Right After Tony Was Shot

My wife and I just finished watching the series from the beginning having never seen it before. Brilliant. The ending? A masterwork. I've been thinking about the incredible symbolism and foreshadowing in this show, especially the last season and episode.

Speaking of the ending, I started to think about what happened after Tony was shot. See if you can picture it this way as well and then I explain after why I think this way. *mild graphic descriptions ahead*

The killer comes out of the bathroom, shoots Tony in the right temple as Meadow enters the restaurant. Carmela's eyes go huge and she begins to scream. The killer drops the gun as they always do and begins to walk away (he leaves the family alone, as Tony mentioned in an earlier episode "Families don't get touched, Carm, you know that"). AJ, breathing quickly looking at his father with his body slumped into the left corner of the booth, bullet hole smoking in the side of his head, becomes filled with rage. Meadow is screaming now as the killer begins to approach her on his way out. She runs toward her family's booth. AJ looks down at the gun on the ground. He looks up at the killer who is walking briskly out of the door. AJ, eyes wild, nostrils flaring, mouth sneering, vaults from the booth, nearly knocking Meadow over, grabs the gun (which still has bullets in it as the killer shot only once) and runs past the counter and out the door. The killer is now almost to his vehicle out near the front (maybe just in front of Meadow's car across the street?). AJ runs to the killer as he's closing his car door. AJ aims the gun at the window and pulls the trigger until it's empty. The killer is dead.

Where does it go from there? Not sure. But instead of just picturing the family there screaming, crying and in extreme shock, I really picture AJ doing that. Why?

Remember what AJ did when Uncle June shot Tony? He got a gun and went to kill Uncle June, a member of their "family". If he'd be willing to do that, wouldn't he kill the killer here with no hesitation? Remember that AJ talked about the fact that someone had to avenge Tony when June shot him? That someone had to do something? With all of the other foreshadowing in the show, could this have been another great clue as to what might have happened after Tony was shot?

Think about it and let me know how you feel. I can't get it out of my head.

Re: Right After Tony Was Shot

Hi StreetLight People. You are firmly in the "Tony got whacked" side of the debate. I too have always considered that the sudden jarring jump cut to silent black could have only meant that was the moment Tony's consciousness ceased to be.

What might have happened later can only be speculation as Tony's universe also ceased to exist. The only person who can bring it back is its creator and this seems to be highly unlikely. Perhaps a statement from him outlining what occurred might clarify for those still interested what exactly did happen in the aftermath at Holsten's. I suspect he would prefer to remind us that the series is a work of fiction and that the characters are no more real than any other series or movie or novel which has ended.

Your observation about the hitmen dropping their guns at the scene of the crime is spot on. But in the light of that I might indulge in some speculation. Soon after the show ended a curious anagram appeared on-line that jumbled the letters of the name of the amateur actor who was credited as "Man in Member's Only Jacket".

The anagram suggested Tony, AJ and Carmella were all hit. Maybe the rule about families being untouched was broken in this case. Maybe the person or persons who hired the hitman wanted to eliminate the wife and the son as well. I don't know and I somehow doubt whether AJ had the presence of mind to react swiftly by avenging his father. On the other hand I imagine that the gunman would have more likely had emptied the remaining round of bullets into Tony to make certain there were no more bullets in case anyone did try to play the hero.

I too can picture the gunman then dropping his gun and walking past a shocked Meadow. But like I said, unless Chase makes a definite and definitive statement we can only speculate what happened right after the lights went out.

Re: Right After Tony Was Shot

Billyv wrote:I found 2 errors in the original post.

AJ took a knife - not a gun - when he went to try to kill Uncle Junior.

You assume Tony was shot and that has never been proven and certainly was not shown.
You are right about the knife. I am inclined to think that AJ wouldn't have had the nerve to pick up the gun anyway, but if he did and the gun was loaded he probably would have injured himself or someone else instead. If he wasn't killed by Member's Only guy I would imagine he would have cried like a baby like the time a bear invaded the backyard.

No the shooting was not shown, but it is a pretty fair inference to make.

Please don't forget or ignore that Chase strongly hinted that there were enough clues in previous episodes (Home Movies and Stage 5 in particular) to be able to work out what happened at Holsten's.

