Made in America (The Sopranos)
|"Made in America"|
|The Sopranos episode|
The Soprano family meeting for dinner at Holsten's.
|Episode no.||Season 6
|Directed by||David Chase|
|Written by||David Chase|
|Produced by||David Chase|
|Cinematography by||Alik Sakharov|
|Editing by||Sidney Wolinsky|
|Original air date||June 10, 2007|
|Running time||58 minutes|
"Made in America" is the series finale of the HBO television drama series The Sopranos. It is the eighty-sixth episode of the series, the ninth episode of the second part of the show's sixth season, the twenty-first episode of the season overall. It was written and directed by series creator, executive producer and showrunner David Chase. It first aired in the United States on June 10, 2007.
The plot of "Made in America" details the aftermath of the mob war between the DiMeo crime family—headed by series protagonist Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini)—and the New York-based Lupertazzi family. Tony also has to deal with many familial concerns involving his wife Carmela (Edie Falco), son A.J. (Robert Iler) and daughter Meadow (Jamie-Lynn Sigler). As the series comes to a close, several characters make personal and professional adjustments.
"Made in America" was filmed in February and March 2007 and was the only episode other than the series' pilot to be directed by Chase. It attracted 11.9 million viewers on its premiere date. The initial critical response was mostly favorable and since the episode's original broadcast that appreciation has grown considerably, ranking it as one of the best television finales. The episode was nominated for a Directors Guild of America Award and won an Emmy Award for writing and an Eddie Award for editing. "Made in America" and its closing scene have been the subject of much discussion, criticism and analysis, and, as has the whole TV series, entered the American popular culture.
- 1 Starring
- 2 Episode recap
- 3 Deceased
- 4 Title reference
- 5 Production
- 6 References to past episodes
- 7 Other cultural and historical references
- 8 Music
- 9 Interpretations of the final scene
- 10 Reception
- 11 References
- 12 External links
- James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano
- Lorraine Bracco as Dr. Jennifer Melfi *
- Edie Falco as Carmela Soprano
- Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti **
- Dominic Chianese as Corrado "Junior" Soprano
- Steven Van Zandt as Silvio Dante
- Tony Sirico as Paulie Gualtieri
- Robert Iler as Anthony Soprano, Jr.
- Jamie-Lynn Sigler as Meadow Soprano
- Aida Turturro as Janice Soprano Baccalieri
- Frank Vincent as Phil Leotardo
- Ray Abruzzo as Little Carmine Lupertazzi
- Dan Grimaldi as Patsy Parisi
- Sharon Angela as Rosalie Aprile
- Maureen Van Zandt as Gabriella Dante
* = credit only ** = photo only
- Gregory Antonacci as Butch DeConcini
- Max Casella as Benny Fazio
- Carl Capotorto as "Little Paulie" Germani
- Arthur J. Nascarella as Carlo Gervasi
- Matt Servitto as Agent Harris
- Frank Albanese as Patrizio "Uncle Pat" Blundetto
- John Cenatiempo as Anthony Maffei
- John "Cha Cha" Ciarcia as Albie Cianflone
- Michele DeCesare as Hunter Scangarelo
- Michael Drayer as Jason Parisi
- Frank John Hughes as Walden Belfiore
- Michael Kelly as Agent Goddard
- Geraldine LiBrandi as Patty Leotardo
- David Margulies as Neil Mink
- Angelo Massagli as Bobby Baccalieri, Jr.
- Peter Mele as George Paglieri
- Donna Pescow as Donna Parisi
- Joseph Perrino as Jason Gervasi
- Anthony Ribustello as Dante Greco
- Daniel Sauli as Patrick Parisi
- Jenna Stern as Dr. Doherty
- Emily Wickersham as Rhiannon Flammer
- Danielle Di Vecchio as Barbara Soprano Giglione
- Ed Vassallo as Tom Giglione
- Ricky Aiello as Raymond "Ray-Ray" D'Abaldo
- Melanie Minichino as Tara Zincone
- Amy Russ as Female FBI Agent
- Paolo Colandrea as Man in Members Only Jacket
- Rajesh Bose as Gas Station Manager
- Avery Elaine and Emily Ruth Pulcher as Domenica Baccalieri (photo only)
||This section's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (July 2015)|
In the aftermath of the mob war events that left top members of his crime family dead or injured, Tony Soprano wakes up in the safehouse where he and his closest members have taken up residence. One or a few mobsters leave at a time, bringing in food and light envelopes of collections, while time is spent playing cards or watching TV; a red-and-white-haired stray cat also becomes their pet. Tony carries the assault rifle with him wherever he goes in the house and keeps a low profile outside by being driven around in a beverage van.
