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THE SOPRANOS (HBO, now in Season Six-“Plus”) in this last fourth (Episode 83, KENNEDY AND HEIDI) of the remaining three Episodes — and then it’s all over — shows us Tony Soprano in his doomed, decompensated sociopathic worst: he takes the life of Christopher.

Christopher, whom Tony has mentored throughout most of Christopher’s young years: as Christopher lays helpless after a near-fatal car accident, Christopher asks Tony to help him get out of the wrecked vehicle — Tony as the passenger has escaped the worst of wear and has managed to find his footing outside, while Christopher seats smashed and helpless at the driver’s wheel, asking for Tony’s help (Christopher says he “I’ll never pass a drug test” to Tony, so “call me a taxi”). Tony holds his hand over Christopher’s bleeding nose and mouth and snuffs his life. Then he calls 911 to report an accident.

Dot-Red.gif Throughout this series, there’s been that ray of hope that the characters — all of them, including now demised Christopher but especially as to Tony Soprano — would find some plateau of change for the permanent good, would change their course of deviousness and corruption and “give it all up” as Tony Soprano’s psychiatrist suggests he do.

Instead, after tonight’s Episode, it’s clear that what Tony has given up is salvation. He’s chosen the path to Pompeii — wandering drugged in a Las Vegas casino, the leering gambling signs declaring Pompeii and the devil, rewarding Tony for his evil acts with an unusual win at the roulette wheel — and whatever happens in the next and last three Episodes of this Series to come in the next three weeks, it’s clear that whatever hope remained for Tony is in the realm of the miraculous: an act of God could set him free but surely otherwise, the man is doomed.

Dot-Red.gif This Episode with it’s dreadful stinking frost to this Series — although a multitude of extremely low points in the past years, no doubt — written by Matthew Weiner and Series Creator David Chase, left little to hope for as to the future of Tony Soprano. I’ve earlier not enthused as to several of the Episodes that Weiner has written (or co-written, as in this case) but tonight’s Episode 83 is a remarkable accomplishment for Weiner (and for Chase), remarkable in that the absence of redeeming tastes here and there of Tony Soprano leaves it all but clear as to who and what he has become. There isn’t any daliance involved: it’s a crisp and exacting cut into the fatality of ruined souls, Tony’s and the other characters with whom he comingles.

As to redemption, all that remains for Tony is to pray and acknowledge his many sins but unfortunately, the Episode concludes with Tony rejoicing before the sun in the Nevada wilderness on an artifical high induced by peyote, glad in his relief that he’s ended the life of that which he now concludes was his weight of bad luck: Christopher, the man who went to hell for him.

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