Sopranos, The: Season 6 Part 2 (DVD)
Last year, Tony Soprano cheated death when he was shot by his now institutionalized Uncle Junior. While Tony continues to muse about his second chance at life, he faces a myriad of immediate, stress-inducing crises at home, at work and from the law. Tony's wife Carmela plans for a future she's not sure will arrive, and son AJ and daughter Meadow find that adulthood holds its own surprises. Meanwhile, at work, Tony comes to doubt the allegiances of many of those closest to him no one, not Paulie, Bobby, Silvio or even Christopher is above suspicion. The clock is ticking. Time is running out. But on who?
Completing the run of one of the most acclaimed television shows in broadcast history, season 6, part II of The Sopranos
will be remembered mostly not for what happened during the season, but for what didn't happen at the very end. Creator David Chase pulled off a series ending that was as controversial as it was surprising and unforgettable, leaving countless fans to look away from the show and to blogs and articles for answers to the biggest mystery since "who shot J.R.?": what happened to Tony Soprano? But before we get to that point, there are nine episodes to digest, and they are some of the best in the run of the show since season 3. As Tony's (James Gandolfini) paranoia and suspicions grow, his family makes choices that are threatening to bring big changes to his personal life, and his other "family" is crashing headlong towards an inevitable showdown with Phil Leotardo and the New York crew. Episode 1, "Soprano Home Movies," starts off peacefully enough with Tony and Carmela (Edie Falco) enjoying a relaxing summer weekend at Bobby and Janice's (Steve Schirripa and Aida Turturro) bucolic lake house, and by the end of the episode Tony has effectively taken Bobby's soul, proving Tony's ruthlessness and ending any doubt about his will to maintain dominance over those around him. In "Kennedy and Heidi," one of the season's signature episodes, Christopher's (Michael Imperioli) drug use continues to spiral out of control, forcing Tony to take matters into his own hands and resolve things with his nephew once and for all.
Inevitably it's all leading up to that big finale, and it's deftly handled over the last two episodes, "The Blue Comet" and "Made in America" (an episode replete with subtle references to The Godfather). Things finally start to get resolved with Phil's crew, Dr. Melfi (Lorraine Bracco), Uncle Junior (Dominic Chianese), A.J. (Robert Iler), and Meadow (Jamie-Lynn Sigler), and as for Tony
Cut to black. To quote from another hit HBO show of the same era, "everything ends," even The Sopranos, and while the way Chase chose to end The Sopranos may not be to the liking of fans hoping for a definitive resolution, give the man credit for not stooping to clichés or tired old scenarios. As A.J. says in one of the last lines of the entire series, quoting his father, "Try to remember the times that were good." That's good advice. --Daniel Vancini