At nightfall, Tony meets with FBI Agent Dwight Harris near an airport runway. Tony gives him information about the bank used by Ahmed and Muhammad and tries to ask him if he knows the location of Phil Leotardo from his New York colleague. After a negative reply, Tony suggests a bribe, but Harris says Tony is "overreaching."
Tony visits his family at a separate safehouse where they are now living. He informs them that the date of Bobby Baccalieri's funeral has been set and explains to A.J. that it will be safe to attend, because a large FBI presence is guaranteed at such gatherings. Tony visits a despondent Janice at her house. Janice tries to lighten up by joking she will have to snare a new husband now, but then reveals that, in addition to her already estranged son Harpo, Bobby's children no longer wish to live with her anymore. Janice says she is going to try and keep Sophia living with her at any cost as Domenica is too attached to her. Tony tells her Bobby's kids had better be able to do what they want. The FBI indeed closely monitors Bobby's funeral, which Tony and his families attend.
Phil's original plan to eliminate the DiMeo leadership in 24 hours has failed. When he talks to his underboss Butch DeConcini over a phone, he expresses anger over Butchie's failure to find and kill Tony. Phil gets angry when Butchie implies a suggestion to "reach out" to Tony, saying there is no going back now.
Agent Harris calls Tony with information that Phil has been using pay phones from gas stations in Oyster Bay, Long Island. This information is implied to have been from a female FBI agent that Agent Harris had apparently just slept with. Tony's family then surveils the gas stations in the area but are unable to locate Phil.
Tony contacts George Paglieri, a respected retired mobster of another one of New York's five crime families, asking him to reach out to Butchie and organize a sit-down with him at a secure location of George's choosing to negotiate an end to the DiMeo-Lupertazzi war by ostracizing Phil. The meeting is arranged and Tony and Paulie Gualtieri assemble with Butchie, Albie Cianflone and Little Carmine in a cold warehouse. Butchie abandons Phil and is willing to negotiate a truce, which includes paying reparations to Janice and Bobby's children for Bobby's murder. However, Butchie refuses to provide Tony with Phil's location but tells him, "You do what you gotta do." With the truce agreed, Tony feels secure for him and his family to move back in to their North Caldwell home.
A.J. continues to date Rhiannon. One time, after their first kiss, his SUV catches fire and explodes, right after they make their escape from it, because it apparently had been parked, engine and air conditioning running, over a pile of leaves. Reprimanded by his parents, and voicing thoughts about the vanity of current American culture, A.J. then gets the idea to join the U.S. Army to fight "terrorists" in Afghanistan and says his plan is to become a helicopter pilot so that he could one day retire to be a personal pilot of people like Donald Trump. He also begins studying Arabic, cultivating a will to join a military academy or the CIA as well. Tony and Carmela get concerned over this turn of events and discuss it with A.J.'s new female psychotherapist (with features rather similar to those of Dr. Melfi). However, in one such meeting with her, Tony gets carried away and starts talking about his own "borderline personality" mother and his difficult childhood, prompting Carmela to give him an intent look. A.J.'s parents decide to distract their son from his military ambitions by getting him involved in a job of assisting in production of the new movie from Little Carmine's production company (about a detective solving murders of virtual prostitutes, whose script Carmela thought was "scary") and supplying A.J. with a new car (BMW M3). Anthony Junior accepts the new job and Tony adds that they can, in the future, discuss financing a nightclub for him. A.J. is later seen leaving his new workplace after work, driving his new car and continuing to spend time with Rhiannon.
