Sopranos Finale: Shot-by-Shot Analysis of Final Scene

Friday, June 15, 2007

Don’t forget about Hints from Hell!

I’m in too deep to get out now.

We need to look at the scene itself with an eye on hitmen, symbols, and Meadow.

Time to go Zapruder.

54:10 Tony enters the diner. He scans the diner.

54:11 Tony’s point-of-view. He does NOT see himself.

54:16 Cut back to Tony, closeup.

54:16 Cut to Tony sitting at the diner. ( Edit: This is the “Last Supper” shot.  And notice the Christopher Cat Of Doom is back…in the form of a huge orange tiger on the wall stage left.  The real Holsten’s has a quaint painting of a farmhouse on this wall.  These wall hangings were placed there by set design, by design.) If the next shot was Tony at the door, again, we’d have to conclude that he did see himself. But the next shot is…

54:20 Tony at the table. So, he never saw himself. That was just a cut to establish where in the diner Tony chose to sit: in the middle. Not with his back to the wall or in a particularly paranoid fashion. I think he feels safe from being murdered now that the NY/NJ war is over. He wouldn’t have his family out with him otherwise. He is more concerned with legal issues now. Although compelling, I don’t think all of the cross-shots of Tony checking out who is coming in the door signifies rampant paranoia. I think he’s simply expecting people–his family.

54:23 First jukebox pages. “Only the Strong Survive.” “Turn, Turn, Turn.” Draw your own conclusions here.

54:23 More jukebox pages. “I’m Alive.” Interesting.

54:36 If you read the selections in this shot from the top down, notice the “journey”: Magic Man (Live)->Don’t Stop Believing->Any Way You Want It->I’ll Never Be In Love Again. If this means anything, perhaps it means that we knew Tony as the Magic Man. The pivot point, this episode, is the selection: Don’t Stop Believing. How did it end? Any way you want. But how did it really end? I’ll Never Be In Love Again. Death.

Also, did you catch that “Don’t Stop Believing” is K 3 on the jukebox (those are the buttons Tony presses to pull it up). I interpret this as “Killed 3.” Tell me if I go too far for you, but remember, with all the dream sequences and symbolism in the series, it does seem to pay off to try to uncover different levels, especially in this scene.

54:45 USA Hat man enters. My initial thought was that he is one of the many potential hit men in the diner, as the title of the episode is Made In America. I figured he’s a made guy. But careful viewing shows that he doesn’t even look at Tony in any shot. He’s a hatman, not a hitman. Unlike one guy we’ll meet in a bit.

54:49 Carmela enters. I’m so sorry for what is about to happen, Carm. I love you so much. You give great birthday presents.

55:10 Another thuggish suspect…but, no he’s not. He’s another one that doesn’t pay attention to Tony. With that little filly next to me, I wouldn’t either. Oh, that’s not true. If Tony was in the diner, I’d pay attention and probably get the hell out and let my date fend for herself.

55:13 The Scouts. Yes, they look like hitmen, but they don’t pay attention to Tony. Notice the pattern of their group: 1 big one + 3 little ones.

56:01 Hatman. He never glances at Tony, not once. He’s no hitman, no FBI guy. He’s just a guy. With a sweet hat. And notice the cup: 1 big one (cup) and 3 little ones (creamers). Coincidence? I think it reinforces the idea that the group will not be “whole” until it is one big one (Tony) and the 3 other members of his family.

56:22 Members Only man enters, followed by AJ. He’s not paying attention to Tony, either, is he?

56:34 I really like this bit, where Tony grabs AJ’s hand affectionately. I don’t read any deeper meaning into it, but I thought it was a really great gesture.

56:36 Members Only man is looking at something. What?

56:38 Members Only man, out of focus, behind AJ, is looking straight over at Tony’s table. Oh, shit.

56:55 The finishing part of the set (1 + 3) isn’t here yet. She had to change her birth control. Maybe someone knows what that means. Maybe her old birth control messed with her depth perception.

57:08 Members Only man is looking over again! He is the only person in the restaurant that pays attention to Tony’s group, except for one very important, and so far overlooked, person/symbol coming up.

57:56 Members Only man gets up. But why would he conduct a hit by coming directly at Tony, giving Tony time to react? Style sense notwithstanding, he must not be very bright. It’s better to conduct a hit from out of your target’s field of vision, when they are distracted. Remember, earlier in the episode, when Phil was distracted by his family while the gunman approached Phil from the side? Then, bang, it was all over? Note also, Phil was the 1 big one, + 3 little ones (mom & twins). Another set.

57:57 Tony notices him, no doubt.

58:01 Note how the camera actually tracks Members Only man. The camera shifts to keep him in the frame. He’s more important than a mere background guy. He’s the focus of this shot. We are meant to pay attention to him.

58:06 The two dudes come in. No, they aren’t the guys that clipped Tony’s ear. Tony took care of them. These guys don’t care about Tony. They care about that incredibly delicious looking pink stuff behind that glass. The first time I watched this, I thought there was jewelry back there for some reason. No, no.

58:14 Meadow got it right. Ok. Now she can come in and make the family, the set, whole, and we can fade out, at dinner, all together. As the song says, the movie never ends, it goes on and on and on. Happy ending. Yay.

58:17 The onion rings arrive. Before we get to the meaning of those tasty fried treats, the best in the state, we must note that the waitress is the only other person, besides Members Only man, who pays any attention to Tony and the fam. Notice, also, her white arms. Scarily white.

I think the waitress represents Death. I’m freakin’ serious here. Whether it is on purpose or not, it works perfectly.

Now, on to the onion rings.

58:22 I found it unusual how much attention was paid to how the three eat those onion rings. They each put the whole ring in their mouth rather than taking a small bite, and we are given specific shots on each of them: 1, 2, 3. It’s like a ritual, like a Last Communion.

Or, like the ancient Greek coins, the obols, that were placed in the mouths of the dead before burial to ensure the Ferryman has payment to cross the person over the river Styx.

58:24 AJ ensures his payment.

58:25 Tony is ready as well.

58:31 Meadow crosses the street. It seems like she’s going to get plowed down by a SUV. But she doesn’t, of course. She is near danger, but not harmed by it. She will be near danger, but not harmed by it, again, in a moment.

58:32 THIS IS THE LAST SHOT I REMEMBER from the first time I watched the episode. No door opens, that we see. From here, I remember the screen going black. I remember Steve Perry’s “Don’t stop–” sitting right on top of this shot. I REMEMBER IT ENDING THIS WAY. WHEN I WATCHED THIS VERY FILE.

More importantly, I’m not alone. Some think they remember her making it in the diner. No, there is no shot showing her in the door. The bell will ring, implying that she came in, completing the set, in the next moments.

58:33 No one is talking. Empty space by Tony where Meadow would be sitting, but instead, gives someone a clear shot at Tony from the hallway to the bathroom, where the Members Only guy is.

Note that no one is looking at each other, just like in most of those promotional posters you see of the whole cast. No one looks at anyone else. Everyone has their own agenda.

I don’t remember this shot from the first time.

58:34 Remember my theory that the waitress was symbolic of Death? Look at her, hovering over Tony.

58:35 And now, she approaches Carm’s and AJ’s side. That’s scary.

But now it’s time. The preparations have been made for the “journey” into the underworld, and Death has marked who shall go.

58:36 The final bell tolls. We infer that Tony sees Meadow coming in the diner. But we will not see her. The shot will not fade out on the family, together. The song will not fade out like it does on the recording. There is no fade out, there is a cutting of the thread. The life of Tony Soprano does not go on and on and on.

58:38 Cessation of sensation. No light, no sound. Emptiness. Nothingness. There is nothing wrong with your set.

This is death.

Conclusions and myths debunked

  • Tony does not “see himself.” He’s not in Hell, or in an alternate universe, or in a dream. There isn’t enough weirdness in the episode for that, and when Tony dreams, there is usually weirdness. Like monks who need AC. The juxtaposition of the Tony close-up and the Tony sitting-down messed with people for some reason. I think it was just accidental and never tripped me up.
  • There is not much evidence for multiple hit men in the diner. The palm-rubbin’ dudes, the Livin’ On A Prayer couple, the Boy Scouts, and Hatman are oblivious to Tony.
  • There is almost no evidence that there are Feds about to arrest Tony in the diner. That is the logical conclusion from the story itself, and we could assume an arrest was likely soon if the show had ended any other way based Carlo flipping. But this final scene doesn’t imply that. Tony says Carlo is going to testify.
  • There is evidence that Members Only man is the killer. The camera pays special attention to Members Only man. The episode where Tony was shot was called Members Only. The role is credited to the dude in the Members Only jacket. NOT Nikki Leotardo. (Please stop posting that idiotic “explanation,” people!)
  • There are indicators that Tony, Carm, and AJ share the same fate just as they share the same table and same food (and same stares by Members Only man).
  • Meadow survives. She’s struggling to live respectably and obey the law, just as she struggles to park legally, she’s “the good one.” She can’t escape her upbringing, though, and is still involved with sliminess: lawyers. Is her fiancee, Patrick, going to be in the pocket of the Mob?
  • Meadow, who earlier spoke of seeing her father being dragged away by the FBI, will again see her father dragged away, this time, permanently, and by the bullet of a gun.
  • Meadow is wearing an engagement ring in her last shot. Did Patrick propose to her earlier in the episode and I missed it, or what? When she is onscreen, I’m kinda hypnotized and the blood leaves my brain.
  • You don’t see or hear it coming when it happens. They fucking told us that. What more do you want? Tony, Carm, and AJ are murdered and Meadow watches it all.

THE SHOCK OF THE ENDING made some people somehow black out on the last few seconds in their memory. I did.

  • It would make no fucking sense for HBO to put out two different endings.
  • When I watched the same file again, I caught the final two shots (group shot of family, closeup on Tony)
  • The last two shots are pretty innocuous. I think many of us were primed for something big to happen and glossed over that seeming “filler.” The biggest “action” before that was Meadow almost getting flattened by the SUV, so it makes sense that we would remember that shot. Those of us who remember it wrong (the Meadow ending) must have been going over that little sequence in our heads while the next “boring” seconds occurred.
  • Before I saw the episode, I caught a headline on Drudge that said “Sopranos choose life.” I didn’t read the article, but I expected the fade-out, life-goes-on ending some hopeless optimists out there cling to. This was a fucking shocker.
  • The viewer isn’t the one who was whacked. That’s cute. But the show was about Tony, not us. We could be whacked, but the show would continue. But when Tony stopped, the show stopped.
  • I thought my Xbox 360, where I was streaming the file from, fucked up, too. But I instantly knew that it must have been on purpose because of where the song cut, so I watched the screen in silence, with my fists tight. Then the credits appeared.
  • I have a mini-theory that the shot of Tony putting the coins in the jukebox, then withdrawing his hand when Hatman enters is the same shot as the final shot, just from a different camera.

Now I feel so much better. When does Lost start back up? 🙂

198 Responses to “Sopranos Finale: Shot-by-Shot Analysis of Final Scene”

  1. Mark L Says:

    Excellent deductions. I finally watched the episode for the first time last night (Thursday) because I was out of town on business, but I couldn’t avoid all the chatter about the ending on various TV shows. I focused on the Members Only guy too, but does consider this: The Members Only Guy IS STEVE PERRY! He’s not listed in the credits (only speaking parts get a credit line, per actor’s guild rules) but I would put money on that he was Steve Perry. Nice job.

