Spoiler alert: Stop reading now if you've saved "The Sopranos" for later viewing.
Sunday night, Tony Soprano killed his nephew, surrogate son and loyal aide, Christopher Moltisanti. The murder, which came after the pair survived a car crash, was as shocking as anything that "The Sopranos" creator David Chase has ever come up with.
To top it off, the crash was timed during the same Pink Floyd song Tony, played by James Gandolfini, was singing aloud last week: “Comfortably Numb.” The last line heard before the pair’s SUV hits an oncoming car is "the child is grown, the dream is gone.”
No matter that it’s a car crash, with three girls in the oncoming car. One of them is named Kennedy. That’s just a Chase aside.
With three episodes left, "The Sopranos" is headed now to a significantly bad ending. Tony’s main ally in the New York mob, Johnny Sack, is gone. Now Tony has murdered his chief lieutenant, Christopher, in cold blood and for no reason other than paranoia. There is still talk of what happened to Christopher’s dead fiancée Adriana, whom Tony also murdered.
Is Tony Soprano comfortably numb? Does he know his days are numbered? It would seem so. We left him last night with a stripper, high on peyote in Las Vegas where he’s continued on a gambling spree. He raises his hands to the cosmos and shouts, “I get it.”
If he really does, then he’s a goner. And that’s what he knows. The dream is over.
Of course, Christopher, played by Michael Imperioli, was no saint. Last week he murdered his friend in cold blood, shooting him dead. He was a drug addict, and a killer, as well as being a petty crook and a sociopath.
But Christopher will be mourned as "The Sopranos" winds down to what looks to be a Götterdämmerung for Tony and his beloved but deeply disturbed world.
Trudie Styler — aka Mrs. Sting — is stung by accusations from a former employee and a U.K. court ruling last week.
I don’t blame her. But the British tabloid press loves to send up the rich and powerful even if all their information flies in the face of reason. Hence, Styler has been roasted in a way that’s gotten very much out of control.
Now Styler is fighting back. Before I tell you what she has to say, here’s a brief summary of events. Styler and Sting fired a cook named Jane Martin from their English country estate after about eight years of employment.
The chef countered that she was pregnant at the time and sued. In her lawsuit, she claimed she’d been treated very badly by the couple and in graphic terms described Styler as an ogre.
Of course, the chef failed to mention a few things: That the charitable rocker/movie producer couple has a loyal staff, which has been with them for years. Not only that, they regularly gave the chef gifts galore.
But you know, no good deed goes unpunished, and in this situation, Mrs. Sting has been stung.
For one thing, the British court tribunal that ruled in the chef’s favor — the decision will be appealed — never called for Styler’s appearance or testimony. Instead, they seem to have ruled based solely on the chef’s assertions and tabloid reports of Mrs. Sting’s purported imperious grandiosity as mistress of a castle.
In truth, Styler is far from either. As she told the Mail on Sunday: “I know that I am lucky enough to enjoy substantial financial security, but it hasn’t always been like this. I was born on a council estate in Birmingham. My Mum was a school dinner lady and my Dad packed lampshades for a living and worked as a school caretaker for his second job.
“I know what it’s like to work, I’ve worked all my life. At 9 I was helping my Dad sweep my own school playground and clean the toilets, and when I was 15 I worked at Woolworth’s. My parents instilled in me the value of hard graft from an early age.”
Styler’s friends have long begged her to write an autobiography because the truth of her upbringing is quite shocking.
More important, though, are her enormous achievements after a childhood of severe adversity.
Forget the Mrs. Sting bit, or being mother of four and stepmother to two more incredibly talented, well-adjusted children. Styler is proactive in a number of global charities, including the Rainforest Foundation. She’s also produced several well-received films.
She’s inspired loyalty among the staff it takes to run several homes in different locations. As she told the Mail on Sunday: “I like to treat people with respect, which is why the majority of our staff have been with us for many years. My assistant is in her 26th year with me, my business partner and I have been working together for 14 years, my housekeeper has been here for 12 years. Even Jane [the chef in question] was herself was with me for 8 years.”
One of the main complaints from the cook was that she was fired for redundancy. She says it wasn’t true.
But in 2005, Styler and Sting started spending less time at the country estate and five days a week in London. This was mostly because their younger children were in school and needed to be there.