Carmela is one day excited to find Meadow's old friend Hunter Scangarelo visiting her daughter, until she learns that Hunter is actually in her second year of med school, after having left behind her unsuccessful time at college and rebellious nature, news which make Carmela promptly leave Meadow's room. It is revealed that Meadow and Patrick Parisi are engaged and planning their wedding. Patsy and Donna Parisi are invited to the Soprano home to socialize and Patsy and Tony have to accustom to soon becoming blood family as well. Patrick tells Meadow's parents that Meadow may land a profitable contract at a law firm with a high salary. Patrick also adds that his legal cases are often defending corruption and fraud suspects, which makes Tony and Carmela share a look. Later, Tony and Meadow have a frank conversation at a restaurant. When Tony mentions to her his old dream of Meadow becoming a pediatrician, Meadow says she took up law to defend those oppressed by the federal government and particularly Italians. She says that had she not seen Tony being hauled away by the police or the FBI at their house growing up so often, she would have just become "a boring suburban doctor." Tony has a moment of thoughtful silence.
Eventually, after Little Paulie narrows down the hunting area for Phil to only a few gas stations that still have pay phones, Benny Fazio and Walden Belfiore encounter Phil at one such station. Apparently, Phil had been hiding on the road with his wife Patty and their twin infant granddaughters. Walden murders Phil in front of his wife with a point blank gunshot to the head and then chest, while Phil's idling SUV, left in drive, rolls over his head, crushing it, causing one appalled witness to vomit, as Benny and Walden make their escape. FBI Agent Ron Goddard notifies Agent Harris of Leotardo's death, causing Harris to exclaim, "Damn! We're gonna win this thing!"
Janice visits Uncle Junior, now at the state mental institution, and tries to inform him of Bobby's death, getting emotional, but to no avail, as he is way too confused. Pat Blundetto, who witnessed the visit, goes to see Tony and informs him that he believes Janice is scheming to claim the last money Junior's accountant holds all for herself.
When one day capo Carlo Gervasi suddenly disappears, Tony has suspicions he may have turned government informant, especially after Paulie informs Tony his son Jason had recently been arrested for selling ecstasy. Tony's lawyer, Neil Mink, informs Tony that Carlo is probably indeed testifying to a grand jury and that Tony is likely to be indicted. He also says that his gun charge is not going away any time soon. The mounting legal troubles alarm and frustrate Tony.
At Satriale's, the ever-superstitious Paulie is unsettled by the red-white-haired stray cat the mobsters brought back from the safehouse, for it constantly keeps staring at the photo of the deceased Christopher. Paulie shoos it away and orders to get rid of it, but Tony tells him to let the cat stay. With Carlo gone, Tony offers the leadership of the Aprile crew to Paulie. Paulie hesitates, thinking the crew is cursed (its leaders Richie Aprile, Gigi Cestone, Ralphie Cifaretto, Vito Spatafore all died prematurely and Carlo turned informant). Paulie later also confesses to Tony he once saw the Virgin Mary at the Bada Bing!, but Tony brushes off his fear of omens. After Paulie turns down the offer of the crew, Tony tells him that he will then offer the position to Patsy Parisi, which drives an envious Paulie to accept the promotion after all. In his last scene, once Tony walks away, Paulie is tanning his neck in front of Satriale's, now all alone, having survived so many of the usual gangsters who would hang out there (Pussy, Silvio, Christopher, Bobby, Jackie, Richie, Ralphie, Furio, Vito, and Eugene). The stray cat then walks over and lies down in front of Satriale's.
Carmela is looking at some rendered interior design pictures of what seems to be a new spec house she is working on.
The Sopranos organize a dinner and decide that it should take place at the Holsten's diner where they all agree to meet.
Before going to Holsten's, Tony finally visits Junior, seeing him for the first time since being shot by him. Tony tells Junior to leave the money his accountant controls to Bobby's kids, as Janice might not do it on her own. Tony realizes "Junior" barely recognizes him, and he becomes confused when Tony tries to remind him of his involvement in "this thing of ours." When Tony tells his uncle that his brother "Johnny Boy" and he controlled North Jersey once, Junior simply says, "We did? That's nice." Tony has tears in his eyes as he walks away from Junior, once a powerful gangster, now wheelchair-bound, unkempt, without his dentures, demented, and held in a government mental hospital.
