06/11/2007 at 12:00 PM EDT
So in the end no one in the immediate family got whacked. Instead the last scene was sort of a variation on the finale of the previous season: the Soprano nuclear unit sitting down and looking forward to a meal in a restaurant and smiling at each other despite the fact that, on different levels, they all know their life is built on crime and Daddy could be popped at any second. Fans may have felt, for a few moments, as if they had gotten caught up in one of those great Brian de Palma murder ballets as the camera lingered on suspicious-looking patrons (was that guy heading into the john to grab a piece from the toilet tank?), and with Meadow, late, parking and reparking her car. It all felt dreadful and full of Mrs. Robert Blake potential.
Then fans might have found themselves annoyed instead of intrigued and on edge. The screen simply went black, as if to say: Let the Sopranos eat in peace. They could be dead by the time the cannoli comes. Or they'll get up and go home.
I thought it all made sense: After all, The Sopranos
wasn't The Godfather.
It was The Godfather
married to the suburban novel or serial: John the Don Updike, in a sense. Creator David Chase, I suspect, felt he was giving fans sufficient dramatic payoff by letting them hear Phil's head explode as he lay dead beneath the wheels of his SUV. His instincts were right. The comeuppance, it'll come, only not this second.
Besides, would you really be enjoying your day if you had to go around thinking about Tony Soprano shot full of lead the night before?
The truly lingering question is this: Why was that stupid cat staring at the photo of Christopher?