For Millennials. By Millennials.
The Sopranos aired its series finale almost 13 years ago. However, to this day that ending is debated fiercely among its fanbase. By the time the ending was aired in 2007, The Sopranos had become a household name. It was a sensation in pop culture and everyone was heavily anticipating its ending. However, David Chase ended up subverting everyone’s expectations with the series finale called ‘Made in America’.
What happened in the ending?
This is where spoiler territory begins. In the last scene of the Sopranos, Tony Soprano was having a family dinner with Carmela and A.J. at a restaurant. He had selected to play Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” from the Juke Box, which kept on playing till the end of the scene. A mysterious man in a Members Only jacket glances at the family while sitting at the bar too. The last we see of him is when he goes to the bathroom, right beside Tony’s seat. Tony then tells Carmela that Carlo is probably going to testify against him, and then tells A.J. to “remember the good times”. As soon as Meadow is about to enter the restaurant, Tony looks up and the screen cuts to black. That was the last scene in the ending episode of The Sopranos.
Theories about what happened to Tony Soprano
That cut to the black screen lives long in the memory of the fans to this day. It left the ending open to a lot of interpretations. Many fans and journalists asked James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Robert Iler, and others about what happened. However, they had no answers. This kind of ending was a breeding ground for interpretation and fan theories, and that is exactly what happened.
One was that Tony and his family finished their dinner and lived their lives normally. Although many fans of the notorious family wish that were true, it seems unlikely that it is. The other plausible theory is that the guy in the Members Jacket shot Tony Soprano right at the moment the screen cut to black. No one can ever be sure what happened afterward because that sequence was never shot. However, there are many proofs that Tony and probably his family didn’t survive. This includes the conversation with Boby Bacala at the lake where they talked about death and how “you never see it coming”. The following video explores and analyzes the ending brilliantly.
Did it do justice to The Sopranos’s legacy?
When the finale aired in 2007, the immediate reaction of the audience was to check if their cable connection hadn’t disconnected. That is how unexpected the ending was. Those who watched it on streaming services, later on, had confused feelings too. Some people were even outraged at the producers for ending the show in this manner. However, as time passed, a bit of sanity prevailed and critics analyzed that this might have been the best ending The Sopranos could have wished for.
David Chase had thought of this ending as early as the shooting of the pilot in 1999. He was adamant that this was how his show was going to end. The Sopranos was a show that explored the everyday lives of these extraordinary characters that we had grown to love over the years. Many of the episodes were stand-alone films, with plots that started and ended with the episode. There were some season-long plots, but the main focus of David Chase was on the everyday absurdities of life. It was never the purpose of the show to make sure every character reaches their conclusion. The show was like a journey, and every journey comes to an end. It is on us to “remember the good times” and keep in mind that people might leave, but life goes on.
Our final verdict: A justified ending
Based on these factors, we can truly conclude that the ending to The Sopranos was just what the show needed. It justified and solidified its legacy while subverting everyone’s expectations. In doing so, it didn’t betray the theme of the show and immortalized it in our minds for a very long time. All we can hope for right now is that David Chase makes a praise worthy prequel of this show. Michael Gandolfini will star in the film, named ‘The Many Saints of Newark’ as a young Tony Soprano. We hope that he will be able to do justice to his father’s legacy.