Tony arrives at Holsten's first, taking a seat at an empty table. He keeps an eye on the bell-ringing door opening to see just who comes into the diner. Browsing the jukebox, he puts on "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey. People of various walks of life, age, gender, ethnicities and relationships between themselves are around. Carmela arrives and Tony breaks the news to her that Carlo is going to testify. A.J. arrives third, entering the diner behind a dark-haired man in a Members Only jacket. A.J. takes a seat and the three talk for a while. In his final lines, A.J. reminds Tony of when he said to "remember the good times" such as the family moment they are currently sharing. Tony is actually surprised to find out he once said that, but agrees with it. Tony pats and clutches his son's hands firmly. The man in the Members Only jacket glances at Tony's table. Meadow is outside, unsuccessfully trying to park her car. As the man in the Members Only jacket gets off his bar stool and passes the Sopranos' table, the camera pans, following him, and shows him entering the restroom. Meadow finally finishes parking the car and runs towards the entrance. As the bell rings, and the lyrics of the song say "Don't stop," Tony looks up at the door and the scene cuts to a silent black screen. After 10 seconds, the credits roll in complete silence. 
- Phil Leotardo: shot dead in the head and then heart by Walden Belfiore on orders from Tony Soprano to eliminate the threat he posed to the DiMeo crime family and end the mob war between the DiMeos and the Lupertazzis. Phil's head is also crushed by his runaway SUV.
- The Sopranos was conceived, made and set in the United States. The episode contains many references to the country, such as A.J. saying that the US is still the place that attracts people from all over the world to come and "make it" there (The American Dream). A double-decker tourist tour bus is shown cruising through a nighttime Manhattan contrasted with Butchie wandering off from Little Italy to an immigrant neighborhood of Chinatown when talking to Phil on the phone. The then-current (2007) popular American culture and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are referenced, as well as counter-terrorism efforts; A.J. considers joining the US military. US flags can be spotted in some scenes. Finally, the final scene depicts many different individuals of different walks of life, ethnicities, age, gender, appearance, relationships, which make up the American population.
- "Made in America" can also refer to being a made man in the US - the American Mafia depicted in the show. Tony is running the current Jersey Mafia family and, in his last conversation with Uncle Junior, he asks him if he remembers "this thing of ours" and the times "Johnny Boy" and Junior ran North Jersey back in the heyday of their own generation.
Showrunner David Chase planned the series ending and the final scene during the 21-month hiatus between seasons five and six, a long break HBO had granted him. The final scene was filmed almost exactly as Chase had envisioned. It was not intended as a setup for a future film, although Chase later commented "[t]here may be a day where we all come up with something," regarding a possible Sopranos feature. It was then-HBO chairman Chris Albrecht who suggested to Chase to conclude the series with the sixth season.
As with every episode of the season, the plot outline of "Made in America" was developed by Chase and his writing staff, which for the final season consisted of executive producers Terence Winter and Matthew Weiner, and supervising producers and writing team Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider. Frequent episode director Tim Van Patten also provided Chase with some storyline suggestions. After the episode's story had been outlined, Chase wrote the first draft. After some input from his writing staff, Chase revised the script to its finished state, although he also made minor changes during filming. "Made in America" is Chase's 30th and final official writing credit (including story credits) for the series and his ninth as sole writer of an episode.
Chase included allusions to real-life American Mafia history and events in the script for "Made in America", something he is well known for. Specifically, the line "Damn! We're gonna win this thing!", spoken in the episode by the character Dwight Harris after being informed of the death of Phil Leotardo, alludes to former FBI supervisor Lindley DeVecchio. DeVecchio famously uttered the line after being told that Lorenzo "Larry" Lampasi had been shot to death in front of his Brooklyn home and was later charged for informing the Mafia on various accounts, another parallel to Tony Soprano and Dwight Harris.
"Made in America" was directed by Chase and photographed by Alik Sakharov. The two served in the same capacities for the pilot episode, "The Sopranos", which was filmed in 1997. The series finale marks the second time Chase has officially directed an episode of The Sopranos, although as showrunner, he would oversee the direction of most episodes throughout the show's production. "Made in America" marks the 38th and final credit for Sakharov as director of photography.
