Sopranos Finale: The Misplaced Meadow effect

Monday, June 11, 2007

I’m almost ready to shut up about the finale. But not yet.

After reading several discussions that said that the east coast saw a version of the finale which had an ending shot of Meadow entering the Holsten’s diner, then, the infamous cut-to-black, while the west coast saw a version with the last shot being of Tony touching the top of the jukebox at the table. I wondered why the hell, and how, they would do that.

When I saw the finale, I saw it via my friend Pirate Pete’s somewhat questionably legal download. I saw the Meadow ending. Here’s a location shot of Meadow’s mad parking skilz (it’s the final shot ever filmed for the show, done in April 2007.)

When I watched the very same Pirate Pete file of the episode again tonight, I saw the Tony ending.

It was the same file.




I must have remembered her, and not him, as the file didn’t change. Was it the shock of the quick-cut to black that caused me to blot out the true last shot? Has America entered a David Lynch film? Did all of the east coast get shocked into having amnesia about the very very last microsecond shot of Tony?

Did anyone else experience this moment in these two different ways? What the hell?

43 Responses to “Sopranos Finale: The Misplaced Meadow effect”

  1. Heather Says:

    I’m a New Yorker who also saw the Meadow ending. I has been a frustrating two days trying to figure out just what the hell happened. Sorry, self-righteous internet trolls, but the show was not so amazing that thousands of people hallucinated the same exact false vision. Somehow, we were duped.

  2. If HBO pulled a strange switch for the West Coast, my question is, why? And why isn’t major media picking up on it?

    Somehow, I’m very comfortable with the idea of a shock-induced amnesia for everyone in the Eastern and Central time zones. I’m not sure I have an explanation why the rest of the country was immune.

    Something weird happened, that’s for sure. Something weird that isn’t being reported on or checked out.

  3. Adam Kontras Says:

    I went into this in my blog – – I’ve all but given up hope that I’m sane. I would’ve sworn on my future children that I saw Meadow IN THE DINER and it cut to black from Tony’s perspective. That implied he was shot to me because it was from his perspective. I watched the east coast feed from LA and saw this at 6 PM – at 9 PM? It ended on Tony. Since there are NO PICTURES or video of meadow in the diner… I have to assume it was some stress induced false memory.

    This is so messed up.

  4. Great post on your blog, Adam. I agree that the end of the penultimate episode would have been a good way to end it, too. Tony, alone, with that big mofo gun.

    I’m not done with this Meadow phenomenon, though.

  5. Heather Says:

    Don’t be so quick to question your own memory, Adam. I’m quite confident in my own, and I’m more apt to believe that the fact there’s no online footage of Meadow in the diner is due to HBO’s digital trickery as opposed to a good percentage of the country having some kind of fever dream.

    If everyone who saw the Meadow ending simply imagined it, would there be some variation in the recollection? Everyone recalls the exact same thing. Also, the credits following the Meadow version I saw last Sunday scrolled across the screen. In the Tony version most people saw as the ending, the credits flash.

  6. Jeff Peeters Says:

    I watched this w/my Mother-in-law & we both “saw” Meadow make it to the table. That was Sunday. Re-watched on Monday (same TV & satellite) & got the ending where she didn’t even get in the door! Glad it just wasn’t me.

  7. PJZinChicago Says:

    Ok, im hearing that if you watch the final scene over again, you can see Tony looking at himself in the diner. Meaning, I think it’s safe to say the the three of them are killed, not Meadow. Tony is simply imagining (post mortem) how he could have missed his death – Remember he and Bobby talked about the final moments of death and not hearing anything. Also, I’ve heard that the guy sitting at the bar and then walking into the bathroom played Phil Leotardo’s son in another episode.

  8. Adam Kontras Says:

    I know you guys aren’t ready to let go of it – but by this time at the very least a “still” of her in the diner would show up. This is the internet age, there’s no way in hell HBO could keep that off the internet. The bottom line is stress really does do goofy shit to your memories. This is quite extreme, but many people admitted they saw meadow – then watched their recording of it… and went “oh, wow, guess I didn’t see her…” I mean, I want there to be proof of this worse than you can imagine, but the proof would be out by now…

  9. jack Says:

    This really happened.
    In the first airing on the East Coast.
    I saw Meadow enter Holsten’s. So later when I watched the West feed I was waiting for that moment again, but it didn’t come. It was different, ending on Tony.

    The reason that it is difficult to track down a screenshot is because you had to record the show on your VCR.
    DVRs, TiVo, OnDemand all get their data from the network and thus all have the generic Tony ending.

    We need to find someone who taped that first airing manually.
    Then we will have our proof.

