That’s how Season 3 of “The Sopranos” ended last night. No wonder Chase’s earlier statements about calling it quits after Season 4 are looking increasingly less definitive. Meanwhile, Tony’s son A. Jackie’s body wasn’t even cold yet and already the Soprano organization had begun to frame it in a way that would deflect their responsibility. Individual hours were designed to stand alone while advancing a season-long narrative to be wrapped up during each year’s finale. And it countered complaints that the gangsters were too likable — even cuddly — by amping up their violent outbursts, and emphasizing the self-serving coldness of the Mafia’s supposed “moral code. Paulie pestered Tony about having a sit-down with Ralphie the minute Tony walked in the door. Jackie called Tony asking for help; Tony told him to call Ralphie, to whom Tony passed the buck.

Back home, Carmela objected to the military school idea. But the question of whether Chase, Gandolfini and the rest of the gang return for one season, or two or more was rendered moot by this season-ender; Chase, a veteran of such series as “The Rockford Files” and “I’ll Fly Away,” clearly knows how to treat a show like a backyard garden, continually planting, weeding and harvesting. Individual hours were designed to stand alone while advancing a season-long narrative to be wrapped up during each year’s finale. At home, Tony and Carmela chewed out A. The video and DVD version of Season 1 hit stores last fall, and became one of the best-selling home entertainment gifts of Family man with upper-middle-class aspirations notwithstanding, Tony was routinely portrayed as a cruelly self-interested, indefensibly savage bully. Scene-for-scene, the finale seemed more interested in laying out plotlines for the fourth and possibly final season of “The Sopranos” than in wrapping everything up as in seasons past. It embraced modern TV-style, dramatic storytelling, with multiple sublots unfolding piecemeal and no resolution in sight.

It embraced modern TV-style, dramatic storytelling, with multiple sublots unfolding piecemeal and no resolution in sight. The hit was described by A.

While the sight of Jackie’s corpse at his open-casket memorial service made Meadow weep, the rest of the Soprano family and Da Family seemed to view his fate as a cautionary tale, or perhaps just the cost of doing business.

The Finale: ‘The Sopranos’ lowers the bada-boom on Season 3 |

That’s how Season 3 of “The Sopranos” ended last night. Family man with upper-middle-class aspirations notwithstanding, Tony was routinely portrayed as a cruelly self-interested, indefensibly savage bully. Despite the frequently off-putting behavior depicted on the show — and the increasingly loud objections of Italian-American anti-defamation groups and anti-media-violence activists — “The Sopranos” proved more popular than ever before, racking up record ratings for a cable drama, landing on the cover of Newsweek and inspiring the intense, behind-the-scenes press scrutiny that rivaled that of CBS’ “Survivor,” which reaches three times as many viewers.

Jackie’s body wasn’t even cold yet and already the Soprano organization had begun to frame it in a way that would deflect their responsibility.

The Finale: ‘The Sopranos’ lowers the bada-boom on Season 3

The episode’s final scene found the Soprano family and their blood and work relations gathered at Vesuvio, where Tony’s daughter Meadow Jamie-Lynn Siglerex-girlfriend of the murdered Jackie, got drunk and left the restaurant, fleeing the hypocritical warmth of a roomful of people who were all guilty of the killing by association. By the minute mark, Jackie Jr. Controversy aside, “The Sopranos” is one of the most lucrative shows in cable history, driving up HBO subscriptions and inspiring breathless media accounts like this one.

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Paulie Walnuts and Silvio Dante hassled another mob captain, Ralphie Cifaretto Joe Pantolianosoprajos the fact that everyone knew Jackie was behind that robbery; Ralphie tantalizingly interrupted the conversation to take a phone call he falsely claimed was from Tony, planting the idea that he was closer to Tony than the other guys.

A flurry of FBI arrests occurred in the last 10 minutes. Taking full advantage of the creative freedom allowed by premium cable, the series’ first two seasons aimed for an R-rated cinematic style, with clever black humor and brutal but aesthetically interesting violence a la Martin Scorsese “GoodFellas,” “Casino’.

Also this season, Tony ordered an elderly, terminally ill hit man to kill an out-of-control foot soldier in the organization, resulting in the violent death of both men; he insulted and intimidated his daughter’s half-black, half-Jewish boyfriend; he called his late mother a sexist slur in therapy, and when Gloria refused to break off their relationship, he nearly strangled her to death, then sent one of his goons to threaten her with death.

