I know how the Sopranos will end.
I base this on no insider information. I have not stolen the scripts for the upcoming season nor have I slept with David Chase. I have, however, just finished re-watching the entire series. This has led me to several inescapable conclusions.
First, this is the funniest show on TV. Maybe ever. On seeing it again, it seems so obviously to be structured primarily as a comedy. Chase must have been thinking, “Wouldn’t it be hysterical if…” And no show earns its laughs the way this one does, putting real people into a sub-world with its own tight but insane logic.
Second, I always thought that Steven Van Zandt – Silvio on the Sopranos, and Springsteen’s guitarist off the Sopranos – wore that stupid scarf because he was balding. Now I’m concluding that he wears it because Silvio’s hair isn’t a hairpiece. Scary!
Third, I have a guess about how the series ends. Here goes…
Christopher, his nephew, turns state’s evidence on Tony in order to save his own ass. Adriana, his fiancee, has already been turned into an informant. She ends up informing on Chris – do you really want to see them get married? – who then tries to weasel out of it by ratting on Tony. We were set up for this ending in the previous season when Tony told the drug-addled Chris that from now on, Tony’s going to confide only in Chris because he alone in the crew is a blood relative.
I will admit that this leaves a few questions unanswered. Will Carmela be left alone? Yes. Will Dr. Melfi testify at Tony’s trial? Nah, they won’t show the trial. Will Paulie Walnuts switch to Johnny Sack’s crew? Nope, it’s clear that Johnny recognizes Paulie for the disloyal tool that he is. Will Bobby and Janice tie the knot? Let’s hope not. In fact, I see a doomed fade-out on Janice eyeing Artie. Will Meadow continue her escape from the world of the Sopranos? Yes, she will continue walking the straight and narrow path of boredom, although she will realize how deeply she loves her father and the ethos within which she was raised, as Tony is perp-walked into re-runs. Will AJ get through adolescence without killing himself? Yeah, but maybe only because Chris ends up killing one of his friends. Will Ralphie arise from the dead and reassemble himself? Unfortunately not. Who will take over the family? Johnny Sack, but only after Janice exhibits a surprisingly strong will to power. Will the BaddaBing remain open? Yes, but it will be converted into an Office Max.
Despite my pretense of 100% certainty, I remain puzzled by the biggest dramatic question my pulled-out-of-my-nethers scenario raises: How early in the season will we know that Christopher is betraying Tony? My guess is that they’ll tell us early on, leaving us to wonder if Tony will whack Chris or Chris will whack Tony.
Which leaves one final question: Which of the existing characters are not going to make it out of the series alive? My two favorite candidates for the dead pool are Paulie Walnuts because he deserves it and Artie Bucco because he doesn’t.
Of course, there’s a tiny possibility I might be wrong about some of this.