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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Cut to black = Tony Soprano's instant death?

Okay, I got a message from my domain registrar telling me that I can't renew my URL unless I post something about the final episode of The Sopranos.

If the ending scene is supposed to be from Tony's point of view, and if he was shot in the back of the head by someone outside his field of vision, then wouldn't his experience more likely have been a blinding flash of light — from neurons in the visual cortex (at the back of the brain) suddenly discharging due to trauma — even if that flash only lasted for the few hundreds of a second it took for his brain and brainstem to be pulverized? Shouldn't the ending have been FLASH/cut-to-black instead of just cut-to-black?

His protests aside, in the final scene, David Chase was clearly enjoying his ability to yank our collective chains. The buzz, outrage, even hysteria surrounding the ending will sell lots and lots more DVDs and guarantee lots and lots of residuals. And he's been thinking about this ending literally for years, meaning that whatever else it was or wasn't, this ambiguous ending was a studied ambiguity.

So: With due respect to all the other theories and their adherents out there, I am calm and secure in my own interpretation, which treats the seconds of silence and black screen as simply a gesture of respect for the series and an acknowledgment that there would be no previews of the next episode or season.

In other words, per the song lyric that was playing, I choose not to stop believing.

Posted by Beldar at 06:30 AM in Current Affairs, Film/TV/Stage | Permalink


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(1) mrobvious made the following comment | Jun 17, 2007 3:10:03 PM | Permalink

I keep telling people that this is quite literally a "Lady or the Tiger" ending.

1. Two doors. One through which we see Tony's daughter, and one through which will come the "member's only" guy.

2. The tiger is painted on the wall nearest the bathroom.

Even so, I feel pretty confident that someone is killed, but I don't know whether it is Tony, or the viewer. One reason I lean to we in the viewing audience being "whacked" is that we are certainly not "members", just nosy outsiders.

As to the bright light, you must remember that Chase has already laid out the straight-to-black notion. His world, his rules.

Not having seen the Vegas episode where Tony says he "gets it" now, I wonder if that was meant to be his realization that he is being watched. Thus, it is Tony, not Chase, who orders the hit on us, after diverting our attention for a few weeks to lull us.

(2) LazyMF made the following comment | Jun 17, 2007 9:46:38 PM | Permalink

I liked the ending. What I didn't like is that it brought that horrid Journey song back from the dead. ABC was using "Don't Stop Believing" as their theme song for the NBA finals last week.


(3) Kent made the following comment | Jun 17, 2007 11:31:29 PM | Permalink

I'm no expert in medical ballistics, but my recollection is that most nerve impulses travel slower than a bullet. It's quite possible a bullet to the back of the head would crush the visual cortex (which is located in the back of the head) and then reach the brain centers before the signals from the whacked visual cortex do. So, no, you'd be dead before the signal for a bright flash of light could register.

I do like the idea, which I've seen here for the first time, that it is the viewer who is whacked.

I did not myself follow the series, but it has been impossible to avoid the talk all over the blogosphere (and elsewhere.)

(4) Eugene made the following comment | Jun 20, 2007 5:38:33 PM | Permalink

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