Jonah, I think you’re right about Metcalf’s wrongheaded analysis. If the last episode said anything, it was that Meadow is thoroughly corrupted — marrying another scion of the mob and planning on a career defending mobsters, which is to say, becoming a mobster herself.
But here’s the final thing about the ending. We’ve all spent enough time analyzing it. The fact that the show’s creator, David Chase, refused to supply an ending means…the show had no ending. We didn’t make the show. We didn’t write the show. We didn’t direct the show. It’s not the place of the audience to supply the narrative completion that was not supplied to us. Audiences are supposed to interpret the meaning of events, not provide the plot. Which is why the whole thing was a cop-out by David Chase, who was clearly concerned he would be accused of moralizing on the one hand or being nihilistic on the other. Yes, it’s a terrible burden, having tens of millions of dollars and complete artistic freedom.