During a little free time today, I checked out some of the message boards, news sites, and online discussions about last night’s final Sopranos episode. As to be expected, theories about possible “symbolism” and “meanings” of things in the final airing abound. The mysterious guy at the diner counter at the end was the actor who portrayed Tony’s dad in earlier episodes… the cat who stared at Chris’ picture (cats eat rats) means that Chris had indeed flipped before he died… Several of the actors in the diner were actually people who had been killed in earlier episodes… The Journey song “Don’t Stop Believin'” at the end meant that a movie (perhaps a Sopranos prequel was in the works. And so on. Check out the enormous amount of online stuff today and you’ll see a million of ’em.
Maybe Chase did indeed end it correctly. Pulling the plug, so to speak (while all of us viewers thought our cable/satellite feed had just gone out). Maybe the message was that we came in to simply see a day in the life of this family, and we all went out the same way – now it’s over. Lights out, cameras off. We don’t get resolution or closure every day in our own lives, and maybe it’s not fair to demand that we have it in Tony’s. We’re not owed any answers. With the black screen and silence at the end, it was us – the audience – who got whacked. That’s how you go out in the mob world, and that’s how we went out when there was no more for us to see. 10pm Sunday night came, and that’s all there was.
I guess as time goes on, I’ll see the ending as more brilliant than before. I was looking for a “wow” ending like, say, the ending to the Newhart show (the years of the Vermont bed and breakfast life was just a dream of Dr. Hartley’s). But the Sopranos was never about “wow,” and we didn’t get it in the end, either.
Maybe brilliant after all. Somewhere, David Chase is probably watching all the hype – praise, criticism, people cancelling their HBO subscriptions – and saying “Perfect.”
Kudos, Chase. You big jerk.