Pope Corky the IX wrote:VanDerWerff himself denies the "Tony is dead" theory and even sometimes seems smug about it. Sometimes the comment section will devolve into people hurling personal insults at each other over it.
That's something that has happened everywhere I've looked, much as I tried to keep it from happening here. Conkom will recall this, and I've certainly had to caution him about the way he couches his opinions on the matter. Unfortunately, many people here and especially elsewhere seemed to use how one interprets that scene/sequence as a litmus test for one's intelligence, discernment/sensitivity to nuance, and general engagement with the subtleties in the storytelling on the Sopranos.
I still am quite convinced that, while Tony's demise was certainly suggested and may have even occurred that night, it was deliberately left open-ended and in a sense unresolved in the particulars because that question (when and how Tony died) was not of real interest to Chase. If you read what Chase said on such questions of factual resolution, both well before and specifically in reference to MIA, his near-disdain for that kind of question is palpable.
I've always felt the much more important point was in the contrast between the immediate cut to black at the end of MIA and the slow fade to white that happened at the Inn at the Oaks when Tony flatlined and briefly "died" in his coma. They were diametrically opposite experiences of "death", and I think the effort was to say something about what the nature of Tony's ultimate choices -- especially those made after he was given a "second chance" to reform his life and failed to do so -- meant for his "afterlife", whenever and however it came to him.