Dr Jennifer Melfi is Tony's true consigliere. Melfi's effectiveness in this role is part of the reason that Tony is able to maintain control over the North Jersey rackets for many years, when other families seem to constantly beset by internal power struggles.
The opening titles. Every week, Tony drives the New Jersey Turnpike. Every time, he takes a ticket and pays his toll in cash. Why not get an EZPass? Because that's an RFID transponder and he's paranoid about being tracked, by law enforcement or otherwise.
YMMV on this, but every animal on the show is a symbolic stand-in for one of the characters. The ducks in the pilot are obviously Tony's family, the cat in the finale is probably Christopher or Adriana, that bear that wouldn't leave Carmela alone was clearly Tony, and Big Pussy actually appears as a fish in one of Tony's dream sequences. The horse Pie Oh My is a bit trickier, but Tony's overreaction to her death suggests she represents someone important. The fact that he gives horseshoe-shaped brooches to all his ex-goomahs would point to Carmela. And there are plenty of other examples.
The horse most likely represented Tracee.
One of Gloria Trillo's favorite songs is Affection by Steve Van Zandt. Sure, this doubles as a Shout-Out to Van Zandt playing Silvio Dante and a clear sign that Gloria wants more affection from Tony, but one of the lines in the song is "I'm the spirit that haunts your dreams." In "The Test Dream," she literally haunts Tony's dream.
By burning down his original restaurant, Vesuvio, Tony reassured that Artie's reputation wouldn't be compromised.
And even if he justifiably kills Tony because of his place being burned, Artie will be automatically whacked by Tony's vengeful crime family.
When Artie confronts Tony with the rifle and accuses him of burning down his restaurant.
Tony: Why the fuck would I blow up your restaurant?
Artie: To help me! You fuckin' bent psycho. You hear your uncle's gonna hurt my business by stagin' a hit in my place, and that's your solution? To burn it down for the insurance money! What kind of stupid, sick, twisted logic?
On top of that, Artie kills Tony for eating in a rival restaurant!
It seems odd at first that Tony's father is so over-the-top in flashbacks, compared to the serious nature of the show, and even his memories of everyone else. However, Johnny Boy has been dead for a long time, and all Tony has left is a memory of his father that has been built up over time to ridiculous proportions.
After hearing Carmela's verbal rampage about Livia that was supported by her father, Artie realizes that while he saw Livia as a harmless old woman, she was seen by everyone else as a mentally dysfunctional woman who was full of negative energies. He knew saying it then would be pointless, and would probably justify Carmela's rant even more.
Also, Artie remembering it was Livia who told him about Tony's involvement, he also got the idea that she manipulated him into Artie confronting Tony with the rifle to try committing the second and possibly successful assassination attempt on her son.
Chekhov's Gun: The baby journals Livia never filled out. It bothered Carmella, as she was the one who brought them in the first place and served as one of the main factors in her "remembrance" of her spiteful mother-in-law.
After Tony kills Christopher in the aftermath of their car accident, he brings up how a tree branch destroyed the babyseat in the back. Why? To justfy the murder to himself.
Tony focusing on the booster seat is actually a Call-Back to a certain other character who had an infanticide fixation. Double points for Tony killing Christopher by effectively smothering him, which is exactly what that same character said she would rather do to her children than send them to Nevada. Triple points for this method being what Tony himself tries to do to Livia after he finds out she really did try to have him killed. And quadruple points when you realize that Tony isn't trying to justify his actions, but genuinely believes he did the right thing (as he states to Melfi in his dream, where he has no reason to lie, exasperated by having to pretend he grieves for Christopher) because he now subconsciously sees Christopher and Livia as of the same kind.
When Tracee is introduced in the Bing, Silvio refers to her as a "thoroughbred" to describe her good looks. The term typically is used to describe purebred horses. After Tracee is murdered by Ralphie, guess what species of animal becomes her allegorical stand-in to represent the unsettled conflict between Tony and Ralphie?