    • METEK Says:

      In The episode 9 of the season 2 titled “From where to Eternity”, at 33:39… Pussy eats “salumeria” before his violent death… Guess who takes “salumeria” to go, watchin pussy but Pussy doesn’t see him… Members only man… with a black jogging suit. That’s the episode where Christopher dies for a minute, get resurected and scare the shit out of Paulie cause he seen Hell and tell him that’s where they all goin’… Oh No!! Wait… It’s not Members Only man… I made a mistake… Sorry… Whatever… Fuck that

    • Zach Bergland Says:

      You are right about everything except the whole family getting killed. They don’t whack entire families. That was made clear throughout the series, especially before Bobby gets whacked, also with 3 family members. It’s also common sense. The Sopranos was as realistic as David Chase’s “smart fans” expect it to be. We know they don’t whack the families. They didn’t kill Phil’s wife and grandchildren. So that’s a minor slip by you. The guy wasn’t going to butcher the whole family. Tony was killed because, either A) Caught talking with agent Harris and the FBI. B) Owed money to the mob in Florida or perhaps the Jewish mob for the money he owed Hesh. C) Tony was mobbed up. Meaning that he has enemies that figured he wasn’t worthy of the club (Members Only). They set up Carmela’s role increasing when it came to finances, building a ‘new house’ for a new family, speaking of her own independence. They show AJ is set up with a mobster’s (Little Carmine’s) film studio. Where Tony said “It’s an entry level job” I think means his ‘entrance’ into the mafia. Remember Tony and Little Carmine had a great relationship talking about Carmine’s father And while Carmine thought his son was kind of a screw up, not worthy of the throne as Tony was ‘the son he never had’ in so many words in Season 4’s last few episodes… AJ embodied Little Carmine as Tony mentioned how pathetic he thought AJ was, quoting T.S. directly “WHATS WRONG WITH YOU” after AJ’s failed suicide attempt with the cinder blocks. Not the brightest tool in the shed, but built from the same cloth. Remember the episode “The Second Coming” just a couple shows ago? That wasn’t just about depression, it was about the lifestyle that causes depression, both of which Lil’Carmine and AJ Soprano will be a part of. Tony simply had to die for their lives to be fulfilled. AJ with vengeance on his mind, will join the mafia. Meadow will now not become a doctor like Carmela hoped, but a MOB lawyer, getting people like her father out of jail. Carmela will be a new modern woman, running her husbands Family. It has come full circle, with the death of Tony Soprano. Tony’s death ensured that his family would stay together, the one thing he feared the most. The impending doom that caused his panic attacks and deep rooted depression, was only that of himself. He was “afraid he was going to lose his family”. Live on Tony Soprano, through your 3 little ducklings. The End.

    • Anonymous Says:

      For those of you looking for the “answers”, here they are:

      — The hitman is of course the “Members Only Guy”. He delays the hit because he is expecting to find Tony + 3 and instead he finds Tony + 2. He waits briefly, then decides to go ahead with the job anyway. Tony, Carmela, and A.J. are killed. Meadow presumably witnesses this horrific scene as she enters the diner. The hitman followed A.J. to the restaurant. This is slyly hinted at by Chase with the “making connections” line.

      — Brace yourself for this one. Tony sees MOG enter and gradually becomes aware that he is about to be offed, and he ALLOWS it to happen. Is he aware that Carmela and A.J. will be killed as well? Perhaps. Ultimately I believe so. After all, what does Tony and Carmela’s brief dialogue and moist-eyed despair at the beginning of this scene communicate if not their profound awareness that life as they have known it is over? The game is up, with nothing but misery ahead for all of them. Tony’s oddly affectionate touch to A.J.’s hand across the table is nothing less than an indirect goodbye.

      — (In fact, if I were feeling reckless, I might propose the much less supportable idea that Tony himself, in utter despair over the fact that he has ruined the lives of those closest to him, ordered the Tony+3 hit himself! Go ahead and watch the scene again with that in mind….)

      — And, yes, the onion rings are significant, like every detail in this scene. Or did Chase just choose to pad out the final episode with three separate chewing shots? The rings are (as in Greek myth) the coins placed in the mouths of the newly dead, meant as payment to Charon, who will transport the deceased across the river that divides the world of life from that of death. They are also meant to bring to mind the communion wafer and the Last Supper.

      — What happens to Meadow? My sense is that we are meant to suppose that she is the only one of the four who survives. She is certainly the least corrupted. In any case, and as others have pointed out, she is likely pregnant. “Switching birth control” may have been the pretext she gave her mother for needing to visit the doctor about her pregnancy. Perhaps this new life is another nod to the final scenes of Kubrick’s 2001. (A connection to this film has been made explicit by Chase.)

      — There is no reason to assume that the “we don’t whack families” rule is in effect or unbreakable at this point. One of the many things this show is about is the dissolution of the culture, including the very subculture to which the Soprano family belongs.

      — Yes, the final scene is surfeited with dreamlike visual clues, and many of those clues have been mentioned in comments here and elsewhere. In fact, dreamlike bits of Tony’s past and present have gathered in the diner to witness his final moments, including the woman who resembles Janice, the scout leader who resembles Phil (gun-like hand gesture noted), the young couple who evoke a young teenage Tony and Carmela (look at the blood-like splotches on the left arm of the young man’s jacket, by the way), the trucker and the African American men who resemble characters involved in violent incidents from Tony’s past, etc. Not to mention the mural on the rear wall of the restaurant, which depicts (among other things) a building not unlike the “afterlife hotel” he nearly enters while in his coma…. All of this is a clever and profound variation on the idea of one’s life passing before one’s eyes.

      — As David Chase has pointed out, everything you need to “understand” the final scene is there on the screen. Keep in mind that Chase is an artist drawing on other artists’ work in film, literature, mythology, and philosophy, and that his references run wide and deep. His point with all this, in my judgment, was not to be cagey about Tony’s end, or to make of Tony’s end some kind of TV-ish finale. His reluctance in interviews to focus on Tony (Is he dead or not?) is his indirect way of pointing out that the show is really about YOU, about all of us. Isn’t Tony—in his materialism, gluttony, inconstancy, anger, depression, failure to improve despite warnings—just an extreme version of the average American? Not different in kind but only in degree? The point is that the end can come for any person at any moment. And what kind of life will you have lead when it does?

      • Anonymous Says:

        Sorry, but you cannot just dismiss the ” no women, no kids” principle in this scene. How many other “civilians” were whacked in the show’s history? NO families were harmed throughout and yet wer’e expected to just assume that now all bets are off? If that’s the case, then who ordered the hit? Only a legit “Boss” could order that drastic violence, and in public, no less? Not buying it. You want me to accept Tony;s demise, fine (although, once again, who put out the contract? Enemies are dead or neutralized). But Im gonna need more convincing than just “dissolution of the culture” for me to believe whomever it was would simply throw caution to the wind and publicly execute women and children, with witnesses abound.

      • Anonymous Says:

        In reply to the other reply: Phil’s mistress and her elderly father were killed, and Phil’s skull was smashed in front of his family. Many viewers believe there is adequate evidence to suggest the hit was ordered by Butch and by New York. Perhaps we should write and ask D. Chase, since he put the onion rings in Carmela’s and A.J.’s mouth….

      • Anonymous Says:

        Phils “Gallagher” impression was completely coincidental and postmortem. And if the hit was supposed to be 1 + 3, then why is the general consensus that Meadow survives? Trigger man couldnt simply turn to her and just blast away? Nope. Not buying that either.
        All this artsy symbolism crap is for film class. Endings that have no ending are just a damn cop-out. I know Ill be ridiculed for that comment, but that doesnt change the fact that most films, books , sagas, etc. include an actual ending. Because the reader/viewer wants to be entertained. Whether it be sad, happy or just weird, they dont want to have to imagine what might have happened, or guess what could have. Chase was just fuckin lazy about it. Thats all.

  2. Eric Says:

    You’ve missed the most important piece: the scene set-up as Tony walks into the diner. As Tony enters The song is “All That You DREAM” by Little Feat. Take it from there.

  3. LVN Says:

    I gotta commend you on a very thorough analysis…One key question that you didn’t address. It was clearly established that “family are strictly off limits” when the NY/NJ war began…so why would AJ and Carmen get whacked? that makes no sense.

    • lvseti44 Says:

      Perhaps all of Tony’s enemies were so fed up with him always coming out on top, they threw that rule out the window.

    • Anonymous Says:

      I agree 100% LVN. Families off limits MUST be taken as seriously as all these other “X” factors. And how does Meadow get a pass? Just cause she arrives late? Bullshit. Dude would have seen her walk in and iced her as well. All your assumptions back up YOUR version of what MAY have taken place. Arent dumb-ass non endings like that supposed to leave it up to the viewer/reader to decide? Worst Finale Ever (including M*A*S*H and Seinfeld).

  4. […] Sopranos Finale: Shot-by-Shot Analysis of Final Scene I’m in too deep to get out now. We need to look at the scene itself with an eye on hitmen, symbols, and […] […]

  5. Kim Says:

    The final tolling of the bell:

    John Donne (1572-1631), Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, Meditation XVII: Nunc Lento Sonitu Dicunt, Morieris:

    “Perchance he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that.

    No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”

    There’s some debate about what precisely was meant; some view it simply that Donne was pointing out people’s mortality and that when a funeral bell was heard it was a reminder that we are nearer death each day, i.e. the bell is tolling for us. Others view it more mystically and argue that Donne is saying we are all one and that, when one dies, we all die a little. This isn’t as bleak as it might sound, as the counterpoint would be that there is some part of the living in the dead and that we continue a form of life after death.

  6. tuck Says:

    man, really nice work. It’s a lot to think about, though I’m still in the “He lives on…” camp.

    The one question this doesn’t answer is why Carm and AJ? While symbolically they are part of the same materialistic, pessimistic viewpoint as Tony, so on that level it makes sense, we’ve seen throughout the show that family is never involved (with the exception of the occasional goomah, but they’re not family).

    So why would Carm and AJ also be killed?

    I also feel like all the hits we’ve seen are done with very little waffling…just walk right up and do it. Why would Member’s Only guy wait around, and give Tony a chance to get suspicious?

    Still, it’s a very impressive breakdown. I especially liked the “onion rings as River Styx coins”.

  7. bigbumprun Says:

    The entire episode is loaded with false indications of impending doom. Early on, for example, when Tony enters the beach house, the camera zooms in on the dooorknob. I think that Chase had fun through the entire episode exploiting film conventions for signaling an imminent killing. The last five minutes definitely toyed with our expectations.

    The best evidence that Tony is dead is the replay of Bobby’s speculation in the “Blue Comet.” Note, however, that Bobby definitely saw it coming — his death took longer than any death in the series. That fact makes me wonder about the significance of the quotation in the preceding episode.

    Nice catch on the multiple sets of 1 plus three — I hadn’t noticed that.

  8. Eric Z. Says:

    If an American gal is changing her contreception in 2007, it’s very possible that she is changing to an…O Ring.

  9. J Says:

    I don’t buy the “Tony gets killed” theory; if it were true, it cheapens the whole enterprise. What’s more, it files in the face of the themes the show has developed over the past 4 seasons. Either way, you lost me at “[Meadow is] struggling to live respectably and obey the law.” That certainly isn’t the case, as “Made in America” (and Season 6.2 generally) dramatically demonstrated that Meadow has cast her lots with the self delusions of the Soprano family.

  10. HarborView Says:

    Well done!

    I agree with everything you’ve said except for your mini-theory on the last scene. When I view it I also see Tony’s hand coming off the jukebox and then quickly coming up – like he went for a gun – while his face is showing movement and fear (not familial recognition). If Tony is left handed, I’m convinced this is how it plays out.

