Did Kennedy and Heidi damage your emotional investment in or connection to Tony?

Total votes: 0

Re: Did Kennedy and Heidi Damage Your Emotional Investment i

#11
I voted:

No. I found Tony’s murder of Chris and his demeanor during and after it to be well within character, and I remain as interested as ever in his fate.


But I found it hard to choose because of the way this is worded. I didn't find his demeanor "well within character"--it was shocking, horrifying. When Tony was covering Chris's nose my dad couldn't figure out what was going on, and I shouted, "He's killing him! Oh my God! He's killing him." I just could not believe it--that Tony would do it, that this is how Chris would die, that their relationship would never be resolved, that I wouldn't see Michael Imperioli anymore. I was and still am upset. However, it's not so out of character that it's bad writing. Stop me if someone else already said this, but it's more like Tony B. that I initially thought. It's something that simply has to happen, mobwise, but it's also a kind of mercy killing in both cases (or at least that's what Tony tells himself, but a case can be made that he really did save them both from something worse). So it's pure Tony--the smart "business" decision, but with something extra in it for himself (like when he sold the property to Jamba Juice to get to Juliana).

I said this before, but if this thing ends with no further soul-searching about Christopher on Tony's part, I'll feel cheated, but I'll worry about that when/if it happens. In the meantime, I can't wait for the next two Sundays.

Re: Did Kennedy and Heidi Damage Your Emotional Investment i

#12
Universal Polymath wrote:Yes, Billymac, the same questions continue to intrigue me, but it is my growing doubt that of a resolution that is affecting my attitude towards the show. You know, I can only have hope for a satisfying conclusion up until point at which the conclusion actually happens. I think on some level, I’m suddenly distancing myself from the show just to ease the emotional blow I’d feel if this series doesn’t end anything like I want it to.


I completely understand UP. I'll admit that I too was deeply invested in some sort of change or redemption for Tony. It is still a possibility, but not likely. Recognizing that I still hold out hope for some acknowledgement by Tony of the shitty life he has led and its spillover to other lives. I may not even get that. If our expectations for the end of the series differ markedly from that of David Chase, then dissapointment (to some degree) is inevitable, but I am having trouble understanding the degree to which members are feeling an emotional disconnect with Tony, especially if the source of the disconnect is Christopher's murder.

Was it so unexpected for this opportunistic killer to rid himself of a problem (Christopher) when the opportunity presented itself? He killed Tony B to end a problem between himself and NY.

Alternatively, if Christopher wasn't really a "problem", didn't Christopher's movie "Cleaver" present Tony with the biggest (and most public) mirror of precisely who and what he is? Being confronted with the ugly truth of this portrayal, was it out of character for Tony to want to forever silence the creator of this cinematic looking glass? This same man had threatened to smother Christopher for much less - killing Ade's dog Cosette. He also actually killed Ralph for much less - assumedly killing Pie O' My. Is there any reason to think that he wouldn't be furious with Christopher for publicly disseminating an unflattering caricature in a revenge fantasy movie that essentially paints him as a lecehrous, grabby and selfish prick?

For me at least killing Christopher was not the dividing point between a "good" Tony and a "bad" Tony: He has always been both. Consequently, I find it hard to take Christopher's murder as THE event that would make me detach emotionally from Tony. Tony's apparent lack of remorse about Christopher's murder MAY signal that Tony is beyond complete and total redemption. But why should we expect him to grieve for someone with whom he no longer has any emotional attachments himself? Those bonds were severed (if they ever really existed completely at all) with the premiere of Cleaver. Even if Tony still had genuine emotional connections to Christopher, have some of us abandoned all hope that Tony won't face his grief over this act? Or do I detect a "wait and see" attitude about this?

Let me pose a question to those who now feel emotionally (or otherwise) detached from Tony Soprano: what were your expectations for the ending and have they been completely dashed or are you just pessimistic that your expectations might not be partially or completely met?

Re: Did Kennedy and Heidi Damage Your Emotional Investment i

#13
billymac wrote:Let me pose a question to those who now feel emotionally (or otherwise) detached from Tony Soprano: what were your expectations for the ending and have they been completely dashed or are you just pessimistic that your expectations might not be partially or completely met?



