David Chase is a brilliant guy but he is above all a master manipulator of the audience. The series finale felt to me as if the audience were the mouse and Chase the cat playing with us (that’s the true significance of the cat who so spooks Paulie). There’s a suspicious guy at the bar when Tony enters the restaurant. Meadow can’t fit into her parking space. Tony gets a glimpse of himself at the table before being seated. There’s the trademark Sopranos ordinariness of life (onion rings, booth jukeboxes), which so often in this series has presaged savage violence. And then nothing. Black. The audience is confused, left hanging. Chase laughs.