“No one was going to be there for a large part of the week, so there would be no one to cook for," Styler said. "Jane's pregnancy had absolutely nothing to do with it.”
Styler points out in her Mail on Sunday statement that Martin received generous Christmas bonuses every year and numerous gifts.
But when she decided to sue, Styler says: “Jane was out to get as much as she could. Once Jane had decided to sue, she set out to heap personal attack upon personal attack, which would attract the most adverse headlines. Some of her allegations were so outrageous that her own lawyers agreed that they should be withdrawn on the morning of the hearing.
“The Tribunal also heard that she had tried to bribe a former colleague [who refused] to help her with a share of her eventual winnings. Extraordinarily the Tribunal completely ignored this in their judgment.”
You may wonder why Styler is so upset by the Tribunal’s ruling. Couldn’t she and Sting just have paid off the woman and been done with it? Probably. But that’s not the way they do things. Tiresome as it may sound, this is one high-profile couple with a lot of integrity and a tremendous work ethic.
Styler, of course, has the full support of husband Sting, their children and friends (their marriage is rock solid, despite their tendency to put on interviewers about tantric sex and threesomes).
Perhaps on appeal, chef Martin’s wacky assertions will be regarded properly, and her court triumph of last week will be overturned.
“I’ve derived a lot of satisfaction from being an advocate for the rights of citizens all around the world, including many of those in the so-called Third World who cannot always make their voices heard," Styler told the Mail.
"I have always tried to be an honest and straightforward person who stands up for the values of fairness and justice for all. These values seem to be missing from this verdict."
The amazing Stevie Wonder couldn't have been too surprised because so many people knew what was happening, but he still got a kick out of the birthday party thrown for him in the Bahamas on Thursday night.
Lots of stars and Motown-related types, like producer Suzanne de Passe showed up to fete Wonder's 57th.
Wonder performed his own songs and was serenaded by the likes of jazz great Nancy Wilson, and newer stars Joss Stone, John Legend and India.Arie.
How did they get Stevie down to the Bahamas and Atlantis Hotel? His designer wife, Kai Milla-Morris, put on a fashion show poolside at the new luxe Cove Hotel at Atlantis for a bunch of friends, including Holly Robinson Peete and Michael Michele.
The bigger surprise of the night was the appearance of Whitney Houston, who sources tell me looked "stoned."
Maybe her red eyes were just from jet lag, flying in from Los Angeles. Houston is supposedly working on her new album there after going through a yearlong rehab from drug and alcohol abuse.
Since she also looked and behaved "stoned" at the pre-Grammy dinner in February — readers may recall her basically ignoring Al Gore and snickering at her table — one wonders what Houston's rehab has really added up to.
But Houston's shenanigans couldn't put a damper on the wild times. The Bahamas all-star music weekend was held at the Atlantis to celebrate the new upscale Cove luxury hotel, plus other new additions at Kerzner Resorts' Caribbean gem.
Friday night, things kicked into high gear with a performance by Janet Jackson. Janet arrived with mom Katherine, sisters La Toya and Reebe. It was a girls' weekend, with no sign or mention of any of her brothers including Michael, although there was one reported sighting of Jacko's publicist Raymone Bain.
In the audience and helping to launch the Atlantis changes were celebrities of all stripes. They included: Sean Connery; Spike Lee; Kelsey Grammer; Claire Danes; Jeremy Piven; Tim Allen; Ashanti; Usher; Ashford and Simpson; Nile Rodgers; Natalie Cole; Sam "Soul Man" Moore; Janet's producer Jimmy Jam Harris and her new label chief Antonio L.A. Reid of Island/DefJam; Gayle King (sans Oprah despite rumors); Bo Derek and John Corbett; Denise Rich; Carol Alt; Star Jones; Al Roker; Alan Thicke and ABC weatherman Sam Champion; Michael Jordan; Patrick Ewing and Charles Oakley.
O.J. Simpson defense attorney Robert Shapiro was on hand. And Clinton fundraiser and grocery-chain magnate Ron Burkle is said to have been on the scene as well.
Spotted around the Atlantis compound: Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. His group played Saturday night during a '70s party that was also said to feature Donna Summer and John Travolta. Guests were told to wear their best Studio 54 duds.
Tyler was there with actress daughter Liv, her rocker-husband Royston Langdon and toddler son Milo.