Sopranos Final Season

Week 6: Tony's Going to Hell
Talking television.
May 14 2007 7:26 PM

Sopranos Final Season

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Tim,

If Hitchens is wrong and there is a hell, Tony's going. I'm not sure I understand how Hitler's bunker worked its way into your post (I think you might be channeling Ron Rosenbaum here), but Tony's capacity for evil, the way he slips so quickly and naturally into opportunistic murderousness, is something to behold. But before we talk about that, let me first say this: Remember what I said about the possibility of a climactic, End Days clash between Tony and Christopher, or Christopher and Paulie?  I think we can safely say that I've been overcome by events. You were right—it's a mug's game, trying to predict the end of this show. For all I know, Meadow is going to end up as capo di tutti capi. And not a bad capo di tutti capi she would be, Brian Williams would say, if he were here.

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I'll tell you what I found so interesting about last night's episode, and it wasn't only the death-by-sinus-congestion scene, to which, as a recreational user of Flonase, I could relate.

What I found so horrible is Tony's apparent guiltlessness. I don't think, as you do, that he's comfortable with his numbness; I think he's comfortable with his evil. This is why I tend to agree that he's done for. By celebrating the death of Christopher, he's very plainly inviting the attention of the evil eye. The absence of guilt is a bad omen, in other words. You, as a rationalist, might not understand what I mean, but, as a more atavistic sort—the sort who believes that Hitchens, whom I love, by the way, is inviting God's wrath with that book title of his (and his Tower of Babel-high Amazon ranking is only inviting more divine retribution, I'm afraid)—I tend to think that a person who feels good about getting away with an evil deed will find himself called to account by either the One True God or Phil Leotardo, or Phil Leotardo acting as His agent.

Speaking of Amazon, by the way, I knew that the show's rather ostentatious plug for The Departed soundtrack would move its number, but I didn't guess quite how much—at 10 p.m. last night, it stood at 1,183; this morning, it was at 33; at 5:46 p.m. ET, it had risen to No. 18. Which prompts the question: Why can't Carmela read my book, and not Fred Barnes'? It would certainly fit in with A.J.'s new course of study—the "dicked-up" Middle East.

He's smarter than I thought, that A.J. He's also going to die, I think. That, or kill someone. Do you agree?

Best,
Jeff

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