Re: Tony Soprano's death

If Chase actually intended that the guy in the Member's Only jacket killed Tony, I think it's a fatal flaw in an otherwise great artistic masterpiece to have a mob hit-man hesitate, procrastinate, pause for a beverage at the counter and a quick visit to the men's room before proceeding to his intent. That would not make sense nor be realistic, and becomes a contrived ploy - forcing something to fit the hints and evidence and teases and Godfather nod for the alleged creative conclusion that cut to black means Tony's death.
Life - and truly great art - do not normally offer definitive resolutions. We don't know what the Mona Lisa's smiling about.

Re: Tony Soprano's death

Hi Billyv,

You raised quite a good and valid point. Your argument about a mob hitman's MO is probably right in most hits. The only answer I can think of it is not a hard and fast rule. Perhaps in a crowded diner he didn't want to draw attention to himself when trying to get a clear uninterrupted view of his target. If you look at the scene closely that path to the bathroom gave the gunman an unimpeded view of Tony facing his family.

It might not make sense insofar as how mobster's operate but you might remember Phil Leotardi was snuck up from behind when he was shot. And no one initially saw the hitman in the restaurant which deafened Silvio.

I'm inclined to think that the sudden cut to silent black signifies the end of TS and the series. In the end it doesn't matter if members only guy or anyone else was the gunman. Neither Tony or the audience saw it or heard it coming. I think that was Chase's personal intention - as the creator, god and father of the show and its characters.

But I suspect that he's probably quite happy for people to think otherwise.

Re: Tony Soprano's death

Thanks for your reply Conkom.
The sudden cut to black and abundant other clues and symbolism certainly point to the interpretation that Tony was shot and killed at Holsten's and would be an ingenious way to portray that and end the series. (And I like that as an ending better than seeing Tony with his brain and blood splattered all over the table and his family.) I especially find the hit by Eugene of T.S. while wearing a member's only jacket to be quite strongly suggesting that. It may very likely have been Chase's intention, however I cannot view the actions of the member's only guy as realistic. Yes, an approach from the men's room certainly provides an unimpeded shot but he could have stopped at the table or pivoted just after passing it. Again, the way it is presented just seems too contrived and stretched to resemble the Micheal Corleone scene and unworthy of the rest of a brilliant work of art. Cut to black as he reaches the table or even show him going to the men's room and coming back out - Please! (lol)

Re: Tony Soprano's death

After having seen the series several times, I still don't know (or care) whether Tony dies in the final scene. The main point being made, to me, is just what we see: Tony is an evil prick who doesn't even realize that he's evil.

His family is a tiny group of dimwitted, amoral pissants despite their pretense of upper-middle class normalcy. Their gathering at a diner for a family dinner in the wake of a gang war shows how shallow and basically clueless they are.

The Sopranos is a great series, but its central characters are actually slimy and unlovable assholes. Tony is a sociopath who is willing to kill and enslave people in order to live a lifestyle of conspicuous consumption, even though his displays of wealth are pitifully pretentious. Carmella with her ill-fitting dentures and gaudy jewelry and clothes, Meadow with her absolute self absorption and slavish devotion to the PC culture of her school, AJ who is functionally illiterate and demonstrably stupid, is also morally retarded.

The characters are entertaining, but they are true shitheels. I like the way the Soprano family's wealth is shown to be precarious, and based upon the constant receipt of freebies and cash tribute from people who fear Tony. AJ's assumption that he's from a rich family is rudely crushed when he sees what actual wealth really looks like by a visit to his girlfriend's house. He's a little embarrassed, but it doesn't affect him in any real way.

The final scene represents what looks to me like a cop-out ending from a series creator who had tired of his creation. Viewers like me weren't tired of the series and would have followed it for at least another season, but Chase was tired. Thus the snap-to-black ending. Hard core series addicts, and I'm one, benefited from the abrupt ending and its invitation to go cold turkey on this OC fascination.

Since the end of the series, I haven't looked at OC tales in the same light as before. I thank David Chase for that.

