Air date: 6/10/2007
"Underwhelming" doesn't necessarily mean "wrong." The series finale of The Sopranos caused an uproar when the screen famously cut to black, but there's a beauty to the show's finale that's been rarely matched.
Chase recently reflected on the finale while making the rounds with his film Not Fade Away. He said, "Tony was dealing in mortality every day. He was dishing out life and death. And he was not happy. He was getting everything he wanted, that guy, but he wasn't happy. All I wanted to do was present the idea of how short life is and how precious it is. The only way I felt I could do that was to rip it away."
If Tony (James Gandolfini) had gone out in a blaze of glory, or at least a blaze of some kind, it would have provided an ending that was antithetical to Chase's purposes. Maybe Tony died that day. Maybe he died months later. Maybe he died years later. But, eventually he will die, unhappy, always looking over his shoulder, wondering when the demons of his past will catch up with him. That's what makes it brilliant.