It’s been 13 years since the series finale of The Sopranos, and nobody truly knows what happened to Tony Soprano in that final diner scene.
Like any show or movie with an ambiguous ending, fans tend to throw around their wild conspiracies. We’ve seen plenty of articles and youtube videos that try to pick apart the symbolism of shows, when in reality, the creators of these shows probably never intend to make it as deep as some people think it is.
The Sopranos is no exception here. David Chase, the show’s creator and main writer, decided to fuck with everyone’s head by having the final scene cut to black before anything climactic could happen. (If you clicked this article I’m assuming you have seen the clip. If not, carve out five or six weeks to watch the show and then come back to this article. That’s not much to ask.)
As a result of this mystery ending, The Sopranos had everyone in a frenzy, giving their best Sherlock Holmes impression and trying to crack the case for what actually happened.
Critics have thrown out the idea that Tony was murdered by the sketchy guy in the Members Only Jacket. (Who the hell needs caffeine that late in the evening).
Honestly, I don’t fuckin know, and I’m not going to pretend like I have a high school english teacher level of insightfulness. If you want someone to point out all of the symbolic queues in the Sopranos, I’m not your guy.
Thankfully, this video explains the “murder theory” much better than I can:
On the flip side, optimistic people (aka delusional people) believe that Tony is in fact not dead, and he just went on to live his life depressed ever after. (There’s no way he lived happily ever after. Dude had several indictments and people wanted him dead. The guy was fucked.)
This brings me to the final theory, and I believe this is what makes the most sense.
My take is that Tony was not shot in the final scene, HOWEVER, he also didn’t live. You’re probably wondering: How is that possible?
I think the answer is pretty obvious.
Tony chocked on an onion ring. And here’s why:
If we take a closer look at this final scene, we can see that Tony was a mad man with the onion rings. Was he swallowing those things whole?? The man had a death wish.
Knowing what we know now, it’s clear that Tony’s final bite went down the wrong pipe.
Throughout the last scene, Tony’s paranoia is shown through his actions. Every time someone walks through the diner door, Tony quickly looks up.
Is it because he’s anxiously waiting for his daughter to arrive? No, he doesn’t give a shit about Meadow. Women aren’t allowed in the mob, so she doesn’t provide much value for him.
The real reason he’s looking up at the door is because he’s scared of getting wacked. The man just went through a bloodbath with the New York family. A bloodbath that lead to both Bobby and Sil getting hit. Tony had to think his day was coming.
The final scene illustrates Tony’s fearfulness, and so it’s safe to assume that he got startled when he looked up at the door for the last time.
Now, why the cut to black? I think the creators were just doing the audience a favor. Nobody wants to watch a man chock to death. (If I wanted to squirm I’d turn on TLC.)
Now, if you had a high school education as mediocre as mine, then you’ve probably learned a thing or two about foreshadowing in your english classes. David Chase was certainly doing that in this final scene with the onion rings. Once those fried circles hit the table, Tony was diving in. No hesitation.
We knew all along that food was a potential threat to Tony. If we examine further, Chase had been hinting at this throughout the entire series. Tony ate more aggressively than anyone we’ve ever seen. The man could scarf down crumb cake and smoked turkey like no other. And I’ve never seen a guy dominate the FUCK out of a pasta dish the way he could.
Who’s to say Tony didn’t get a little excited when inhaling his onion ring? Sounds pretty reasonable to me. Way more reasonable than getting shot point blank in front of 30 witnesses.
I think that an onion ring death theory is very reasonable and I’d be happy to discuss with people who have a different take. There’s no way the mob had anything to do with this. We knew all along that Tony’s death would be food-related.