By Scott Brown
Updated June 01, 2006 at 02:00 PM EDT

[WARNING: The following item contains shockingly fake spoilers and no useful information whatsoever.]

HBO, you TiVo tease! Look at your official summary of the Sopranos season finale (Sunday, 9 p.m.): “Tony (James Gandolfini) gets Carmela’s (Edie Falco) career back on track; Chris (Michael Imperioli) picks up where Tony left off; AJ (Robert Iler) gets a work perk; Phil (Frank Vincent) won’t let well enough alone.” Excise the proper nouns, and this could be the description for a particularly unmemorable According to Jim. Oh, HBO, you cunningly prosaic bastards. Your nonchalance only whets our appetites — for wild speculation!

1. From the “Carmela’s career” tidbit, I can only surmise that Tony enrolls Carmela in the DeVry Institute, where she learns that she can’t play the next great video game… because she hasn’t invented it yet! Epiphanies about accounting and typewriter repair soon follow.

2. “Where Tony left off.” Hmmm… where did Tony leave off? Shish-kebabbing Ralphie way back when? No, he was pretty thorough there. Getting serviced by that Bada Bing dancer? Nope, mission accomplished. I’ve never seen Tony clean his gutters though. Maybe Chris will bring some closure to Tony’s longstanding yard-waste problems. That would be… electrifying.

3. “Work perk”? Well, let’s see, last we heard, AJ was entering the construction industry at the basement level. I could see a man walking away from that gig with a whole lot of “free sand,” if you know what I mean. (What I mean is: He might get some free sand.)

So yes, OK, I’m stumped. But then comes this — like a plate of ziti in the wilderness — a “leak” from Frank Vincent (pictured), who plays acting New York boss Phil Leotardo, a.k.a. Vito’s executioner. Sure, he didn’t actually wield the pool cue. But he was there. On the bed. Looking, well, a little keyed up, shall we say.

[WARNING: OKAY, THE FOLLOWING MIGHT ACTUALLY BE CONSIDERED A SPOILER.]

So Vincent says he hopes to return for the final eight episodes next January. Says he’s “in negotiations.” We can take this one of two ways: He’s coming back, so clearly, he’ll survive the coming bloodbath that began with Vito’s execution. Or he’s “in negotiations,” meaning his reappearance is negotiable. Meaning he might only appear in dreams or visions. Meaning… he’s dead.

Or, more than likely, this is all just a big tease.

Vincent also calls the finale “memorable” and “explosive,” and said we’ll thank him on Monday for telling us this. Whatever you say, Frank. You’re the boss. For at least the next four days.

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