Sunday, June 10, 2007

What if Tony has a conscience after all?

After pondering the End Times aka The Sopranos Series Finale on HBO, entitled "Made in America" -- like so many others who have been on the journey over these past years, what would the most unexpected ending, the least clichéd, least predictable outcome be? After all isn't The Sopranos a brilliant allegory for US -- we the people, the USA?

Yes, it has regional and cultural specificities along with national and universal truths. But with its overarching themes of power, violence, greed, corruption, anxiety, depression, hubris, sex, dreams, hopes, family, lying, self-delusion, the banality of evil, (and so much more) -- hasn't it been entirely American while supremely universal?

Brecht suggested that great art both shapes and reflects. I think it's pretty clear The Sopranos has done both -- not always in positive ways, but not all in negative ways either, not 100% of the time has it been discretely successful moment by moment or story by story, but overall it has indeed illuminated, enlightened and shaped us, US, the USA more than any other.

At the end, I'm not sure Chase & Co can avoid some clichés and some very expected denouement. The Blue Comet proved to have both moments of sharp brilliance and moments of overplayed cliché, and yet it burned brightly and memorably despite some of those shortcomings (see James Wolcott's blog which includes a critique of that episode some of which I completely agree with, but not all -- proving again how subjective it all can be).

Universal themes in art, literature, film...sometimes do reflect the completely expected and anticipated as well as the unanticipated or shocking -- and sometimes human nature is just so damn (depressingly) predictable -- part of what got Tony into therapy in the first place.

And so what about the capacity for redemption? The need for hope in order to continue slogging through the difficulties of life, family, work, relationships, the world. Isn't that part of Tony's life-long struggle? (That maddening struggle -- seven years of which we've witnessed and pondered along with Dr. Jennifer Melfi, the incredible Lorraine Bracco).

So what if in the end (or at this point in the journey) Tony chooses change? Rejects the destruction of violence, the narcissism of sociopathy and decides his conscience is prodding him toward hope, redemption, non-violence, putting others first, protecting his family in a way that puts their complete well-being first now instead of on a quasi- (ostensibly and arguably) equal parallel track with The Family? What if The Family fades into the past and Tony moves into a different future? Can people ever stop lying first to themselves and then to others? Can people with a barely registerable conscience really change? Does Tony have a conscience after all? If so, can Tony Soprano of all people actually change at the deepest level? Were the insights gained and shared with Dr. Melfi REAL or an illusion? Was he merely honing his sociopathic skills or growing his severely developmentally delayed, under-developed conscience?

Who knows? I guess Chase will tell us tonight what his outlook and belief system entail -- for Tony at least. But what about the rest of us? Is Tony's fate our fate too?

I'm not predicting the unexpected. Merely pondering it. And on some level hoping it's possible for T., for Carm, Meadow, AJ -- for US all after these past seven years.

P.S. Wasn't that Yochelson study about incarcerated prisoners? Of course they are motivated to hone their survival (and exit) skills. If I recall correctly, the study was Not about wiseguys initiating and self-seeking therapy. Doesn't that shade things at least somewhat in favor of Tony having something going on deep inside? We shall see.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Progressive Women Bloggers Ring
Power By Ringsurf