And in a show where the recurring theme seems to be that people can't stray too far from their essence, would an ending where Tony realizes the wrong of his ways be true to the show?

Re: Did Kennedy and Heidi Damage Your Emotional Investment i

#14
Although Christopher's killing was definitely shocking, it wasn't the turning point. It was Tony's reaction to his death that has left so many of us cold. Not only has Tony not shown any signs of grief, but he has shown resentment for those that have. Fly already laid out pretty well how the murders of others have affected Tony, and it seems there are no signs of a similar reaction regarding Christopher. No matter how poor their relationship had become, this non-reaction is very disconcerting.

As far as the ending goes... I still have hope, without a doubt. I'm worried right now, but the show has never let me down in a major way before (I, of course, like anyone, have minor complaints). There is no doubt in my mind that I will enjoy these final two episodes, and I might even enjoy the ending very much even if my expectations aren't met. We shall see.

And AJColossal, I don't expect Tony to become a good guy or change his spots overnight. I just think that the potential for change in Tony is definitely there, and the change has been hinted at or come to the forefront too many times for me to think that it's there for no good reason.

Re: Did Kennedy and Heidi Damage Your Emotional Investment i

#15
chaseisgod wrote:It hasn't changed my own emotional investment in Tony, because I don't see it as being too much different from Tony's killing of Tony B. Like Chris, Tony B had screwed up, but Tony essentially killed him for his own selfish reasons.


CIG, we see things so similarly most of the time that I always have to pinch myself and make a concerted effort to re-evaluate when our views significantly diverge. I just pinched myself.:icon_biggrin:

To me, the situation with Tony B feels fundamentally different. There were enormous pressures on Tony from everywhere to give Tony B up to NY. The vaunted "code" of the mob required it. The all-powerful NY leadership required it. The lives and physical security of his own men required it. Their willingness to view and follow him as a leader required it. Even Tony's own shrink, however unwittingly, required it by telling him to ignore his emotional attachments to Tony B and act purely on the knowledge that some portion of that attachment owed to guilt rather than to love.

Many bought into Sil's ostensible truth that Tony didn't want to "bow down" to Johnny Sac and that that was the reason Tony took so long to come through. But, in fact, Sil was dead wrong. Tony DID bow down to John.

He approached him in LTP fully intent on doing the "right" thing for all involved, asking only for John's promise that Tony B wouldn't be subjected to a prolonged or agonizing death. Tony exhibited a level of deference and humility that strongly resembled grovelling. It started from the moment he greeted him, "There he is, the King of New York." It continued as he quietly endured Johnny's condescension about the indignity of meeting in the place Tony chose. It continued as he humbly reminded John that he [John] was the one with all the power, "John, you're the boss of NY. You can do anything you want." It continued as he endured Johnny's brush-offs, "Phil will do it his way." It continued as he made a last, heartfelt plea out of what he thought was a mutual friendship: "John this is me now talking. Tony. As a friend." And it finally crashed as John summarily rebuffed him a final time and casually picked tobacco from his tongue as if to underscore how trivial Tony and his pleas were to him. Considering that Johnny could have easily offered the promise to Tony with no intention of actually honoring it, Tony's modest request and giant leap of faith in Johnny's word solidifies for me that this was an entirely genuine concern that Tony B not be tortured. It wasn't about Tony's pride.

In the end, Tony chose the path that arguably did the most "good" for the most people. By blasting Tony B's face off with a shotgun, he made certain the proper result was obtained, that his cousin would not suffer torture or an agonizingly slow death, that he could restore his bargaining position with Johnny Sac to bring an end to the conflict, that Chris could emerge from hiding without a looming death threat, that his other men would no longer have to fear for their own lives, and, last but not least, that they could all continue to make money.

But while it did the most good for the most people, it was the choice that unquestionably caused Tony the most personal grief. Season 5 was said to focus on Tony as a leader, and what we saw in the end was that, in a perverse and subversive sense of that term, Tony proved to be a great leader. He put the collective good first.

In contrast, his ostensible motives for killing Chris were almost entirely selfish. If you discount Tony's concern for Kaitlyn (which many have done), his motives reduced to worry about Chris flipping and giving Tony up to the FBI, disgust in Chris for being a drug addict, resignation that that would never change, and extreme hurt and resentment over the hatred Chris aimed subliminally at Tony through Cleaver.

