Tony Soprano announces “The Family” situation.
This is among the most wry, dry and smart applications o’ musical lyrics by David Chase, in THE SOPRANOS, this Season Five Finale,“All Due Respect”: applying the song, “Glad Tidings,” by Van Morrison, to this recent and last Episode 65.
Whoever reads this and doesn’t get this, I’m not going to explain further, because it’s either something you got when you first heard it, or, didn’t. If you didn’t, it’d be laborious to explain, so I’ll move on here.
When Season Four concluded, and some people on a few forums/boards here and there (one site, particularly, comes to mind, peppered with self-identifying, high-brow literary types with tiny stars by their names), the tiresome opines tested everyone else’s patience by wondering incredulously as to the ending scene from Season Four’s last Episode (“Whitecaps”) — Tony Soprano donning his black cap, driving his red SUV into New York to stay at “The Plaza,” as he announced to Carmela — my patience was worn. Worn, because, that concluding scene from “Whitecaps” (which, along with “Whoever Did This,” represented and represent my two favorite Episodes of the entire series), that concluding scene was so clearly written, produced and enacted to my eye and ear, as to be written in stone and spelled out, plain as day, for anyone to understand. And, yet, amazing it was to me to read the many questions and complaints, elsewhere, about that concluding scene (“it was boring/dull/vague/anticlimactic…” among the comments, but, most often, “what does it MEAN?”).
And, from me, I write, “it means that Tony S. has moved into New York.”
With a cap on. A black one.
Now we have the conclusion of Season Five and Tony Soprano is lined up to assume, for lack of any substantial opposing force, the New York territory, including Miami: I suspected (wrote about this recently) that Little Carmine wasn’t really as stupid as he’s been up to now, that Johnny Sack was ripe for the fall, and that, almost certainly, Tony S. had all of it at his feet if he survived the family ( little “f” ) and his own fade-ins and fade-outs.
Tony Soprano reminds Johnny Sack
about the “five hundred pound elephant” situation.
So, surviving all of that, Tony S. — (the story is clouded, since the apparent “indictment” “would have reached all the way up to Carmine, Senior if he hadn’t died,” according to Tony Soprano’s attorney, meaning, Episode 65 implied that all of the Carmine [“New York”] Family was included in the indictment, so there’s the assumption that Little Carmine was nabbed when and as was Johnny Sack) — there’s the fact that Tony S. is the only one remaining who can assume responsibilities, with Johnny Sack, et al. tied up, no longer involved, that Tony Soprano is the only remaining and formidably capable “General” around.
“The five hundred pound elephant” that Tony reminded Johnny Sack about, in stunted, juvenile proportions, was enough to bring them back to an embrace, despite the ensuing and sudden entrance of the Feds at that very moment, nabbing Sack. Tony S., regarding Tony Blundetto‘s occluded ball o’ twine of self industry as meager, compared with Sack’s emaciated elephant in the room of their mutual past, reminded me of just who this Series is about and what; and, Tony Blundetto’s bad return to the farm, made worse with Tony S. assuming the work involved, was Tony Soprano’s necessary service, payment in full for the glad tidings to come from New York: it all worked to bring Tony Soprano in as Top Bear.
I knew this was coming, I knew it, if for the only reason that no Series this great or otherwise would cast Steve Buscemi this greatly or otherwise, even and although the story itself has been consistently moving toward this conclusion. Despite himself, Tony S. has been moving toward this latest episodic change, seasonal balancing act, for the full Series.
New York aside, however, still out there in the ether is that tape that the old guy informant, sneaky Ray Curto, handed over to the agent in the car, in the opening first few minutes of this recent Episode 65, announcing to the agent, “it’s got Tony Soprano and Vito Spatafore talkin’ about the bus terminal project.” So, Tony S. and Family ( capital “F” ) are still in obvious observation and impending indictment, but that’s for the next Season, Season Six, in eighteen months in the future (January 2006 is what I’ve read, as to when the next and last Season Six will premiere, and continue for only ten Episodes).
It’s efficient that the various characters and sub-agents, subsets of plots and issues complicating the Series have now, for the most part, been resolved, or, turned off completely. In the next Season, the concluding Season, Season Six, we’ll nearly certainly see Tony S. and the Feds in some sort of resolution. While I understand that Tony’s acts and ethics are more than enough to damn him all to Hell, I also know that the Series is about Tony Soprano, and all the rest of it is either specifics or details, including everyone else, and that most of us viewers — despite the obvious — want to see Tony S. continue. Not necessarily in crime and desperate, deprived acts, but manage to conquer the literary obvious turning of the screw, and that is, to not die out, to not be penned out, in a cell or otherwise.
I speculated months ago, before I abandoned even reading that earlier-mentioned high-brow bogus literary board, that Tony Soprano might escape to the Caribbean, Italy even, take his or whoever’s money and run. Make a change, come to his senses, repent the Life and live. It’s fiction, after all, and so anything is possible, even Tony Soprano working as a stone mason in Italy — a wealthy stone mason, mind you, but still a stone mason.
Might happen. I hesitate to bring Tony Soprano’s self-described intelligence into his survival options here (his “I.Q. is “136 — it’s been tested”), and I started to write, ‘it might happen, if he’s smart enough,’ but I realize that what most of us viewers want, at this point, is a leap off the page of expected plot: Tony Soprano makes a change, and after that, he makes that “geographic.”
Unfortunately, this seems to be the lyrical language of doom — happy though it may be at the outset, a conquering, impending doom nonetheless. To write here that most of us can’t bear to see the conclusion of this series is the reason we will see it, to see the conclusion:
GLAD TIDINGS by Van Morrison
Album : Moondance
And they’ll lay you down low in the easy
And the lips that you kiss will say Christmas.
And the miles that you traveled the distance
So believe no lies, dry your eyes and realize
La, la, la, la la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la…
And the businessmen will shake hands and talk in numbers
And the princess will wake up from her slumber
Then all the knights will step forth with their arm bands
And ev’ry stranger you meet in the street will make demands
So believe no lies, then dry your eyes and realize
La, la, la…
And we’ll send you glad tidings from New York
Open up your eyes so you may see
Ask you not to read between the lines
Hope that you will come in right on time
And they’ll talk to you while you’re in trances
And you’ll visualize not taking any chances
But meet them halfway with love, peace and persuasion
And expect them to rise for the occasion
Don’t it gratify when you see it materialize
Right in front of your eyes
And they’ll lay you down low and easy