A 'Sopranos' question

Sopranos_l(Warning: If you still haven’t seen Sunday’s episode of The Sopranos — and you must! — there are spoilers ahead.)

Show of hands, everyone: during the final scene (pictured) of Sunday’s Sopranos, how many of you heard Tony’s final shout as "I get it!"? On first viewing, that’s how I heard it, as a peyote-induced epiphany. But then, I read a number of recaps whose writers heard Tony say, "I did it!", as if he were confessing to the abyss that he killed Christopher. (Or as if he were exulting in triumph at having broken his long gambling losing streak.) Going back to the DVR, I replayed the scene several times, and given James Gandolfini’s mushy diction, I couldn’t tell whether he said, "I get it!" or "I did it!"

Now, the official recap on HBO’s site says I was right the first time (as was EW.com TV Watcher Lisa Schwarzbaum). But I like the idea that Gandolfini and David Chase put the ambiguity in there on purpose. Has Tony found enlightenment, of the sort that seemed within his grasp after his coma-induced hallucinations? Or has he finally taken an honest look at his own long, lethal list of crimes and sins and acknowledged his wrongdoing — which could itself be a step toward enlightenment?

addCredit(“The Sopranos: Craig Blankenhorn”)

So far, the series has scarcely offered the suggestion that Tony willever be repentant, and we’re all expecting these last three episodes toend in a bloody climax for Tony’s biological and professional families,but what if Chase is hinting at a possible happy ending here? And whatwould a happy ending be in the context of The Sopranos? Allow me to suggest one.

WithChristopher gone, Tony’s only real legacy is his kids, and his onedream all along seems to have been for Meadow and AJ to have a betterlife than his, one untainted by crime. Meadow’s future seems secure,but it seems possible to see the entire series as a struggle for thesoul of AJ. Earlier this season, he looked like he was on the way tobecoming a responsible husband and stepfather with a low-paying but legit job, but his broken engagement and hisincreasingly close ties to his next-generation-mobsterfriends suggest he’s now firmly set on the opposite path. Lisa wrotethat his "Can’t we all just get along" plea was the last gasp of adrowning man before he sinks into a moral swamp, but what if it’s therealization that he has to reject his father’s way? That kind ofredemption, and a decision to press on in the straight world despite the loss of Blanca, might be the only kind of happy ending the series couldmuster.

Anyone but me still holding out hope that Tony’s enlightenment willextend to AJ and lead to a redemptive ending for the series? Or isTony’s epiphany too little, too late to save himself and those close tohim from a soul-shattering reckoning?

UPDATE: Commenter Jenny, below, is correct. Turns out Lisa Schwarzbaum was one of those who heard "I did it!" and wrote her initial TV Watch column accordingly. Our EW colleague Paul Katz then spotted the official HBO recap, and Lisa’s column was corrected and republished.

Comments (58 total) Add your comment
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  • sananto

    i don’t think AJ can have a pleseant ending. Not sure about Tony. it was great to see Sarah Shahi

  • sdr

    i think that most halllucinogens bring on epiphanies in their users- i got the feeling that tony’s “i get it!” was just one of those moments that you have in a high, where you feel understanding and connection to the world around you. my assumption was that the revelation would wear off along with the peyote, and the dead-eyed, bile filled tony of late would be back full force. is he morphing into livia or what? can’t escape those genes!

  • RCM

    I had the closed captioning on and it definitely said “I get it!” I’m thinking that we’re going to see Tony cut ties with all that he thinks is holding him back, keeping him depressed… possbily Melfi, Paulie and others. AJ is clearly headed towards the “dark side” but he may stop short of completely becoming his father.

  • js

    I’m pretty sure he said, “I did it.”

  • toonces

    There is NO way that Chase would have Tony end with being redemptive and wanting to leave his big Don-life. No way, no-how. This is who he is, point blank. He was high at the time, or crashing down- he is ‘getting’ that Christopher was holding him back. Now, I don’t know. I think he gets that he needs to enjoy life? I just don’t see him leaving the life he has created for himself.
    AJ- am I the only one who could care less for the actor, the delivery, the personality? I find no depth there, and would wish someone more developed, or nuanced, as Tony Soprano’s troubled son.
    I hope things DO end up better for Tony & fam, but in all honesty David Chase is not one to tie things up nicely in a pretty pink bow.

  • toonces

    There is NO way that Chase would have Tony end with being redemptive and wanting to leave his big Don-life. No way, no-how. This is who he is, point blank. He was high at the time, or crashing down- he is ‘getting’ that Christopher was holding him back. Now, I don’t know. I think he gets that he needs to enjoy life? I just don’t see him leaving the life he has created for himself.
    AJ- am I the only one who could care less for the actor, the delivery, the personality? I find no depth there, and would wish someone more developed, or nuanced, as Tony Soprano’s troubled son.
    I hope things DO end up better for Tony & fam, but in all honesty David Chase is not one to tie things up nicely in a pretty pink bow.

  • Jason

    I was talking to my girlfriend about this exactly. This season seems to be pointing to redemption in the form of breaking the chain with AJ. And I thought for sure that he said “I did it”, but I guess I’m wrong.

  • Jenny

    Lisa changed her TV Watch, this was the first place that I read “I did it” but now it has been changed.

  • mark in nyc

    WHile I thought he said “I did it” as well, I think there is no way that Tony Soprano ends on a redemptive note. Especially after this last episode where we see him once again for the monster he is.

  • Ceballos

    According to the closed caption on my TV (was watching at midnight and didn’t have it too loud) Tony said “I get it!” which is also what I happened to hear.
    As to whether a happy ending for Tony would be the way to end the show? As much as I love the complexity of Tony’s character (thanks to the excellent writing and James Gandolfini’s increasingly brilliant portrayal), I say no.
    Personally, I think he’s been WAY too much of a monster this year (to Chris who was trying to stay clean; to Bobby for making him kill; to Hesh for just asking for his money back, etc.) to get off with just being enlightened. But with this show, who knows?

  • Debbie

    When he was in bed with the girl, he said “I always have to be the responsible one, etc”. After getting high, and living Chris’ life for a few days, his saying “I get it” I thought was saying, I understand why Christopher never could muster enough maturity (from his view) to be the next boss. AJ’s decline is supposed to be showing us how Tony became who he was. The path he took to ultimate evil.

  • tamuchi

    I’m totally with sdr’s comment below. Again, it was peyote-induced. You really think any sort of epiphany he had is gonna stick with him once he’s off the high? And count me in with the group that heard “I get it” as plain as day. I only read about the other interpretation when I visited TWoP.
    I really feel for AJ (I haven’t in the past) and I think this is karma coming round to take a big chunk outta Tony, that AJ won’t be able to escape his legacy.

  • Debbie

    One more thing:
    He’ll never end it on a happy note. Every time there’s an episode with no blood and murder, everyone on the blogs complains. Chase knows his audience loves the darkness.

  • Binky

    I heard “I get it!”

  • Binky

    For what it’s worth, it’s obvious that Tony think, by the end of the episode, that Christopher was his curse – his winning at the roulette wheel after last weeks many gambling losses was a sign to him that some sort of curse has been lifted. When I heard, “I get it!” I thought he meant he “got” that Christopher was his curse.
    Yelling “I did it!” is interesting, however – it wasn’t yelled as an admission, but as a triump, like a kid who finally did something he was unable to do for a long time.
    I caught the episode late, arriving when Tony was calling Carm from the hospital, so it was interesting to watch the episode not knowing all the details of Christopher’s death and then rewatching an learning the truth. That also might explain why I heard, “I get it!” – “I did it!” wouldn’t make sense from that point of view.

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