  11. brklyn Says:

    For whatever its worth – behind the Scouts is poster with name of a football player ‘Super Dave Phillip’ – David Phillip is listed as a parking coordinator for Sopranos accounding to IMDB – and 1971 was when The Godfather start shooting.

  12. T.Holly Says:

    What are you talking about? “The juxtaposition of the Tony close-up and the Tony sitting-down messed with people for some reason. I think it was just accidental and never tripped me up.” He’s in his own POV, that means he’s seeing himself inside his own head. Everything from the 4th shot down is going on inside his head.

  13. @brklyn

    Sweet! Thanks for those additional bits.

    @ Eric Z.

    So Meadow got her O(nion) ring after all? Ha.

  14. Get Smart Says:

    Nice job with the shot by shot. Isn’t it interesting that this is the 86th episode?

  15. Eric Z. Says:

    Looking at those last few shots, it’s clear that Tony is a) looking at the jukebox and then b) looking up at the door when the bell rings. In both cases he isn’t looking toward the bathroom door, whereas the shot before the last one is from that angle.

  16. Jel Says:

    excellent analysis, but i have a question: a mob hitman is supposed to walk in, shoot, drop his gun, and walk out. The LAST thing you’d do is sit at a counter for minutes to be recognized by the staff. And a guy hired to hit Tony should know what hes doing. No question that Chase wants us to focus on Members Only, but that may be to capture the paranoia that is Tony’s life, and will continue to be.

    • brklynpatpat23 Says:

      i agree with you out of all these posts. the whole last half of the show i had this uncomfortable feeling like something was going to happen…especially in the last scene with all the suspicious people in the dinner i think chase wanted you to feel how tony feels in his everyday life…that he has to always look over his shoulder .

      • fulchy Says:

        Your’s are the firsts of endless other theories that truly sat well w/ me.Not only because I remembered feeling EXACTLY that uneasiness pre and post “Don’t stop”,but also the aforementioned quips that nullify the triple-hit scenario.(AJ&Carm are civies,M.O. guy’s novice actions,etc.)And nobody mentions that the beef was settled,and T’s enemies were now limited and dormant.Who could have been aware of dinner locale?And btw,what would become of my favorite character,Sil?Last I saw he was critical.Excellent Analysis.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    Jel, that’s because you’ve gone inside Tony’s mind on the 4th shot and normal “rules” don’t apply.

  18. T.Holly Says:

    Jel, that’s because you’ve entered Tony’s mind on the 4th shot and normal “rules” don’t apply.

  19. […] There’s has been a lot of speculation on what happens when it goes to black. See the A lesson A day blog, where the break scene down, shot by shot. […]

  20. geo Says:

    I like your analysis, but I think you are smarter then chase! I feel after a two year wait he left the fans empty handed. I bought cold cuts to enjoy the finale “soprano style,” but revisted the shows ending when I sat on the toilet right after it was over.

  21. mitchellscohen Says:

    Interesting analysis.

    My gut reaction when watching the episode was something happened to Meadow, with Tony watching. Lots more attention paid to her and her arrival during the last scene than anyone else. I don’t discount the possibility of Members Only killing Tony. I thought about that while watching too. It doesn’t completely add up. Why would he (Members Only guy) sit around, even for a short while, instead of capping Tony the moment he enters? Tony is behind the table, nowhere to go, an easy shot even if he sees it coming. I absolutely don’t buy the theory of all three (Tony, Carmella, AJ) getting shot. Sure it’s possible, but unlikely. Only one shooter, no purpose, etc.

    One question (I just don’t remember) – who knew they’d be at this restaurant? Was this a long-standing dinner? Or a last-minute thought? If last-minute how’d the hitman know?

    Overall it was Chase giving us the best look into Tony’s paranoid mind, looking around to see who might be his killer at any given moment.

    Oh, and I think Meadow is pregnant.

  22. ebogart Says:

    The reason the hitman doesn’t shoot is he’s waiting for meadow. He’s supposed to kill the whole family, the “1 + 3” and he can’t do the deed until they’re all there.

  23. ERoy Says:

    I can’t buy the argument that Tony was gunned down for a number of reasons, including the previously stated observation that an actual hitman would have simply walked up, done the job & split.

    But, I do like the bizarrely attractive notion that the onion rings were communion wafers. However, even if we accept the theory that dinner at Holsten’s was the Last Supper…let us also remember that Jesus did not get whacked during dinner. The end came later.

  24. Annie Says:

    Brilliant! After much grief and denial, I too am forced to conclude that Tony probably was killed. But I am stuck on this: Who ordered it? With Phil dead and his crew having promised to back off?

  25. Matt Says:

    Fantastic work!

    But I still don’t buy it. I think all the symbolic “evidence” that Tony got killed is mostly either coincidence, or Chase’s insertion of vague symbolism to keep us guessing.

    My theory: someone got whacked, yep. Not Tony, though, and not the viewer.

    The SHOW got whacked. Mid-scene, with no conclusion, no resolution, just rising tension, paranoia, and theories, theories, theories.

    But in our minds, in our heads, over a week later, it goes on and on and on and on…

  26. saxdrop Says:

    Mark L:

    Member’s Only guy does bear more than a passing resemblance to Steve Perry. It didn’t pop out when I watched it, but of course I was focusing on everything and nothing. I wouldn’t cast my entire lot with the “he is Steve Perry” camp, but given what they can do with some makeup and hair gel to Steven Van Zandt, the Perry theory is not so much a stretch.

    Strange this hasn’t dominated the final episode discussion online.

  27. T.Holly Says:

    Love everything about this shot by shot, but I can’t believe no one’s called out the “error” in thinking here.

    54:16 Cut to Tony sitting at the diner…. If the next shot was Tony at the door, again, we’d have to conclude that he did see himself. But the next shot is…

    54:20 Tony at the table. So, he never saw himself. That was just a cut to establish where in the diner Tony chose to sit: in the middle. …

    What kind of logic is this? It’s the same POV as shot #2 and Tony’s in the shot, so you’ve got two options in reading it: he sees himself or we’ve jumped forward in time.

  28. Don D. Says:

    One shot left out of this analysis, as interesting as it is, was the shot of the woman entering the diner who looks remarkably like a younger, thinner, Janice – Tony’s sister. As long as our imaginations are working overtime that name can also be written as Janus (two opposing faces, truth/lies, etc.). I would speculate this reinforces the ending as open to either interpretation – meal or massacre.

  29. Fabrizio Says:

    Excellent deductions!!!

    Here is a wild off the wall theory: What if it was _Meadow_ the alleged hitman was waiting for, to kill _her_. It could be regarding the case she was working on involving some corruption charges in New York.

    Some of Phil Leotardo’s crew did harass her in New York when she was having dinner with Patrick in little Italy, so they may not have respected the “no family” code.

  30. @ Don D.

    Props, Don! And Janus is the god of beginnings and endings.

  31. T.Holly Says:

    “That was just a cut to establish where in the diner Tony chose to sit”

    An establishing shot out of the blue, happens all the time.

  32. Don D. Says:

    Without getting too dictionary on you, Merriam-Webster defines Janus slightly more open-ended as:

    “having two contrasting aspects; especially : DUPLICITOUS, TWO-FACED” But, let’s agree to disagree.

    Props just seems too easy a dismissal. Why was an actress chosen who looked so much like Tony’s sister? She was featured in a shot in the climatic end of the series. She was chose because of her appearance. She never appeared again, even in Tony’s POV scan of the diner patrons? Seemed more prescient than prop to me.

    Sorry to obsess on this one 5 second shot.

  33. @ Don D.

    Hey Don, sorry about the slang. I was raised on the mean streets, you know. Dodging bullets every night, drinkin’ 40s. And 50s. By “props” I meant I was giving you “prop”er respect for your diligence. I wondered when someone was going to bring up the Janice lookalike.

    I need to be careful when I bust out my inner thug.

  34. T.Holly Says:

    That’s the prob with you literary types — good on symbolism, bad on technicals like continuity.

  35. Don D. Says:

    Now I really feel old. Sorry for the misinterpretation of your compliment. I guess I need to brush up on my blogger lexicon. Still, my compliments on your symbolic interpretations.

  36. Matt R. Says:

    Good procedure and attentiveness to the death imagery. I’m not sure you’re right, but you offer the most convincing explanation I’ve heard thus far.

    That crack about lawyers cannot be taken seriously, however. It may well be that Meadow will not escape the trappings of her family and background, but the mere fact that she has decided to become a lawyer has nothing whatever to do with that. Certainly, you offer no explanation justifying this conclusion.

  37. casmo Says:

    ok so, to answer one thing about the purported Tony-whacking, and why would they kill the whole family. This is simple, although a reach…when you whack a boss you must go to the Comission to get permission, Tony did not, plus, a 5 family whack is a big deal, w/out permission the Comission could have ordered the hit on his family to teach a lesson.

  38. Little Rock Mafia Says:

    Tony’s shirt!! Isn’t he wearing a different shirt when he walks in the door (and in his previous scene with Uncle Jr.) from the one he’s wearing when we cut to him in the booth? Not sure what this means. Maybe he was shot from behind as soon as he walked in the place and the remaining shots are his final thoughts before he passes on. Or maybe the production and editing crew just screwed up after shooting the rumored three alternate endings. My money is on the latter.

  39. Harrpoe Says:

    Phil also did not seek commision approval to whack Tony and his captains. Though Phil did consider the north Jersey family nothing more than a “glorified crew” which could explain why. Even so, among the 5 families, whacking wives and kids is not accepted or ordered..ever. Phil’s captain knew what was coming and did not warn Phil. Even he knew Phil was way out of line in ordering Tony’s hit hence his “you do what you gotta do” statement. T would not take the fam to a public spot if he did not know it was safe and the war over.

    I believe Meadow walked in the front door, sat down and had some rings with the family uninterupted. I believe members only guy is a fed tailing the family. I believe Carlo will testify.
    I believe Chase and the principle actors (including the badly injured but not killed Silvio) will be offered more money than they ever imagined to make Soprano’s movies after the public outcry becomes to much to stand. I believe this was the best series finale I have ever seen. I believe Chase is a genius. I believe John from Cincinatti will be cancelled.

  40. MikeDave Says:

    This is a brilliant analysis, and based on the dramatic logic of the final scene, its conclusion is hard to refute. The problem: There’s no narrative basis in the episode, the season or the entire run of the show for thinking that we witnessed Tony’s death. David Chase has always played with the dramatic conventions of gangster and other films — building up tension that doesn’t go anywhere, while plunging us into violent scenes with little or no dramatic build-up at all, and that’s what I think he’s done here.
    If Tony was killed, who ordered the hit and why? If the Members Only guy is the killer, who is he and why did he kill Tony? Unlike every other hit that I can remember, there’s no logic or rationale for this one — Phil is dead, there’s peace with NY and there’s no evidence that someone in Tony’s family is gunning for him. Chase is toying with us, masterfully, as he’s done before, and Tony’s ultimate fate remains unknown and unknowable.

  41. T.Holly Says:

    Little Rock Mafia, I looked very closely at the shirt in all these stills. It is the same. There is a lack of light down the center of his shirt in the 4th shot, but it’s the same black notch colared shirt in each shot. I’m telling you first hand that editing crews observe continuity and every frame of footage until their eyes bleed — you can think of continuity as queen, second only to performance as king. The elephant in the room is Tony seeing himself in his POV and the strange way it’s written about here and dismissed as an establishing shot.

  42. BlueMoonEyes Says:

    Great analysis of the final scene. I love the technical aspect of it.

