'Sopranos' insiders debunk conspiracy theories

Aid_lI’m almost sorry we’re still talking about this, but then again, Sunday’s Sopranos finale drew almost 12 million viewers, making it the second most watched show on broadcast or cable last week (behind only America’s Got Talent). Anyway, while viewers continue to rewind their DVRs in search of clues, we can put a few burning questions to rest, now that series creator David Chase has briefly broken his silence, and now that Adriana herself has spoken to EW.com.

"Anybody who wants to watch it, it’s all there," said Chase — who’s granted one and only one post-finale interview, to Alan Sepinwall, TV critic at New Jersey’s own Star-Ledger newspaper — about possible clues in the finale. He insisted that the purpose of the blackout was not to frustrate viewers or to leave the door open for a Sopranos movie, a project he said he doubts he will ever be inspired to write. Beyond that, he said he wants the episode’s content to speak for itself. "I have no interest in explaining, defending, reinterpreting, or adding to what is there."

addCredit(“Drea De Matteo: Barry Wetcher”)

Meanwhile, there’s a popular theory circulating via e-mail thatthere were as many as three hitmen in the diner — the twoAfrican-American men (supposedly the guys who once tried to carjackTony), and the Italian-looking guy in the Members Only jacket.According to this theory, that’s "Nikki Leotardo," a supposed nephew ofPhil’s, and his trip to the men’s room may have been to recover a gunstashed there, Michael Corleone-style. ("Members Only" is also thetitle of the episode in which Uncle Junior shot Tony.) The blackout,then, represents Tony’s sudden death at "Nikki"’s hands, a moment inwhich, just as Bobby had once surmised, you don’t hear your assailantcoming, and everything just suddenly goes black. Nice theory, but inthe credits, the mysterious fellow is simply referred to as "Man inMembers Only jacket." Sepinwall pretty thoroughly demolishes the claimsat the end of his article (Members Only guy had never acted on the showbefore, and Tony killed one of the carjackers), and there’s moredebunking in this TV Barn thread.

One who briefly entertained but now dismisses this theory is Drea De Matteo (pictured), to whom EW’s Shirley Halperin spoke after last night’s Maroon 5 concertat New York’s Bowery Ballroom. The erstwhile Adriana said of theepisode, "I loved it. I thought it was an amazing way to end it. It wasso David Chase. But I got the craziest e-mail [the one referred toabove], saying he was dead, and I believed it. Especially the partabout everything fading to black, and the Members Only jacket, all thatsymbolism. Now, I don’t really think he died, but it doesn’t matter. Iknow people are hating it, but I thought it was perfect." She added,"I’m gonna go on the Internet tonight and read all this s—."

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  • Sam L

    I think the symbolism is intentional, but I don’t think Tony died there: the whole point of the series was that we entered in the middle of the family’s problems, and that they would go on without us. I also love the new “audience got whacked” theory that’s going around now. By the way, Drea de Matteo is just as beautiful in real life–she lives in my neighborhood and I’ve seen her a few times already. She’s incredibly nice, too. :D

  • Gone

    That’s big of David Chase not wanting to explain any of that crap he put out there in that finale. Whatever.

  • elsie

    Hi Gary, this is about your other article for today, which doesn’t feature comments. You wrote about Steel Magnolias:
    ‘WHAT’S THE HITCH? In addition to the traditional cake, there’s also a ”groom’s cake,” which is shaped like an armadillo, with putty-colored frosting and a blood-red interior. Ewwww. Let’s hope that animal-shaped groom’s cakes are just a regional custom, confined to a small area.’
    Um… I think you’re joking, but I’m not sure. For the record, the actual tradition is that the big white cake is the ‘bride’s cake’ and then there’s a ‘groom’s cake’ which is chocolate. But it should be a beautiful gourmet cake. Sometimes grooms get their way and have a tacky one, but that’s not the standard.
    The whole point of that scene is that the wedding is garish and the cake is a hideous outrage. Guests are shocked by it, but too polite to say anything. They’ll gossip about it for years though – and real-life southerners still laugh out loud about that ‘armadillo cake.’

  • ceej

    This horse is officially dead. Let’s stop beating it.

  • Binky

    Didn’t they make a big point of showing us that the restaurant was chosen at the last moment? It’s not the type of place that takes reservations. So when and why would a guy stash a gun in the back?

  • Joe in Philly

    David Chase: “I have no interest in explaining, defending, reinterpreting, or adding to what is there.”
    Translation: “Go to hell, audience.”

  • sam

    I think that Chase had written himself into a corner and there were only a few (all unpleasant) ways to go for Tony–so Chase just didn’t decide anything and ended it. I don’t think that it is particularly profound–maybe it’s a bit lazy, but this way half of the people are happy and half are unhappy–and he can be “begged” in the future to make a movie, etc. with a good starting point.

  • Nix

    Many artistic geniuses, or geniuses at large, are jerks.

  • Glenn

    Never had HBO, so never watched Sopranos and cant relate to the ending. But I can tell you right now, if Lost ends like this 3 years from now I’m gonna be awfully pissed.

  • Anonymous

    Since Chase can’t be bothered to explain the ending, let’s refuse to buy anymore Sopranos merchandise, especially the DVD’s. Chase certainly gets a nice cut of the sales, hit em’ in his pretensious, self absorbed wallet!

  • SpecialK

    I feel dirty, cheated, and its hard to watch old episodes for me now knowing that David Chases master plan was complete garbage.

  • http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2007/06/the_sopranos_cast_watches_the.html

    “Agent Harris” actor hints that Tony was indeed killed. Article at above link

  • susan

    “agent harris” also says it cuts as the guy is advancing to Tony, actually, he walks by and is going to the bathroom, he remembered it wrong, so i don’t think Tony gets killed.

  • susan

    hey, last image is of Tonys face, and then it goes to black….WE got whacked!

  • GT

    I finally watched the ending and I actually thought it was pretty good. At first I was confused but then I realized that there is no chance of writing an ending that would be satisfying to everyone. Plus in reality we know what the next phase of everyones life is. The fact that there wasn’t a big climax fits since the big stuff happened in the episode before with the Family and the last episode is just Tony and his family.

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