Further to yesterday’s post, Pipeline will now be the 80,000th blog to link to this analysis by Bob Harris, wherein he speculates about the final diner scene and concludes that Tony…well, I’ll let you go read it.
But if you are even a casual fan of the show, you should read it. Not so much because of any particular conclusion he reaches, but to see the way a writer (a former TV writer, to boot) deconstructs a scene based on their knowledge of the way directors, specifically auteur directors, take special care to control every single thing that appears in the frame. For a scene that was essentially two years in the planning, to cap a show that was heavily-laden with symbolism and inside allusions at all time, that’s not an analysis to be missed.
As for his specific conclusion, well…
It never mattered much to me what happened when the screen went blank. I didn’t need that closure, because all the episodes leading up to the finale already told me what was going to happen. That’s a consistent pattern with the show; often the plots for any given season were resolved in the next-to-last episode. Clearly, Tony’s world and the world of his NJ crew was spiraling out of control, fizzling out, however you want to say it. Whether Tony gets whacked right then and there, or whether he gets flipped by Carlo, the result is the same.
But still, read the Bob Harris piece, particularly if you want some additional insight into the kind of detail that goes into telling a story beyond the simple telling of the story. And I feel that way about the other link I shared yesterday, as well. I tend to view TV on a literal level; I might think about some symbolism or deeper searches for meaning after the fact, but while it’s going on I’m caught up in the story, the acting (especially on this show), etc. But reading the analysis of people who really know their stuff gives me a deeper appreciation for the things happening on the screen, in the story arc, etc.
Art can be complex, and I’m not ashamed to say I often need a benevolent guide to help me at times. It doesn’t mean everything these guys say is right, which they are both pretty clear about. But this kind of critical analysis sure makes me think about the show and appreciate it on more levels than I was able to before.
Anyway…on to the Wire. Which, by the way, the Matt Zoller Seitz blog also analyzes.