Now revised and expanded, including a very revealing radio interview with David Chase in April of 2008! *Dozens of new visuals on all 4 pages and new content (“Death and David Chase”) added to Part II. **Check out an incredible Sopranos tribute video at the end of page 4. *Note from author (December 6, 2010): Its been over three years since the finale of the Sopranos, yet the ending continues to be discussed and debated to this day. My piece has become more popular than I ever could have imagined but speaks to the viewer’s love of the show. If this piece has done anything, it has illuminated for many people the show’s depth and artistic vision, the true genius of David Chase and his writers, and how the show fulfilled its early promise when the New York Times called the show “The greatest work of popular culture of the past quarter century” back in 1999. I cannot tell you how many e-mails I have received from fans relaying how much this piece made them truly appreciate the artistry of the show and how they re-watched the entire series again after reading it. Those final few minutes of the final episode is truly the greatest scene in the history of the medium; a scene constructed as a culmination of 8 years and 86 hours of epic storytelling. Chase created the scene for the fans who were willing to dig beneath the surface and see exactly how much thought and creativity went into every tiny detail of this show. The final scene has solidified the show as the greatest in television history (with all apologies to “The Wire”), a show that is working on levels that could not possibly be comprehended on first viewing. Some of have complained that I have the gall to call the piece “Definitive,” but I think it has received more attention for that very fact (perhaps I should have meekly called the piece “This is what I think happened”). Of course, I know it is not “definitive” (only Chase knows, and I certainly have never heard from him) but I feel strongly that it is mostly correct. I also know that some of arguments may be stretching things a bit but that is part of the fun (those “lesser” arguments often appear later in the piece). Chase has given us a gift to be pored over and discussed forever. He has raised the bar for all shows to follow (for those looking for the current truly great series, I would recommend “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad”) and for that we should all be thankful….
“If you look at the final episode really carefully, it’s all there.”* These are David Chase’s words regarding the finale of the Sopranos. He is right, it is “all there”. This is the definitive explanation why Tony died in Holsten’s in the final scene of The Sopranos. The following is based on a thorough analysis of the final season of the show and will clear up one of the most misunderstood endings in film or television history. Chase took almost two years to construct the final season of the show after the fifth season ended in June of 2004. The ending was orchestrated years in advance and is the culmination of an artist in complete control of his vision. Part 1 will demonstrate how Chase directed, edited and scored the final scene of the Sopranos to lead to the interpretation that Tony was shot in the head in Holsten’s and how this ties into the “never hear it happen” concept that Chase hammered into the viewer before the show’s final scene. This explanation will be supported by words from David Chase himself, including a very revealing, largely unknown, radio interview of Chase in April of 2008. Part I will also discuss (and debunk) the other theories about the end including the “Tony always looking over his shoulder” interpretation. Part II will concentrate on what Tony’s death means and how his death was thematically constructed throughout the final season. Part III will focus on the use of symbolism in Holsten’s. Part IV will focus on The Godfather influence on the final season and Tony’s death. Part V will...
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