An observant viewer will notice that Silvio Dante has killed the most traitors and/or informants in the series (Jimmy Altieri, Big Pussy Bonpensiero, Adriana La Cerva, Burt Gervasi), and has been tapped by Tony personally to eliminate other problem cases (Coach Hauser, Richie Aprile) before being called off, or the situation resolved itself. Why Silvio, the level-headed consigliere, whose primary responsibility in the crime organization is management and advice, as opposed to Paulie Walnuts, Furio Giunta, Christopher Moltisanti, Patsy Parisi or even Bobby Baccialeri? Because the targets would least suspect Sil because of his general temperament and role in the Soprano organization. He can get close BECAUSE he would raise less alarm. And of course his victims won't be telling anyone...
Regardless of how you might feel about the polarizing Ralph Cifaretto as a person, you'd have to agree that, what with his Gladiator fixation, it is poignantly fitting that he dies locked in visceral, bloody, gladiator-esque one on one combat against his perennial arch-nemesis Tony.
Whever Tony discusses the possibility of executing a fellow mobster, he usually makes reference to them being "clipped" (not "whacked", as many people assume). At first glance, it might just seem like a simple euphemism for murder, but it's also a pretty clever Double Entendre. The DiMeo syndicate is structured like a family—and when Tony removes associates from the family by executing them, he figuratively "clips" them from the family tree. And as we see several times: when Tony and his friends execute mobsters by gunshot, they have a habit of using way more bullets than they need to, just to be on the safe side. So when Tony executes someone, he usually does it with a full clip of ammo.
The fate of Tony's family after the show ends. Whenever Carmella pesters Tony about what the family will do for money if he dies, Tony tells her that the information will be made available to her when "the time comes." However, by the end of the show, Tony's consigliere is in a coma, and his two most trusted right-hand men (Bobby and Christopher) are dead. This means that if Tony did indeed die in the show's finale, that his family's financial well-being is left in the hands of the resentful Patsy Parisi and the ever-unreliable Paulie. Given that both of them have been shown to dislike Carmella (with Paulie showing he was willing to screw her out of money before Tony was even dead), and that neither knew the extent of Tony's banking relationships, it is unlikely Carmella and her children will be left with much of anything. Without his father's influence, it is equally unlikely that AJ will keep his job, and Meadow will lack the means to pay for her law school.
But I thought it was made pretty clear that A) Tony made sure a lot of his money was kept where only his mob lawyer Neil Mink could get a hold of it and B) Carmela has already squirreled some of Tony's money away herself into various accounts of $99,999 in preparation for such things?
Plus Meadow is dating Patsy Parisi's son, so even though the match may not have the dynastic advantage for Patsy it once did, wouldn't he be looked down on by other mobsters if he failed to provide for his future daughter-in-law?
Have not watched the show in quite a while, but I was always under the impression that the money would be delivered by the Russian money launderers/mobsters with whom Tony had originally placed it. Also, the relationship between Tony and the Russian always seemed more than merely professional to me. I never really thought that Tony would rely on his crew alone to provide for his family in case of a tragedy. While one might raise the possibility of the Russians cheating Tony and keeping the money instead of giving it to Carmela (be it as a lump sum or in installments), I would argue that this life insurance deal for mobsters is probably a significant portion of their operation which requires their customers to have an enormous amount of trust, making it unlikely for the Russians to be willing to cheat Carmela out of the money.
Carmela ensured that she and her children have legitimate avenues to access Tony's assets in the event he was ever killed (e.g. the living trust Tony signed in Season 4). They might not be able to get to all of Tony's cash, but they certainly won't be left with nothing.
When Phil Leotardo and his men ambushed and murdered Vito Spatafore, they pummeled him with batons so badly, his wife said that he "no longer looked like a human being". And they topped off this horrific act by jamming a pool cue up the man's rectum. And this was all because Phil disagreed with Vito's choice of lifestyle. Now think back to how vengeance crazed Leotardo was when Tony Blundetto killed his brother Billy, and his threats to make Tony B.'s death slow and agonizing, to basically torture him to death. Now if Phil is capable of doing what he did to Vito just because of his sexual orientation, imagine what kind of inhumanly hellish ordeal he was going to put Blundetto through before finally killing him. Tony S. imagined it, and decided it was far more merciful to shoot his cousin in the face with a shotgun.