    If I may add to your shot analysis above?

    54:16 Cut back to Tony, closeup. American flag, white blue light in the background behind his head.

    55:13 The Scouts – Scout leader(Phil look alike?) waves his index finger (gun?) twice at the middle scout (AJ?)

    (At some point)Tony wads his paper(from the straw) and ‘shoots’ at AJ in the head.

    58:35 And now, she(waitress of death) approaches Carm’s and AJ’s side. That’s scary.(And points her index finger to her head!)

    58:36 Final shot of Tony – A Visual – White bar streaking out the side of his head all the way to the end of the frame. (probably the best shot like that)

  43. d Says:

    T.Holly, shut up.

  44. T.Holly Says:

    Call it a time cut and I’ll shut up. Weirdest time cut from the greatest show ever on tv. It can’t possibly be anywhere near as important as the symbolism. Oh, that’s right, it was accidental, because, you know, not enough people were on the ball paying attention when they threw it together.

    “The juxtaposition of the Tony close-up and the Tony sitting-down messed with people for some reason. I think it was just accidental and never tripped me up.”

  45. Just sayin' Says:

    A few other observations:

    – Phil’s death pre-figured Tony’s. Phil, being shot it the head in mid-conversation, never saw it coming. It was “lights out,” just as we experienced as viewers in the last scene.

    – “Members only” is a euphism for “this thing of ours” (cosa nostra). The hit man was a “member” after another “member” (Tony). There’s no way a person would be eyeballing a mob boss like Tony without some kind of intent.

    – The audio mix of the Journey song abuptly stops and echoes a bit. Sort of like the last thing one would hear before the brain shuts down.

    – The fact that we see a few seconds of black before the credits roll speaks to the fact that Tony is dead. If the ending were meant to be ambiguous, credits would have come up immediately, and/or the song would have faded out.

    Thanks for your post. Good stuff.

  46. dmount Says:

    2 things though there could be many:
    How does anyone know what the last thing you would hear before the brain shuts down?

    “members only” man is looking in Tony’s direction because he(tony) is in his line of sight for what he(members only) is actually looking for, the restroom.

    Let’s not put so much thought into something that was left ambiguous, so there could possibly a miniseries or movie later on.

  47. Beyond Ambiguity Says:

    Just accept that it’s ambiguous. Ending with an extended cut to black, rather than a cut to credits, is a way of highlighting that time will go forward and we will never know what happened to Tony and his family.

    Maybe Tony “gets killed” (if one can say that action occurs after the end of a show), maybe he doesn’t. What’s clear is that Tony has to worry about getting killed, has to watch his back, has to watch his surroundings, forever. He has to be attentive to all of the details that *could* add up to threats, but usually add up to nothing. That’s his life that we get to see in those last few minutes.

    What’s also true, though, is that Tony is resisting this reality even as his mind runs through its paces. He *doesn’t* sit at the table where he would be best protected. He *doesn’t* avoid being out in public with his family. He wants to have it both ways. He always has.

    One thing I haven’t seen discussed is that Meadow’s parallel parking involves a learned activity that serves as one of our rites of passage into adulthood. And she’s not doing well at it. Yes, it was building suspense and all, but it was also showing what it was: Meadow can’t handle one of the routine activities of adulthood. I don’t know what to make of that, but it’s there.

    Anyway, David Chase is out there somewhere enjoying that people are still talking about the end of his show, and that was the real point of the backed-out final ten seconds. By violating the rules of interaction, he was embracing his art as art, and reminding us that we don’t know how it ends — however much we may be able to convince ourselves otherwise.

  48. Just sayin' Says:

    Right, as far as the sound thing, I meant to write what it might sound like if it were the last thing you would hear. A stretch, I know.

    On the line of sight thing. Member’s line of site would be Tony, then the wall of the back of the restaurant.

    As far as the miniseries or movie, it’s interesting that Chase has mentioned he thought about doing something about a day the viewers didn’t see in 2006 or 2005, but that it wouldn’t make sense to shoot that with the actors who play AJ and Meadow, as they would have aged, etc.

    I think that reveals Chase’s mindset; that there was some sort of death at the end of the show (of Tony, the family, whatever). That there was no future for Tony.

    I don’t think the ending was ambiguous. As Chase said, “it’s all there.”

  49. Buck Zollo Says:

    Watch it in slo-mo and you see Tony reaching for his heater (under the table) unfortunately he is too late. black

  50. Anonymous Says:

    Yes, “it’s” all there. Beginning with the 4th cut, it’s Tony’s premonition or Tony’s memory. It’s both his POV and a time cut. It’s a very literal and symbolic cut from the 3rd to 4th shot.

    You are right in your “Conclusions and myths debunked,” “Tony does not ‘see himself.’ He’s not in Hell, or in an alternate universe, or in a dream.”

    Premonitions and memories: what could be better?

  51. e Says:

    did anyone see something blue flash on the screen about 3/4 of the way through the episode? kind of like those subliminal messages in fight club. everyone in the room noticed it, but when I watched the episode OnDemand, it was not there. if you’ve got the original airing recorded, you should take a look…blue comet?

  52. Jeff, Cedar Rapids, IA Says:

    I’d buy Tony being shot completely if the cut to black had been from his POV. It wasn’t….we were looking at him. If the final shot had been Tony looking up, then a cut back to Meadow coming in the door, then black, yeah Tony died. Personally, I think Chase wanted an ending no one guessed before hand and a lot of people (obviously) would be discussing after.

  53. Mug Says:

    Nice analysis – you’ve sold me. Plus, I think that the the shot of the young couple in the diner as a reiminscence of young Tony and Carm listening to this song in their glory days?

  54. T.Holly Says:

    So Jeff, you’d be more comfortable knowing who Tony’s looking at? Me too. I’d like to know if he’s looking at his killer.

  55. NME Says:

    Another supporting observation:
    The camera angles are always showing Tony from the front. When the Members Only guy goes into the bathroom, the camera shows the family from the side and shows the bathroom on Tony’s right. The last shots of Tony, before he is distracted by the bell, are with the camera angle from the bathroom door.

  56. CR Says:

    The number on the painting of the football player on the wall is 38….as in .38 caliber

  57. columbo Says:

    Meadow shot Tony.

  58. mark Says:

    I can’t dismiss the possibility that it’s a dream. It’s not a conventional dream sequence but why would it be. When he sees himself, then the way he greeted his wife was so strange, it tipped it for me. Good catch on the entrance song “All That You DREAM”. His dreams also end suddenly.

    He’s dreaming that he is Jesus, his family adores him, his daughter can dodge bullets (or SUVs), his son is a genius, life is great. Then his fears invade and he thinks he will be whacked. Wake up!

  59. T.Holly Says:

    I came here to write to NME and Mark came along. Why so definitely a dream, Mark? Are you using “dream” and “see himself” as shortcuts for time cut and POV? NME, the observation supports that 30 seconds pass between 58:06 and :36. If the guys rushes from the bathroom to the table, AJ’s going to indicate something. If he non-chalantly over paces Tony’s right shoulder slightly and turns…

    I’ve been down, but not like this before
    Can’t be ’round this kind of show no more

    All, all that you dream
    Comes through shinin silver lining
    Clouds, clouds change the scene
    Rain starts washing all these cautions
    Right into your life, makes you realize
    Just what is true, what else can you do
    You just follow the rule
    Keep your eyes on the road that’s ahead of you

    I’ve been down, but not like this before
    Can’t be ’round this kind of show no more

    All of the good, good times were ours
    In the land of milk and honey
    And time, time adds its scars
    Rainy days they turn to sunny ones
    Livin’ the life, livin’ the life lovin’ everyone

    I’ve been down, but not like this before
    Can’t be ’round this kind of show no more
    I’ve been down, but not like this before
    Can’t be ’round this kind of show no more

    I’ve been down, but not like this before

  60. Chase4President Says:

    In an interview with NPR in 2004, Chase commented on keeping the Sopranos as “real” as possible; “day to day life” of these type of people.

    I loved the ending. People will be talking about this forever; just as they reference the GF films. Chase wanted realism, boredom infused realism, and he stuck to it.
    The anxiety I experienced, anticipation, was unbelieveable.

    It was truly a masterful ending. An entertainment that every viewer will remember.

    “The thing of theirs” goes on, as in the real world. People die, people move on, people suffer consequences…eventually. T’s on his way to court, and T has his family back. T got away this time, but it’s only a matter of time before it ends for good.

  61. Incilin Says:

    This is one of the best explanations I’ve heard so far. Not to say I think its a cut and dried conclusion, but it is intriguing. A shot by shot was needed for this show. But I’m still not sold either. I am swayed by both “Tony lives” and “Tony dies” arugments (The “viewer got killed theory” is a something I liked a lot actually) But for the most part there is one fatal flaw in your arguments; your presumming that he dies beforehand. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that (We all wanted to end in a certain way) I’m just saying.

    Let me say this; why not try to do the same analysis but this time try and prove that he lives? Go in supposing that he lives, and I bet you’ll find things that suggest that he does because that’s the things your looking for (That white arms thing is kinda too much). Whatever you do, I give you props because this is a well thoughtout argument and something I’ll keep in mind.

  62. T.Holly Says:

    You missed the angel of death and the old man wipe in the video’s 3 and 5th shots (the POV’s).

  63. Anonymous Says:

    Switch the order, but you know what I mean, see the heavy shadow? Don’t anyone say it wasn’t planned.

  64. d Says:

    T.Holly, it’s called a jump cut.

  65. T.Holly Says:

    Jump cuts are back to back, and they don’t have corresponding angles in between them. On Tony, Tony POV, Tony tighter, POV tighter, to side angle Tony — one corresponding angle after another. The “jump” is a jump/break/cut in time — a time cut. The meaning of it is that it’s a premonition or a memory — Chase is making it as clear as the nose on his face.

  66. T.Holly Says:

    What do you make of Tony close up to Tony at the table? So far, I’ve heard it’s: a tricky cut, an accidental cut, a jump cut and a weird cut.

    Posted by: T.Holly at June 25, 2007 07:19 AM

  67. Garry Says:

    I’m a bit late to the “what happened” party, but ….

    A week before Made In America, I speculated that it would end with (a) Tony losing everything including his New Jersey fiefdom, his family, etc or (b) nothing happening to Tony, and everything is pretty much the same. I favored (b) because “nothing changes, and everything’s the same” is one of the themes of the series, according to a quote I saw from Chase.

    I’ve enjoyed reading all of the metaphor and symbol analysis here and appreciate the effort everyone made. But I think most of it is wrong.

    It’s this simple: thoughout the series nearly every major character has had a Mafia identity (brutal, pragmatic, without conscience) and a “real world” identity which they want and desire but which forever eludes them (being overshadowed by their evil side). Look at how they die: Chris with his screenwriting career, Bobby with his trains, Phil with his family, Big Pussy trying to support his college kids’ tuition, etc. I know there’s not a 100 percent correspondence but it explains enough for me. Every time these guys approach “the real world” they get killed or jailed or slammed in some other way.

    Then we have the Soprano nuclear family. From episode 1 to Made In America, they do nothing BUT approach the “real world” while repeatedly being sucked back into the Mafia subculture. There’s no need to deconstruct this in any great detail, it’s fairly obvious. Tony wants relief from his personal angst and to be a “good provider” to his family; Meadow to become a “normal” young woman, student, professional, and wife; AJ a “normal” teen and young man; Carmella struggles to be a “normal” devoted Catholic housewife. I think virtually every episode illustrates these struggles in one way or another.

