David Chase's Rock & Roll Fantasy
Credit: Photograph by Mark Seliger
Chase knows that many people are still baffled by the ending of 'The 'Sopranos'', that brutal cut to blackness. He joked to the 'New York Times' not long ago that he should've swapped endings with 'Seinfeld' – with Jerry and Kramer ending up in a diner and Tony in jail – but there's a growing consensus that the show's ending is actually very clear. The final image, the empty void, is simply one of the show's many point-of-view shots from Tony's perspective: He's been whacked, probably by that guy in the Members Only jacket.

Chase comes very, very close to confirming this theory. "We did a lot of POV stuff," he says. "I did a lot of setups with POV shots in that episode. People have not picked up on that." (Watch the final series of shots closely: He sets up a pattern of them from Tony's point of view.) "The only thing I would say definitively about it is, whatever happened, Tony put himself there. It was the world as he saw it. He was responsible for where he ended up – wherever that is. Just as in the beginning, he sent himself to therapy and he was looking at that statue." (He's referring to the very first POV shot in the show – another tacit confirmation.)

Despite Tony's apparent fate, Chase doesn't think we're all facing that void in the end. "I don't believe in the afterlife and all that," he says. "I try to go along with, I guess, the Buddhist interpretation of it, which is that the flowers are made up of nonflowering elements. That a flower is part water, part sunlight, and that somehow we're all part of that. That's what I try to tell myself." Soon after, I get up to leave, and Chase offers me a cookie to go. Then, peering out from beneath those heavy lids, he says, "You're really gonna play that Freudian slip, huh?"