I completely concur with others' observations that the relationship between Tony and Chris is extremely complex and that, therefore, Tony's reaction to the murder is likely to be equally complex. That is precisely why within 12 hours of the episode, I was searching for (some might say concocting:icon_biggrin:) an elaborate mechanism of motive that could explain the patent incongruities in how Tony did act during and after the murder versus how we might have expected him to act.

But to assess any of this, I think you must honestly ask how Tony's behavior in and around this murder differed from his behavior in and around others. I don't see how it's possible to interpret Tony's demeanor during the actual killing as communicating anything but a new and unprecedented level of depravity, evil, or emotional vacancy within him. One of the first remarks from my aunt when we spoke on the phone after the episode was that the look on Tony's face was one of pure, unmitigated evil, a look Gandolfini had never come close to affecting for any scene in this series.

I concur in that it was not a look of hatred or of vitriol or of anger. It was completely calm, sure, devoid of emotion, and yet showing complete commitment and conviction. Even the slightest grimace or scowl or uncomfortable shifting of his gaze elsewhere or tight clenching of his fingers on Chris' nose would have changed significantly what Tony appeared to be feeling (or not feeling) during those crucial moments. Instead, he stared at Chris with an unwavering, flat gaze, turning his head slowly at one moment only to ensure that the passing motorist above had not seen him. There was never a trace at any time of the ambivalence or sorrow he showed when he shot Pussy; the hatred when he strangled the rat guy in College; the explosion of anger when he bashed Ralph's head into the floor and pummeled his face; the sense of sad, solemn duty when he shot Tony B and immediately felt for his pulse. The murder of Chris felt incomprehensibly like the most personal and least personal of all Tony's murders, all at the same time.

And when it comes to assessing what Tony was or wasn't feeling afterward, I'm surprised so many are ignoring Tony's own admissions, especially as they are unflattering and therefore circumstantially more credible. In his dream therapy session, the one where his subconscious is totally in charge of airing out repressed truths, he admits pain and then immediately calls himself on his own bullshit. He admits his relief, even his satisfaction that he killed Chris. He readily admits all the selfish justifications for killing him. He comments that he's murdered friends before but that this is much different . . . i.e., with this one, there are no mixed feelings, no guilt, no being "prostate with grief."

His real therapy session was remarkably similar with only the most obviously necessary of fictions inserted to shield Melfi from certain truths. The bottom line was that, as Tony told her, he didn't feel any abiding grief.

So the question remains a rather simple one IMO: Why wasn't Tony aggrieved over this death, and is that lack of grief consistent with the character we've seen over the years?

If Chase was in fact telling a mirrored tale of repressed father/son hatred through Cleaver and through Tony and Chris' relationship, a tale in which, from Tony's POV, they are both father and son, both themselves and each other, both Tony and Johnny Boy, both part of this nebulous whole that Tony came to believe in after his coma, then I have little problem with what has transpired since Kennedy and Heidi. It even makes beautiful, elegant sense. And it explains to my satisfaction why Tony can be so jubilant in his peyote casino trip, why he felt a need to embody Chris in Las Vegas by banging his goomar and indulging in his lifestyle, and why he felt a surge of recognition when the sun (son) rose and flared at him. If killing Chris was the symbolic keystone for Tony ultimately rejecting his own father, his value system, and his notions about manhood, then I understand the otherwise incongruous behavior. It's hard to be mired in grief when you are simultaneously celebrating a triumph that's been a lifetime in the making.

I don't mean to sound impatient or as if I'm prejudging where this is going. But I'm just nervous that this last episode, Second Coming, provided little to no continuing fodder for the one theory that seemed to make some sense to me. I need something more concrete than what we've been given in order to feel secure in this interpretation and reconnect with Tony. And I certainly need to see something from Tony that indicates he's taken the next step beyond a mere symbolic slaying of Johnny Boy . . . and that's to consciously, overtly reject what Johnny Boy stood for. If that means admitting to AJ that he, Tony, is a fraud who wasted his life pursuing an identity that he knows to be ugly and corrput -- right before blowing his own brains out -- that's fine. I ain't picky about how it happens as long as it happens.

