The Sopranos Finale Explained

The Greatest Show on Television

Back in 2007 I remember settling in to watch the finale of what had become my favorite television series of all time. As the last frame cut to black, I was left stunned, confused, and angry, like many other people around the world. I was quick to declare the finale a massive failure, and then I calmed down and started thinking about it. Since then I’ve come to realize that the final episode of The Sopranos was brilliant, and if you pay attention you know what happened after the screen went black.

Tony Soprano was shot by the man in the Members Only jacket.

It might have been as retaliation for the murder of Phil Leotardo (and probably was {EDIT: I’ve got a new theory, explained at the bottom of the article}) or it could’ve been payback for any number of things Tony had done over the years. Honestly, the reason he’s killed isn’t important since he was our focal character throughout the series. Once he’s dead, we die with him, and we’ll never know who did it.

There’s a lot of debate online about whether or not Tony Soprano died at the end. I wanted to take a quick moment to lay out the case for how there is no doubt in my mind that he was killed.

Bobby heard it though.

1) “You probably don’t even hear it when it happens.” Bobby says this to Tony early in the sixth season when they’re talking about getting whacked. A lot of attention is paid to this line and they even go so far as to repeat it later as a quick flashback. If this isn’t meant as foreshadowing, then what in the hell else could it be? And when Bobby is killed, he clearly HEARS it happening as he turns to face his attacker. So, the line of dialogue isn’t meant as foreshadowing to Bobby’s death.

2) The Orange Cat.If there’s one thing that mafia-movie fans understand, it’s that oranges are a bad omen. This started back with The Godfather where oranges were used as a way to hint at impending doom. In the final episode of The Sopranos we see Tony eat an orange in front of his wife, Carmella. Also, in the final episode of the series, we’re introduced to an orange cat that has suddenly and mysteriously started hanging out at the safehouse, and is then brought to the pork store after Phil is murdered. The cat spends most of it’s time staring at a picture of Christopher, who Tony murdered earlier in the season. Paulie sees this cat as a bad omen, and even expresses

The Orange Cat

the idea that it’s a sign of impending death. There’s also a really interesting tie-in to Christopher’s dead ex-fiance, Adriana, in that she used to wear a dress with the imprint of an orange tiger and her mother wore a leather jacket with a tiger emblem, although that might be reaching a bit. All you really need to know is that the final episode of The Sopranos makes a point of explaining that the orange cat is a bad omen and stares at the dead. Then, when we see Tony at the restaurant at the end of the final episode, there’s a big ass orange cat head painted on the wall over his shoulder – perfectly positioned to watch him die. Coincidence? I don’t think so, especially knowing that the backdrop of that restaurant was specifically commissioned for the finale and wasn’t at the restaurant before filming.

3) Members Only. This is the kicker, and whenever anyone argues with me that Tony doesn’t die, this is always what I feel proves them wrong. The first episode of Season Six was called ‘Members Only’ and featured a storyline about a mobster that wanted to leave the mafia, but Tony won’t let him. The man in question is forced to do a hit at a restaurant and we watch as he enters, dressed in a Members Only jacket (an odd choice of attire, and certainly not an accident considering the title of the show) and shoots his target in the right side of the head.

Member's Only

In the final episode of The Sopranos, a suspicious man walks into the restaurant who bears an uncanny resemblance to the man that played Tony’s father in earlier episodes. Honestly, when I saw this guy I thought it WAS the actor that played Tony’s father. That’s how similar they look! Anyhow, the guy is wearing a Member’s Only jacket and the camera pays a LOT of attention to him. The last time we see him, he’s headed to the bathroom. When he exits, he will be immediately to Tony’s right, at the exact angle that the shooter in the ‘Members Only’ episode was standing when he killed his target in the first episode. Come on… if that’s not blatant foreshadowing then I don’t know what is.

The theme here is family, and the Members Only actor’s resemblance to Tony’s father is no accident. Tony’s life was dramatically altered by his father’s life in the mob, and while Tony has taken great strides to keep his own son and family from being affected similarly, his life of crime simply won’t allow it. They are about to watch him die during their own version of a Last Supper (there’s even a shot of the restaurant at one point that looks eerily similar to DaVinci’s Last Supper painting.) However, as expressed several times during the run of season six, the mafia leaves the family alone and only kills the members. Members Only.

