harpo wrote:My issue with finding the thematic resolution to Tony's story the 4th to last or 3rd to last episode is... what's the point of the last couple? Exciting but superfluous drama? With patricidal aggression so central to the series, and final season particularly, it seems an underestimation of Chase to not think he'd follow through with it and other major themes to the end of show. Isn't a song in B likely to end on B?
Not necessarily on the key deal. If it's in B-minor, it could well end in D Major, or there could be another type of modulation that shifted the tonal center entirely.
Seriously, if this is leading where I think it is, I don't care to rehash it in depth again, although I appreciate the honesty and relevance of the question. If one assumes MOG shot Tony, I'm not sure what resonance that has with the patricidal rage angle other than the fact that, as many noted, the actor playing MOG bore a slight resemblance to Johnny Boy. I even allowed that he might resemble a cross between Johnny Boy and Christopher, which really offers some interesting symbolism on this point.
Of course without even considering what Tony's putative assassin might look like, we know that if he's a mob guy, he will be, in many salient ways, a man like Tony, like Christopher, and like Tony's father, man with a similar cultural background. He would almost certainly be a bad son raised by a bad father, who was probably raising a bad son himself. And we know that if Tony was shot, he would simply be reaping an ending he sowed both as an individual, as a father (to Chris), and as a son. I'm not sure what exists beyond that.
I do believe the father/son stuff continues in the Second Coming
, since that was about bringing AJ's "man" crisis to a nadir, beyond which we would only glimpse enough to know that he would make it out alive and would neither become his father nor anything particularly worthwhile but, as Chase said, an example of the "small bits of progress" that many families tend to make over generations.
That leaves Blue Comet and MIA, the first of which was an unusually procedural, action-driven episode that had significant plot work to do to bring the long-fermenting war with NY to its penultimate moment (or climax, if you prefer). Yet, at the same time, Blue Comet played host to Melfi's spectacularly hostile termination of therapy and most assuredly marked the last time Tony would ever set foot in her office. The exit of the character billed second in the actor's credits and whose office was the centerpiece for the opening of the series and for many moments afterward is no small matter to deal with from a writer's perspective. For those who want "closure" (and I'm not saying you are among them), you have to grant that the seismic events crammed into that episode were more than just "superfluous drama". They were absolutely critical to establishing any sense of resolution to those respective, overarching aspects of the show.
Moreover, Melfi got to stand there and be the effective voice of David Chase shouting to idiots like me, "You see there? He's a freaking, hopeless sociopath for whom therapy has been an absolute joke, and anyone who ever thought otherwise should feel as foolish and angry and used as Melfi does." From his interview comments, I'm certain that was something to which Chase ascribed significant moment.
That left MIA, which had to pick up from the cliff hanger in Blue Comet in good old soap opera fashion, and bring an end to Phil or Tony (or both). It also had to bring Tony face to face one last time with the uncle that was "dead to him" in an exchange that reflected all the paradoxes of these relationships between father figures and their surrogate sons and, in that sense, was absolutely a continuation of the father/son theme that featured throughout season 6. MIA also had to establish the final glimpse of Meadow's future, of AJ's future, of Janice's future, and of Tony's future should he live (finally the defendant in a RICO case with major, damaging testimony from a capo). That's a lot of stuff to get done.
I have argued many times that the black could also be interpreted as a comment on the nature of Tony's future, both in this world and especially beyond, whenever the "beyond" comes, and partly because the black so starkly contrasted with the sun Tony stared into as he raked leaves and wistfully listened to the cry of birds (ducks) in flight. The man who haled from Kingman, Arizona, and derived his truth from the desert sun while on a sojourn to nearby Sin City and briefly glimpsed his family in the blinding light of that same sun in a backyard in New Jersey contrasts with a man whose death, whenever and wherever it occurs, will consist of complete isolation, nothingness, and darkness. No sun, no light, and certainly no ducks. That seems to me a reasonably poetic use of imagery in the final episode.