David Chase on The Sopranos’ Final Scene

He can try to justify it any way he wants. I still think it was one of the most disappointing endings since Seinfeld:

Was Tony Soprano’s quiet meal with his family in a local ice cream parlor his last supper? Whether or not he was whacked gangland style in the “Made in America” finale of The Sopranos is not a question that concerns David Chase, creator of the series and director of the last episode. Chase is far more interested in larger philosophical issues about the choices we make in life that lead us to that point, and enjoying the good times, fleeting though they may be.

After orchestrating the murder of a rival gang boss and dodging a bullet yet again, Tony (James Gandolfini) is breathing, if not easier, with at least a sense of relief as he meets his wife Carmela (Edie Falco) and kids (Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Robert Iler) at Holsten’s for “the best onion rings in the state” and flips through the jukebox. It’s almost a Norman Rockwell scene with a group of Cub Scouts, young lovers, football hero murals, and locals enjoying the warm and homey atmosphere. Chase says time itself is the raw material of the scene as the suspense builds with pinpoint editing while Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” propels the action to its climax—a heart-stopping cut to black.

Chase was after the dreamy, chilling feeling he admired at the end of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey in which time expands and contracts as life and death merge into one. And there, as in the concluding instant of The Sopranos, who knows what really happens. “When it’s over,” Chase offers, “I think you’re probably always blindsided by it. That’s all I can say.”

The final scene is here if you feel like being frustrated all over again. (It won’t let me embed)

(via Metafilter where the debate rages on if Tony is killed or not at the end)