4) The Bells. Finally, we tie everything together with the ringing bells. In the episode where Tony and Bobby discuss how you probably never hear it coming, Tony hears a bell ring somewhere over the lake. He stops and looks for the source and sees the boat where he and Bobby were talking and the infamous line was said. It’s an odd scene, and very out of place until you realize that David Chase spent two years crafting the final season of The Sopranos. He’s not wasting time by putting in random, odd scenes that have no meaning.

Houlsten's Restaurant

In the restaurant at the end, we are shown a bell ringing above the entrance as people walk in. Tony takes notice of the bell, and we see a series of repeated shots of him sitting in his booth, hearing the bell, and then looking up to see who walked in. It is done over and over until the sequence is burned into our brain. It creates a fascinating illusion as well, which I want to take a second to mention.

After the final episode of The Sopranos aired, millions of people started talking about it. I was among a large group of people that SWORE the final frame of the show featured Meadow walking through the restaurant door. That never happens. In the actual episode, you see Tony hear the bell and look up, but then the screen turns to black. People were so convinced that they saw Meadow that a conspiracy theory took hold that HBO had somehow been able to alter the VHS recorders and DVRs of households that recorded the show and clipped the scene of Meadow walking in. It’s a silly idea, but goes to show just how effective the repetitive sequence at the end really was. I am still fascinated with how certain I was that we saw Meadow walking in!

Sorry, I digress. The bell sequence is a clear throw back to Bobby’s statement on the boat about how you probably never hear it coming. Tony never hears it before he is shot in the back of the head. Sorry everyone, but Tony Soprano dies at the end. It simply couldn’t be any clearer. And bravo to David Chase for creating a puzzle like this out of the final episode of the greatest show television ever had.

5) Meadow as the Guardian Angel (This part has been added on 7-31-13). I rewatch the entire Sopranos series about once per year during my workouts (I also mix in some of The Wire, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, and Sons of Anarchy, all great shows) and every time I seem to notice a few new things. This time I was dumbfounded by something that is so blatant that I’m absolutely ashamed I didn’t see earlier. After Tony was shot by Junior, he spends a couple episodes in a coma and we go with him as he wanders around as a new man. This culminates in him being invited into a hotel, and it’s plainly obvious to the viewer that this is an allegory to death. He’s invited in, and is told he can’t bring his briefcase (aka his baggage). He sees someone that looks like his mother, and is just about to go inside when he hears a little girl calling out to her Daddy. He hesitates, and then decides not to go into the hotel, and we learn that the little girl calling for Daddy is actually Meadow. This is what brings Tony back from the brink of death, setting up the theme of Meadow being his guardian angel (this isn’t literal, but figurative, of course).

In the final minutes of the final episode, we see the Member’s Only guy go into the bathroom, and the camera shifts to an angle that shows Tony, with the empty seat beside him, and beyond that the threshold of the bathroom as the odd man goes in, setting up the angle at which Tony is about to get shot. Meadow is outside, struggling to park her car, and the show pays a lot of attention to her problem. Finally, she gets the car parked and rushes across the street (and the car that passes makes the sound of an airplane, which ties in to the beginning of the show, but I’m not certain what the meaning of that is. Go watch the scene and listen to that car pass; it’s an airplane.) The bell rings, Tony looks up… cut to black.

If Meadow had made it in there quicker, she would’ve been seated beside her father, right between him and the bathroom door. In other words, she didn’t get there in time to intervene with his trip back to the hotel.

EDIT: I have a theory as to why Tony had to be killed, and I wanted to add that in here. In the final episode, we discover that it’s probable that Carlo has flipped. His son was busted selling ecstasy, and Tony’s fairly certain Carlo is giving the FEDs info to keep his son out of jail. New York had made a deal with Tony to stop the attempts on his life, but there are only a few Soprano crew members that ever had direct business dealings with New York. Those people are Silvio (in a coma), Christopher (dead), and Tony. It’s fair to guess that New York has their own leaks within the FED, and thus would’ve gotten word that Tony was about to be indicted. It makes sense for them to simply allow a hit on Tony to proceed, just to cover their bases and finally cut all ties with the Soprano crew. There was no love between Tony and the remaining New York crew, and I think they decided to do exactly as originally planned: They killed (or seriously incapacitated) the top three, and then picked up the pieces afterward, effectively ending the Soprano crew’s hold on New Jersey.