In an interview conducted by Brett Martin

"Everything that pertains to that episode was in that episode. And it was in the episode before that and the one before that and seasons before this one and so on. There had been indications of what the end is like. Remember when Gerry Torciano was killed? Silvio was not aware that the gun had been fired until after Gerry was on his way down to the floor. That's the way things happen: It's already going on by the time you even notice it. [...] I'm not saying anything. And I'm not trying to be coy. It's just that I think that to explain it would diminish it."

-Martin, Brett (2007-10-18). "'Sopranos' Creator Takes on Angry Fans". Entertainment Weekly.

In a radio interview:

Richard Belzer: I was working with Steve Schirripa recently. We were judging Last Comic Standing for NBC and we were talking about a lot of different things, obviously. And he was saying that he heard all these theories about the show that weren't, had nothing to do with what your intention was or what any of the actors thought. Like little hints along the way. Like a word. Like when Tony and Steve are on the boat at the lake and they say "you can never know it's gonna happen" or "you never know when it's gonna hit you."
David Chase: That was part of the ending.
Richard Belzer: Oh, it was? You see, what do I know? Are there other things that were in previous episodes that were a hint towards it?
David Chase: There was that. And there was a shooting to which Silvio was a witness. Well, he wasn't a witness, he was eating dinner with a couple of hookers and some other guy who got hit and there was some visual stuff that went on there which sort of amplified Tony's remarks to Bacala about, you know, "you don't know it's happened" or "you won't know it happens when it hits you." That's about it.

-"Belzer and David Chase interview". Premium Air America. 2008-12-12.

It is fair to surmise that Chase is more than implying that Tony was shot.

Re: Right After Tony Was Shot

It certainly is possible - one may even say likely - that Chase intended to indicate Tony's death at the end of the final episode. I'm familiar with much of the argumentation and evidence cited to support this.
However, it is not definite. There is enough solid, logical argumentation to cast reasonable doubt on that conclusion, and intelligent, open-minded people can disagree.
For example, I recently read a post elsewhere by "Joe from Chicago" which examined the claim that the audience was seeing through Tony's eyes when people enter Holsten's and the bell rings. He accurately states that Tony's actual POV would have included much more of the restaurant's interior - more seats of the counter, booths, other patrons, etc. It is clear that Tony is sitting much deeper in the diner and the shots of those who enter - while from the same angle as Tony's gaze - are taken much closer than from Tony's eyes.
"Joe" further theorizes, with other evidence, that the final scene was surreal - a dream sequence of sorts. Again, possible and plausible.
As Conkom writes earlier in this thread, fictional characters do not actually continue to exist and engage in activity when the fictional work they're contained in ends - so the final cut to black could simply mean "That's all Folks", here's exactly where we leave our exposure to their existence. Their possible futures have been indicated but not the exact wheres and whens, and, there's always the unexpected, the changes of course.
I can't cite the sources but I believe Chase also indicated that he did not want to neccessarily provide closure.
Perhaps Chase did structure the ending as you and many claim - that Tony was killed then and there by the man in the Member's Only jacket. If so, there seem to be some flaws in the execution.
With All Due Respect,I think the ending, intentionally or not, is open to interpretation and no one except David Chase should claim to definitely know what he intended.

Re: Right After Tony Was Shot

Actually Billyv I think it was a perfectly executed ending. Perhaps the real issue is not whether or not Tony met his demise when the scene jump cuts to black but why the speculation goes on and on 6 years after the series ended.

I guess it is a surreal Twilight Zone moment, maybe not exactly the one Chase intended. The show still exists in the minds of viewers who grew attached to Tony and his world. There is nothing wrong with that. Even Chase has slightly encouraged this by making sliding doors or 'what if' allusions thus allowing the fictional world of the Sopranos to 'live on' in the imaginations of the believers.

I'm inclined to say now that if you believe Tony is still alive then that's fine. I can't think of a reason why not. Maybe that was Chase's intention after all.

Re: Right After Tony Was Shot

Actually, Conkom, I agree that the ending was executed well, as I don't think Chase intended to definitively indicate that Tony was shot then and there, yet I can't definitively say that wasn't his intention. What I was trying to convey in my previous post was that if Chase meant for the audience to be seeing things through Tony's eyes - the supposed POV shots including the cut to black - then that may not have been perfectly executed as Tony's true POV would have included much more of Holsten's interior with people entering the door being viewed at more of a distance.
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