If you didn't see the Sopranos finale on HBO last night, do yourself a favor and bookmark this post until after you've seen it.
From talking with other fans, I know that many were disappointed with the surprisingly open-ended finish. After a suspenseful ride in the back seat of the mob franchise these past several years, never quite sure where we were being taken or how we'd make it through, I have to say that the ending struck me as quite fitting.
Just as Tony turned the tables on New York boss Phil Leotardo last night, emerging from another confrontation once again personally unscathed, so too did David Chase pull a reversal on us the viewers. Ultimately, we got whacked instead of the members of the nuclear (both in temprament and intimacy) family that we grew so "connected" to over the past seven seasons.
Life will go on in the Sopranos warped little corner of New Jersey, but we won't be a part of it. Tony will lie, cheat, steal, gamble and kill again — and he'll find a new therapist to con about his remorsefulness. Carmella will build a new spec house, and look the other way as her husband misbehaves. AJ and Meadow will pursue their own careers, all the while never straying too far from the "life" that is their thing (certanly no longer "costra nostra" for us viewers). Junior will waste away in the state hospital. Janice will find a new husband. Pauly will take over the dealings with the New York operation. Silvio may or may not pull through and rejoin the inner circle. But when Meadow opened the door to that diner, our time was up.
I have to tip my hat to the playful way Chase teased us throughout the suspenseful final scene. We looked over our collective shoulders at the shady characters coming and going through the diner, waiting to see who was going to give what we knew someone was going to get. Little did we know it was us our number that was up, and with the silence and sudden blackness that always falls upon the slain, our window into the the world of the Sopranos was abruptly shut.