  1. Cob Aug 11, 2012 - 05:13 PM

    I never finished season 6, but I know how it ends with the screen turning to black. This always gave me the impression that Tony is killed since the story is primarily about Tony and so I thought, if the screen suddenly goes black, maybe that’s mirroring Tony’s view. Looks like I wasn’t wrong. I really should finish the last season, it just felt a little slow.

  2. Aaron Aug 11, 2012 - 05:30 PM

    I always felt like season 4 and 5 were a little lacking, and 6 started bizarrely. However, when you realize that Chase had designed Season 6 (part 1 and 2) around the idea that this was the final season and that he was trying to tell a fitting end, it really falls into place. A lot of the things that happen in season 6 that felt odd at the time later end up being intrinsic to the ending. The more times I watch the season, the more I appreciate it, unlike seasons 4 and 5 which never really worked for me.

    • John Dec 26, 2013 - 05:25 PM

      The members only guy also has a resemblance to Gene from the members only episode. Just an observation

  3. anon Feb 28, 2013 - 10:50 PM

    As well, I forget which episode but I believe it is JR who says he hates the sound of bells, that it usually signifies some kind of tragedy.

  4. Vinman Mar 26, 2013 - 01:52 AM

    I like your analysis, you make some good points. When the finale aired I was not happy with the abrupt ending either. But I have to agree, once I calmed down, I realized that any interpretation other than Tony’s death is just wishful thinking. Of course I didn’t want to believe that he was dead. But with so much “evidence” pointing to his demise, I just had to accept it. I mean, come on, an abrupt cut to black…black, the colour of death. The “you don’t hear it when it happens” line that foreshadows the sudden cut to black and music stopping abruptly at the end of the final episode. Throughout the show’s run, music always bled into the final credits. But not in the final episode…because the music’s over, literally and figuratively. I never noticed the bell ringing in the restaurant but as you point out, there’s probably some meaning there. Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee Tony. And Members Only guy…in one of the earlier Season 6 episodes, Tony and the crew are talking in front of a storefront window (Satriale’s?) and you can clearly see “Members Only” painted on the glass…and who hangs out at Members Only clubs…such as Italian social clubs? People like Tony and his crew. Mafiosi. So Members Only guy is clearly pegged as a wiseguy and it is almost beyond a reasonable doubt that he came out of that men’s room nonchalantly and just as he was about to pass Tony’s table, pulled a gun out from under his jacket and shot Tony twice in the head at close range, dropped the gun on his way out and hopped into a stolen car that was idling at the curb with one of Butchie’s henchmen waiting behind the wheel. Even though David Chase will never do it, I would love to see a sequel in movie form dealing with the aftermath of Tony’s demise on his family and his Family.

    • Aaron Mar 26, 2013 - 02:42 AM

      I agree with you 100%. I hated that ending, until I got over my initial reaction. Now I love it, and think it was one of the most finely crafted finales in television history.

    • Joe Aug 27, 2014 - 05:00 PM

      So, now chase revealed today he did not die…all these theories and in the end he was just playing everyone….LOL!!!!

  5. FuzzyDunlop Jun 18, 2013 - 08:51 PM

    Great Analysis! All of your points I have observed and agree. Did not notice the orange cat and orange opening shot though. Thanks!

  6. ray Jun 22, 2013 - 12:21 PM

    this is brilliant.

  7. berfles Jun 29, 2013 - 04:20 AM

    You do realize that Chase himself has said Tony didn’t die, right?

    RIP James.

    • Aaron Jun 29, 2013 - 02:43 PM

      You’re incorrect about that. If you have a reference, please provide it, because to my knowledge David Chase has never expressed with any certainty the outcome of the final episode. In fact, he has many times expressed a desire to leave it ambiguous. However, he has on multiple occasions said that the answer is in the show itself, and that all you have to do is watch for clues and it’s all there. However, there was a falsely credited quote that was put out on a few sites that David said that Tony never died, and sourced the quote from 2007. You can see that this is false by the fact that in every official interview Chase has ever given (which show up on reputable sites as opposed to questionable ones) where he talks about the ending, he leaves it ambiguous.

