It was an ending that, if nothing else, had millions on their feet. In what may be the first case of finalus interruptus, David Chase, faced with deciding between a bang and a whimper, chose neither. Instead the creator of “The Sopranos” decided to fool millions of Americans into believing their cable had gone out for possibly the most important moment in the history of televised drama.
The final scene of the final episode of “The Sopranos” had all the elements of traditional climax down to the benign plate of onion rings Tony “ordered for the table.” As the Soprano family gathered in a diner, the light was mellow, the talk was mundane and Tony (James Gandolfini) kept one eye on the door, watching any number of possible assassins or smug federal agents as they poured sugar in their coffee or visited the men’s room (possibly to retrieve, à la “The Godfather,” their weapons cache). Then, just as Meadow (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) joined the group, and the tension became virtually unbearable — szzzz. Blank screen.
For several agonizing moments, America was united ... in uttering every profanity known to man as millions of hands reached for millions of remotes, while partners and friends yelled, “No, no, don’t touch it!”
Then, silently, the credits began to roll and somewhere Chase was, no doubt, having a pretty good laugh.