Viewers developed a range of explanations to make sense of this unconventional ending. The most immediate reaction seems to have been an assumption of technical failure, such as broken televisions or disconnected cable; while obviously incorrect, this is also a justified reaction, as such an extreme violation of media norms leads people to assume that it was some sort of error, not a choice to intentionally break the rules. Of course, it is an intentional edit, not an arbitrary one, occurring precisely as Tony looks up to see Meadow entering the diner (presumably) and as the Journey song offers the lyrics “don’t stop” one last time. Notably, creator David Chase wanted to end the episode with 30 seconds of blackness, eliminating all credits until the final HBO bumper, but both HBO and the Directors Guild vetoed the idea of forgoing closing credits. Instead, the 10 seconds of black served as enough of a gap to create technological panic among viewers but without eliminating all vestiges of a normal episode ending. Chase’s desire to extend the black screen does suggest that the blackness signifies something, not just demarcating the end of the story—a distinction that becomes crucial for subsequent debates over the ending.