Meanwhile, back at Tony’s headquarters in the Bada Bing strip club, Paulie Walnuts complained that Ralphie was holding onto money Paulie helped him rob; the uncomfortable moment was interrupted by a phone call from Carmela Edie Falco saying A.

Scene-for-scene, the finale seemed more interested in laying out plotlines for the fourth and possibly final season of “The Sopranos” than in wrapping everything up as in seasons past. This season, he turned his back on Ralphie’s girlfriend, Tracee Ariel Kileya Bada Bing stripper who feared Ralphie would react violently if he found out she was pregnant.

The arrests were just routine government harassment — business as usual. At home, Tony and Carmela chewed out A.

Ditto, the ex-commando turned Russian mobster Vitali Baganovwho disappeared mysteriously following a botched execution by Chris and Paulie, did not rear his wounded head. Meadow didn’t quite buy the story.

This season of “The Sopranos” marked a change in direction for the series, which is created by North Caldwell native David Chase, and shot on Queens soundstages and on locations throughout northern New Jersey. The video and DVD version of Season 1 hit stores last fall, and became one of the best-selling home entertainment gifts of Fans will have to wait until next summer to see which bitter fruits spring up.

Jason Cerbone tried to rob last week — a crime he paid for with his life, in the most mundane and unglamorous hit the show has ever staged. Predictably, a lot of stuff wouldn’t fit; the rape of Tony’s therapist, Dr. But Paulie’s overture was left unresolved, and the arrests didn’t amount to anything. Paulie’s resentment of both Tony and Ralphie Cifaretto Joe Pantoliano built throughout the hour, but didn’t come to a head; Chris’ fiancee Adriana Drea de Matteo was approached by an FBI agent, but didn’t get flipped yet.

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Nowhere was this more apparent than in the show’s handling of Tony Soprano himself. And it countered complaints that the gangsters were too likable — even cuddly — by amping up their violent outbursts, and emphasizing the self-serving coldness of the Mafia’s supposed “moral code.

It made the violence less arresting and more chaotically realistic, to the point of sickening some viewers. Robert Ilera good athlete, terrible student and incorrigible troublemaker, got caught cheating at school. So much for “cuddly. But the question of whether Chase, Gandolfini and the rest of the gang return for one season, or two or more was rendered moot by this season-ender; Chase, a veteran of such series as “The Rockford Files” and “I’ll Fly Away,” clearly knows how to treat a show like a backyard garden, continually planting, weeding and harvesting.

Paulie pestered Tony about having a sit-down with Ralphie the minute Tony walked in the door. The plotting of the season finale of “The Sopranos” resembled the proverbial attempt to pack a lifetime’s worth of belongings into one suitcase. But they weren’t fallout from a card game that volatile mobster-wannabe Jackie Aprile Jr.

Back home, Carmela objected to the military school idea. Individual hours were designed to stand alone while advancing a season-long narrative to be wrapped up during each year’s finale. The lack of blazing drama will likely disappoint sritz primed to expect fireworks from HBO’s ad campaign. The parallels between what happened to Jackie Jr.

Meanwhile, Tony’s son A. Sure enough, Ralphie murdered her; but after Tony beat up Ralphie out of guilt, he conspired to hide the body, then let Ralphie apologize for the killing maht than be killed in revenge. Season 3 departed from this established formula in several ways. The FBI agents seqson to Soprano surveillance hatched a plan to use Adriana, fiancee of newly made Soprano mob lieutenant Chris Moltisanti, to get to Tony and his crew.

But it was in keeping with the overall strategy this season. Chris, a surrogate son to Tony in the way Jackie was a surrogate son to Ralphie, apologized for telling Tony he didn’t love him in the previous week’s episode, but Tony rebuffed the apology.

Jennifer Melfi Lorraine Braccowhich a N. The family took A.

Uncle Junior, out of jail for health reasons, sang a bit, after announcing “I beat cancer, now I’m going to beat the can. Jackie called Tony asking for help; Tony told seson to call Ralphie, to whom Tony passed the buck. In the show’s opening moments, Jackie Jr. One couldn’t help being struck by the unglamorous, unceremonious way Jackie was disposed of. It was essentially an hour of seed planting.