It has been observed on the newsgroup alt.tv.sopranos, and possibly elsewhere, that the debut episode of Season 6 might not be the first chronological chapter. This may in fact have been an ep from the middle or near the end of the season, and the remainder of 6, and the stunted mini-season now planned as the end of the series, might see the resolution of the shooting. What we see from now until the "catch-up" episode may be retrospective fill-in.
Evidence to support this:
- Characters mention it having been at least a year since the events of last season
- Janice's baby is said to be more than a year old
- Considering the use of The Godfather as an ongoing master text, Tony's being shot mid-plot reminds me of Vito Corleone's bullet-induced incapacitation, and the use of an extended flashback (or even an interlaced past–present scene technique) calls to mind the way the second film was arranged.
- Although other characters have gotten less screen time due to shootings (Christopher) or real-life needs of the actor (when Tony Sirico had minor surgery, his scenes as Paulie were quickies shot from simple sets — this was the stretch when he was in jail), they know Tony Soprano is too much of a draw to keep him off camera or in a coma. He is, to echo the words of a newsgroup denizen, "too good an earner."
We shall be smarter tonight, I suppose.