Here's what I wonder -- if, in these last two episodes, we do see some sort of breakdown regarding Christopher, will it have come too late?


It won't be too late for me, and, in fact, is what I deem necessary to reclaim the lost connection to his character. It's not that I want or expect him to go into paroxisms of grief and sorrow for killing some lovely, innocent boy. Chis doesn't merit that kind of grief from anyone.

Rather, I need an explanation for why this murder was so different from all the others from Tony's perspective and how that difference resonates with and reinforces the history of this character and the path he seemed to be on immediately prior to Kennedy and Heidi, one of condemning irresponsible parents, and particularly bad fathers, and one of recognizing his own failures as AJ's father.
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"

Re: Did Kennedy and Heidi Damage Your Emotional Investment i

#16
Tony is a mobster, he is an evil criminal, that is his character's persona. Tony is shown that he has killed himself or ordered killed enemies, many of his friends and acquances, family members, may kill more of them or lead them to death. He has put his personal family at great risk. His decision to help Chris die was within his character. Chris has disrespected him for years with his drug use, alcohol abuse, the Cleaver movie, having a girlfirend that was ratting to the Feds and possibly attracting more interest from law enforcement if he got caught drunk/drugged, dealing, and so on. Tony had the unique opportunity to get rid of one of his biggest problems, and made the perversely prudent decision. I also think Chris knew he had to go, he had FU'd very badly for years, almost killed Tony in the accident, if survived would face major pain for the rest of his life. That Chris doesn't fight back Tony plugging his nose indicates his acquicance to Tony's act.
I do think that Tony is disturbed by and is guilty inside about his ending Chris' life, referencing and trying to justify it by the references to the tree limb going into the baby seat in the accident, his reactions to Chris' new wife with the child. His guilt let to his escape to Las Vegas, seeing Sonia, using peyote. That time and experience was his perverse way of grieving.
I don't expect a good ending for Tony in this series - either by murder by Phil/NY or one of his own gang or even an unexpected 3rd party, taking his own life, going into Witness Protection, dying of a heart attack or other illness or worse, going into a purgetory of mental illness - alive but not sane, living like Junior in a home.

Re: Did Kennedy and Heidi Damage Your Emotional Investment i

#17
billymac wrote:Was it so unexpected for this opportunistic killer to rid himself of a problem (Christopher) when the opportunity presented itself?

For me at least killing Christopher was not the dividing point between a "good" Tony and a "bad" Tony: He has always been both. Consequently, I find it hard to take Christopher's murder as THE event that would make me detach emotionally from Tony. Tony's apparent lack of remorse about Christopher's murder MAY signal that Tony is beyond complete and total redemption. But why should we expect him to grieve for someone with whom he no longer has any emotional attachments himself? Those bonds were severed (if they ever really existed completely at all) with the premiere of Cleaver. Even if Tony still had genuine emotional connections to Christopher, have some of us abandoned all hope that Tony won't face his grief over this act? Or do I detect a "wait and see" attitude about this?

Let me pose a question to those who now feel emotionally (or otherwise) detached from Tony Soprano: what were your expectations for the ending and have they been completely dashed or are you just pessimistic that your expectations might not be partially or completely met?


All good questions, billymac. My last post, which I was still composing before you posted your last reply, answers it in part.

But I'll just underscore what jouster said: it was far less the murder and much more Tony's demeanor during and after that has left me so detached. Death has a way, I suspect even for murderers (although I'm just speculating:icon_mrgreen:), of wiping away the bad memories and leaving only the good, especially in the short term. I don't care how much resentment and hatred had crept in, there's no way that the Tony who cried so touchingly over Christopher 4 episodes earlier did not still reserve enough love for him to grieve his death. It makes absolutely no sense to me. I don't think even someone of Tony's ilk can neatly compartmentalize all their feelings into discrete boxes and conveniently get rid of the one labeled "love" on a whim. The whole series is predicated on Tony's inability to completely, effectively dam up his spring of humanity (which necessarily includes the capacity to love and to mourn). If it was there at all, some part of it still has to be there.

