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With HBO subscribers understandably less engrossed in the mysteries with which the network now presents them on Sunday nights—such as whether or not Tell Me You Love Me's Adam Scott employs an ejaculating stunt-cock or how much longer we have to wait before producers serve up that hotly anticipated sexagenarian-penetration scene—it's inevitable that viewers don't seem quite ready to end their speculation about what actually happened in The Sopranos final, endlessly discussed moment. Series creator David Chase, who once emerged from post-finale hiding to reassure us that he wasn't fucking with America's collective head with his creative choices, now returns (in the form of an interview in a new Sopranos book) to offer people a greater degree of closure. Reports the AP:

"There WAS a war going on that week, and attempted terror attacks in London," says Chase. "But these people were talking about onion rings." [...]

Chase says the New Jersey mob boss "had been people's alter ego. They had gleefully watched him rob, kill, pillage, lie and cheat. They had cheered him on. And then, all of a sudden, they wanted to see him punished for all that. They wanted 'justice'...

"The pathetic thing _ to me _ was how much they wanted HIS blood, after cheering him on for eight years."

In the days, and even weeks, after the finale aired June 10, "Sopranos" wonks combed that episode for buried clues, concocting wild theories. (Was this some sort of "Last Supper" reimagined with Tony, wife Carmela, son A.J. and daughter Meadow?)

Chase insists that what you saw (and didn't see) is what you get.

"There are no esoteric clues in there. No `Da Vinci Code,'" he declares. [...]

And as for that notorious blackout in the middle of the Journey power ballad, "Don't Stop Believin'"?

"Originally, I didn't want any credits at all," says Chase. "I just wanted the black screen to go the length of the credits _ all the way to the HBO `whoosh' sound. But the Directors Guild wouldn't give us a waiver."

And while this unexpected finish left lots of viewers thinking their cable service was on the fritz, Chase insists it wasn't meant as a prank.

"Why would we want to do that?" he asks. "Why would we entertain people for eight years only to give them the finger?"

Even though Chase may have intended his answers to defuse any lingering accusations of mindfuckery and slow the procession of fans who interrupt his every public meal with impromptu renditions of "Don't Stop Believin'," all the creator has done was provide Finale Deconstructionists with a new text to study. Armed with quickly dog-eared copies of The Sopranos: The Complete Book, they'll soon gather in TV rooms decorated with Gay Vito Death Cues and discarded Satriale's Pork Store bricks, expending considerable intellectual energy on trying to determine whether their desire to see their beloved antihero's brains splattered all over a Holsten's booth by the Man in the Members Only Jacket was, in fact, "pathetic," or merely a rational and healthy need to see the many dramatically satisfying misdeeds in which the audience was too long complicit finally punished.