      I think the most conclusive quote that Chase has given is the following, taken from a USA Today interview in 2012:

      In Chase’s mind, focusing on whether Tony was shot by one of the mysterious men in the restaurant misses the point.

      “If he didn’t die that night he’s going to die very soon. And the problem is the same: There are the number of minutes in life and they go like this,” says Chase, making a ticking sound. “They’re gone. And you don’t know when it’s coming. That’s all I wanted to say.”

  8. Joe Sosa Jun 29, 2013 - 10:11 PM

    I agree 100%.

    • Joe Sosa Jun 29, 2013 - 10:27 PM

      If Tony died & Silvio in acoma, who would take over the Mob Family Business?

      • Chuckie Jul 11, 2013 - 08:40 AM

        Patsy Parissi.

        He may have been the one that arranged the hit on Tony and his gang.

        He never forgave Tony for having his twin brother whacked. In an earlier season he was drunk in Tony’s backyard waving a gun around. Also, Meadow was marrying his son, so he would probably have known where they were having dinner that night.

        • AR Wise Jul 11, 2013 - 01:39 PM

          That’s a good theory. Also, New York could be keeping up appearances with a retaliation – since Phil was killed in front of his family, Tony had to be as well. However, I think Chase wanted to leave it up in the air specifically to accentuate how Tony had built up a legion of enemies over the years.

          One thing I didn’t go into in this article that is also thematic proof of Tony’s death: In the beginning of Season 6.1 (a season which Chase has said was written with the final episode in mind) we see Tony shot and nearly walking into a bright white light – then it is Meadow’s voice that calls him back. She, in effect, saves him from crossing over. Symbolically, she is not able to make it to the diner at the end to “save” him.

        • Joe Sosa Aug 02, 2013 - 04:00 PM

          That’s a great point! I ways wondered how the Hitman knew where Tony was.

        • Joe Sosa Aug 02, 2013 - 04:02 PM

          I thought maybe Paulie Walnuts!

      • Ethan The Writer Feb 05, 2014 - 08:49 AM

        Chuckie is correct. Patsy Parissi had the hit done on Tony.

        This is symbolized by the guy in the member’s only jacket looking like Tony’s father (ie. a nod to the theory that Tony’s killer is a member of “the family.”)

        Even more convincingly: Patsy has the best knowledge on Tony’s wherabouts via his older son’s involvement with Meadow. Also Carlo had just flipped on Tony to save his son from prison. Carlo’s son and Patsy’s sons were partners in crime. In the final scene before he is shot, Tony says that Carlo was definitely going to testify, meaning that he would bring down Tony and also Patsy’s son Jason in the process. This would have put Tony and Patsy at odds.

        We already saw Patsy’s concern over befalling the same fate as Carlo (being at odds with Tony) earlier in the episode when Patsy and his wife meet with Tony and Carmella. Patsy and his wife expressed that they are nervous and surprised they were invited given the situation with Carlo.

        Also in the final scene with Paulie, Tony convinces Paulie to take the position of his second-in-command by announcing that Patsy is his first choice, thus passing Patsy over from a promotion.

        There is also the twins theme woven throughout all 6 seasons of the sopranos. Patsy’s twin is murdered by Tony, and Patsy describes his twin as the good version of himself “a sweet man.” Likewise, Kevin Finity is a good version of Tony. Patsy’s son and Carlo’s sons are the two Jasons (twins metaphorically and partners in crime.) This is David Chase making a statement about good and evil… ying and yang… things balancing out.

        I originally thought the killer was a member of the New York family, but David Chase does not foreshadow this in the final episode at all. On the other hand, he spends a great deal of his time on the Carlo-Patsy-Sons storyline.

        I just don’t see any other candidates. I thought it would have been a nice twist for the Russian from the Pine Barrens episode to be the killer, but there wasn’t enough plot development or symbolism from David Chase to support this.

