On June 10, HBO aired the final episode of the very popular and highly honored original series, "The Sopranos." Many regular viewers, such as myself, had greatly anticipated the final show, having faithfully followed the story of Mob boss Tony Soprano and his family for six seasons and 85 episodes, Of note, also, is that "The Sopanos" was not exactly on a regular TV schedule the past couple of years. HBO basically aired the show when series creator David Chase provided them with a few new episodes, with a several month gap between "seasons." Season Six, in fact, was officially divided into Season Six, part one and Season Six, part two.
At any rate, "Sopranos" fans have been wondering what Tony's fate would be for a long time. As the final episode opened, Tony and his mob were in a "safe house," holed up on matresses because of an ongoing "war" with the New York mob (Tony and his guys are from New Jersey). One of his henchmen, brother-in-law Bobby Bacala, had been shot down in a toy store in the previous episode, and Tony's consiglieri, Silvio, had also been shot and was near-death in the hospital. In the final episode, "Made In America," the Jersey gang struck first, killing the New York boss in one of the most gruesome murder scenes in TV history.
So, after a time, Tony and his little family (i.e., his REAL family - wife Carmela, son A.J., and daughter Meadow), feeling things were relatively safe, went out to dinner together at a little cafe to eat onion rings. A few people enter the cafe, and Tony glances up at each and every one. Are they suspicious? Threatening? Or just innocuous "everyday people," and it's only Tony (and the tv viewers) who wonder about them? Meadow isn't there yet, either, and she is shown pulling up and trying to parallel park her car. What's going to happen? Cut to black screen and closing credits, with no music.
Oh My ___! said I, and several million other viewers, "My cable (or dish) went out!" I really didn't think that I had, indeed, seen the entire episode - until the next day, when I heard discussion on TV and read about it in the paper.
Chase's "cut to black" ending infuriated many of the viewers, who felt they had been left hanging... that's it??? What happened to Tony and the other characters we've come to know and love/hate over the six years???
Though I was initially upset, I decided that, in a way, the ending pretty much summed up the six-year theme of the show - that Tony Soprano had two families, loved and was devoted to both, and he was constantly going back-and-forth mentally between the two families. One minute, his guys were rubbing out Phil Leotardo, the New York boss, and the next, Tony was sitting down to a meal with his family, rubbing his son's head and commenting on how they both loved the onion rings.
Three general theories developed about the ending. One was that the creator had no idea how to end the series, and so just ended it. The second is that the ambiguous ending left things wide open for a Sopranos movie, or TV movie - certainly not unusual in these "sequel-crazy" times. The third theory, and, it appears, the correct one - is that David Chase is leaving it up to all of us to decide what happened to the characters. Chase said he has no plans to make a movie about the Sopranos, and for me, that was good news. With very few exceptions, attempts to spin-off series or make sequels are very unsuccessful and forgettable. Anybody remember the "AfterMASH" tv show? I didn't think so.
Tony and family, rest in peace (in our memories- and of course on DVD)