s depression is just another manifestation of that old Soprano family narcissism.
As for Carmela, both she and Tony seem increasingly unable to relate to normal people, as evidenced by their awkward conversation with Artie and Charmaine Bucco. The Buccos have always been a sort of Bizarro world version of Tony and Carmella. Charmaine is the kind of domineering wife that Carmela wishes she could be, and unlike Carmela, Charmaine has a financial stake in her husband’s business. Artie and Charmaine, once separated, reconciled not long after Tony and Carmela got back together, but unlike Carmela, Charmaine no doubt negotiated from a position of strength.
But perhaps the worst blow that Tony suffered was being tossed on his ear by Dr. Melfi, who has finally faced up to the fact that she’s become his enabler. We’ve seen Tony try to go without Dr. Melfi’s help in the past, and the results have not been pretty. She is an emotional crutch for Tony, and she’s also unintentionally given him advice that has helped him to be a better crime boss.
Quite frankly, it’s about time she put down her foot. Dr. Melfi is something of a surrogate for the audience, and she appears to have had her fill of Tony at the same time that we have. This season has laid bare the rot at the heart of every character on this show. After next week, I’ll miss the series, but I sure as hell won’t miss the Sopranos.