        • jimmy Sep 04, 2014 - 05:33 PM

          totally agree on Patsy. Remember Tony’s dream at the end of season 2. There is Patsy’s brother with a bullet in his head on the waterfront with the other guys. (Patsy’s brother was shot twice in the head BtW). Patsy pees in Tony’s pool and the Tony confronts him and makes him say, ‘this is behind me’ (or somthing like that. Patsy is the only one who could of known that Tony would be at the restaraunt (as you point out) through meadow. MOG follows AJ in. Brilliant. Tony dies in front of his family. His worst fears come true. Its also interesting that every opening showed Tony driving from NY back to his home. in the end, he is killed by NY guy, right in front of his family.

  9. Mimi Jul 17, 2013 - 09:39 AM

    I’ve just watched the whole series in the past few months and the ending shocked me.

    Reading this casts light as I found the ending bizarre, but now I see how brilliant it was!

    He defiantly dies watching series 5 & 6 you know that it’s coming…. Plus if he didn’t die he was going away for a long time!

    Jonny sack maybe got his brother in law to have him whacked he did take everything away from him.

    I’d love to see a series with the aftermath of Tony’s death, my bet would be that AJ becomes a Mafiosi and Advenges Tony’s death. Also I think maybe Paulie would take over as no one left!

    RIP James

  10. Joe Sosa Aug 02, 2013 - 04:25 PM

    Top 3 killed or incapacitated? Tony silvio, & who? Didnt Paulie Walnuts have direct dealings with New York?

  11. Besano Aug 02, 2013 - 07:49 PM

    The top 3 killed were Bobby, Sil and Tony. There just isn’t anybody left who’s smart, mature, experienced and focused enough to run NJ. Paulie’s the only possibility and he had already tried to turn Tony down on taking more responsibility. It will be folded into NY.

    AJ is a mess – immature, unstable, not too bright, illogical and at least as much as a narcissist as his dad. He’ll spend some time wallowing in depression that he can blame on the trauma of his dad’s death and Carm will carry him the rest of her life, at which point Meadow will step in. As the Clown Prince of an Italian family, there will never be a real demand put on him to grow the eff up; the women will provide,

    • Joe Sosa Aug 02, 2013 - 10:23 PM

      Great point!

    • AR Wise Aug 03, 2013 - 02:04 AM

      Agree totally with you here, Besano.

    • ItalIrish Nov 04, 2014 - 08:20 AM

      My mother’s family and most of the descendants of her home town were from Besano. Have you been there?

  12. Joe Sosa Aug 04, 2013 - 03:02 AM

    Alot pf People think Patsy parisi had tony killed, with the blessing of New York. Patsy hated Tony for having his Twin brother killed. Plus how would New York mob know where Tony & Family would be dining?patsys son could have told Patsy, since patsys son was Meadows Fiance. Patsy would be the logical choice to replace tony, since Paulie didnt want it.

  13. Joe Sosa Aug 06, 2013 - 07:16 PM

    I wonder if Carmela will possibly get with Furio, if Tony did die. Furio with Tony Dead could come for Carmela!

    • AR Wise Aug 06, 2013 - 08:18 PM

      My money would be on the contractor that she nearly had an affair with in season 3 (I think it was 3, might’ve been 2.) I think that if Carmella witnessed Tony’s shooting, she’d be reluctant to get into a relationship with another mob guy. However, her relationship with the contractor would probably fail because he doesn’t bring in the level of cash she would want. After that, I could see her being attracted back to a mob guy.

      • lwh523 Aug 09, 2013 - 12:50 AM

        I never thought of that but she cancels the family meal for the carpenter; and then there is the potentially unexplained shot of the room(s) she is renovating. Is there a connection between a conversation they had and the images? I know they made out in the bathroom. Really, I think Chase leaves more clues and hints than are possible so that you can pick any ending you like.

  14. nick Aug 10, 2013 - 09:38 PM

    Another point on Meadow being the guardian angel…when Tony takes her to visit schools in season one, and Tony sees the old rat..there’s a scene where the rat found they’re motel and he had a shot on Tony, but he didnt take it because he was helping drunk meadow

    • jim Dec 30, 2014 - 10:42 PM

      This all sounds good but the writer never let you see what’s coming. For example I’m sure everyone thought that Tony was going to kill Paulie Walnuts when they were on the boat. Why will the director let his left hand know what his right hand is doing. The writer did she great job in keeping everyone in suspense.