    And as the last episode approaches they do indeed get a taste of “normal” (and so do we). Tony finishes with Dr. Melfi (and his angst) while finally saving most of his Mafia family and his literal family from bloodshed. He’s the “good provider” he always wanted to be. Meadow becomes a fiancee and a law student. AJ escapes college and the Army to become a movie associate. Carmella seems pleased with these resolutions among her family.

    So uniquely among all characters, the Soprano nuclear family finds a small bit of solace and completion in the final episode.

    The only symbolism I’ll indulge in is the music from the first and last episodes.

    Episode 1 ends with Connie Francis singing “Who’s Sorry Now?”:

    Who’s sorry now?
    Whose heart is aching for breaking each vow?
    Who’s sad and blue?
    Who’s crying too?
    Just like I cried over you?

    Right to the end
    Just like a friend
    I tried to warn you somehow
    You had your way,
    Now you must pay
    I’m glad that you’re sorry now.

    … while Made In America ends with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'”:

    Strangers waiting
    Up and down the boulevard
    Their shadows searching in the night
    Streetlight people
    Living just to find emotion
    Hiding somewhere in the night

    Working hard to get my fill
    Everybody wants a thrill
    Playin’ anything to roll the dice
    Just one more time

    Some will win, some will lose
    Some were born to sing the blues
    Oh, the movie never ends
    It goes on and on and on and on

    To me, that first song describes the inherent “sorrow” of the Mafia life, which does indeed “break every vow” including its own. Throughout the series we see vows and promises and loyalties broken repeatedly, it is a central theme of The Sopranos (think of Junior, for example, or Tony’s mother). It goes without saying that the vows of conventional “normal” society also don’t stand a chance. But “now you must pay” and pay they do from start to finish.

    And again the Sopranos, always grasping for a “normal” life. “Searching”, trying to “find emotion” and “Working hard to get my fill” of normality and resolution. Of course they are all “Playin’ anything to roll the dice just one more time” because as AJ reminds Tony “You’ve got to remember the good times.”

    In the end I believe the Soprano nuclear family does find something of what they are collectively and individually seeking. That restaurant table is certainly one of uber-normality and contentment. Even Meadow’s frustrating parking job is simply normal for a girl her age. So when Journey sings “Some will win, some will lose” I think we’ve had several episodes showing the losers (the roster of the dead and their families), and this final scene in the final episode shows us the winners, to wit the Soprano nuclear family.

    And finally Chase speaks to us more or less directly. After the last and final shot of Tony’s face, Chase cuts to black and showing us literally that “the movie never ends, it goes on and on and on and on.”

    Thus we literally have “no ending” to the TV show called “The Sopranos”, and I believe that symbolically Chase is telling us that the family’s struggle for conventional “normality” and “to find emotion” will always remain slightly out of reach, like a movie that “never ends, it goes on and on and on and on…”. Sopranos fans are dissatisfied with the absence of an ending – the “movie that never ends” – and are meant by Chase to experience the same lingering sense of incompletion that’s felt by each member of the Sopranos nuclear family.

    Not perfect, and I have other thoughts about it, but that’s my take at the moment.

    One last thing: the reason I’ve come to this general conclusion is that I completely dismiss the idea that any character in the restaurant is a hitman. As we’ve seen repeatedly in The Sopranos and certainly in these final episodes, hitmen don’t hesitate or dawdle. They approach the target, bang bang bang, and they’re gone. No character in the final scene even loosely approaches this template. So I conclude that there are no hitmen in the restaurant, and this is confirmed by Tony’s completely relaxed and nonchalant expressions … I can’t think of anyone who would be more able to ID a hitman. Chase is playing with us in this final scene, and it’s very easy to get sucked into the false symbology of Tony’s death.

    But Tony doesn’t die, there are no hitmen in the restaurant, and so we must reassess everything from the premise that Tony lives, and life “goes on and on and on and on.”

    • TOPSY40 Says:

      Hy. I disagree…watch in slowmo ..the waitress signals to somepne just after walking past Tony. Meadow is is a get across the road to warn her father..u can see shes visibly upset. The time diference between when Meadow SOULD reach the door and to when the bell rings is just 2 long. The door opens (never mind that it had opned at least twice before and no bell rang) and u see the look of FUCK cross his face..he reaches for his gun but ….
      WHere did the old guy with the scouts go?

  68. Garry Says:

    Chase4President –

    I like your take on the ending. It’s the long view of the series, the Big Picture.

    There is literally and symbolically “no end” for us, or for the Soprano family. and for each member of the family, life “goes on and on and on and on.”

    One exception is that I don’t think it’s implied or certain or even predictable that Tony will go to jail for the gun charge.

  69. Jose Says:

    One of the songs on the jukebox that jumped out at me was “This Magic Moment.” It was featured at the end “Sopranos Home Movies,” earlier in the season. Did the other songs on the jukebox make appearances ever in the season? Too lazy to double check myself…

  70. T.Holly Says:

    Not that I know of, but “Magic Man” was on the jukebox. Anyone see this:

    Posted by: Chris Willman at June 26, 2007 09:49 AM

    Love the article, Chris. Proof positive for me that Tony can’t access the rest of his memory. (Time cut, time cut, time cut, I say)

    The redecorated room at the top of the show? Suspicious, but inconclusive, still looking for “screen caps.”

    Posted by: T.Holly at June 28, 2007 08:42 AM

  71. neil leverett Says:

    yea an extremely clever final scene. the viewer expecting to see sum blood both with all the soprano family members involved. there are other moments that built it end; meadow being unable to park the car, making the viewer think she might be about to bare witness and be part of an event due to her tardyness; the summation of all the seasons put together; the jukebox, the journey, i gotta be me, etc; the geneartions within the family diner; expectations of the guy at the bar looking at the family, you expecting somthing to happen, when it did not. i think this was the whole point; the sopranos broke with convention, and so did the ending.

    thats what i think anywayz.

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  73. Leo Carmody Says:

    I think this analysis is good, but the big question in my head is this: who knew Tony was going to be at Holsten’s? In the scene right before Tony goes to See Uncle June, Carmela comes out and tells him that dinner plans have changed. Thus, the only people who knew Tony was going to be at Holsten’s were Carm, AJ and Meadow, and I don’t think they capped him.

  74. Con Says:

    I am surprised no one on this blog has brought it up. I found this tantalising piece of information on Wikipedia last night but it was mysteriously deleted after I viewed some links relating to it.

    Apparently the end credits includes “Man in members only jacket – Paolo Colandrea”

    This is an anagram of “A man kills Tony, Carmela and AJ – Don is prone”.

    If this is Chase’s cryptic clue that the Sopranos did have a definite ending and everything discussed above is basically true.

  75. Con Says:

    I should correct my previous post, the anagram should read,

    “A Man Kills Tony, Carmela, AJ – Don Become Prone”

  76. Sluggo Says:

    your dreaming………..if I don’t see the “whack” !!
    plain and simple……Tony is still alive period !
    you people are dreaming with your final thoughts.

  77. Spinmonkey Says:

    Chase was just playing tricks on us with all the symbolism and dubious characters in the final episode. Why do you think he went to Europe when the show aired. He knew the uproar that would ensue for playing with our emotions this way. I love it though. What a genius. Check it: some songs slowly fade out at the end. Some songs end abruptly. Much in the same fashion, Chase chose to end the series abruptly with the “black” scene. No hidden meaning behind it at all other then to let us keep discussing it. I believe some authors become very attached to their characters and Chase loves his anti-hero way too much to let him die. Just as Rowling loves Harry. In my mind, the mob life is almost extinct and Tony will have to start earning an honest paycheck and that’s why the show is over. Long live Tony.

  78. John Says:

    Nice screen shots but I think you need to get some rest 🙂
    Focusing on the whiteness of the waitresses arm and concluding that she is ‘death’???? Could it just be that the actress had a white arm and was serving people in the background rather than marking them out as ‘targets’. Hehehehe. My take on it is an easy one, the family are out for a meal, Tony keeps looking up to see if his family arrive, after what has just gone on with all the hits he’s no doubt edgy as well, the tension is built up and up, that’s mobster living, you have your family but there’s always an outside threat.

    I can see why there’s a need to disect it all scene by scene. Afterall it was one of the best TV shows ever (ranking next to Deadwood – bring that back!), and we wanted an ending to satisfy the time and love we put in watching it. This open ending does leave a big WHAT hanging in the air but I don’t think the family were about to be slain as that is not in the mobster code.

    Didn’t series 5 end with a family meal as well?

    I’m ordering the series 1-6 boxset for Xmas, maybe take a month off to enjoy.

  79. Brian Monroe Says:

    Excellent analysis!!!! I think you’re right on. All that I’ll add on is say that Meadow represents the Goddess, a symbol of freedom (note the statue of liberty behind Tony on the boxset cover). Freedom for Tony is finally coming — in the form of death. I have to disagree with one thing: it does “go on and on and on.” Check out my analysis at my blog — it’s worth the read, you’ll like it.

  80. Chris Mangin Says:

    Wait, I remember Tony saying family members don’t get touched, which is why he flipped out when that guy came up to Meadow at the restaurant and made some off-color comments. How would that reason with Carmella and AJ getting killed?

  81. Corbera Says:

    This is the end of a great story. No need to go deep into imagining a nebulous parallel universe where the story of Anthony Soprano could continue, in order to pass away the frustration. (But check out this for the sake of .. whatever: they’ve changed the planned restaurant just before meeting, so there is no gun hidden behind the water basin in the men’s toilette..)

  82. seaneh Says:

    also, if you watch closely enough tony reaches for something, he puts his hand down towards his pocket the moment the door opens? but for what

  83. Anonymous Says:

    I like it but I think Carmela and AJ are spared. If you’re right about the waitress represeting death, notice she never reaches AJ and Carm. She does ‘pass over’ Tony though, so it looks like his fate is sealed. This also aligns with the symbolism of 1 & 3 that you mention. One is different from the other three. One dies three live.

    Or something.

  84. Tommy Says:

    For me there were 3 or 4 endings. None I’d really like to watch. ||To play with us and subscribe to nothing concrete and allow all these (above) in depth analysis is the best we can expect. Tony to live forever is not possible. It had to end somewhere. Wish it didn’t…

  85. Pauly Says:

    I’ve done extensive research on the myriad theories proposed by Sopranos finatics. I have two questions that I feel need to be answered in order for any of us to draw a reasonable conclusion about the symbolism.

    One: has Chase inserted hidden, religious, particularly catholic symbolism into the whole series? Why would he start now in the last episode?

    Secondly, drawing the conclusion that Tony dies because of all the Last Supper symbolism would necessitate Tony’s comparison to Jesus. I don’t think Chase ever implies, in the 86 episode series, a comparison between the two. It simply wouldn’t make sense for it to start now.

  86. joe Says:

    Tony see’s himself in the diner scene; Tony is actually dead and is re living his death and that of his wife and son, over and over again 9his punishment in hell). The last scen where Tony see’s meadow entering, he see’s the shock in her face as she see’s the Memebers Only hitman about to shoot her father in the head. He then shhot’s Carm and AJ. I believe that Meadow gets shot too, as she runs toward her family. The aisle towards the front door is very narrow. If the assasin did not shoot Meadow, he may have been attacked or blocked by her.

  87. shawn Says:

    I keep thinking of tony having flashbacks of the boat on the lake, which is where he and bobby discussed how it will end. You don’t see it coming! Just darkness. But Chase was genious to leave it open for people to decide their own conclusions.

