2007-06-15 15:47:49 UTC
LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) -- Fans of "The Sopranos" are seizing on clues
suggesting the controversial blackout which abruptly ended the TV mob drama
meant that Tony Soprano was rubbed out, and HBO said Thursday they may be on to
One clue in particular, a flashback in the penultimate episode to a conversation
between Tony and his brother-in-law about death, gained credence as an HBO
spokesman called it a "legitimate" hint and confirmed that series creator David
Chase had a definite ending in mind.
"While he won't say to me 100 percent what it all means, he says some people
who've guessed have come closer than others," HBO spokesman Quentin Schaffer
told Reuters after speaking to Chase.
"There are definitely things there that he intended for people to pick up on,"
Chase himself suggested as much in an interview Tuesday with The Star-Ledger
newspaper of New Jersey when he said of his end to the HBO series, "Anyone who
wants to watch it, it's all there."
In the final moments of Sunday's concluding episode, Tony, the conflicted mob
boss who has just survived a round of gangland warfare, sits in a diner with his
family munching on onion rings as the 1980s song by rock band Journey, "Don't
Stop Believin'," blares from a juke box.
Tension builds as a suspicious man wearing a "Members Only" jacket eyes Tony
from a nearby counter before slipping into a restroom. Then, as Tony looks
toward the restaurant's entrance, the screen abruptly goes blank in mid-scene --
with no picture or sound for 10 seconds -- until the credits roll silently.
Stunned viewers, many initially believing something had gone wrong with their
cable TV reception, were left wondering whether Tony ended up "whacked" or
whether his sordid life went on as usual.
Even star James Gandolfini wasn't sure.
"You have to ask ('The Sopranos' creator) David Chase that. Smarter minds than
mine know the answer to that," Gandolfini told the New York Daily News. "I
thought it was a great ending. You decide."
The jarring, fill-in-the-blank finale, concluding a show widely hailed as
America's greatest television drama, sparked a furious debate about whether
Chase had conceived of an actual ending and whether he left the audience any
The biggest hint, according to a consensus taking shape on the Web, is a scene
from an earlier episode in which Tony and his brother-in-law, Bobby "Bacala"
Baccalieri, muse about what it feels like to die.
"At the end, you probably don't hear anything, everything just goes black,"
Bobby says while they sit fishing in a small boat on a lake.
That scene is recalled briefly in a flashback played at the end of the
penultimate "Sopranos" episode, as Tony is lying in the darkened room of a
safehouse clutching a machine gun to his chest in the midst of a mob war.
"I think that is one of the most legitimate things to look at," Schaffer said
when asked about theories that the Bobby Bacala flashback was meant to
foreshadow Tony's death.
Moreover, he said the man in the "Members Only" jacket could be interpreted as a
symbolic reference to membership in the mob. "Members Only" also was the title
of the episode in which Tony's demented Uncle Junior shoots him in the gut.
The "Members Only" guy was played by the owner of a real-life pizza parlor,
Paolo Colandrea. Schaffer denied reports that Colandrea had appeared earlier in
the series as the nephew of Tony's New York gang rival, or that there ever was
such a character. He also dismissed reports that Chase had filmed more than one
ending to the finale.
Block Lists, Favorites, and more - http://www.recpoker.com