  10. Jess Says:

    There was only one ending. We NEVER see Meadow enter the diner, no matter where you were, East Coast, Central, West Coast. It doesn’t matter. The series ended with the same shot no matter where you were. It ended with a shot of Tony and then the screen going blank. We NEVER see Meadow enter the diner because IT WAS NEVER FILMED. Trust me on this. You couldn’t have seen it. You are collectively hallucinating.
    By the way Meadow is the one that is killed. I know this for certain. It is all there in the final episode.

  11. Adam Kontras Says:

    Jess – well obviously it was filmed look at the video ON THIS PAGE. She goes into the diner. I’m certain they didn’t just turn off the cameras as she walked in – they edited it later.

    I have to admit – the more and more people that have this collective hallucination, the more I start to believe it again. Ugh. But I don’t believe that people’s TiVo’s magically downloaded the new version. You’re recording on a harddrive. It would be quite a story if the cable company was able to go into your harddrive and tape OVER your programs with different versions. It’s all timestamped…

    And for the record if there was any killing it’s Tony, Carmella and AJ. Notice they all take their final communion (the onion rings) the same way? The member’s only jacket (title of the junior shooting tony episode) going to the bathroom with a clear shot of Tony’s head on his right side. Specifically because Meadow is NOT there? Seems pretty obvious to me…

  12. Neil Says:

    I live in NJ, and watched the Sunday 9pm intial showing with my girlfriend, and we both without a doubt, saw meadow walk into the diner, and then the “infamous cut to black”. That is why I was so confused to hear that the last shot was of tony. Because i only saw that certain ending on youtube. It was defenitley altered, and Im sure someone with VCR will post it in due time. you are NOT insane. lol

  13. jack Says:

    agreed on both counts

    not insane

    and someone will eventually post proof,
    maybe someone will ask Chase about it???

  14. Ve Says:

    The last scene I saw was a tight shot of Meadow walking through the threshold with a slightly open mouth and semi-ambiguous facial expression then, cut to black. The first time I saw the Tony ending was when my brother was repeatedly degrading me for “making up” the Meadow ending showing his “proof” on youtube.

    It is SOO frustrating that no one has recorded footage of the Meadow ending, and that people who SAW the Meadon ending reviewed their DVRs only to find a Tony ending. So the question is, how could this be? If they don’t release the footage soon, just for the sake of extending this media circus revolving around a television show, then HBO is going to be alienating a lot of people and stressing a lot of people out for no reason.

  15. Adam Kontras Says:

    So how come none of you believe in stress induced false memories? That your mind in a state of stress runs overtime and starts to predict what will happen at such a rate that sound cues can make you imagine something you aren’t seeing?

    You should do some research on it – it’s a pretty common phenomenon – but one rarely viewed by so many. I mean people who believed they saw that ending – rewound their DVR RIGHT THAT MOMENT and went: “Oh, wow that’s not how I remember it”. Hard to refute that guys… there would be proof by now. Seriously.

  16. Barbara Morr Says:

    I saw the first 9PM EDT showing and DVRed it Sunday night. It clearly had meadow. after resolving her parallel parking on the 3rd try, get out of the car, run accross the street like she was in a hurry and a little stressed from being late, with a Phil lookalike white suburban race by behind her before she finished crossing. She looked down slightly. I recall she caused the door to chime but I may be wrong, and the camera went to tony’s booth and then the shot of him on “don’t stop”, cut to black for 10 seconds. and credits which did not roll. I am in New York City, not the west coast. No question New York was getting final shot Tony. Agree only Members Only guy could be considered viably suspicious. Didn’t need to go to bathroom to get gun but having better shooting angle on coming out could work and some exit strategy going back into the bathroom and out the window. Where the white car would be waiting in the alley? Motive would never be explained and David Chase could have his…do I have to resolve everything? moment. Either a Phil relative who thought the execution was overdone and face wrecked for the open casket. My best guess. I also think Meadow was late with her period and that’s why the Dr, no changing birth control cause that’s what girls might say to their parents. Perhaps pregnancy confirmed at DR. and she was going to tell parents. Also she might have been discussing this with Hunter in her bedroom.

  17. MikeDave Says:

    Count me in the “stress makes you crazy” camp. After watching the episode on Sunday, I remembered a close-up of Meadow as the last shot before the screen went blank. The next night, I watched the ending again on Tivo and was surprised that the last image was the close-up of Tony – an image I didn’t remember at all. Now unless David Chase and HBO somehow tampered with my personal Tivo, the Tony shot was always there – I just didn’t remember it. That’s why eyewitness testimony is so unreliable.

  18. @ MikeDave

    Exactly my experience!

  19. jared Says:

    It’s no joke. I saw the first airing east coast episode and it showed Meadow come in through the door. But Tony looking up was still the last thing shown.