    Tony saw food he ate it; he saw woman he banged them; he saw booze he drank it. He lived in the moment better than anyone. Tony Soprano 1958-2007

  88. alex Says:

    did anyone else notice that when everyone enters the restaurant up until the two african american men enter there are five pieces of paper hanging to the left of the front door. but when they enter there are only four. so much for continuity. doesn’t mean anything but it’s an interesting observation. Also did you notice that the first line of the song “all you can dream” that we hear is “…all we can dream..” accompanied with the first appearance of Tony in this scene. And the line of the Journey song “just a small town girl..” is heard simultaneously with a close up of Carmela. And the line “just a small town boy..” is heard simultaneously with a close up of Tony.

  89. alex Says:

    in regards to members only man. if you watch the first episode of season six part1 Gino wears a member’s only jacket the entire episode.he asks Tony to let him retire to Florida and Tony refuses. Gino does a job as a hitman wearing the member’s only jacket. He enters a fast food place and gets in line at the counter, then he pretends to have just noticed a friend sitting at a table whom he walks towards. He pulls a gun and kills the man. When talking to his wife later in the episode Gino tries to persuade her away from the Florida idea because Tony said no. The wife then says “why don’t you just kill him. Put a bullet in his f-ing head.” In the scene before this one Tony is wearing the same style shirt as in the final episode. He also goes out to eat with carmela and the couple can be seen from the same camera angle as from the bathroom hallway in the final episode. They are sitting in the same seats as in the booth in the final episode as well. Gino hgas been cooperating with the FBI in the episode “member’s only” and upon the realization that he would never be free of his service to them as well as Tony, he hangs himself. The scene immediately after this Tony is shot by his Uncle Junior. Take from that what you will.

  90. alex Says:

    I forgot, Gino and Vito also talk briefly about the future of the family and possibly in 1 or 2 years Tony will be gone. If you follow the time frame it’s approximately 1 to 2 years later that the final episode takes place.

  91. yerdz Says:


  92. yerdz Says:


  93. Courtney Valdez Says:

    The reason why the supposed hitman would not have immediately shot Tony goes back to Chase’s homages to The Godfather. Throughout the series, there’s a number of nods to “the greatest movie ever made”. When Vito Corleone was shot in the first movie, he was buying oranges. Oranges symbolized death throughout The Godfather. When Tony was shot in the first season, he was buying orange juice.

    That said, this could have been another homage to The Godfather: Michael going into the restroom to retrieve the gun he used to shoot Sollozzo and McClusky. The Man in the Member’s Only Jacket went into the restroom, conspicuously…not that he was necessarily going to retrieve a gun, but that act of doing so may be another homage to The Godfather. I don’t think that’s too far fetched, considering the obvious allusions to GF in the series.

  94. beastman Says:

    Thank god someone else posted something about the members only guy going into the can being a nod to the GF (I thought that meant tony got it by members only guy) I loved the series and own the box set. just finished my 3rd viewing and figured id google the crazy theories you cooks had come up with. I figured the big piece of evidence would be what i took from it, the “GF reference” when members only goes into the bathroom. Thats all the symbolism i could find on my own before i read all the other crap. But noooooobody mentions it till the end of the thred. So thank you Courtney Valdez. Everyone else is nuts. o and that bit about the orange juce is interesting i never got that but i like it, verry possibe.
    So in conclusion i think their was a hint T may be killed by the guy you cooks call ‘members only guy’. Why: the way he is focused on in the scene, he sticks out (and thats why all you think hes the shooter). I think its a GF reference because of the emphasis on him. So possibly tony does die, but not because the waitress has pail arms, or some bimbo looks like a skinny janus or the way T and carm and AJ eat their onion rings, or how many creamers some guy got with his coffee. sorry maby im just stupid. or maby chase should get shot and have HIS mellon ran over for doing this to his fans. but as far as the ending without all this bull, spectacular. everything is resolved nice and neatly exept for that crappy end scene.

  95. Stugots Says:

    R.I.P. SOPRANOS you will be missed. (maby too much hugh)


  96. […] stumbled onto this site, it’s a quite interesting deconstruction – the last scenes of the last episode of the Sopranos, shot-by-shot… Share and […]

  97. Daniel Says:

    The show is about heaven and hell good vs evil and so on. All the clues are not in the final show. Tony is in Vegas and he screams “I get it” Tony realizes he is going to hell and his time is up. Episode 68 when we all meet Kevin Finnerty in Tony’s dream. Kevin faces the monks he screwed over on a new roof and basically is on his way to hell but Tony regains conscious. The whole dream scape was to show us Ton’s days are numbered .

  98. Jannacek Says:

    I think the theory is perfect for one detail (i don’t think AJ and Carmella get clipped, the director wanted to show tony dying and did it through the brilliant way of the black out; directing is about showing or hinting, if AJ and C had to die he would have had to figure another way of doing it … remember though also Meadow: whe parks her park on her THIRD atempt.

  99. Mark W Says:

    In my opinion, the final scene is shot differently than any other scene in the series. Througout the final scene the camera is used to show pretty much two views: Tony’s face and his perception of what is going on around him or what he sees through his eyes. From the moment he sits down, this technique is used. We will see his face, then it will cut to what he sees (Carmela, A.J, Members Only Jacket etc.) Watch the scene with this in mind and it becomes clear that he hears the door open, but when it cuts to his perspective, he never sees Meadow enter Holston’s due to he can’t see anything anymore.

  100. BACKON Says:


  101. Steven Johannes from Belgium Says:

    The Sopranos episodes are so involving, the viewer can’t remain passive… and with this open end…

    … our minds never at rest? 😉

    … this “tv-series” or fictional masterpiece even more “immortal”?

  102. vivacruz Says:

    “The juxtaposition of the Tony close-up and the Tony sitting-down messed with people for some reason. I think it was just accidental.”

    this argument is very very weak, sorry

  103. vivacruz Says:

    Apparently the end credits includes “Man in members only jacket – Paolo Colandrea”


  104. Jorge Sanchez Says:

    In an interview when Chase was asked what the ending had a meaning, he said that “crime doesnt pay”.
    This means that Tony doesn’t get killed but lives a life constantly in danger of being killed. and that’s why crime doesnt pay.

  105. Big Bob1313 Says:

    does anyone, realize that no other whack in the entire show, had the hit man wait around before actually making the kill…. no its always straight to the kill, this guys taking his sweet time, coffee, bathroom break why would he wait around for more people to show up??! sorry people but i don’t think anyone died it was just to show how paranoid you can get from living a life of crime.

  106. Scott9824 Says:

    One thing I loved about the last episode was that Bob Dylan’s song It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) was played. Kind of foreboding for Tony’s death, yeah? Also, I agree that only Tony dies, not AJ or Carmella based on Bobby’s comment about not even hearing the bullet when someone is shot.

  107. mr k Says:

    I dont think any one is killed, look at the first episode and look at there lives than. The hole point is that nothing is really happend, lots of people is gone and lots have happend but the problems are still the same. The big picture is still the same. Also who is the posible person too have ordred the hit…….

  108. Roy Says:

    Its deliberately ambiguous. What you see is what happens. After the screen goes blank, those characters don’t exist any more and nothing further happens to them. Yes, we are supposed to look at the clues, watch the other diners, especially the “Members Only” guy. We are also supposed to speculate, to discuss, to wonder. But I don’t believe there is any one conclusion that Chase had in mind. Ambiguity, is all there is, and it is beautifully created. A great ending to a wonderful show.

  109. Jamie Swinfield Says:

    I like all the theories here.
    However, there is one that has been overlooked.
    The well known saying that ‘your life flashes before your eyes when you die’.
    Well, the diner symbolises food, community, family, love and companionship. Tony is with, or is going to be with, the three people he loves most, who he has spent his life with.
    The young couple in the diner symbolise him and Carm as they were when they first met.
    The scouts symbolise Tony with his young family.
    Perhaps the Members Only Guy is both a symbol of Tony’s paranoia AND his life as a mobster.
    Obviously food and the social aspect that comes with eating is a massive part of mob life, hence the diner.
    Meadow unable to park her car properly indicates that he (Tony) still see’s her as his little girl, no matter if she is engaged (ring on finger) and her almost getting hit by the car indicates that he always will see her that way.
    The conotations and euphemisms are rife, but personally, i think that what we are seeing is Tony’s life flashing before him. Albeit in a hidden, not so obvious way.
    The bell ringing symbolises that thats it.
    Whether he gets it outside the diner or somewhere completely different is not important.
    It’s the things we see and that are. Obviously things that dont make sense to us WOULD make sense to Tony… And thats the point. It was HIS life we had an insight into. It’s HIS life we see ending and therefore the symbolism that abounds means something to Tony.
    We are left to try to make sense of them…

    Either way, the show was genious and although i watch it still on DVD, the anticipation of new episodes will sorely be missed.

    RIP (Not Tony), rather The Sopranos.

  110. PDIDDY Says:


  111. […] ici un décryptage minutieusement détaillé des 4 dernières minutes de la série the Sopranos : analyse de la scène finale. Voici ce qui restera comme une œuvre télévisuelle majeure en matière de séries télé. […]

  112. whatuciswhatuget Says:

    Like David Chase said its all there, nothing to over think.Tony and his family are alive and well….fade to black………

  113. steve Says:

    Any word on a movie?

  114. Joe Says:

    I was reading through this thread and couldn’t believe that nobody had brought up the conversation btween Tony & Bobby in the boat in an earlier episode where they were discussing what they thought happened when youget shot and killed and it was said that it just happens with no warning and everything goes to black. But finally Shawn brought it up, THANK YOU. That is exactly what happened in the last scene, it can’t be coincidence…like Chase said it is all there. I believe Tony was shot and killed and that Vito was probably behind it. I think members only guy going to the bathroom was a homage to the GF. As said by someone else according to the pattern the next scene would have been from T’s perspective, and it was. It went to black without warning because T was shot & killed and that is his perspective. The only thing i think is a mystery is if the fam. Got it as well. Would make sense as a reason it didn’t happen until Meadow got there but who knows. That’s my two cents.

  115. mr k Says:

    Joe, just wondering about this
    “I believe Tony was shot and killed and that Vito was probably behind it”. If you mean Vito Spatafore, i dont think he did it!!!!

    Members only guy is FBI I think. The episode Members only, we see that Ray Curto is working with the fbi and that Gene Pontecorvo also is a fbi informant. So if we are going to read something in this, my best tips is an arest and a reco for Tony.

  116. Tom Says:

    What I was wondering about:
    The plate with the Journey songs is the only one with no Record Company infos…
    Its either that Release Number or the two song selections which might have some clues… I think 🙂

  117. Step Machine Says:

    Be not fuming that you cannot make others as you desire them to be, since you cannot prevail upon yourself as you thirst to be

  118. joe Says: this link provides proof that people are not crazy about meadow walking in last. listen to begining part of the interview with jamie lynn

  119. tony Says:

    I have a different though not necessarily correct take on the onion rings. A theme of the show is American life and I took this to be a symbol of gluttony. We see over and over again the eating of basically ordinary crappy food like tony with a bag of Herrs chips when Carm goes to visit Med at school and tells Tony not to come (sort of). We see shots in the fride of Tropicana OJ. Basically a processed pretender to the real thing, and not even close to anyone who knows the difference. I take this to mean that this whole crowd does not. This goes for food, even though they love the good stuff they also eat the bad, as well as for all forms of pleasure and things generally. They seem to revel in a materialism that doesn’t even involve top quality stuff. Cadillac cars for example (Pauly). Cigarettes, second string strippers, generic suburban homes (Tony). Some stupid jewelery and other baubles (Carm). They hang on to illusion that this stuff is good because it’s the only way to process what the world is and be sort of ok with it. The fool, crazy one, AJ is essentially driven mad by reality and he also is the only one who speaks the truth (sort of). The only one who escapes the cycle (sort of) is Med. Breaks from the family. What gets her out? brain power and education so she sees there’s more than this provincial little world of petty crap and fussing over small amounts of money.

