...because last night, he made a giant poop right on my face.
Last night's finale was great... for a season finale, not a series finale. Sure, I've read all the critics and some blind fans who try to reconcile the cop-out end of The Sopranos with "art," but I'm not going to join the chorus that's grasping at straws and rationalizing David Chase's laziness.
Does this ruin what was, up until last night, a near perfect series? Probably not, but if you place last night's finale as the other bookend to the first episode, it certainly takes away a good amount. It's the equivalent of this happening
What about Rosebud? Don't you think that explains anything?
Yes. Rosebud is -
CUT TO BLACK
One of the many things that made The Sopranos a great series is that it teased us with so many possibilities, and kept us discussing from week to week, but eventually closed the loop on all the storylines. That's what stories are -- a beginning, middle, and definitive end. We had time to watch and digest, but the show always came back to explain things to us. We, the fans, invested a lot in Tony's character. In a world where we have to live in edge wondering what's Bush going to do next, or Cheney, or Iraq or Iran or al Qaeda, shows like The Sopranos told us a story about a mob boss, and though it teased us sometimes, it never left us to wonder endlessly, until last night. That's what made it a perfect escape for us and such a great series. With no more weeks ahead of us (and assuming there's no movie), leaving an open ending robs the fans of something they've always gotten -- an explanation, and lumps The Sopranos in with all the other hypotheticals in this world that we've got on our minds.
I suspect that what was going through Chase's mind was that the final scene was supposed to show us what it felt like to be Tony, with every person walking by him a potential killer or agent, but that most of them aren't people who will cause his downfall. It's his deep paranoia that was really a leading cause of his panic attacks, but most of those suspicions don't pan out, and like the closing song said, "It goes on and on and on and on." Fair enough. And up until the end, the final scene did just that. No one watching didn't have their fist clenched and one eye closed. Mission Accomplished. But, then show, definitively, that Tony lived and had yet another dinner with his family. Maybe not the most dramatic of endings (who of us didn't want to see some bloodbath?), but would effectively show us what happens to Tony.
What makes it extra cruel is that there is no way that David Chase doesn't have any idea of what happened after the screen went black. He knows what played out after, but this time, he's not going to tell us. No matter how he wants to twist it, that's robbing all those people who came back for season after season and made Chase a very wealthy man.