This week, another online debate erupted among TV lovers about “The Sopranos” mysterious finale. Just when we thought we were out, they pull us back in.
Vox writer Martha P. Nochimson is claiming David Chase told her that Tony Soprano lived after the famous 2007 cut to black; “No he isn’t,” Chase reportedly said when she asked him if Tony is dead. Through his publicist, though, Chase quickly responded to the Vox piece: “There is a much larger context for that statement and as such, it is not true.”
“Not true.” Vox had a reveal; Chase erased it. Once again, “The Sopranos” finale has foiled a collective human need for closure, for a Dickensian-style denouement, for an answer to what really happens at the end of everything. As much as many “Sopranos” fans want see the ultimate fate of the show’s core family “pinned and wriggling on the wall,” as T.S. Eliot put it, with each character’s destiny told in fine detail, that knowledge continues to evade. We got an end without an ending. Seven years on, the iconic cut to black stubbornly remains a cut to black; the question remains the answer.
And, I would argue, that cut to black would remain a cut to black even if Chase’s statement about the Vox story had read thusly: “It is true, Tony Soprano and his family are still alive and thriving in New Jersey, and Carmela has not trimmed her nails.” Chase created the ending of his TV-altering opus, and he put it out there for our consumption. He let it go. At this point, his opinion about what might have gone down after the family sat at Holsten’s diner with Journey on the jukebox is only about as valid as your opinion and mine. The story ended on June 10, 2007, and, as Chase himself said the next day in a reluctant interview about the ending, “It’s all there.”
Executive producers have gotten into the habit of telling viewers what to think about their storylines, with Matthew Weiner and Shonda Rhimes spinning the material in the media after significant plot twists on their shows. But they’re just recappers, in a way. They’re post-game analysts.
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