In April, Vanity Fair published a terrific oral history of The Sopranos. This month's issue features the piece's response letters with an even more terrific interpretation of the series' maddening, still-discussed final scene, sent in by Larry Grossman of Las Vegas, Nevada:
The last episode of The Sopranos was inspired. Here's why: One of the main themes of the show was the ongoing problems that the main character, Tony Soprano, had with panic attacks. This started with the first episode, which led to his therapy with Dr. Melfi. Tony's son, A.J., later had those same feelings. This panic-attack thread was prevalent during the entire run of the show.
The final episode had Tony, Carmela, and A.J. in a booth at the diner. Many sinister people were lurking, and the viewer feared for their safety; as Meadow tried clumsily to park her car, the suspense built. Then, right when the payoff is about to happen, the TV goes black. Everyone thought they'd missed it because they lost their cable. All viewers had a panic attack. Thus, we felt what Tony felt.
Well, that settles it. Larry Grossman of Las Vegas, Nevada, won The Sopranos. Thanks for playing.