      Your opinion is right unto you but that doesn’t make it a reality.

  15. Slekker Nov 23, 2013 - 01:59 AM

    Since Gandolfini’s death, HBO has been featuring all seasons in succession & not having re-watched it since the finale, I’m a new fan all over again.

    On Meadow, i like the idea of her being like a guardian angel, but i see her more as his soft spot/weakness/goodness incarnate. She breaks from everyone else in the Sopranos sphere by wanting to be a doctor or legal aid lawyer – someone who saves people instead of ending them. Tony has always been crippled into inaction by fainting when his emotions cause a panic attack. Meadow is like the manifestation of what could have been good in Tony, given his sensitivity, but he is ruthless because of his position – one he didn’t want to begin with. Carmella and AJ knowingly accept the financial and status perks of what Tony is, but never Meadow.

    So when Meadow can’t fit the parking space easily,I see it as her not “fitting in” with the message of the death scene. Not only would she have been hit too, but given that she actively chose in life to help people instead of using them (as opposed to all the other Sopranos), she’s almost too good and pure and outside the spectrum that she should be removed from that scene.

    When Tony is in the coma, she’s the one that puts the Buddhist type quote on the wall that makes Tony think & be more receptive to the “all things are connected” theme of season 6. At the wedding when they’re talking about Johnny crying while being taken away, he chastises the group that you have to cut the guy some slack b/c it’s different with fathers and daughters – that daughters are the weakness of the fathers & emotion is to be accepted/expected. So it makes sense to me that if he’s looking up for Meadow to be coming through the door. His guard was totally dropped in that final moment. She brings his sensitive emotions to the forefront & unlike the other woman in his life who caused his panic attacks (his mother), the emotional connection to Meadow is so positive being his daughter yet such a good person, he is weak in that moment he sees/expects to see her.

    Carm & AJ. – Because they are actively complicit in the criminal way of life and have both availed themselves of the intimidation and rewards the Sopranos name – him getting hit in front of them or them (and not Meadow) with him is part of “all things being connected.”

    • Bill Dec 07, 2013 - 09:03 AM

      Both perspectives of Meadow become true when you see both as aspects of the Anima

    • ItalIrish Nov 04, 2014 - 08:36 AM

      For all of Meadow’s goodness, she’s given a pretty horrible role in the ending of the Sopranos. The moment before everything went black for Tony, he had looked up at the sound of the bell on the door. We know that the next person to enter would be Meadow because we had seen her reaching for the door from outside. That means she had a full view of her father’s head being blown open, a vision that she will live with forever. She may have even had contact with MOG if he had to push her aside as he ran out the door.

      Meadow is good but she’s also got a healthy dose of toughness from both her parents. She’ll survive it all but her father’s mob life will leave her as scarred, in her own way, as it left Carm and AJ.

  16. Slekker Nov 23, 2013 - 02:23 AM

    One additional thought – to me, the significance of the Members Only Jacket related back to the “members only” episode (where Vito makes fun of Eugene, who later hangs himself b/c he’s told he can’t retire by the mob & the feds, for wearing one) and also reminded me instantly how most people who I’ve seen modernly wearing them are Europeans who like to wear things emblematic of America, regardless of the fact that Americans are “over” that craze. It was said so many times this season that you can’t hit a boss with local talent, so they would bring over guys from Naples to do it.

    Despite the fact that Eugene was American (thereby momentarily defeating my “only foreigners would wear a MOJ), attention was called to his wearing a MOJ while playing out the story line that the only way you leave the mob is by dying. His fashion statement evidenced he was out of touch with reality from the beginning of that story line. The only other person who could possibly wear a MOJ would have to be someone out of touch with the local mafiia, i.e., a foreign hitman.

    If the jacket meant he was a foreign member of the mob, it means (to me) somebody high up called for the hit & it was sanctioned.

  17. Maria Jan 30, 2014 - 03:55 PM

    Its funny there is no mention of how much the guy in the members only jacket looks like Steve Perry. His song is playing and I thought it was just cool how they had Steve Perry in the final episode. Am I the only one that noticed the resemblence?

  18. Dean Mar 12, 2014 - 04:43 PM

    One thought that I would like to add is the old phrase with regard to the bell atop the door and that is;

    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.”

