The Sopranos finale: fuggeddaboudit?

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It's easy to be a geek about a show like Lost, where the puzzles the show puts forth are front-and-center, and too numerous to count. I have to say, though -- and feel free to disagree with me here -- that The Sopranos is (er, was) in a subtle way just as mysterious, and brilliantly so. The mysteries weren't of a what is reality? nature, as in Lost (I think we're supposed to wonder if the whole series is a big, fat fakeout ... and then Jack woke up!), but were of a more psychological, even literary, bent: what does the lighthouse in Tony's dreams represent? Is the cat who keeps staring at fallen Chris' picture a feline reincarnation of his murdered wife? And, most urgently: what the heck happened at the end of the series?

When the screen cuts to black at the climax of one of the most suspenseful scenes in recent memory, I thought for one horrifying moment that my TIVO had failed me, or my cable provider, perhaps worried that what was about to happen was too intense even for late-night pay cable, had pulled the plug. But no -- creator David Chase, ever the trickster, means to leave his characters in a state of suspended animation. (Just like he does Sil, who doesn't even get to live or die, but waver indefinitely in a coma-state.) Since he's left it for us to figure out, who better than readers of mental_floss to parse the meaning behind that black screen? What do you think -- does Tony get whacked? Was the scene just paranoia, and the guy headed to the bathroom wasn't going for a Godfather-style gun taped under the toilet? Or is it missing the point entirely even to wonder?

June 11, 2007 - 5:39am
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