Principal photography commenced in late February and concluded in late March 2007. Exterior scenes and certain interior scenes of "Made in America" were filmed on location in Bergen County, New Jersey and in Brooklyn and Manhattan, New York City, New York. Additional interior scenes—including indoor shots of the Soprano residence and the back room of the strip club Bada Bing!—were filmed in a sound stage in Silvercup Studios, New York, where most such scenes of the series had been filmed. The final scene of the episode was filmed in late March 2007 at Holsten's Brookdale Confectionery, an ice cream and candy shop located in Bloomfield, New Jersey. The Bloomfield Township Council initially tried to stop HBO from filming in the town because "[they] found the HBO mob drama offensive to Italian-Americans" and voted to deny the production company a filming permit. However, as the council had no authority to stop filming in the town as long as the crew met the requirements stated in Bloomfield's code for filming crews, a permit was later issued. As the show's producers needed to ensure that plot details of the ending would be kept a secret until the airdate, the scripts given to the crew members had their final pages removed. The final scene of these edited scripts was the one in which Tony is raking leaves outside his house, a scene that occurs 10 minutes before the real ending in the final cut. Chase received compliments for this scene from people who thought it was the real ending.
"Made in America" was edited by Sidney Wolinsky, one of the show's three editors, under the supervision of Chase. Chase originally wanted the black screen at the end of the episode to last "all the way to the HBO whoosh sound," meaning that no credits would roll at the end of the episode, but did not receive a waiver from the Directors Guild of America to do so.
References to past episodes
- The yellow Nissan Xterra SUV, which exploded in this episode, was bought by Tony for A.J. as an incentive to study in the Season 5 episode "All Happy Families...."
- A.J. reminds his parents they once wanted him to attend military school (Season 3 finale "Army of One") when they complain about his decision to join the military now.
- Little Paulie is wearing a neck brace and has other signs of injuries, all sustained when he was thrown out of a window by Christopher in "Walk Like a Man".
- When Tony visits the comatose Silvio at the hospital, he acts basically the same way Silvio did when he visited Tony in the same condition in "Mayham" - he is reserved, silent, and grips his hand.
- Paulie confesses to Tony he once saw the Virgin Mary at the Bada Bing! ("The Ride")
- At Holsten's, A.J., in his final lines, reminds Tony of the time when he, at a restaurant table, told the family to always "try to remember the times that were good." This happened in the final scene of the season one finale "I Dream of Jeannie Cusamano."
Other cultural and historical references
- Agent Harris says the FBI had some info some Salafis attempted to board a plane. He is later seen watching an Al-Qaeda video being broadcast by Al Jazeera when Agent Goddard announces Phil's death.
- Meadow is seen reading The New York Times.
- A.J. says his family's situation with the hiding amounts to DEFCON 4, confusing the number, as "1" would mean the highest state of alertness.
- The younger people at Bobby's funeral are discussing American Idol and Dreamgirls. Oscars are also mentioned.
- A.J. gets disgusted by the discussion and quotes Yeats' The Second Coming again, mispronouncing Yeats as "Yeets." He also says George W. Bush let Al-Qaeda escape into the mountains, referring to the Battle of Tora Bora.
- The mobsters at the Soprano safehouse are watching The Twilight Zone.
- Tony sings "Gonna Fly Now", the theme song of the original Rocky, when he sees A.J. running.
- When A.J. and Rhiannon are in the yellow SUV before it blows up, they're listening to Bob Dylan's song "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)".
- Walden says he was named after Bobby Darin, whose real name was Walden Robert Cassotto.
- When Janice tells Junior that Bobby is dead. He just says, "Ambassador Hotel", thinking she is referring to the 1968 assassination of Bobby Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.
- The "Magic Bullet" infomercial is playing in the background when Tony arrives to visit Silvio in the hospital. At a later point during Tony's visit to the hospital, the movie Little Miss Sunshine is playing on TV.
- Neil Mink unsuccessfully tries to shake some ketchup out from a glass Heinz Tomato Ketchup bottle and irritates Tony.
- "You Keep Me Hangin' On" by Vanilla Fudge is heard on the radio when Tony wakes up at the beginning of the episode, shortly thereafter when Dante drives Tony to see his family, and later when Phil is at the gas station.
