Sopranos Final Season

Is Tony Too Weak?
Talking television.
April 17 2007 1:55 PM

Sopranos Final Season

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The Sopranos. Click image to expand.
Tony and Carmela

Dear Stretch (and this is the last time I call you that),

I would rather be Silvio as well, truth be told. The first thing I would do as Silvio is have Nils Lofgren whacked.

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Speaking of whacking, the Brooklyn captain who was shot while dining with Silvio was named Gerry Torciano, who was introduced into the show, it seems, pretty much so that he could be killed. We haven't seen Torciano do much; it was his men who beat up Hesh and his son, you'll recall, but his role in the show has been limited. Imagine for a second being John Bianco, the actor who played Torciano, whose previous credits, according to the IMDB database, include playing "Worker No. 2" in a single episode of Law & Order in 2002 (I personally thought the guy who played Worker No. 1 gave his character depth that was missing in Bianco's Worker No. 2, but that's just me), and getting the call from Silvercup Studios: The good news is, we're casting you as a capo in the Lupertazzi Crime Family, the bad news is, you're going to have seven lines and then you're going to get killed. But don't worry, you'll still get Screen Actors Guild dental.

What a terrible bummer that must be. My friend David Segal had a hysterical piece in the Washington Post not long ago that cataloged the frustrations of actors whose characters die on TheSopranos; the guy whose heart gave out on the toilet a couple of seasons ago is still angry at David Chase, I'm told, not only for taking away his job, but for sending his character off in such an unmoblike way.

John Bianco, on the other hand, went out dramatically, though not realistically. The actual hit was unoriginal but not unreal, and the fallout was unconvincing. Faustino "Doc" Santoro, Torciano's rival for Lupertazzi leadership, had Torciano killed while dining with a Soprano family captain, Silvio, who seems not to have known that Torciano was to be shot in front of him. Silvio's life, and reputation, and suit, were put in danger by Santoro's decision, and the proper response from the Soprano family boss would have been to punish Santoro—not fatally, necessarily, but punish him in some physical or material way. Tony, however, impotently shrugs off the insult. This sequence reminded me of the observation made—in this very dialogue—by the great mob lawyer Gerry Shargel, who told me that a real-life Tony Soprano would have long ago been eliminated for his weaknesses.

My impression, and I'm sure the show will correct me, is that Torciano was killed merely to accelerate the chaos inside the Lupertazzi family, chaos that will somehow spill over into The Sopranos. But we don't know yet.

The Lupertazzi saga could be a massive feint; Tony might meet his end at Christopher's hands, or Paulie's hands, or he might not meet his end at all.

This is why I'm eager to cut to the last episode.

Talk to you next week.
Jeff

Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for the Atlantic and the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror.

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