I’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."
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—."