By MARC McDONALD
(Warning: spoilers follow).
It's nearing the end of the final episode of "The Sopranos," and it looks like Tony Soprano is nearing the end of the line.
Indeed, all the cliched indicators are in place. Tony has spent the entire episode, essentially saying goodbye to the important people in his life. Now, he is seated at a restaurant, along with his wife and son.
There are several suspicious looking characters in the place. One of them is a shady-looking man who keeps nervously glancing at Tony's table. He finally gets up and disappears into the bathroom, not far from where Tony's booth is.
Journey's "Don't Stop Believing," is playing in the background. The song is nearing its end. Tony's daughter is arriving late to the gathering, after having a difficult time parallel parking outside the eatery. Finally, she parks and runs across the street and opens the front door.
Tony looks up.
And then: the screen goes black.
I'm sure a lot of viewers are going, "WTF"?
A lot of them likely feeling confused and/or cheated.
But I thought it was brilliant.
No ending could have possibly topped this.
The audience was expecting some sort of concrete resolution. They wanted all the loose ends tied up. They wanted a dramatic finale. And most of all, they wanted a big, violent, climactic ending.
They wanted it to be spoon-fed to them.
But nothing beats the power and depth of the human imagination. And, so now, for all time, the ending will up to whatever our own imaginations conceive it to be. That's far more memorable than any cut-and-dried resolution could ever be.
It was a bold, creative risk on the part of the producers---and, for me at least, it worked.