- "Denise" by Randy & the Rainbows is heard when Tony and Paulie are waiting for Agent Harris at the airport.
- "The Four Seasons" by Antonio Vivaldi (specifically, Winter, movement 2: Largo) is heard at Nuovo Vesuvio's during Bobby's wake.
- "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" by Bob Dylan is heard when A.J. and Rhiannon listen to the song and kiss in the SUV before it starts burning.
- "I Dreamed, I Dream" by Sonic Youth is heard when Tony and Uncle Pat talk in the back room of The Bada Bing!.
- "Pretty Little Angel Eyes" by Curtis Lee is heard when Paulie is spooked by the cat at Satriale's.
- Paulie's ringtone is the Simon & Garfunkel song "Cecilia".
- "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" by Creedence Clearwater Revival is heard when Tony offers Paulie a promotion.
- "The Jam" by Larry Graham is heard when Neil Mink tells Tony bad news in the Bada Bing! back room.
- "Scratch Your Name" by The Noisettes is heard as A.J. leaves work and picks up Rhiannon from high school.
- "The Lifeboat Party" by Kid Creole and the Coconuts is heard when A.J. and Rhiannon watch TV.
- "All That You Dream" by Little Feat is heard when Tony arrives at Holsten's for dinner and is waiting for his family.
- "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey is put on to play by Tony on the jukebox at Holsten's. Another Journey song, "Wheel in the Sky," was previously featured in the Season 2 episode "Bust Out."
"Don't Stop Believin'" is played throughout the final scene of the series. Journey's lead singer Steve Perry initially refused to let David Chase use the song until he knew the fate of the leading characters and did not give final approval until three days before the episode aired. Perry feared that the song would be remembered as the soundtrack to Tony's demise until Chase assured him that would not be the case. Immediately following the airing of "Made in America," the song enjoyed a great surge of popularity, its sales on iTunes, for example, grew 482 percent. The newly growing attention to the band helped it climb out of the reportedly difficult times it was having at the time.
Interpretations of the final scene
The final scene of "Made in America" became the subject of much discussion, controversy, and analysis after its original broadcast. The use of an abrupt cut to black followed by several seconds of silence led many viewers to initially believe that their cable or DVR had cut out at a crucial moment. Opposing interpretations soon emerged among viewers regarding the ultimate fate of series protagonist Tony Soprano, with some believing that he was killed while others believe that he remains alive.
One argument for the former points to a conversation that Tony had in the midseason premiere episode "Soprano Home Movies" with his brother-in-law Bobby, in which Bobby comments on how suddenly and without sound death can happen in their lives as gangsters: "You probably don't even hear it when it happens, right?" A flashback to this scene also appears in the final minutes of "The Blue Comet", the episode preceding "Made in America". When questioned on the theory, HBO spokesman Quentin Schaffer stated that the conversation is a "legitimate" hint. Also, Butchie DeConcini (the presumed successor of Phil Leotardo) was last seen saddled with reparations following the mob war, he had expressed ideas about killing Tony before ("Kaisha") and Tony was, in the end, the very last DiMeo man left standing out of the 3 original Lupertazzi targets, who, Phil believed, if killed, would totally cripple the Jersey family, hence Tony would have been a tempting target of a hit. The final scene showing a man, who glances at Tony, credited as "Man in Members Only Jacket" and who later goes to the bathroom has been interpreted as a nod to the famous scene in the The Godfather, in which Michael Corleone retrieves a gun from the bathroom before shooting his enemies to death (also, Tony's favorite scene from the film, as revealed in the episode "Johnny Cakes"). Speculation has also linked the jacket of the man to the title of the opening episode of the season, "Members Only", in which Tony is shot, and also as a symbolic reference to the mysterious man's membership of the Mafia. Actor Matt Servitto said that in the script, the scene continued with the man in the Members Only jacket emerging from the bathroom and starting to walk towards Tony's table. Servitto later clarified this statement, saying that he did not mean to imply that there was a completely different scripted ending, only that the "genius" editing was not what he had expected.
