There have been a number of polarizing series finales, but few are as polarizing as the one for the HBO crime drama The Sopranos. Season 6, episode 21, “Made In America,” ends in a totally confusing and ambiguous manner, which was extremely divisive at the time, as it was called both “amazing” and “disappointing” by fans and critics. In The Sopranos finale, Tony sits in a restaurant with his family, and though everything seems OK and Tony is seemingly happy, the tension is building, and something significant is clearly going to happen when a mysterious man enters and continues to stare at Tony.
However, at the very moment that something could happen, the screen cuts to black, leaving the fate of Tony Soprano a total mystery, and series creator David Chase avoided discussing the scene following the finale. Several interpretations and theories have surfaced over the years, the most popular of which is that Tony is killed, but even then, it isn’t clear how he’s killed or who kills him. As Tony is played by one of the best TV actors of all time James Gandolfini, the actor’s final expression can be interpreted in many different ways. However, there are tons of clues in the critically-acclaimed series that point to Tony’s certain death.
The Man In The “Members Only” Jacket In The Sopranos Finale Is Suspect
In the final minutes of The Sopranos finale, a stranger walks into the diner wearing a jacket with a “Members Only” logo on it. Viewers might remember the events in the Season 6 premiere where Vito Spatafore mocks Eugene for wearing a jacket that also had a “Members Only” logo on it. Eugene doesn’t respond and simply gives Vito a death stare. The jacket possibly signifies his affiliation with a special gang. When Tony prevents Eugene from moving to Florida with his family, he commits suicide. The man wearing the same jacket at the diner might be someone close to Eugene, and he could be responsible for Tony’s death in The Sopranos.
The Case Of The Oranges Hints At Tony’s Death In The Sopranos
The Sopranos has multiple nods to The Godfather trilogy and in The Sopranos finale, there is another one that holds meaning. Tony holds an orange at Carmela’s project house earlier in the episode. During another assassination attempt earlier in the series, he had just bought orange juice too. Oranges are used in The Godfather to symbolize either natural death or getting whacked. When Vito Corleone gets shot in the street, he is buying oranges, and when he collapses and dies, he is holding an orange while making funny faces at his grandson. Oranges are also present at the meeting of the five families before the bosses get whacked.
Tony And Bobby’s Discussion In The Sopranos Foreshadows Tony’s Death
In Season 6, episode 20, “The Blue Comet,” there is a flashback to “Soprano Home Movies” where best The Sopranos character Bobby and Tony talk about what it’s like to get whacked. They both agree that it’s a mobster’s greatest fear. An important quote from their conversation is, “In our line of work, it’s always out there. You probably don’t even hear it when it happens.” The cut to black in the final episode could mean that Tony does die in The Sopranos, but he doesn’t even hear it when he finally gets whacked, and neither does the audience.
The Stranger Who Walks Into The Bathroom In The Sopranos Finale Is A Godfather Reference
Another The Godfather reference pops up at the diner. The man wearing the “Members Only” jacket walks to the bathroom, perhaps to relieve himself, but based on the show’s endless references to the classic gangster movie, that might not be the case. In The Godfather, Michael Corleone walks into the bathroom to collect a gun hidden behind a toilet just before he shoots Virgil “The Turk” Sollozzo and Police Captain Mark McCluskey at a restaurant. The strange man’s stare and walk are very similar to that of Michael Corleone. Given that the series is littered with Godfather references, it’s unlikely that the bathroom walk didn’t have meaning.
Tony Frequently States There Are Only Two Ways Out For A Boss In The Sopranos
In a number of episodes, Tony states that there are only two ways out for a boss: dead or in jail. He says it in season 2, episode 6, “The Happy Wanderer,” as well as the Season 4 premiere and many others. History proves that this has always been the case for real-life mobsters too. Lupertazzi family boss Phil Leotardo was the best character from The Sopranos season 6, but was brutally murdered while Johnny Sack went to jail. It’s safe to assume that since Tony never goes to prison, there is only one other way out for him.
Silvio Is Also Shot By A Man Wearing A “Members Only” Jacket In The Sopranos
One of the men who shoot Silvio Dante multiple times also happens to be wearing a “Members Only” jacket. After the shooting incident, Silvio is left in a coma and it’s never known whether he survives or not, though doctors mention that he is unlikely to recover. A man wearing the same kind of jacket showing up at the diner where Tony is meeting his family is hardly a coincidence. Earlier, the Lupertazi family had set up assassination plots against Silvio, Bobby, and Tony in order to destabilize the DiMeo family, and Tony was the only one remaining. Just as Silvio’s fate is never revealed, Tony’s fate isn’t revealed either.
Tony’s Death In The Sopranos Could Be Retaliation For Phil Leortardo’s Murder
Phil Leorardo’s murder is carried out in a messy manner by Walden Belfiore, a Gervasi crew soldier who is also part of the DiMeo crime family. Walden shoots Phil twice in front of his family before his skull then gets crushed by his car. The strange man at the diner might have been sent to exact vengeance. He waits for the right moment when the entire Soprano family was at the table. Killing Tony in front of his family could be a way to send a message that if somebody whacks out their enemy disrespectfully as Belfiore does, then there will be similar consequences.
Uncle Junior’s Whacks Men At A Place Where They Are Comfortable In The Sopranos
Earlier in the series, Uncle Junior clashes with Tony because he intends to kill Malanga at the Vesuvio restaurant. Tony is against the idea because the restaurant belongs to his childhood friend Artie. A murder at the restaurant would definitely be in the news and this would scare potential customers. Junior insists that the murder has to happen at the Vesuvio because that’s the only place where Malanga lets his guard down, and Tony does the same thing. Tony visits multiple diners/restaurants, and it’s one of his go-to ways to unwind. Anyone planning to whack Tony knows that this is the only place they’ll catch him off-guard.
Patsy Has Motive To Kill Tony In The Sopranos
As one of the best supporting actors in The Sopranos, Patsy’s loyalty has always been questionable. Patsy has always had problems with Tony ever since he promoted Christopher instead of him. While drunk, Patsy points a gun at Tony through a window and considers whacking him as revenge after Tony sanctioned the murder of Patsy’s twin brother. Patsy chooses not to do it and urinates in Tony’s pool instead. It has also been implied that he was working with the crew that shot Silvio. It’s possible that Patsy hired a hitman to kill Tony in The Sopranos to stage a coup d’état and take over as the boss.
The Sopranos Finale Is The Only Episode That Ends Differently
Instead of fading to black and then transitioning to the credits like other episodes, The Sopranos finale simply cuts to black and stays that way for about three seconds before the credits start rolling. This means that something significant just happened, and there really aren’t many options in regard to what might have happened other than that Tony dies at the end of The Sopranos. There’s no other reason why the series finale would end so differently from the way the 85 other episodes ended, and there’s nothing significant or eventful that could have happened in that moment other than Tony’s murder.