Last year's extensive (and, to my memory, awfully persuasive) Plank discussion of the last episode of The Sopranos appears to have been lost, like so much else, in our server transition. But for anyone still eager to pick that particular bone, this is the most extensive analysis I've seen of the final scene. It is, I think, rather too willing to give David Chase the benefit of the doubt in all things, but it does make a very compelling case that Tony was, in fact, whacked at the end by the fellow in the Members Only jacket. Be forewarned, however, that it's really, really long. To give a taste:

Part I will also discuss (and debunk) the other theories about the end including the “Tony always looking over his shoulder” interpretation. Part II, will concentrate on what Tony’s death means and how his death was thematically constructed throughout the final season. Part III will focus on the use of symbolism in Holsten’s. Part IV will focus on “The Godfather” influence on the final season and Tony’s death. Part V will focus on how the final episode and final scene are linked to America’s war on terrorism. Part VI will concentrate on the “fun stuff” created by Chase and his creative team to foreshadow Tony’s death. Finally Part VII will discuss the possible inspiration of two films on the ending of “The Sopranos”.

Anyone interested (and patient) can read the whole thing here.

(via Ross Douthat

--Christopher Orr