    The more common phrasing is: “For whom does the bell toll, it tolls for thee”.
    Just a thought.

    • AR wise Mar 12, 2014 - 04:58 PM

      Absolutely excellent point, Dean.

  19. KATIE Apr 02, 2014 - 01:29 AM

    Although the explanation for the final episode answers a lot of questions and makes complete sense, I still NEED to know what happen!! I can’t help it!! I am a huge fan of the show and was just now finally able to sit down and watch the whole series, but I just wish there would have been more to the scene instead of going black. Yes, the show is about the Soprano family, but it wasn’t just from Tony’s perspective, so why we couldn’t see the aftermath and be able to say goodbye to a man we all got to know. I am not necessarily disappointed with the ending, I just wish David Chase would have ended it with his death, the funeral and shown at least what happens to the family. But other then that, love this show, and would watch it again and again and again!!

    • Charlie Jun 11, 2014 - 02:13 AM

      I thought Chase sort of gave us that in the hospital scenes after Tony had been shot by Junior. There is one scene where the doctor says Tony is likely to die and Carmela is a distraught wreck. There is also the scene of Meadow pleading with him not to die.

      I thought both scenes could have been transplants from the scene in Holsten’s after Tony is shot.

  20. joe Sosa May 13, 2014 - 03:16 PM

    So who sucedes Tony as Mob Boss Patsy or Paulie? Wouldn’t Paulie put two & two together & figure Patsy was in on the Hit. Paulie worked for both Tony & Johnny Boy ( tonys dad). Also what if Silvio comes out of his Comma?

    • ItalIrish Nov 04, 2014 - 08:51 AM

      I just don’t see either of them having the strength, wisdom, respect or gravitas to head NJ and hold it all together after so much leadership has been taken out.

      Sil possibly could pull it off but, at best, he’s facing a year or more of recovery and PT and no one’s going to stand back and give him and NJ that long to get it together. At worst, of course, he’s a vegetable.

      The NJ branch was declining anyway. The new Starbucks isn’t going to pay for protection and the manager tells them honestly that, with 10,000 stores, it really doesn’t matter to the corporation if that branch makes it or not. The stuff they’re moving is getting more and more penny ante – expired medicine and some kind of shampoo, as I recall. I think it more likely that NJ will just fold into NY and, in a few years, NY will also be struggling to stay relevant.

  21. Raenelle May 24, 2014 - 11:40 PM

    The whoosh, as Meadow (Tony’s guardian angel) rushes across the street to the restaurant–the angel of death beating her to the door?

    Members Only, yes. But Phil Leotardo’s murder (about 20 minutes, I think, before Tony’s) was done in front of his family. So, we were clearly shown that, even though Tony was with his family, he was vulnerable to a hit.

    Another foreshadowing, I think–Sil’s experience when a mobster he was eating with was gunned down. We’ve already been shown, IOW, what it’s like for those sitting with Tony.

    I think the biggest arc in Season 6, however, was that we were shown Tony’s true nature. We were told, clearly, don’t mourn this guy; he needs to be put down . . . now. The charm was stripped away (Melfi was really important here), and what we saw was an utterly selfish brute who had simply learned to mimic compassion and affection. After Season 6, we’re left with a great story, wonderful characters, the best TV ever (except GOT), but the ROMANCE of the Mafia don (as in, say, Vito Corleone) was destroyed. Absolutely brilliant, and I could be wrong about GOT.

  22. Ed Burke Jun 06, 2014 - 05:23 PM

    Tony’s favorite scene from ” The Godfather ” was when Michael Corleone retrieves the gun in the bathroom and comes out and whacks the Guido at the table, and his bought and paid for police captain. So having Tony Soprano watches the guy enter the bathroom should have set off an alarm for a guy who loved and remembered that scene from his much loved movie.

    But in reality when a war has been raging between two rival mob families, would any mob boss take his family to dinner at a small restaurant without an army around him ? Not a chance. The ending just isn’t credible as written.

    • Charlie Jun 11, 2014 - 02:20 AM

      I agree with the lack of credibility of the family at Holsten’s.

      I really can’t remember another instance in the series when just the four of them were out on a family outing like that.