  120. sandy Says:

    Paolo Colandrea Man in Members Only Jacket is an agagram of:


  121. Kirsty Hughes Says:

    Remember the first episode of Series 6 Part 2, where Tony is on the boat with Bobby and we get the line, “you probably don’t even hear it when it happens, right?! … This line is obviously crucial to interpretations of the black out at the end of the final episode.

    However, also of interest in this earlier episode, notice that a bell rings ominously at various points throughout the episode, on a boat tied up on the lake. It is this sound that is the last thing we hear in the Sopranos, the tolling bell that signals the end of Tony’s life, as Meadow enters Holsten’s. Just another piece of evidence that these two episodes are closely linked and very significant.

    Also, did you notice that in the opening scene of the final episode, it looks like Tony is lying in a coffin? And the music playing sounds like a funeral march…

  122. Kirsty Hughes Says:

    Oh, and also in the final scene of the last episode, the song on the page before ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ is ‘This Magic Moment’… the song David Chase put at the end of the episode with Bobby on the boat. Another link…

  123. Dana Says:

    I also think Meadow was pregnant. The fact that Carmella said the visit to the doctor was to change birth control was “too much information”, so either she was covering for Meadow, or Meadow covered for herself to Carm. Since Meadow seemed destined to become a Parisi, maybe she would survive the diner scene and the story would carry forth with Meadow and Patrick as the new Carmella and Tony. Yes, they are both interested in the field of law, but could easily get sucked into family business if Meadow’s family was wiped out.

  124. dsweeney Says:

    This is the perfect analysis and absolutely correct. Well done. And Sandy’s anagram cannot be coincidence, surely.

  125. mr k Says:

    Quiz: If Meadow is preagnent the baby is a boy and it will be named ?

  126. daniel brown Says:


  127. johnny sack for president Says:

    The shot of Tony looking at the members only guy as he goes into the bathroom is misinterpreted I think. I think he is looking at AJ. Look at where Tony is sitting,then look at his eyes. The the shot after is of AJ which I believe is a POV shot. Also when the members only guy enters, he enters with AJ, in my opinion so that Tony wont pay as much attention to him. He has all the indications of a very clever hitman. Great ending in my opinion. Chase said the answer is there if you look closely. I think its obvious that he died. The camera work, the music, members only guy, the shirt he is wearing, the onion rings, its all there for me.

  128. Franky Minkia Says:

    David Chase is a genius. What tv series have let this interrogatives after 4 years from the last episode? The possibility are two: 1.Tony continued to live.
    2.Tony died.
    Chase choose to let the single spectator believe what the spectator want.
    Why D. Chase doesn’t never explains definitely if “his creature” really passed avay or not?
    Some years ago I had a group of gangster movie-fan albanian friends that used to whatch everytime this kind of film. The first time i’ve watched Scarface they inexplicably stop the video before Souza platoon. I was very tired of their censorship. When i asked why you stop the movie they give me a evasive reply. When after months i re-whatched the film by my own i had the response… They don’t want see their hero to die… Incredible but this is the only reason. In this way Chase want let every of us imagine what we want. So if you want tony is ok, this is the ending. If you want imagine Tony died, then Tony is dead. Or is in jayl because of Carlo betrayal.

  129. bird Says:

    the thing that i always liked about the show was that no matter the business they were involved with, or the money, they still have the same family issues. i just saw “Made in AMerica” about a year ago, and i wondered if i got the “hitman” thing right. i think the ending is fine. who knows if Tony was killed? Carm was coming to terms that Tony may really be in legal trouble this time, but they will survive. AJ seemed to be pulling out of his funk. Meadow is goiong to do fine. family was Tony’s favorite thing, and that is hopw it ended.

  130. Ihsan GOREN Says:

    Hitmen do not expose himself with a Members Only Jacket to his target for minutes.

    It is called Made in America, because the guy with USA cap killed Tony and only Tony. Because Tony took everything this guy had in the second season. He had to leave town in the episode PlayHouse. Yes, he is David. His childhood friend, sporting, camping goods shop owner and gambler.

    Little Italy was 40 blocks, now down to a street of shops. Americans did it.

  131. daniel brown Says:

    No he is not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  132. When Christopher is shot in season two, he goes to purgatory and then comes back. He tells Paulie that his father told him to warn both Paulie and Tony about “3 o clock”.

    When Paulie is informed he has prostate cancer, he looks up and it’s 3PM.

    The men’s bathroom is directly to Tony’s right, which is 3 o clock for him.

    The reason some people think they saw Meadow enter the restaurant is because of the POV sequence that Chase set up.

    “you probably never hear it coming”. Bullets travel faster than sound.

    Lots of mob hits occur after a pause. The hit man was about to become a Made Man aka a member of the mob by doing this hit. There is no way he could have just walked up to Tony and shot him. He had to act normal and then come from behind. Michael does this in GF and there are many examples in Sopranos when a killer takes his time to make sure he’s got a clear shot first.

    Members only guy followed AJ to the restaurant.

  133. tony Says:

    Members Only guy killed Tony, anyone who argues this is an idiot. There are so many clues throughout the series to prove Tony was shot, and that Members Only guy did it. Remember when Tony said “3 strikes and your out” after he was almost murdered the 2nd time? Remember Bobby “you dont even hear it when it happens”? Remember the cat staring at Chris’s picture after he died? Theres a picture of a cat on the Holstens wall, and a painting of a mansion that looks like the “Inn at the Oaks” when Tony was in a coma. When we were suppose to see through Tony’s eyes, all we see is nothingness because he was shot in the head by Members Only guy coming out of the bathroom.

  134. I’m actually liking what your said here. I need to agree together with your every single word.

  135. Anonymous Says:

    DUDE…you have this *ALL WRONG*…first of all, Meadows inability to parallel park is foreshadowing of her inability to get her life “straight”….

    Tony, patting A.J. on the hand is a way of admitting that he too will be part of “The Family”….

    And most of all..the quick fade to black (when Meadow walks in)–caused MASS HYSTERIA across the nation watching this finale—*EVERYONE* thought their cable went out or something was wrong—this was a technique to let the Viewer realize the “Anxiety” that Tony will have to *ALWAYS* look over his back the rest of his life (thus why he tracks the “MEMBERS ONLY” jacket guy all through the restaurant…the meaning being….for me not to keep an eye on you, you better be a Made Man…

    If you’ve ever worked on a Movie Set (and I’ve worked on DOZENS of them)–you will realize that *NOTHING*…not even a Pencil will be shown in a scene unless it has meaning….that’s the Prop Department and Continuity Department Responsibility.

    Thus *EVERYTHING* that happened in the Dinner most DEFINITELY has “meaning” to the Finale.

  136. daniel brown Says:

    Member only dude is always the killer on this blog… What happens in the episode “member only” Thats about FBI and the made guys they have flippt…. And who is in this time of the Soprano world, wanting Tony dead… Phil, no he`s dead….

  137. The big thing I noticed when I watched the scene the first time was the GF homage. That seems perfectly consistent with the theory that the scene is depicting Tony’s paranoia. We know not only that Chase loves GF but that Tony loves GF. He sees MO guy enter the bathroom, he thinks GF. The final cut to black reinforces that Tony can never know whether he and his family are in imminent dangers — which amounts to a sort of hell on Earth.

    • Anonymous Says:

      There is a jukebox page we see only for a split second before Tony turns the page to the one with Journey on it. One this first page there is an arrow pointing to the group “Jay & The Americans”. In the arrow it reads “HIT”.
      I believe the significance of the song Tony chooses is not the song title but the group name—“JOURNEY”—what Tony is about to embark on.
      Also, I believe all three of them at the table got wacked.

  138. Anonymous Says:

    This is what I think. There is a jukebox page we see only for a split second before Tony turns the page to the one with Journey on it. One this first page there is an arrow pointing to the group “Jay & The Americans”. In the arrow it reads “HIT”.
    I believe the significance of the song Tony chooses is not the song title but the group name—“JOURNEY”—what Tony is about to embark on.
    Also, I believe all three of them at the table got wacked.

  139. yoeleven Says:

    well..what we have here is the u.s.a. the way it use to be.before 911.tony has done deals with guys the gov;t is very interested in.selling arms and laundering money.the feds even tell you they are putting all their resources into fighting terrorism.not old school organizations,and beliefs.ex:phil…tonys problems all go away,he is now helping the gov;t.with full protection for him and his family,and is free to continue doing buisness as usual.c.mon man,the diner,onion rings,juke box,boy scouts,guys in hats with u.s.a. on them,truckers,the list goes on my friends.this is nothing new.this is what i believe to be the ending of the series.ciao.GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!

  140. leon Says:

    Time to put this horse to bed. Here is how it ends.

    My first impression without any analasys was that it ended so abruptly to say ‘life goes on as normal.’

    But now I’m pretty sure Tony gets whacked. At first I thought the point is it ends abruptly just to show that life will go on etc and all the symbloism and tension in the last scene shows what it is like to be in Tony’s head now he’s just whacked a five famillies boss without permission from the heads of the other four famillies.

    But nah.

    Reason being is EVERYTHING, every last detail in a movie or show like that is deliberate. there will not be even a pencil or a piece of lint in the frame if the director doesn’t want it there, it doesn’t happen. If they wanted to do a ‘life goes on as normal and they live’ ending they would’ve gone with a fade out and then music and credits, possibly even with a pan-out from the restaurant. That is convention and that is how you would build that kind of ending.

    But no. In the previous ep we get a flashback to Bobby and T on the lake and bobby saying ‘in our line of work, they say you don’t even hear it when it comes’ – bullets travel faster than sound. And then the last shots of the scene, Meadow walks through the door and T looks up and boom, we get that abrupt cut and ten seconds of black screen and silence.

    Now if we want to discern what this means we have to simply ask why the director would choose this over the type of ending I outline above. The reason thus becomes very simple, if that is not the ending the director wants to suggest, then what does he intend? When you get shot in the dome from behind, that’s how it happens, one minute you have vision, sound, concsiousness and the next – an abrupt black screen – loss of concsiousness, just like bonbby said and just like what happened to Phil Leotardo.

    In supprting this I will add you cannot just go and whack a 5 famillies boss without support from the other 4 famillies and expect to just have zero comeback. Very dumb move on T’s part, although to be fair it was his only choice as Phil had made the move on him first. He really had no choice other than to go on a permanent or long term lam. Also in that last scene the ‘Member’s only’ (our thing?) jacket guy gets a lot of camera time and the camera even follows him to the bathroom, this does not happen to any other character other than T in the whole diner scene. Again a director and writer as astute as Chase would not do that if there wasn’t a reason for it.

    So yeah, as much as I like the idea of the ‘life goes on’ theory,’ the objective technical evidence points to T getting whacked.

    I did infer from them making such a show of each eating an onion ring in one big bite that they were ‘eating the big zero’ although tbh I prefer not to resort to such ambigous symbolism and simply look clearly at directorial intent, and when we do that with a knowledge of mise en scene and cinematic style and history – it looks like the Tony gets whacked ending is what happened.

    I would guess that it was little Carmine planning a hige coup / takeover or possibly merely revenge from NY.

    Simply really when you not let yourself be distracted by emotion or potential symbolism and just look at the rules of the tv production world and the rules of T’s world.

