Still rubbing your chin, 14 years on, trying to remember whether Silvio died or survived? Or what job A.J. got? Or whether Paulie was promoted? What the hell happened to Junior? You came to the right place. I’ll be answering the question:
How did The Sopranos end for each key character?
You’ll see many articles trying to explain the ending and what it truly meant – I had a go myself in my Sopranos review – but in this one I’ll just be clearing up the details that you found a little smudged and explain some of the less obvious twists. And, of course, some of the answers are a little… inconclusive, so I had to do a bit of detective work as well.
Well, let’s get going. I’ll save the best till last, so you’ll have to wait for the Soprano family. First up though, who else but…
Unfortunately, as you may know, Chris died before the finale, and it was hard to say it wasn’t coming. Suffocated by Tony after a car crash, medical examiners found signs of heroine back in his bloodstream, and his cycle of on and off again had repeated. Chris was one of the most human, vulnerable and realistic characters in The Sopranos, and it was gutting to see him go.
Jennifer Melfi, Tony’s therapist, was also a character who didn’t appear in the show’s finale, perhaps more surprisingly than Christopher. It was an underwhelming exit for Melfi, who in the penultimate episode The Blue Comet lets Tony go as a patient. Leading up to this, Jennifer is given a report from her own therapist, Dr. Eliot Kupferberg, saying that therapy on sociopaths is not only useless, but fuels their criminal behaviour by feeling it’s justified. After seeing Tony tear a page out of a magazine, she tells him she no longer wants to treat him, despite 7 years of previous progress. Tony, surprised and offended, leaves, and after Melfi closes her door, we never see her again.
Paulie ‘Walnuts’ Gualtieri
After being surprisingly grief stricken from Christopher’s death, Paulie soon returned to his usual self with Chris’s funeral upstaged his aunt/mother’s (it’s confusing). Throughout the show, despite lacking any morals, Paulie is a very superstitious man – the incident with the psychic, the Pine Barrens, Christopher’s dream after being shot, the Virgin Mary in the Bing, even the cat in series 6. It’s an interesting question of why is he so superstitious. I think it probably roots from the fact, although it looks like he rationalise his sins, there is a lot of underlying guilt, stemming from his Catholic faith. But anyway, Tony, through some clever persuasion, convinces Paulie to take over the former crew of Vito, Ralph, Carlo and even Jackie Aprile. Paulie is hesitant due to the bad luck of the befallen leaders, which means we don’t know what happens to him, but if the trend continues? Paulie’s a dead man walking.
Silvio’s future is also left untold, but it does seem likely his future was also bleak. After Phil Leotardo ordered the assassination of the three top men in the DiMeo family, Silvio is shot in the back and the chest, despite Patsy Parisi’s best efforts to hold them off. He is rushed to an intensive care unit, where he survives, but is left in a coma. The doctors suggest he isn’t likely to recover consciousness. It’s assumed Silvio passed away, but he could have had a miraculous recovery – plenty of which that have happened in The Sopranos before.
Junior’s story is of a slow deterioration, from at one point being top boss to slipping into a state of advanced dementia. Tony never fully forgives Junior for shooting him after an unfortunate case of mistaken identity. After running out of money, he’s moved out of Wyckoff Psychiatric Center to a state centre without any support from his family. He fails to understand Janice when she tells him Bobby is dead, and when Tony visits him for the first time after the shooting, Junior hardly knows who he is or what happened in his past life. You feel this is the point when Tony knows any revenge could never top Junior’s subsequent decline and foreseeable death. Tony leaves without saying goodbye.
Oh! Oh Bobby! I’ll never get over it. The only mobsters not to have a goomah and always big-hearted. His rise from soldier, all the way to one of Tony’s underbosses was incredible, but unfortunately it wasn’t a nice end for Bobby. After the war breaking out between New York and New Jersey, he’s killed, despite finally working up the courage to buy his favourite train, The Blue Comet. In the scene before Tony give orders to inform everyone that their lives be under threat, but Bobby leaves his cell phone in the car before entering the shop. Soon after we see two of Phil’s men enter and, unlike Silvio, we know this man was brown bread long before the ending of the finale.