Then there is the camp of viewers with opposing interpretations. It has been suggested that the final scene portrays that, while Tony's life is fraught with fear and danger, which could come from anyone anywhere, and that while Tony has to constantly watch his back and look out for any emerging trouble (he keeps an eye on the diner entrance), life nevertheless goes on and the viewer simply does not get to continue seeing it. The lyrics of the closing song telling the viewer, "Don't stop believin'," are thought to support this and that the silent black screen space before the credits is meant to allow people to imagine and believe in their own continuations of Tony's story. It can be stated that because of Tony's peace agreement with the Lupertazzi family, their tacit sanction of a hit on Phil, and Butchie's visible unwillingness to continue the hostilities, there was little legitimate basis to expect a hit on Tony from the Lupertazzis and the threat to him, although always present, was not higher than usual.
Comments from David Chase
Chase has made various comments about the finale but has avoided providing an explanation to the meaning of the final scene. In his first interview after the broadcast of the finale with New Jersey paper The Star-Ledger, Chase stated,
I have no interest in explaining, defending, reinterpreting, or adding to what is there. No one was trying to be audacious, honest to God. We did what we thought we had to do. No one was trying to blow people's minds, or thinking, "Wow, this'll piss them off." People get the impression that you're trying to fuck with them and it's not true. You're trying to entertain them. [...] Anybody who wants to watch it, it's all there.
Chase also addressed the opinion of some that the open-ended finale was insulting to the show's longtime fans:
I saw some items in the press that said, "This was a huge fuck you to the audience." That we were shitting in the audience's face. Why would we want to do that? Why would we entertain people for eight years only to give them the finger? We don't have contempt for the audience. In fact, I think The Sopranos is the only show that actually gave the audience credit for having some intelligence and attention span. We always operated as though people don't need to be spoon-fed every single thing—that their instincts and feelings and humanity will tell them what's going on.
In an interview conducted by Brett Martin several weeks after the finale's original broadcast, Chase shared his views on the final episode and the reaction to it. On those fans of the show who demanded an unambiguous and definitive ending, Chase remarked,
There was so much more to say than could have been conveyed by an image of Tony facedown in a bowl of onion rings with a bullet in his head. Or, on the other side, taking over the New York mob. The way I see it is that Tony Soprano had been peoples' alter ego. They had gleefully watched him rob, kill, pillage, lie, and cheat. They had cheered him on. And then, all of a sudden, they wanted to see him punished for all that. They wanted "justice." They wanted to see his brains splattered on the wall. I thought that was disgusting, frankly. [...] The pathetic thing—to me—was how much they wanted his blood, after cheering him on for eight years.
Chase also made comments about the purported lack of finality in the final episode:
This wasn't really about "leaving the door open." There was nothing definite about what happened, but there was a clean trend on view—a definite sense of what Tony and Carmela's future looks like. Whether it happened that night or some other night doesn't matter.
On the future of the Soprano children, Chase said,
A.J.'s not going to be citizen-soldier or join the Peace Corps or try to help the world; he'll probably be some low-level movie producer. But he's not going to be a killer like his father, is he? Meadow may not be a pediatrician or even a lawyer, but she's not going to be a housewife like her mother. She'll learn to operate in the world in ways Carmela never did. [...] Tiny, little bits of progress—that's how it works.
On moments during and after the final scene, Chase referred to a scene from the episode "Stage 5":
There are no esoteric clues in there. No Da Vinci Code. Everything that pertains to that episode was in that episode. And it was in the episode before that and the one before that and seasons before this one and so on. There had been indications of what the end is like. Remember when Gerry Torciano was killed? Silvio was not aware that the gun had been fired until after Gerry was on his way down to the floor. That's the way things happen: It's already going on by the time you even notice it. [...] I'm not saying anything. And I'm not trying to be coy. It's just that I think that to explain it would diminish it.
At the 2008 TCA Awards, held on July 22, Chase commented,
I wasn't going to do this, but somebody said it would be a good idea if we said something about that ending. I really wasn't going to go into it, but I'll just say this...when I was going to Stanford University's graduate film school and was 23, I went to see Planet of the Apes with my wife. When it was over, I said, "Wow...so they had a Statue of Liberty, too."
In a November 2008 interview with Entertainment Weekly's Steve Daly, Chase stated,
"There's more than one way of looking at the ending. That's all I'll say."