  20. Donnie Says:

    This is all complete and utter madness. I watched the East Coast feed AS IT HAPPENED, in Essex County New Jersey mind you. And Tony is the last thing you see, THERE IS NO MEADOW ENDING!!!!!

  21. Anonymous Says:

    Meadow going through the door is the last thing you see having just seen the UK ending. It werent Tony in the UK.

  22. sopranoo Says:

    I watched the UK version yesterday and it is clearly TONY llast shot, at no time do you see meadow enter, only the bell ring from the door.

  23. John Says:

    This thread is WEIRD. I watched it in the UK and the last you see is Tony looking up, and you hear the bell ding as Meadow enters in the background. My take on the ending is that family life goes on but with a constant unknown threat lurking away. The tension built up in those final scenes was great. Try not to look to hard into it people!

  24. Jack Says:

    This is soooo strange i’ve only seen the Tony ending. also I didnt really understand the ending

  25. Chris Says:

    I saw the Meadow ending.
    It has consumed my life the past few days arguing about it.
    I never knew that the Meadow ending WASN’T the ending until a few days ago when I watched it again with my friends.
    I did a podcast about seeing Meadow (you can listen at, its episode 14).
    My head seriously hurts about this. I SAW MEADOW WALK THROUGH THE DOOR, MOUTH SLIGHTLY PARTED, WITH AN EXPRESSION OF POSSIBLY SURPRISE ON HER FACE, a split second before it cut to black!

    If I hallucinated and saw the same exact thing that thousands of other people saw, that’s insane. I feel like I saw a ghost.

    • sooz Says:

      i know this thread was started a long time ago. but i just watched all the series on dvd. i saw the meadow ending EXACTLY as everybody is describing, and thought the other guys must be wrong and maybe they put the meadow ending on the dvd versions. but then i just re-watched the ending on the same disc as before, and it ends with tony NOT meadow. what the hell??

  26. matt Says:

    Tony is Dead, there is no Meadow ending. What the cimetography and how they always change to Tony’s point of view every time the bell rings when someon enters. The Man in the Members Only Jacket that went in the bathroom killed toney when Meadow came in the diner. Tony is distracted by the bell, then they guys shoots him in the head and then it cuts to black, Tony’s point of view. Just as Bobby and Tony talk about on the boat, you never hear it. Tony’s family is not dead. They elude to that earlier, “families are never hit). All of th clues are there, you just have to look. If they had a Meadow scene, then it would take away from the intense cut to black scene. It was left that way so you could think for a moment about it. If you saw meadow, then you would know right away what happened, what fun is that.

    Probably the best ending to a show I have ever seen.

  27. Amin Says:

    Holy sh*t!

    I just finished watching the last episode & I was so confused by the whole black ending, so i fugured lets do some research. I got here only to find out there was conflict on what the final scene actually was. When i just finished the show 20 mins ago Meadow was in the final shot! I went back to see it again after reading all of this, and i swear it ended with tony. Yes the SAME damn copy of video!! maybe, Yhe “stress” thing mentioned above might not be so crazy after all.

    wtf HBO !!

  28. Anonymous Says:

    he dies

  29. Anonymous Says:

    they talk about meadow being the last thing we see here:

  30. Anonymous Says:

    Anyone who saw the “meadow ending” was high on pcp while watching

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  33. Jennifer Says:

    I thought I had originally seen Meadow too, but it was a trick of what was expected. Our brains were tricked by the previous shot of her approaching the door and expecting to see her face when the bell rang. But nope, it was just a shot of Tony then cut to black.

  34. Kevin Says:

    I ‘saw’ the Meadow ending in 2007, and recently watched the last episode again, wow, ends with Tony. She enters the door, ambiguous face, mouth open, except that didn’t happen. I never bought into the ‘Tony killed’ theories based on the final shot I completely made up in my mind, but it all makes sense now. Wow.

  35. Mike Says:

    I believe Meadow was the one killed.

    Although Meadow is not shown in the diner it is inferred she is the person Tony is looking at before the cut to black.

    It is also inferred that we are seeing Tony from Meadow’s perspective before the cut to black.

    It is from Meadow’s perspective that she is looking at Tony and from HER perspective she suddenly sees NOTHING as she has just been killed!

    • Anti Mike Says:

      That’s stupid.

      • Sam Says:

        Stupid in the sense that nothing really supports that angle. The story really supports that Tony would have no idea what’s coming when it comes, they took much time to support that in the ‘boat on the lake’ scenes. What’s really amazing is that so many people saw Meadow in the diner at the end.

  36. Tom M Says:

    This happened to me too. I would have bet $1000 that I saw Meadow last.

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