After Bobby’s death, Janice becomes a widow, and continues the trend that anyone she has romantic relationships with meet horrible demises. She claims that she will continue to raise her step-children, but due to their unsavoury relationship, that claim could be unsubstantial. She seems more interested in what assets she will receive, prompting Tony to make a deal ensuring all of Bobby’s trust fund will benefit his children instead of Janice. However, he does strike a deal with Leotardo’s men to pay a settlement for the unlucky lady.
After getting some hard truths from Tony telling him to spend some more time in the kitchen instead of chatting to the customers, it seems like Artie gets his act together and his last action in The Sopranos is trying to restore his business.
Coming to the end of the war, Tony agrees a ceasefire with Phil’s underboss Butch, where they can relate upon their dissatisfaction with Phil’s leadership. Butch gives them permission to conduct the hit, as long as they can find him. But that doesn’t seem to be a problem for the big man, and Phil is soon shot through the head by one of the DiMeo family soldiers, before one more for luck in the chest. His car slowly rolls forwards, crushing his head, and gives him the farewell he deserved. It was the last confirmed death of the series, completing all 92.
It’s a sad end for John Sacrimoni, who’s 38-year-old smoking habit finally catches up with him, and is diagnosed with malignant lung cancer. When he passes, Tony’s crew salutes him, whilst he has his photo placed alongside Carmine Lupertazzi Sr. and Billy Leotardo in Phil’s social club.
After going into hiding in New Hampshire for his homosexuality, Vito returned to Jersey wanting his old job back. He eventually contacted Tony in a mall, where he claimed his sexual orientation was affected by medication. Tony was tempted to bring him back, but knew the repercussions from the Leotardo mob, so quietly ordered a hit. However, Phil and two of his soldiers got to him first, where they duct taped his mouth shut and beat him to death. To leave a message they stuck a pool cue up his… y’know. Not the nicest way to go.
A.J. goes into the depths of depression, and after his car blows up, he decides to join the army. His parents and girlfriend manage to talk him out of it. His mood is alleviated when his dad buys him a new car and he gets a job working for Little Carmine’s production company, which gives a sense of direction, and also has the possibility of opening a new club. His involvement in the final scene means we don’t know what truly happened to A.J.
As the series endures, Meadow drifts away from her dreams of presenting pro-bono clients or being a paediatrician, and instead indulges in the family ideals, getting engaged to Patrick Parisi, the son of soldier Patsy. She also seems to be moving in the direction of lucrative career of defending white collar criminals, which her parents approve of, despite Tony liking the idea of a Dr. Soprano. Like the rest of the family, her fate is unresolved, after struggling – it’s so hard to watch – to parallel park, and we don’t know if it’s her entering the dinner as the screen fades to black.
Carmela and Tony’s marriage towards the end is a little spiky. It’s certainly not at its worst place, but not at the best either – Tony is back to cheating, and after the failure of the spec house, Carmela is shaken. Her future is left unresolved at the diner. If Tony dies, she would definitely be distraught, and whether money would be provided for her would be debatable. However, who knows if she would have been shot in a barrage of gunfire designed for Tony, just like A.J. – it’s not be unseen in mob hits. Part of me feels like Meadow isn’t there for a reason; that she was the bright spark in the family and didn’t deserve to die, unlike the rest of the Sopranos.
Ah, the big man himself. Dead, or alive? It’s fair to say he was quite dead inside anyway, but I went into more depth in my Soprano review of why I thought he did depart from the unholy world of the mafia. Arrest is also a possibility after Carlo’s testimony and charges of gun possession, but death seems like the likely resolution one way or another for Tony.
I hope you enjoyed this trivia, and if you have any questions like this you want me to answer, I dutifully will. Have a great day, and please, follow and like if you want more content like this!