If you watched the series finale of “The Sopranos” tonight, then you know by now that creator David Chase has the sense of humor of some kind of sadistic auteur. The heavily anticipated denouement was startlingly, almost hilariously abrupt and unformed. If you haven’t watched it, no need to worry: there are no spoilers in this post — as if spoilers would have made any difference with this episode, anyway.
The only interpretation of the events that I can muster after recovering from my dumbfounded shock is: life goes on, and a series finale, while tremendously weighted with the audience’s expectations, is nevertheless only an arbitrary stopping point. The series ended just where it happened to end, outside of dramatic logic. Or at least, it ended according to the logic of Chase’s final, defiant assertion that this show was an artistic endeavor, not an entertainment enterprise — and in accordance with no other agenda.
That this complex and engrossing series could end this indiscriminately is undoubtedly a let-down to millions, but at least someone had fun. That someone was Chase, who in the final minutes seemed to delight in sending up the idea of nail-biting suspense, of an operatic climax that would bestow meaning on much that had gone before. We all wanted that, but it’s clear that’s not what Chase wanted at all — tomorrow’s New York Daily News might as well read “Chase to Fans: Drop Dead.” Me, I happen to think he got a huge kick out of sending countless people home from “Sopranos” finale-watching parties all over the country in a state of stupor, disappointment, even anger… if you ask me, that’s the kind of behavior that suggests the guy could use some therapy.