People are STILL talking about it. Kudos to David Chase.

There’s a theory that Tony was indeed whacked at the end… It’s something I’ve thought too. And the theory seems to be gaining credence — and HBO is going along.

The biggest hint, according to a consensus taking shape on the Web, is a scene from an earlier episode in which Tony and his brother-in-law, Bobby Bacala, muse about what it feels like to die.

“At the end, you probably don’t hear anything, everything just goes black,” Bobby says while they sit fishing in a small boat on a lake.

That scene is recalled briefly in a flashback played at the end of the penultimate “Sopranos” episode, as Tony is lying in the darkened room of a safehouse clutching a machine gun to his chest in the midst of a mob war.

“I think that is one of the most legitimate things to look at,” [HBO spokesman Quentin] Schaffer said when asked about theories that the Bobby Bacala flashback was meant to foreshadow Tony’s death.

Moreover, he said the man in the “Members Only” jacket could be interpreted as a symbolic reference to membership in the mob. “Members Only” also was the title of the episode in which Tony’s demented Uncle Junior shoots him in the gut.

The “Members Only” guy was played by the owner of a real-life pizza parlor, Paolo Colandrea. Schaffer denied reports that Colandrea had appeared earlier in the series as the nephew of Tony’s New York gang rival, or that there ever was such a character. He also dismissed reports that Chase had filmed more than one ending to the finale.

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