Every few months, someone needs to reinvestigate the finale of The Sopranos to keep the internet alive. “What happens if we don’t do that?” the people wonder. “I’ll die,” says the internet. “Don’t you want to keep me alive?” And of course we want to keep the internet alive, so we perform The Sopranos finale ritual once again. Let us go back now to that diner, and stare at AJ’s horrible skinny-chin-strap beard, and wonder all over again: What does it mean? Is Tony dead or alive? Am I dead or alive? What is love for? Are onion rings God, or is God onion rings? Today, we fulfill this quarter’s quota of Sopranos talk with an article from Vox, in which creator David Chase allegedly answers one of those questions.
I had been talking with Chase for a few years when I finally asked him whether Tony was dead. We were in a tiny coffee shop, when, in the middle of a low-key chat about a writing problem I was having, I popped the question. Chase startled me by turning toward me and saying with sudden, explosive anger, “Why are we talking about this?” I answered, “I’m just curious.” And then, for whatever reason, he told me. …
…[W]hen he spoke about Tony and the question, [Chase] was laconic.
Just the facts and no interpretation.
He shook his head “no.” And he said simply, “No he isn’t.”
The article does not directly state the question the author asked, nor does it account for the possibility that Chase was not “laconic” but perhaps merely snappish. And the piece continues for another 4,000-plus words, so maybe this isn’t closure, exactly.