You touch briefly on the seven souls narrative at the beginning of the episode Members Only. There’s more there. Mainly, the narrative is focused on the 7 souls that depart your body at the “moment of death”. The montage features Vito, Eugene, Meadow, Ray Curto, AJ, Adriana and Carmela as these souls. Notably, Meadow is the guardian angel (you quite succinctly explain why she is Tony’s guardian angel), AJ is the double (Tony’s double) and Carmela is the remains (his wife). Tony is never shown during this sequence, but is the first character shown when it does conclude. The narration is setting us up for Tony’s death.
When you discuss the significance of orange when relating to death, there’s another big tie to The Godfather you left out.
When Vito Corleone is shot while shopping in the market with his son (in Part I) he drops a bag of oranges that spill on the street. When Tony is shot at in Season 1 the first shot shatters a glass container of orange juice that Tony is holding.
Two Mob bosses lives are almost taken by assassins…the presence of orange in both scenes.
I believe it is likely that Tony reaches for his gun and I agree with your intepretation of the ‘look’ on Tony’s face you mentioned. However, I feel it is most likely he saw Medow’s reaction as she entered, as she would have clearly seen the gunman behind him.
This is why I feel he reached for his gun with a concerned look on his boat.
I just (rather belatedly) watched the Sopranos, and am dazzled by the complexity of the series as a whole, still haunted by the ending.
I figured Tony is dead, but your article helped me through the process of figuring it out more fully. Thank you so much for this piece – brilliantly researched, written and presented – you have reawakened my love for true film art