Jamie-Lynn Sigler was trying not to cry, but she knew it wouldn't last. "As soon as these lights go down," she told Sharon Angela last night at a gathering of cast members in an HBO auditorium for the last episode of The Sopranos. Sigler, her long-haired boyfriend cupping her knee, sat a row in front of Angela, who played Rosalie Aprile on the show and last night sported tight jeans and heels, her hair brushed out, much like a mob wife in her Sunday comfies. The two women — only one of whom knew what was coming because, well, she was there — hugged. Dominic Chianese, slim in a gray suit jacket and sporting a fine goatee, introduced the episode from the front of the screening room. "We made it," he said. "So, let's watch and let's see if this is what America wants." And so began the Final. Episode. Ever.
While most of the cast that littered the crowd — Ray "Little Carmine" Abruzzo, Dan "Patsy Parisi" Grimaldi, Matt "FBI guy" Servitto, and Carl "Little Paulie" Capoturo — had seen the final script, no one expected the gall with which Chase closed the show, with communal onion rings and Meadow’s narrow escape of a passing car. The screen went black, and someone cried, "No, don’t tell me this."
Then silence. More silence. And as the credits rolled, there was applause, but it was tepid. Did they screw up? Yes? No? Applause, applause.
"I am in awe, baby," said Angela. "I had no idea what was going to happen. Tony Sirico, Tony Sirico. He was brilliant," she said of the actor who plays Paulie Walnuts. "I am overwhelmed." Across the room, Sigler was swept off the floor, tears in her eyes, for a breather from the press. "The ending was, you know, a turn." Is Meadow headed for mob life? "Who knows. It seems the best theory, I mean, she’s talking about how she doesn’t like how Italian Americans are treated," she said.
There was another ending, Matt "We're going to win this thing" Servitto told reporters. The last he knew, the scene in Holsten's diner — which was shot in the real life Holsten’s out in Bloomfield, New Jersey — went on a little longer and featured one of the menacing figures in the diner dominating the camera. "The scene cut as the guy was advancing towards him, as if he was about to shoot Tony. It was, I think, less ambiguous that Tony was going to get shot." —Emma Pearse