As has been well established, The Sopranos is a highly literary show, and as far as I'm concerned that case is closed. So, let's talk final episode predictions.
Everybody's got a theory. Some people I work with think Janice is going to kill Tony, but I can't agree with this. I think Janice and Tony's brother-sister bond goes deep, and I believe they truly like each other. You don't kill someone you've sung karaoke with. This ending would not make sense to me.
Others are saying Tony will kill himself, but I don't see that happening at all. Or Tony might actually pull his resources together and prevail over the Leotardo gang. But a surprise "happy ending" would not mesh with this season's ominous forebodings, and it would also fail to provide any real sense of closure. Phil Leotardo only recently emerged as Tony's key nemesis, and it's hardly satisfying to end a show's entire run with a surprise victory against an enemy who wasn't even around during the show's formative years. This ending is not good enough; we have to dig deeper for something that would make sense.
My friend John at work made an apt observation that resonates with me: the show's finale might finally give the series title a double meaning if Tony Soprano decides to sing. I think this will happen. He's already been getting chummy with a federal investigator, and he's got few options left. After much thought, I'm going with this theory: I predict that Tony Soprano will attempt to save himself and his family by turning government witness in the final episode.
But he won't get off that easy. Sopranos auteur David Chase will have made the decision as to the final disposition of his beloved characters according to his own ideals about what the modern mafia lifestyle means, and the Sopranos basic moral outlook is very much in line with that of the two previous masterpieces of this genre, Francis Ford Coppola's Godfather movies and Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas/Casino twofer. Chase certainly has earned the right to stand next to Coppola and Scorsese, and it's not for nothing that he's been dropping references to The Godfather more than ever lately.
This season's opener delivered a big hint when we saw Tony puttering around in his tomato garden (a sure nod to Marlon Brando's great death scene in One). Let's face facts -- before this season, Tony didn't even have a tomato garden. You better believe this means something. You don't open a season with a Godfather reference unless you're going to close it with a Godfather reference, and since the season began with a nod to One I am guessing the season (and the series) will end with a sad reference to Three. Which means that, at some point in his flight to federal protection, Tony is going to watch in horror as poor Meadow gets gunned down. Maybe even on the steps of an opera house.
That's my prediction. Tony will survive, but without his honor or his family intact.
By the way, Yahoo slipped up in its story about the the upcoming last episode, saying Bobby Bacala was murdered in "a toy store". Wrong, yahoos, it's a train shop (but what the hell do they know in California?). Bobby was shot to death in Trainland, a famous store in lovely Lynbrook, Long Island, which happens to be just about a block away from where I punch the clock every day at my day job. I took the picture at the top of this page just a few minutes ago.
Poor Bobby went down in style. I have a feeling the whole show will go down in style too, but it won't be a happy ending.