"Anybody who wants to watch it, it's all there."
—-David Chase on the finale of The Sopranos


The Sopranos Creator Has the Last Word
Thanks to Alan Sepinwall at the Newark Star-Ledger, whose Sopranos blog has been required reading, creator David Chase put a little closure to Sunday night’s blockbuster finale.

Chase agreed to talk to Sepinwall about the show before heading off to France with his wife.

Here are some of his comments:

"I have no interest in explaining, defending, reinterpreting, or adding to what is there," he says of the final scene.

"No one was trying to be audacious, honest to God," he adds. "We did what we thought we had to do. No one was trying to blow people's minds or thinking, 'Wow, this'll (tick) them off.'

"People get the impression that you're trying to (mess) with them, and it's not true. You're trying to entertain them."

"Anybody who wants to watch it, it's all there," says the 61-year-old writer/producer who based the series in general—and Tony's relationship with mother Livia specifically—on his own North Caldwell, NJ childhood.

On the possibility of a Sopranos movie: "I don't think about that much, I never say never. An idea could pop into my head where I would go, 'Wow, that would make a great movie,' but I doubt it... I'm not being coy. If something appeared that really made a good Sopranos movie and you could invest in it and everybody else wanted to do it, I would do it. But I think we've kind of said it and done it."

He's toyed with the idea of "going back to a day in 2006 that you didn't see, but then [Tony's children] would be older than they were then and you would know that Tony doesn't get killed. It's got problems."

On adding this season’s final nine episodes: "If this had been one season, the Vito storyline would not have been so important. From my perspective, there's nothing different about Tony in this season than there ever was. To me, that's Tony."

On fans’ desire to see more “whacking”: "I'm the number one fan of gangster movies. Martin Scorsese has no greater devotee than me. Like everyone else, I get off partly on the betrayals, the retributions, the swift justice. But what you come to realize when you do a series is, you could be killing straw men all day long. Those murders only have any meaning when you've invested story in them. Otherwise, you might as well watch Cleaver."

On the selection of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" for the final scene: "It didn't take much time at all to pick it, but there was a lot of conversation after the fact. I did something I'd never done before: In the location van, with the crew, I was saying, 'What do you think?' When I said, 'Don't Stop Believin',' people went, 'What? Oh my God!' I said, 'I know, I know, just give a listen,' and little by little, people started coming around."

On viewer’s reaction to the ending: "I hear some people were very angry and others were not, which is what I expected."

On looking back: "It's been the greatest career experience of my life. There's nothing more in TV that I could say or would want to say."

On Agent Harris passing along info on Phil's whereabouts and cheering, "We're going to win this thing!" when learning of Phil's demise: "This is based on an actual case of an FBI agent who got a little bit too partisan and excited during the Colombo wars of the '70s."

On never revealing what, if anything, terror suspects Muhammed and Ahmed were up to: "This, to me, feels very real. For the majority of these suspects, it's very hard for anybody to know what these people are doing. I don't even think Harris might know where they are. That was sort of the point of it: Who knows if they are terrorists or if they're innocent pistachio salesmen? That's the fear that we are living with now."

On why Butchie, introduced as a guy who was pushing Phil to take out Tony, turns on Phil and negotiates peace with Tony: "I think Butch was an intelligent guy; he began to see that there was no need for it, that Phil's feelings were all caught up in what was esentially a convoluted personal grudge."

Sepinwall then outlines his own theories on the final scene.

Theory No. 1: Chase is using the final scene to place the viewer into Tony's mind-set. This is how he sees the world: Every open door, every person walking past him could be coming to kill him or arrest him or otherwise harm him or his family. This is his life, even though the paranoia's rarely justified. We end without knowing what Tony's looking at because he never knows what's coming next.

Theory No. 2: In the scene on the boat in "Soprano Home Movies," repeated again last week, Bobby Bacala suggested that when you get killed, you don't see it coming. Certainly, our man in the Members Only jacket could have gone to the men's room to prepare for killing Tony and the picture and sound cut out because Tony's life just did. (Or because we, as viewers, got whacked from our life with the show.)

Sepinwall also debunks the e-mail that's making the rounds about all the Holsten's patrons being characters from earlier in the series. The actor playing Members Only guy had never been on the show; Tony killed at least one, if not both, of his carjackers…  There are about 17 other things wrong with this popular but incorrect theory.

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Reshuffling the deck (12/3a)

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