    • JP Smith Says:

      The families were at war. During war, all bets are off and the rules don’t apply. It’s obvious that Tony or anyone “in their line of work” could get whacked at any given moment and for any reason, no matter how absurd and regardless of the “rules”.

      You said it…nothing that’s blatant in the shot happens unintentionally and we are given a choice of potential endings for the crime boss. If he [Chase] wanted it to be definitive that Tony gets killed, then it would have been so…but it wasn’t and therefore is not [definitive].

      ‘Any Way You Want It’…


    • Anonymous Says:

      Wrong, Tony. I think you might be an idiot. How do any of your “remembers” prove a damn thing? There are as many tips that lean toward nobody dies

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  142. Jayne Says:

    Other observations: one of the jukebox songs is “This Magic Moment,” which played at the end of the episode at Bobby and Janice’s lake house, when Tony made Bobby do his first “hit.”
    It was during that episode, when Bobby and Tony were out in the boat, that they were talking about what death would be like. Bobby said he thought everything would just go black.

  143. Anonymous Says:

    Only Tony was killed. Remember, families don’t get touched.

  144. collie Says:

    The gentlemen of the Mafia are not particularly adept at following rules, even their own, so I think sparing the family would not be a priority. Perhaps the hitman went into the toilet because he was getting something he couldn’t bring in the front door inconspicuously, like a submachine gun, and Tony, Carmela and AJ die in a hail of bullets. The weapon could have been secreted in the toilet, just as the gun was in the Godfather, after information was received about the family gathering. Had Meadow not been so meticulous at following the rules of the road, she would have been at the table when the hit was made, and would have been killed as well. The Sopranos is nothing if not an intensely moral show. AJ had a chance to get away from the family business by joining the army, but instead he accepted a job that effectively made him a mob employee. Carmela was told by Dr. Krakower in the season 3 episode “Second Opinion” that she should leave Tony and raise her children without the benefit of illegal funding, but the lure of wealth was too much, and the decision she made every day sealed her fate. Why show each of the three placing an onion ring in their mouth in that communion-like way unless a point was being made? It is as if they are receiving their halos!

  145. Anonymous Says:

    Yes, Tony is on edge, and checking all in the diner. Seems OK. Life will go on and on and on, and they all continue to gorge on what ever they want, and the future looks bright. Med is growing up and Tony has a moment with his son. But, my feeling from the final scene was a horrible end. Tony first reminisces his own life through others in the room and the words in the song. But, in the last moments, he’s looking to change this song. He pulls the juke box lever and a bell rings. The music stops on “don’t stop”. He sees his split second impending death in the expression in the eyes of his daughter. Meadow is the distraction that the members only man was waiting for, for Tony to look at the door, and the gunshot is taken from behind his right shoulder. But, Tony sees the look on Meadow’s face, fumbles for something for not even a second. But, its too late, and he sees nothing else, just black. OR the show just ended wtih no-one killed. Who knows – but this is Tony’s paranoid life forever

  146. Anonymous Says:

    Also, it is not a dream sequence. After entering the diner, Tony looks at the tables, orders onion rings, walks over to the table – this is all left out and then the next shot he is at the table. The point shown is that it doesn’t pay to be in the mob and try to look after a family at the same time – his family selects a new diner at last minute – a new place which could be hard to stay protected. He accepts anyway. He is tense when he walks in, he is tense when the FBI-type cap guy walks in. He relaxes when he sees Carmela (just order food and relax). A girl walks in and he remembers his sister (who looked like her). The hitman follows AJ to find Tony, and cleverly walks in ahead – Tony again is distracted by AJ. The hitman spends time to work out an attack plan and carefully checks the square inset space at the toilet door. Tony is continuously distracted by family – Meadow at hospital, but it is ok; AJ’s job and talk about remembering good times; Tony’s song says to believe these times will still go on – this all makes him relaxed, putting his guard down. Tony sees the hitman breifly, but disregards most of his walk to the toilet. The final distraction is Meadow through the door. The Sopranos has had a constant theme of the irony of a mob family and home family, the disconnection, and how one can cause trouble for the other – just look a the first series with his mother.

  147. […] est une série qui traite de la mafia. Après les Parrains, Il était une fois en Amérique, les Sopranos, The Shield et leurs copies, que peuvent bien apporter les Sons ? C’est vrai, au bout de 10 […]

  148. Anonymous Says:

    The hit was probably organised by Uncle Junior who has been faking senility for a long time. He was third time lucky on attempt to get Tony. The first time was while Tony’s mother was alive. Tony only went to see Junior because he thought Janice might get the money. But, Bobby was one of Junior’s best allies, and only was kept away from Junior because of Tony being boss. Junior overheard the phonecall between Tony and Carmela of where they would have dinner.

  149. Mr.Mike Says:

    Very well thought out. I had never considered the implications of Meadow trying to park…..trying to do the right thing. Makes sense. But the POV shots tell it all. Every time Tony looked up towards the door, we saw through his eyes who came in. So to see blackness….what more needs to be said? It took me awhile to accept he was dead and I admit I felt short hanged by the ending but once I was able to understand what Chase was doing, I now appreciate it as one of the greatest scenes ever, film or television.

  150. phil Says:

    i dont buy the whole, fade to black he’s dead thing. it’s just too obvious. also Bobby’s own death was not like that at all!

    im in the camp of, it’s us getting whacked by the show ending, but it gave us a chance to see what tonys life is like and the fact that he will either get arrested or killed eventually.

    the only other option for me is, the members only guy goes to the toilet to make a call to the real hitman, and he gets in the diner just before Meadow, thats why shes running, and tonys look of fear /possible reach for a gun.

    i dont believe the whole family was killed because how would the Members only guy know that meadow was just about to walk in?? wouldnt he wait till shes there.

  151. Sam Says:

    wow great thread! I don’t know if I could pick just one person’s version or idea of what happened to be honest, I see bits and pieces.

    Someone mentioned Veto, how could this be from him? He’s dead!?

    I think although this may be a stretch, perhaps the MO guy walked in with AJ by accident? Maybe that’s why he was taking a minute to figure out what his next move is? Maybe he’s been tailing Tony, and that’s how he knew he was there? I also can see it being put in there as something just to generate “theories” and he was a meaningless character.

    I do like the suggestion given about the man in the USA cap, and being David. Once I read that I rewatched it and it could be possible.

    I also like the possibility that Junior has been faking it all along, and is pissed at Tony for not getting him out of the state facility. I think that is the long stretch out of the theories, but still quite possible. Like mentioned above, it would be the 3rd attempt on his life by Junior.

    The only other possibility I see is little Carmine, maybe as a show of strength, and power, having to prove himself as the new boss after the hit on Phil. As the new head of the family you can’t let something like that go, even if it’s only just to show the rest of your family/the other 4 families you won’t tolerate people walking over you (even though Tony had to make the move on Phil) or disrespecting the rules.Tony has had to make similar decisions not because he wanted to, but because of how things would be perceived if he didn’t.

    Lastly, I agree Meadow is pregnant, it makes sense. Maybe she was running out of excitement, she got engaged and is pregnant—Thus completing the circle. Her and her fiance combined = the new or future Carmella/Tony. Maybe AJ is the new crazy uncle Junior….

  152. Anonymous Says:

    It’s real simple. Life as a gangster has no future. Let’s just say Tony lives and wasn’t killed in the diner. He always has to watch his back not knowing when he will be killed. Regardless, in the final scene it starts out with Tony stating that Carlo will testify which means if he didn’t get killed he’d go to prison. It’s not a happy ending for a gangster.

    The strangest part is when he entered the diner, he is wearing a black jacket and a different colored shirt than when he was sitting at the table. I don’t think this is a fluke, it’s purposedly made this way.

    I’ve seen in one of the episodes that there was a party at Tony’s house and there was a part that Puss was in the mirror reflection but he had already been killed. This leads me to believe that Chase believes in ghosts/superstitions.

    The part with the orange cat staring at Chrissy’s picture, the part where the black crow at the window when Chrissy was being made. With all this in mind, when a person gets murdered, they don’t know they’re dead until they’re told they’re dead or see how they died.

    Now back to the beginning of the scene, Tony is already dead at this point but doesn’t know he’s dead as he’s seeing himself like Scrooge in Christmas Carol.

    It’s really brilliant the final scene was written. For 8 years the series entertained millions of people, Chase wanted the ending to be an open ending for his viewers. For those that wanted Tony punished and killed for his behaviour they can think he got killed. For those that condoned robbing, killing, lying, cheating can think that he lived on to continue.

    • JP Smith Says:

      “For 8 years the series entertained millions of people, Chase wanted the ending to be an open ending for his viewers. For those that wanted Tony punished and killed for his behaviour they can think he got killed. For those that condoned robbing, killing, lying, cheating can think that he lived on to continue.”


  153. Anonymous Says:

    MOG was Eugene’s brother. The jacket was a reference to Eugene and the finales title shows why he killed tony. To be made in the new york mafia

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  157. dan p. Says:

    I just saw the episode “Calling All Cars”. The Members Only guy in the final scene looks a lot like the guy who pulls up and parks outside Satrielli’s to pick up Vito and Paulie as they are sitting with Tony and Sil discussing New York’s encroachment on the HUD thing. He draws the ire of Tony and Sil when he honks loudly outside the store , gettingVito and Paulie to come outside. Is it the same guy?

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  162. Luis Says:

    DID TONY SOPRANO DIE? Here is the definite answer!
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  163. Meg Says:

    Re: debunking myths and conclusions…aside from your first two bullet points, you’re all over the place .. Are you agreeing with the fed theory ? Against it ? Members only guy theory? Against it? Again, first you identified a “myth” and tried to debunk it/list arguments .. After that you just ranted .. With ‘0’ consistency in terms of whether you were defending a “myth” or trying to debunk it.

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  166. JP Smith Says:

    The whole point of the last scene is that we are left to decide for ourselves how it ends. The placement of songs in the jukebox are not unintentional. We know that Tony is a fan of classic rock and of Journey in particular. ‘Any Way You Want It’…’Don’t Stop Believing’…we are presented several possibilities of how the show ends.

    The Members Only man = made man, the man with the USA hat = federal gov’t, and the 3-1 representation obviously = the Sopranos. So his fate was either death, imprisonment or he lives happily ever after.

    I don’t believe that his family was killed. That is not how Cosa Nostra operates. The “death” of the Sopranos may not be indicative of actual death, but of the separation of them from their father and the end of the Sopranos crime family.

    There is no way you could possibly please all of the viewers by making a definitive ending, so he let us choose which ending we want…’Any Way You Want It’…

  167. I keep thinking of the opening shot of Made in America where Tony is lying down in peaceful repose with his arms almost crossed at his chest,eyes closed, very still and the music is like a funeral organ. That says a lot to me right there.

  168. Anonymous Says:

    Nothing on the Bell / Tony’s POV until his POC is nothing as meadow walks in, it all goes black . Also David chase shot that last scene like his favorite movie space oddessy 2001 were the guy does see himself just as Tony sees himself sitting , nothing in this scene is an accident

  169. Anonymous Says:

    There are so many holes in your assumptions , I don’t know where to begin. I just need to ask: why the fuck would AJ and Carm be whacked? Makes 0 sense. Better yet let’s say for some unbelievable reason they , along with T, are killed. Then why the hell would the culprit allow Meadow to live??? Zero sense. Meadow, AJ, Carm are citizens / family members. It’s all or nothing. No picking and choosing. Your analysis is just what you wanted to happen. Just as mine is mine.

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