Ross Douthat thinks Tony will live but continue to suffer on account of his sins; at the other side of the Atlantic (pun so intended) Matt Yglesias thinks the FBI will bust him. Ezra Klein thinks AJ will either turn evil or lead to the deaths of Carm and Meadow, and that Tony will be beside himself with grief that he couldn’t save his family. They’re all wrong. Why? Because Terence Winter, David Chase’s consigliere, says they are. In a Slate dialogue this past week, Winter wrote:
Jeff [Goldberg] asked whether in last night’s episode David chose to deliver a message regarding the consequences of violence. While I certainly can’t speak for David, I will say that messages are not his style.
If Chase were to force Tony to suffer for his crimes, through continued daily suffering (Douthat), being caught by the Feds (Yglesias), or failing to save his family (Klein), he would be, to quote Winter, “deliver[ing] a message regarding the consequences of violence.” And if Winter is to be believed, this is exactly what Chase does not do.
So what do I think will happen? Well, contra Douthat, who claims that “the show is about the hell that wicked people make for themselves here on Earth,” I think the show is, instead, about how frighteningly similar “wicked people” are to the rest of us. And so I think that a fitting ending to show would be show the most humane, likable, normal character on the show commit a heinous crime. That means Meadow. I predict that she’s going to give Tony up to Phil. Consider that she’s dating Patrick Parisi, whose uncle Tony killed and whose father, Patsy, seriously considered killing Tony in retaliation. Patsy has since been less than loyal to Tony, fighting with Christopher when Tony made him acting capo instead of Patsy, and siding with Phil during the Tony Blundetto matter. Also, Patsy and Paulie were charged with killing Phil in the last episode, and carried out the plan less than competently, which makes it reasonable to question whether they’re flirting with New York. If they are, it’s entirely possible that the Parisis’ influence on Meadow might lead her to side against her father. Also consider the fact that she’s decided to become a criminal lawyer, has said that she finds the justice system fascinating, and admires Patrick’s commitment to it. Especially if Patrick informs her of his uncle’s murder at Tony’s hands, one can imagine Meadow sense of justice overcoming her loyalty to her father, and leading her to tell the Parisis (and thus, indirectly, Phil) where Tony is staked out. Will this happen? Probably not; I don’t know David Chase and claim no special insights into how he writes plot. Do I think it would be a good ending to the series? Yes.