“The ceiling I was going for at that point, the biggest feeling I was going for, honestly, was don’t stop believing. It was very simple and much more on the nose than people think. That’s what I wanted people to believe. That life ends and death comes, but don’t stop believing.
There are attachments we make in life, even though it’s all going to come to an end, that are worth so much, and we’re so lucky to have been able to experience them. Life is short.
Either it ends here for Tony or some other time. But in spite of that, it’s really worth it. So don’t stop believing.”
According to Nielsen ratings, "Made in America" was watched by an average of 11.9 million viewers on its United States premiere date Sunday June 10, 2007. This was a 49% increase from the previous episode and the show's best ratings for both parts of the sixth season. It was also the show's largest audience since the season five premiere.
"Made in America" received mainly favorable to semi-favorable initial reviews from critics while early fan reception was mixed to negative, described by one critic as "a mixture of admiration and anger". During the weeks following the episode's original broadcast, "Made in America" and its closing scene in particular became the subject of much discussion and analysis. Several new interpretations and explanations of the ending were presented in magazines and on blogs, which led many critics and fans to reevaluate the ending.
Marisa Carroll of PopMatters awarded "Made in America" a score of 8 out of 10 and particularly praised the final scene as one of the best of the series. Mark Farinella of The Sun Chronicle called the episode "[a] perfect ending to a perfect TV series." Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly called "Made in America" "the perfect ending" and wrote about the final scene, "On shock of that cut to black, the marvelous way it got you to roll the scene over, again and again, in your mind's eye. [sic] Rather than bringing the series to a close, that blackout made The Sopranos live forever." Tim Goodman of the San Francisco Chronicle characterized the finale as "[a]n ending befitting genius of Sopranos" and wrote that "Chase managed, with this ending, to be true to reality [...] while also steering clear of trite TV conventions." Frazier Moore of the Associated Press called the episode "brilliant" and wrote that "Chase was true to himself." Kim Reed of Television Without Pity gave "Made in America" the highest score of A+ and praised it for staying true to the show. Alan Sepinwall of The Star-Ledger called the finale "satisfying" and wrote that the episode "fit[s] perfectly with everything Chase has done on this show before." Chicago Tribune critic Maureen Ryan's first review was mixed; she criticized the final scene for not providing any closure. Ryan later wrote "Chase got me totally wound up, then ripped me away from that world. I was really mad at first [...] I still think what Chase did was, all due respect, kind of jerky. But minutes after the finale ended, I started laughing."
Retrospective reviews of "Made in America" have been highly positive; the episode has been included on several lists of the best series finales of all time. Alan Sepinwall of The Star-Ledger wrote in an essay analyzing the finale one year after its original broadcast that he felt the episode was "brilliant". In 2009, Arlo J. Wiley of Blogcritics wrote "by focusing on that last ambiguous parting shot from creator David Chase, we run the risk of forgetting just how beautifully structured and executed an hour of television 'Made in America' is" and ranked it as the eighth-best series finale ever. Also in 2009, Stacey Wilson of Film.com named "Made in America" as one of the 10 best series finales of all time and wrote "Crude, rude and no time for emotional B.S., this finale was a delicious end to a show that reveled in the ugliness of humanity." TV Guide included "Made in America" in their "TV's Best Finales Ever" feature, writing "What's there to say about this finale that hasn't already been said? The much-anticipated closer had everyone waiting to see if Tony was finally going to go from whacker to whackee. Instead, they got Journey, a greasy plate of onion rings and a black screen. But, the fact that we're still talking about it proves—for better or worse—that the episode did its job."
In 2007, "Made in America" won an Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series at the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards. It was the only category the episode was nominated in. This is the third and final time series creator/executive producer David Chase has won the award for his writing of the series. In 2008, Chase was nominated for a Directors Guild of America Award in the category of Drama Series (Night) but lost to fellow Sopranos director Alan Taylor, who won for directing the pilot episode of Mad Men, a series created by former Sopranos writer Matthew Weiner. Also in 2008, Editor Sidney Wolinsky won an American Cinema Editors Eddie Award in the category of Best Edited One-Hour Series for Non-Commercial Television.
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- "Made in America" at HBO
- "Made in America" at the Internet Movie Database
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