It was obvious to anyone with half a brain that Tony Soprano was “hit” at the very end of “Made in America,” the 87th and final episode of The Sopranos. It aired on 6.19.07. or just a bit more than 14 years ago. His assassin was the Italian-looking, beady-eyed guy in the gray “Members Only” jacket who eyeballed Tony and his family as he sat at the counter, and then went into the bathroom, etc.
Producer-creator David Chase never showed this creep coming out of the bathroom and firing a bullet into Tony’s head, but that’s certainly what happened. I understand, however, why some viewers were left uncertain or confused. That was because Chase’s direction and editing were misleading.
If you know the scene (or if you look at it again), you’ll notice that Tony frequently glances here and there and never seems to miss a trick. When Carmela strolls into restaurant he spots her right away; same thing when A.J. and the “Members Only” guy walk in at the same time. When “Members Only” gets up and walks into the bathroom, Tony gives him a quick look. So why wouldn’t he give “Members Only” another glance when he comes out of the bathroom with his pistol drawn?
Because, you could answer, Tony is eyeballing Meadow, the world’s worst parallel parker, as she finally comes through the front door.
Key problem: Three or four times we’re shown POV shots from Tony’s perspective, but when the silent blackout happens we’re not looking at Meadow from his table seat. Instead we’re a shown a slightly off-to-the-right close-up of Tony with the camera positioned two or three feet away but looking straight at him, more or less.
We see him look up, and then the blackout.
Why didn’t Chase put us inside Tony’s head for the final big moment? The perfect shot would have been a Tony-POV shot of Meadow striding through the main door and then the final slam-cut. Obviously. Chase got it wrong.