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‘The Sopranos’ Ending Scene, Explained

One of the most famously divisive endings in any show - does it have a real answer?

On June 10th, 2007, one of the most influential endings in any show graced television screens for the first time. HBO’s long-running television drama, The Sopranos, was getting its final episode, and while the episode’s content itself seemingly had nothing to offer, viewers were abuzz for weeks on end about the episode’s final shots—in which Tony and the Sopranos arrange to meet at a diner. Tony finally gets to the diner, and right as the door’s bell rings, the episode cuts to black. Viewers could not stop thinking about what the ending’s open interpretation even meant, and thousands upon thousands of theories were launched onto the Internet regarding the show. Even the creators did not want to definitively answer what had happened to Tony in that final scene. So the question is, what happened, if anything?

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Last year, The Hollywood Reporter interviewed Sopranos creator David Chase. In this interview, Chase made comments suggesting that Tony had indeed been killed in the show’s final scene. Additionally, Chase even went on to discuss that there were several scenes in which Tony would have been killed, planned for different points in the series’ run. One such plan Chase had envisioned was Tony going from New Jersey to New York—the reverse of the series’ opening sequence in every episode—and then getting shot after he arrived at a meeting. Chase has also expressed disdain for the fact that many viewers have been demanding concrete answers about what the show’s ending is supposed to mean, leaving it consistently open for deliberation and suggestion.

In short, there is not one single meaning to the ending of the show. It’s meant to be left open-ended, and while certain ideas can be suggested or even entertained about the intent of the show’s sudden cut to black, the show’s ending and Tony’s fate is open to interpretation.

(featured image: HBO)

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