Dear Jerry and Dana,
Great show, huh?
The singing, the costumes, and, boy, that Hugh Jackman. Very charismatic. I'll take the Tony Awards over the Oscars any day. As Adriana La Cerva, of blessed memory, once said in reference to Rent: I was humming the scenery.
So, what happened on The Sopranos, anyway?
Jerry, we're going to be joined today by an actual television critic, Slate's own Dana Stevens. I hope the addition of her comments doesn't screw with our record of near-perfect ignorance. (I know, I know: Speak for yourself, you mook—I can hear you all the way from the bowels of Brooklyn, or wherever you're typing from today).
I found this episode—the last one we'll see until approximately 2015, given the Sopranos' languorous production schedule—strangely deflating. I don't know why. Maybe because the penultimate episode was so horrifying (I'm still missing Adriana, as you can tell); or maybe because things were tied up a little too neatly. You noticed, I'm sure, that the FBI suddenly became competent—though not so competent that its fleet-footed agents couldn't catch the loafer-wearing, mastodon-sized Tony Soprano (or bear-sized, as we were rather too-obviously meant to understand) in the snow. (Not a bad homage to the Apalachin mafia chieftan confab of November 1957, in which dozens of high-ranking Mafioso fled the state police through the snowy woods outside Apalachin, N.Y.)
The FBI dispenses with Tony's Johnny Sack problem, and Tony dispenses with Johnny Sack's Tony problem (why do these guys always hide where people can find them? Tony B's non-hideout hideout rings very true to life, doesn't it?); Christopher cleans his own self up; and A.J.—who, if there is any justice in the world, will soon be whacked by his mother—finds a career in event planning. By the way, I checked, and East Stroudsburg State maintains a Faculty of Hospitality and Leisure Management under whose tutelage I assume one could learn everything essential about event planning, which the homophobic Tony suspects is gay. (Though not like the Tonys—OK, I watched a little.) I was looking forward to a gang war next season, but this notion seems to have been short-circuited. Maybe next season TheSopranos will enter the realm of total fantasy and have the New Jersey mob make a move in New York.
Your Dr. Melfi played an instrumental role last night, helping Tony S. see the necessity of killing his cousin. (Though maybe Tony S. will come to blame her for Tony B.'s death, once he realizes that if he had only waited a few more days, the FBI would have taken care of Johnny Sack for him.) Paulie helped Tony regain his leadership equilibrium—and is there anything more amusing on The Sopranos than Paulie Walnuts expressing feelings? There were, as ever, some brilliant lines last night, perhaps the best being Christopher's plaintive cry, "She was willing to rat me out because she couldn't do five years? I thought she loved me." I asked my wife if she loved me enough to do five years. Not only would she not do five years in jail, she said, but she wouldn't even do five years for me at East Stroudsburg State.
What about you, Jerry—now that we're at the end of this season's Sopranos dialogue, I think I can ask: You have anyone who would do five years for you?