Editor’s note: This story was originally published June 12, 20017.

SO OK, MAYBE there were ducks.

Or at least the hint of something duck-like flying over Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) as he raked leaves in Sunday’s season finale of HBO’s “The Sopranos ‚” which tried in so many ways to bring us back to the series’ beginning, a beginning that definitely included ducks.

Hard to pick up all the finer points in that first frantic look at “Made in America,” the 86th episode in the mob drama and the one that cut to black in mid-scene.

By the time I got to work yesterday morning, readers who’d clearly taken the time to rewind had already begun sharing their opinions, favorable and not so favorable, about creator David Chase’s decision to leave us hanging, as well as their theories about what happened next.

And I’m happy to report that they were all probably right.

Or not.

We’ll probably never know for sure.

At the moment, I’m inclined to side with those who think it’s not about whether Tony got whacked in the next few seconds, or indicted a day or a week or a month later, but about what it must be like to be Tony, never knowing who can be trusted and forever watching the door.

Beyond that, though, here’s what tickled me about “Made in America”:

  • The return of Meadow’s high school friend, Hunter Scangarelo (played, of course, by Chase’s daughter, Michelle DeCesare).
  • The look on Carmela’s face when it’s revealed that Hunter, who’d been kicked out of college years earlier, is now in her second year in medical school. Followed by the look Carmela (Edie Falco) got when it finally sank in that her own Meadow (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) will probably end up defending people like her father.
  • The unexpected way FBI Agent Dwight Harris (Matt Servitto) behaved by not only helping Tony knock off Phil Leotardo (Frank Vincent), but, when told that Phil had been “popped,” interrupting his al-Quaeda video viewing to declare, “Damn! We’re going to win this thing!”
  • The close attention given to all the cars in the episode, from the incendiary yellow SUV that could have killed A.J. (Robert Iler) and his girlfriend to the closeups on the Ford logo on the vehicle that ran over Phil’s head after he’d been shot. Talk about your anti-product placement.
  • How easily A.J. was manipulated into abandoning his military plans, his terrorism obsession and even his depression when his parents dangled the carrot his cousin Christopher (Michael Imperioli) was never quite allowed to take. (Oh, and his new BMW gets “23 highway.”)
  • Paulie’s (Tony Sirico) confession to Tony that once at the Bing, he “saw the Virgin Mary.” 
  • The way the ringtone on Paulie’s cellphone is Simon and Garfunkel’s “Cecilia.”
  • Our last fond look at Steve Van Zandt’s hairpiece, which for once looked almost natural, as Tony finally got to the hospital to see the comatose Silvio.