Down To His Last Shot
‘The Sopranos’ Is Back But the End Is in Sight. So, Too, for Tony?
Tony Soprano almost celebrates his 47th birthday in the slammer, and all because of a gun he dropped in the snow three years earlier. Fortunately for him, fate – and series creator David Chase – intervene. For eight years, which by a quixotic way of counting only amounts to six seasons, faithful viewers of “The Sopranos” have seen Tony survive threats, close calls and catastrophes; now comes the most fateful question of all: Will he survive the series itself? Or will he be killed off in the ninth and final episode, airing June 10?
Chase has said that the final nine episodes — the first of which airs tonight on HBO — will absolutely positively be the last for this powerful, seminal epic, a masterwork for television that belongs in the same select league as “Roots,” “Holocaust,” “Lonesome Dove” and a few other TV turning points. The audience, having invested time and stress, understandably wants to know: Will Tony live or die?
And yet you probably wouldn’t want to be told even if we knew, which we don’t. If a death scene has been filmed — presumably it would be for the ninth episode, which, with Chase directing, is still being worked on — no one has blabbed about it so far. The most loyal viewers are probably of two minds: They want retribution forced on Tony for all the deaths and bloodshed he has caused, and somehow they also want to see him survive, a conquering antihero, a giant of a man who endures despite numerous attempts by little men to pull him down.
Adrian Grenier, left, as a rising Hollywood star “aided” by his buds on the HBO series.