When the Soprano family meet at Holsten's diner for a meal, this man enters the diner ahead of Anthony Soprano Jr. and sits at the counter. Over the course of the next few minutes, he glances twice at the family's table before standing up, walking past the table before entering the restroom.
Behind the scenes
Fans are divided on the issue of what happens in the final scene of the series, though many believe that Tony Soprano is murdered and that the man in the Member's Only jacket is his killer. Possible evidence from the show itself to support this theory is:
- In the episode "Members Only", Vito Spatafore makes fun of Eugene Pontecorvo for wearing a jacket with the logo Members Only on it. Eugene does not answer and gives Vito a secretive and intense look. This may have been a clue to convey to the audience that he was part of another secret and unmentioned gang, that the man that allegedly shot Tony wearing a similar jacket may have been a part of, as a revenge against Tony for refusing Eugene to get his relocating wish fulfilled and ultimately committing suicide.
- The last episode "Made in America" opens with a close up shot of Tony Soprano lying in bed sleeping positioned like a cadaver would be in a coffin as funeral music plays in the background.
- The previous episode (The Blue Comet) contains a flashback to a scene from Soprano Home Movies in which Bobby Baccalieri and Tony Soprano discuss what it's like being killed, saying "in our line of work, it's always out there. You probably don't even hear it when it happens". While the flashback may or may not be referring to this scene, the cut to black and complete silence would be exactly what Bobby described.
- David Chase sets up a pattern of point of view shots where we see a shot of Tony, then his point of view of someone walking into the restaurant when the bell on the door rings, and then the reaction shot. Following this pattern, we hear the bell ring as Meadow opens the door, we get the shot of Tony, then right when we should see Meadow walking in from Tony's point of view, we get black nothingness.
- Had Meadow not experienced trouble parallel parking her car, she would have been in the restaurant seated beside her dad Tony (opposite AJ), thus blocking the hitman's shot.
- When Tony is out to eat with meadow earlier in the last episode, she asks "so what do I owe this pleasure to go sake bombing?" Tony replies "we used to have dinner all the time, you're gonna get married and my chances are flying by me". This is presumably Tony's last moments with meadow before she witnessed his murder.
- The screen abruptly cuts to black and all sound mutes as opposed to the fade in most other episodes that keeps the soundtrack running (which goes hand in hand with the above-mentioned discussion).
- The person staring at Tony Soprano and walking to the bathroom is significant enough to be credited, with a special mention to his Members Only jacket. "Members Only" is the episode in which Tony got shot, and is a reference to being in the mob, as well as to Eugene in "Members Only" who kills himself when Tony won't let him move his family to Florida. The "Members Only" man simply can be seen to represent everyone Tony has wronged throughout his life. He is also the only patron we see walking into the diner before we get Tony's point of view of him walking into the diner followed by AJ.
- A hitman walking into a bathroom to retrieve his weapon is reminiscent of a famous scene from The Godfather, in which Michael Corleone does so before murdering a rival and a police captain.
- It's the only time in the series Tony is seen peeling an orange, an obvious reference to The Godfather movies where oranges are closely associated with an approaching death or being shot.
- The scene has been edited in a way that builds up tension, which naturally leads the audience on to believe something momentous is going to happen (which may or may not be the case).
- Many of the patrons in the diner represent an event from previous episodes that involved killing someone.
- Tony Soprano often spoke, in Soprano Home Movies, For All Debts Public and Private, and The Happy Wanderer, of the fact that there are only two ways out for a boss. Dead or in Jail. We saw Johnny Sack, another boss, go the route going to jail. We also saw Little Carmine Lupertazzi step away from the title of Boss to enjoy and live his life. So it would make sense that we see Tony take the other path, death.
- Patsy Parisi at one point in the series pointed a gun at Tony Soprano through his home's window overlooking his swimming pool and considered shooting him to death, as revenge for ordering Gigi Cestone to kill his twin brother Phillip "Philly Soons" Parisi. Even in his drunken stupor, Patsy decided against it and instead urinated in Tony's swimming pool. He had the motives to kill Tony and may have also seen it as a way to stage a coup d'état of the DiMeo crime family and take over as boss. Patsy Parisi may have hired the hitman to kill Tony.
- Silvio Dante was shot several times and left in a coma by a man wearing the same Members Only jacket who was part of the Lupertazzi family hit squad sent by Phil Leotardo. It is unknown if this is the same man or merely someone associated with him who has similar taste in clothing. Patsy Parisi shot back at the hitmen but may have intentionally missed his shots to set Silvio up to be killed as part of a larger revenge mission and coup d'état against Tony Soprano.
- In "From Where to Eternity" Christopher says he has a message, "3 o'clock", to Paulie and Tony from Mikey Palmice. Tony is sitting at a table in Holsten's facing Carmella and AJ. To his immediate right is the hallway to the men's room. In theory the “Member's Only” guy would have had a clear view of Tony if he made a hit on him. In military terms he would have been at 3 o'clock.
- Despite the hit on Phil Leotardo being sanctioned by the Lupertazzi family, the job was done very messily with Phil being killed in front of his wife and infant grandchildren, and then having his skull crushed by his moving SUV that was stuck in drive. Tony may have been shot to death at the diner in front of his family to send a message that if you perform a messy hit like that, you'll die in another messy hit as punishment.
- Relating to the above, Tony may have been considered a loose end to the new leadership of the Lupertazzi family, and killing him was likely considered severing the final link between them and the Phil Leotardo hit.
- Instead of the screen fading to black and the credits rolling, it is an abrupt cut to a black screen that lasts for at least 3 seconds, suggesting it was an important part of the episode itself and not just a mere transition to the credits.
However, while the evidence for it outweighs possible evidence against it, there are three things hinting that nothing happened to Tony Soprano:
- We never actually see anything happen other than suggestive editing - we don't even see a gun. Or to put it more simply, we do not see Tony Soprano die on screen.
- The lyrics of the famous Journey song (Don't Stop Believin') indicate that life goes on despite all the trouble. The “Members Only” guy’s jacket is missing the Members Only logo. Maybe that means that he - like the jacket - is an imitation, not the real thing.
- There was seemingly no reason for him to be killed -- the hit on Phil Leotardo had been sanctioned by the Lupertazzi crime family.
It is unknown what the ultimate fate of Tony Soprano is, and if the mysterious man in the Members Only jacket was the hitman who took Tony's life.