The Sopranos creator David Chase confirms Tony's diner sequence in final episode was a 'death scene'

FP Staff

Jan 11, 2019 15:01:24 IST

Fans of The Sopranos, from the premium cable to the streaming eras, have been wondering about the controversial blackout which abruptly ended the HBO mob drama. Many of the stunned viewers at the time of its broadcast initially believed something had gone wrong with their cable TV reception. But soon, everyone were left wondering about Tony's fate — whether he ended up getting “whacked” or whether his sordid life went on as usual.

The Sopranos. Facebook

The Sopranos. Facebook

The Sopranos creator David Chase, in a new book titled The Sopranos Sessions by TV critics Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz, confirmed it was a 'death scene.' A report on TIME revealed a conversation with Chase and the writers from the book.

Sepinwall: When you said there was an end point, you don’t mean Tony at Holsten’s, you just meant, ‘I think I have two more years’ worth of stories left in me.’

Chase: Yes, I think I had that death scene around two years before the end. I remember talking with [Sopranos writer and executive producer] Mitch Burgess about it. But it wasn’t — it was slightly different. Tony was going to get called to a meeting with Johnny Sack in Manhattan, and he was going to go back through the Lincoln Tunnel for this meeting, and it was going to go black there and you never saw him again as he was heading back, the theory being that something bad happens to him at the meeting. But we didn’t do that.

Seitz: You realise, of course, that you just referred to that as a death scene.

(Also read — On The Sopranos' 20th anniversary, HBO is giving everyone gangster-inspired nicknames, from Don Jon to Filthy Animal)

In the final moments of the show's finale, Tony, the conflicted mob boss who has just survived a round of gangland warfare, sits in a diner with his family munching on onion rings as the 1980s song by rock band Journey, “Don’t Stop Believing,” blares from a juke box. Tension builds as a suspicious man wearing a “Members Only” jacket eyes Tony from a nearby counter before slipping into a restroom. Then, as Tony looks toward the restaurant’s entrance, the screen abruptly goes blank in mid-scene — with no picture or sound for 10 seconds — until the credits roll silently.

The jarring, fill-in-the-blank finale, concluding a show widely hailed as America’s greatest television drama, sparked a furious debate about whether Chase had conceived of an actual ending and whether he left the audience any clues. One clue in particular, a flashback in the penultimate episode to a conversation between Tony and his brother-in-law, Bobby Bacala, about death, gained credence.

“At the end, you probably don’t hear anything, everything just goes black,” Bobby says while they sit fishing in a small boat on a lake. That scene is recalled briefly in a flashback played at the end of the penultimate Sopranos episode, as Tony is lying in the darkened room of a safehouse clutching a machine gun to his chest in the midst of a mob war.

(With inputs from Reuters)

Updated Date: Jan 11, 2019 15:07:51 IST