So, yes, I'm taking a wait and see approach, but the time is fast approaching for no more wait, only see.:icon_wink:
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"

Re: Did Kennedy and Heidi Damage Your Emotional Investment i

#18
Mafiaphile, with respect to Tony only, I guess I'm questioning if what we saw of him in Kennedy and Heidi (and continuing into Second Coming) can in fact be his "true" nature if it seems to contradict what we've been led to believe for nearly seven seasons about his capacity for love and the existence within him of some modicum of conscience. I mean Tony was even haunted by his killing of Matt Bevalaqua, the guy who tried to murder Chris and against whom Tony felt such a personal need for revenge that he exposed himself as a mob boss to potential murder charges to carry out the hit personally.



I keep rewatching the episode to see if I change my mind, but so far I strongly disagree that Tony is showing 'no signs of remorse' regarding Chrisopher.

My argument on why Tony's behavior may be hard to read and seemingly inconsistent with prior 'whackings' is b/c this is the first time we've seen Tony murder someone soooo far outside the understood LCN rules. The next closest I think would be Ralph - but at least with Ralph a fight had broken out. And of course there was all the Ralphie baggage. But Ralph's death also illicited a comment I keep thinking of in relation to both Christopher's death AND the fact that Tony was seriously considering killing Paulie because

Re: Did Kennedy and Heidi Damage Your Emotional Investment i

#19
before the second coming i firmly held the belief that tony's grief/sorrow/guilt whatever over chris's murder would eventually catch up with him....that he would sort of come to some realization about the reality of what he actually did and have a complete breakdown in a way that surpasses anything he felt for adrianna/pussy/tony b....but now? i dunno...it seems like the chris storyline is a dead issue...and quite a crappy resolution to an amazing element of the show

i reserve any official judgment until they wrap the series...but seriously...this season is all over the place. it would be strange to build up this "father figure" angle to such a massive degree and then not really do anything with it....

i am actually of the opinion that fly is right in her assumption that tony was symbolically killing off what he understood to be one of his own currupt "father figures" but for that theory to ring true...we need it to bleed into the show in a "real" way. im not saying we have to be spoonfed....but this is ridiculous

Re: Did Kennedy and Heidi Damage Your Emotional Investment i

#20
Love this site and have been pouring through the various posts for the last couple of months. It is quite an accomplishment to maintain a fan site that offers up such insightful analysis. I thought this would be a good topic to bust my cherry on.

I have to say that Kennedy and Heidi didn't damage my emotional investment in Tony but then I never thought of Tony as being on the road to redemption. The killing of Chrissy is something Tony had been building up to for a long time. His apparent lack of remorse was surprising but I think it is very in keeping with the development of Tony's character over the series and the prior 5 episodes specifically.

"Soprano Home Movies", "Remember When", "Chasing It" and "Walk Like a Man" really show Tony, as Little Carmine would put it, "at the precipice of an enormous crossroads". Tony's self loathing really seemed to be getting the better of him and he had been lashing out in monstorous ways - forcing Bobby to do the hit, almost whacking Paulie, sh**ing all over Hesh, sending Vito Jr off to some disciplinary school, enabling Chrissy and then laughing at him, etc. It seemed to me that Tony had crossed a line somewhere during that birthday party and became this unlikeable, bullying pri**. IMO, the killing of Christopher was the culmination of that mean streak since I don't see it as Tony symbolically killing his father, I see it more as Tony symbolically killing a part of himself. This explains for me his joyous "I get it" in Vegas and his apparent return to the "good ol' loveable sociopath" Tony witnessed in The Second Coming.

I don't think it is an accident that the episode after killing Chris, Tony saves AJ's life. It seems Tony has already made his choice between his family and the "family".

Also, I happen to think killing Christopher had a profound emotional impact on Tony which is exactly why we haven't seen him come to terms with it. It is too big for Tony to deal with and the feelings of loss are mixed by a sense of relief. When Tony was complaining about others showing their grief I took it as Tony saying "I loved this kid more than they ever did and I KILLED him. I am hurting much more than they are and I am not bawling like an infant."

I am still very much interested in Tony as a character. Is he as loveable as he was in Season 1? No, he isn't. Does that make me enjoy the show any less? No, it doesn't. The arc seems very "real" to me and sometimes "real" can be murky and dark. I, for one, am more interested in where the show is going now then I was at the beginning of the season which is saying something because I am a bit of a fanatic.

Anyhoo, that's my take on it.

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