Re: Tony Soprano's death

I, on the other hand, have absolutely no doubt it was Chase's interpretation that Tony bought it in the last shot. Every hint he gives only adds more fuel to the fire. Even when he doesn't directly come out and say it, he does state Tony's future isn't bright. And he will never come right out and say he's dead because that would just diminish the ending. If he would of shown Tony face down in onion rings with a hole in the right side of his head (Tony didn't watch his 3 o'clock!!!) then it wouldn't of had as much impact and hardly anyone would still be talking about it.

However, since David Chase did leave it ambiguous, we can pretty much choose to believe whatever ending we deem fit. Though, I have no doubt his interpretation is Tony was killed.

I will point out that the first season ended the family eating in a restaurant during a blackout. While the last season ended with the family eating at a restaurant with a total blackout.

Re: Tony Soprano's death

bgko18 wrote:
I will point out that the first season ended the family eating in a restaurant during a blackout. While the last season ended with the family eating at a restaurant with a total blackout.
Good call. I never saw it that way, but it makes perfect sense.

Re: Tony Soprano's death

Yeah, I don't know if it was intended that way but, I thought it was a weird coincidence.

Quick question though... does anyone else think that Det. Harris set Tony up the same way he help set up Phil? When Harris says "Damn, we're going to win this thing" after finding out Phil was killed always made me think he was possibly playing both sides against each other.

Re: Tony Soprano's death

bgko18 wrote:
Quick question though... does anyone else think that Det. Harris set Tony up the same way he help set up Phil? When Harris says "Damn, we're going to win this thing" after finding out Phil was killed always made me think he was possibly playing both sides against each other.
I would have thought the FBI would have been more interested in getting the RICO case completed than seeing Tony killed, as they put so much time and money into it. For the individual agent it would be good career wise (promotion etc). Although Harris had moved on to tackle terrorism, presumably he would still get credit for the work put in.

It appeared the agent had a personal animosity toward Phil for the reason Phil had a young FBI agent set up to be raped (he told Tony about that in an earlier episode). Also, it was either Tony or Phil who was going to be whacked and if it was Tony they wouldn't be able to prosecute the case, which they were getting closer to doing (as mentioned by Tony's lawyer in the last episode).

The exact meaning of the "we're going to win this thing" comment, I puzzled over. It could be taken as Jersey winning or the FBI winning. Although the reaction when the other agent walks in on him saying that makes it seem he believed he felt it inappropriate, indicates towards the former. I then read that the comment was a reference to a real life FBI agent who faced allegations of passing information to the mafia and was alleged to have made a similar comment.

Re: Tony Soprano's death

I don't believe that Tony died at all. I still thnk the last episode was building up suspense in each scene. The audience was waiting for someone to get wacked . When the guy from the NY crew was on his cell phone walking through China town, he kept looking over his shoulder, but nothng happened. Every time someone walked into the diner and Tony looked up, you thought something was going to happen. Looking at the members only guy you thought something was going to happen. When meadow was parking the car. It all built up but nothng happened. Bobby Baccalaureate said that when you get whacked you don't expect it and everything goes black. I thnk we as the audience got whacked and the show ended. We didn't expect it. Tony lived on.

Re: Tony Soprano's death

Commendatore wrote:I don't believe that Tony died at all....Tony lived on.
I suppose after all these years it doesn't really matter whether Tony lived or died in the final scene. In effect the sometimes (if not most times) heated debate was over what David Chase himself intended when the scene quite suddenly cut to sudden black.

However the audience being "whacked" was never implied by Chase in later interviews, although he did make it quite clear that he did not wish to fool the audience. Either way, how do you whack an audience and what's the point of that anyway? It does sound a bit too post-modernist or just simply facile.

What makes me curious after nearly 6 years since the show ended is why does anyone want to insist (or believe) that Tony didn't die with the ending of the show. What is the value in a fictional character who, even though was portrayed as a conflicted individual, had distinctly psychopathic tendencies, a habitual criminal and a murderer, being assumed to this day as still being alive?
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