That Time The Sopranos Showrunner Gave America The Invisible Middle-Finger

That Time The Sopranos Showrunner Gave America The Invisible Middle-Finger
Image credit: globallookpress

Ok, maybe he didn't quite give the middle finger, but admit it – that's what you thought at the time.

Of course, I'm talking about The Sopranos finale. That final scene when the screen went black and, for a few moments, the entire population of TV land gasped, gulped, and then screamed "You're kidding me!!? That's how this series ends?"

Now, with hindsight – and confirmation from showrunner David Chase, we all know the ending was a piece of genius writing and directing played out superbly by the Soprano clan. But at the time, it felt as if we'd been left in limbo. After journeying with Tony for so many years, to suddenly be hit by a wall of black followed by the credits felt like…well the middle finger.

But what did we expect? What would have been the reaction had Tony been sent down? Because let's face it, he was a violent thug heading up a criminal gang that was running drugs, whacking anyone that got in their way and generally getting what they wanted through brute force and fear. But we still liked him. We didn't want to see him carted off in an orange jumpsuit.

Most of us probably expected some kind of shoot out that may or may not end with Tony being hit (possibly killed). But that would have been too obvious. The Sopranos was truly groundbreaking TV. The ending had to be something nobody expected. And it was.

The opening to that final scene showed Tony as a family man, not a gangster. All around him, normal life was going on. You may not have even noticed the man in the Member's Only jacket. Tony did.

That Time The Sopranos Showrunner Gave America The Invisible Middle-Finger - image 1

As the man walked by him towards the toilets, T gave him a look. And so he should have done. The man was clearly taking an interest in the mob boss. And he was the only bit part character who was followed as they moved around. It was so subtle that many viewers missed it on the first watch. But David Chase marked him out as significant.

But perhaps the best part of the whole scene was the way we were trained to realise that every time the door opened and the bell rang, we got a quick glimpse of Tony looking up followed by his point of view of who was coming into the diner.

So, when we knew Meadow was coming through that door, saw Tony look up and then a black screen, we all should have known. In an instant, he had no point of view. In fact, the only thing he did have was a bullet in his head.

It took a moment to register. And it hit fans hard when they realised Tony was no more. But for one moment, it truly felt as if David Chase had given fans the bird.