Well, I liked it.
[SPOILER ALERT FOR WEST COAST PEOPLE.]
Unless Chase wanted to go into predictable tragedy – family member(s) dying – or a less-predictable happy ending, this was the ending that makes most sense. The Sopranos hang forever in limbo. Keep in mind, when Tony enters the restaurant he realizes that he’s got a “85-90% chance of being indicted,” and he seems unusually pessimistic about beating the rap, so the dinner with his family was going to be one of the last happy ones. The only question was whether he’d die, flip, or go to jail. I was not really interested in seeing any of those possibilities work themselves out.
So did Tony die in the very last scene? We have a couple pieces of contrary evidence. On the one hand it seemed like he was looking up in the direction that Meadow was coming from. On the other hand, he could have been looking at her even as the hitman approached, unnoticed, and fired the bullet. And on the evolutionarily-dubious third hand, the screen went black for a long, long time. So the rules of film are screaming to us: “He’s dead! He got capped in front of his family!”
But like Owen Wilson’s character says in The Royal Tenenbaums: “Maybe he didn’t?” We don’t know! And I have to thank David Chase for that.
BTW, a lot of ends were left untied, obviously, but I like that A.J. is mobbed up, working his way up a mafia-owned film company on the way to running some mafia-owned clubs. He was never going to become another Tony. He’s the Jersey crew’s version of Little Carmine. And Meadow is going to become the Sopranos universe version of Tom Hagen. Tony didn’t just pass on his putrid genes…
As to the google blog searches I’ve done, revealing that some fans wonder if there’ll be a movie – uh, why? The crew is fucking dead. Do you want a new Godfather III with George Hamilton as the “new Silvio”?