Universal Polymath wrote:My question for you guys, though, is this: Does the fact that the audience eventually loses hope - and as a result, interest - in the character of Tony hurt the overall quality of the series? The fact that we are teased over and over with the possibility of growth in Tony, only to watch the credits roll after the final episode with no such thing happening - does that diminish the impact of everything else that came before it?
Is the fact that Tony, after a certain point, remains a stagnant being incapable of development a mistake on David Chase's part? Does it signify a flaw of his as an effective storyteller? Or was this Chase's plan all along, while we as the viewers simply made the mistake of hoping for a story that Chase never intended on telling?
An excellent question. I cannot say for sure that all audience members have lost hope, but from my interpretation it would seem the likely emotion. At least hope for Tony Soprano as a character. I am personally going through a curious emotional stage following the end – I don’t want to watch any episode (though I did find myself break down last night and watch the finale once more.) Perhaps I am still trying to put it all together. But I have, I think, a firm grasp of what Tony’s end might be: not content with the life that follows, but unwilling to do anything serious about it until he dies.
Going forward, I suspect further viewings will help reinforce that notion in him, but also perhaps allow looking towards myself and taking action unlike the man I am watching. If anything, future viewings will help see how Chase established this final moment with Tony and family (a re-reading of my own afterthoughts on my blog made me see clearly how Chase has set this ending precisely.)
I certainly don’t think it’s a mistake. I can think of a few other ways in which I might enjoy the series ending, but I cannot suggest that Chase “hurt” the series in any way by ending it in the manner he did. While it remains below an A+ finale (IMHO), it provides plenty to truly appreciate it and (I think) one that will remain in the popular lexicon for years to come.