Odd thing about closure: we all think we want it and we usually feel we never get it. The series finale of "The Sopranos" on 6/10/07 hit viewers in two diametrically opposed ways. A) It was brilliant, understated and absolutely perfect. B) It was a crushing disappointment, resolving nothing and raising far more questions than it answered. Fans who expected a tidy resolution to the Sopranos saga after the messy narrative of the last eight years might also expect a shattered goblet to become glistening and whole again.
In real life, a president is in a motorcade one second and splattered all over the car the next. Do we remember the worst part of the story or do we freeze him in time as if the motorcade went on forever? In real life, a princess makes herself the most famous person in the world and then tries to reimagine herself as an ordinary person. When it doesn't work, and she is hounded to death, do we really want to see her last moments of life (for closure) or do we prefer to remember her laughing as she emerges from the sea in late summer? In real life, an 82 year old actor decides to retire because it is too hard for him to remember his lines. No, we donít want to think about his piercing blue eyes as he says farewell to the screen, we prefer to think of the start of his shimmering 50 year career as a movie star and/or the way he can make a character seem cool just by trying to wake himself up with coffee brewed from yesterday's filter.
Everyone remembers when Michael Corleone left the first part of his life in a men's room so he could gun down McClusky and Solloszo in a public restaurant. Hs victims do not blink out like a light bulb and fade to black. Their deaths remain so imprinted in the viewerís memory that they seem agonizingly slow, even though the screen time lasts only a few seconds. So when Tony, Carmella, A.J. and Meadow Soprano find themselves in a family restaurant and an unrecognizable guy walks into a men's room, we think we know the closure drill. But David Chase, clever rascal that he is, won't take us there.
If we want that so-called closure so much we'll have to imagine it, despite the black screen and no closing music. (Journey's "Donít Stop Believing" has just stopped in the middle of a note.) A few minutes before, he gave the gore freaks all the blood they could stand with the execution of Phil Leotardo. But we didn't keep watching the Sopranos because of the sporadic whackings. We kept watching because of the layers and the textures of a family in exquisite detail. If we can't, or won't let them go there are always reruns. Tony Soprano, like an earlier David Chase creation from the early 70's, Carl Kolchak, doesnít need no stinking closure, and neither do we.
© 2007 - Monica Sullivan - Air Date: 6/13/07
Sopranos Series Finale