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  25. Kathleen Gentile Brown Jun 15, 2014 - 08:08 PM

    I think that they left you not knowing if Tony died just in case they want to bring back the show. Keeps the audience wanting more. But unfortunately they will never be able to because James Gandolfini died in real life. I loved that show!

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  27. John Roberts Jul 20, 2014 - 07:42 AM

    There are three possibilities.

    First, Tony is killed in front of his family (which technically isn’t supposed to happen — mob hits aren’t done in front of family). They cut him up into little pieces and, later, they come together as a result of a curse put on Tony by Christopher. Tony then goes out seeking those who murdered him. Is it any coincidence that this was the plot of Christopher’s movie, The Cleaver? Hey, the cat starred at Christopher.

    Second, the door opens and Meadow raises a Glock 9mm and shoots the guy who is aiming a gun at Tony. A second gunman opens up but she shoots him as well. Then, as Tony watches, horrified, he sees a spot of blood appear on her chest, over the heart. Dropping the Glock, Meadow looks down and sees the blood spreading quickly. “Daddy,” she says, weakly, and drops into his arms. Tony screams an agonizing scream and says, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!” Then the scene switches to A.J. He, too, has a spot of blood on his chest that is growing. “Daddy,” he says, slumping in his seat, but Carmella, who also has a spreading spot of blood growing across her chest, rebukes him sharply. “A.J., do not upstage your brother!” Then she sinks to the ground, dead.

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  29. jimmy Sep 04, 2014 - 05:37 PM

    The people Tony killed often haunt him. Big Pussy is shown staring at Tony in a mirror in season 3. The ulitmate ghost however, is the twin brother, who is still alive. Patsy . Remember Tony’s dream at the end of season 2. There is Patsy’s brother with a bullet in his head on the waterfront with the other guys. (Patsy’s brother was shot twice in the head BtW). Patsy pees in Tony’s pool and the Tony confronts him and makes him say, ‘this is behind me’ (or somthing like that. Patsy is the only one who could of known that Tony would be at the restaraunt (as you point out) through meadow. MOG follows AJ in. Brilliant. Tony dies in front of his family. His worst fears come true. Its also interesting that every opening showed Tony driving from NY back to his home. in the end, he is killed by NY guy, right in front of his family.

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  31. thesenator Oct 05, 2014 - 05:49 AM

    Great analysis but you missed an obvious one.

    In the coma hotel scene you mention above (when it’s not ‘his time’), the wind blows and the camera pans around a big bunch of trees with fresh green leaves on.

    In the final episode (or there about), Tony is out by the pool sweeping up a whole bunch of autumn leaves. It’s windy, you see a whole lot of barren trees behind him and he seems kinda satisfied. The wind draws comparison and the bare trees contrast to the earlier scene and, maybe, his sweeping up the dead leaves is some kind of metaphor for having his affairs (somewhat) in order. Obviously in the final scene there’s an easy contentment within the family and the dialogue about ‘that’s what you said, remember the good stuff’ portends a sense of closure.

  32. Fancy-pants Feb 13, 2015 - 11:05 PM

    Great piece and great comments as well. I just re watched the opening scene from S6E1 that is the montage set to “Seven Souls” the no. 3 soul is the guardian angel and when the lyric is spoken, lo and behold Meadow is seen dancing on the screen.

  33. Lollylue Apr 15, 2015 - 07:58 PM

    In the restaurant, as Tony peruses songs on the juke box, “This Magic Moment” is clearly visible as one of the selections. Remember the day at Bobby’s lake house? That same song is played briefly on the radio while Tony is sitting alone on the dock.

  34. Name (Required)FunkyPhD May 21, 2015 - 01:41 PM

    What about the song that’s playing? No one’s mentioned “Don’t Stop Believing”: doesn’t that indicate that somehow–as he has several other times other times (the attempted hit, Junior’s shooting of him, the crash with Christopher)–Tony manages a miraculous escape?

  35. FunkyPhD May 21, 2015 - 01:48 PM

    Furthermore, if Meadow is the guardian angel, maybe she saves Tony in the end, perhaps by taking a bullet for him, as in Godfather III? This would be fit punishment for his crimes, if the theory that the purpose of season 6 is to deromanticize Tony.


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