TV

The Sopranos: Explaining the Final Scene


In honor The Sopranos’ 25th anniversary, we analyze its final scene, and what it meant for Tony Soprano.

The final scene of The Sopranos featuring Tony (James Gandolfini), Carmella (Edie Falco), and A.J. (Robert Iler) at a diner.
Photo: HBO

As is said with JFK, no American will ever forget where they were, or what they were doing, when Tony Soprano was shot in the series finale of The Sopranos. Recall is easier in the case of Tony, as every single witness was doing exactly the same thing at the time of his assassination: getting ready to kick their TVs into a million pieces. 

The strange thing is that little of the raw emotion stirred up by the finale was connected with the actual assassination of Tony Soprano. Hardly anyone flinched, raged, gasped, or wept for the terminated mafioso. Do you know why? Because hardly anyone – myself included – even knew that it had happened. Over a million witnesses to a murder, and not one of them could give a credible statement or offer reliable testimony. Now that, my friends, is the definition of a perfect mafia hit.

It begs the question, though: if a mafia boss falls in a diner, and no-one is around to see it – or even hear it – does it make him dead? 

He’s Dead? Really?

Let’s just remind ourselves how – to use street parlance – the final scene of The Sopranos ‘went down’: Tony (James Galdolfini) arrives at Holsten’s diner in Bloomfield, New Jersey, and selects Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” from the juke-box console at his table. One by one, the other members of his immediate family arrive – except for Meadow (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) – and they start to eat onion rings and indulge in small talk. Meadow’s a bit late, and seems to be having trouble parking her car. Just as Meadow reaches the diner’s door and pushes it open, Tony looks up and… blackness. Show over.    

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