Kudos to Alan Sepinwall at the Star-Ledger, the official newspapers of The Sopranos, for getting the only interview with David Chase.
“I have no interest in explaining, defending, reinterpreting, or adding to what is there,” he says of the final scene.
“No one was trying to be audacious, honest to God,” he adds. “We did what we thought we had to do. No one was trying to blow people’s minds or thinking, ‘Wow, this’ll (tick) them off.’
“People get the impression that you’re trying to (mess) with them, and it’s not true. You’re trying to entertain them.”
In that final scene, mob boss Tony Soprano waited at a Bloomfield ice cream parlor for his family to arrive, one by one. What was a seemingly benign family outing was shot and cut as the preamble to a tragedy, with Tony suspiciously eyeing one patron after another, the camera dwelling a little too long on Meadow’s parallel parking and a walk by a man in a Members Only jacket to the men’s room. Just as the tension ratcheted up to unbearable levels, the series cut to black in mid-scene (and mid-song), with no resolution.
“Anybody who wants to watch it, it’s all there,” says Chase, 61, who based the series in general (and Tony’s relationship with mother Livia specifically) on his North Caldwell childhood.
Sepinwall also debunks the email and comment-thread that burst into forums and blogs like Phil Leotardo’s brains under the SUV tire. There was a lot of excitement about the idea that all the people in the final scene in the restaurant were assassins or ghosts — take your choice — from earlier shows but Sepinwall says it’s just not true. The speculation almost got me to believe that Tony was dead: he saw himself in the restaurant as he came in and this was his life passing before his eyes as he died. But that did seem too neat and the appeal of the Sopranos is that it’s not neat. Cue Sartre.