A Perfect Ending for The Sopranos

The New York Post headline today: Sopranos Fans Out For Blood. It seems a lot of Sopranos fans are irked by the final episode of the landmark TV series. Producer/Creator David Chase chose to wrap up the series by, well, not wrapping up the series. The last episode was a perfect reflection of the series and of Chase’s creative prowess.

As the episode was winding up, and it got to be about 40 minutes in, my wife said, “Nothing is going to happen. It’s going to finish and nothing is going to happen.”

As we who watched it know, the episode ended in a Bloomfield, NJ diner. The Sopranos were having a typical family dinner. Sure, Sil was laying in the hospital in a coma. Bobby was dead. Junior was rotting in a state nursing home. Paulie was turning into his Mother. But the Sopranos family was in tact. AJ was a mess, but he was there for dinner—family time. Meadow was as shallow as ever, being wooed to a high paying job at a law firm, but so incompetent she couldn’t parallel park her Lexus.

Everything else, including the Sopranos mob family, could fall apart. But Tony was going to make sure his family marched on. The last scene was a delicious homage and tease of The Godfather. There was the suspicious looking Italian fellow going to the bathroom. Was there a handgun taped up behind the toilet flusher as it was for Michael Corleone before he came out and killed his father’s would-be killer? Was the guy a member of the New York family?

Final episiodes rarely satisfy fans. We all have our own ideas how a series should end. And when none of our ideas plays out on screen, we get irked. M*A*S*H’s final episode was lame. Seinfeld’s was terrible. At least that’s what we all felt.

Chase created over 90 episodes of perhaps the greatest TV ever produced. And yet he had the decency, in an age of viewer participation and consumer input to advertising and TV programming, to let each one of us write what happened next on our own personal laptop screen and continue talking about it for some time. A perfect ending for a perfect show.