Re: Tony's last words to Melfi/Yochelson, Elliot, Melfi and

#41
The shot of Dr. Melphi closing the door reminded me alot of the final scene of the godfather, when Micheal closes the door to his wife shutting her out of that part of his life. Dr. melphie is closing the door on Tony shuttinghim away from therapy and perpetuating his growth as a con man, his ies to her and to him self of his personnal growth and understanding of phsychology.

I am not so shocked that she finally ended it and sent him away but find my self asking why she kept him on in the first place. In season three her ex husband and her shrink told her that he can't be helped and she decided that they were correct and that she needed to turn him over to a behavioralist. After her rape I think she feared letting him leave. Tony had become her watch dog, Tony in a way made her feel safe and I think made her feel powerful.

Dr. Melphie knew what her shrink told her was true but she didn't want to lose what she was getting out of the relationship with Tony. I think she was sort of forced into evaluating the study when a sort of intervention of psychiatrists told her she was not helping the man but making him a stronger criminal and helping himself justify the horrors he performs on a daily basis.

Once confronted by her colleagues what she already knew was put on the table and she had to face it. In her last sessions with Tony we have seen the distance, the caring the want to understand wasn't there anymore. She gave an ultimatum that Tony show up to his sessions, which was more of a subconcious passive way of asking him to quit. She was defeated, she knew deep down that what Tony said about their sessions being a "jerk off" were true.

I amnot sure if I am the only one who saw this but in Melfies eyes her sparkle had gone, she looked more depressed when dealing with him. He came in and lied to her and talked about shoving his foot up the asses of those close to him and it was just a cycle of bull shit. And when she ended it with Tony she was angry, should she have displayed her anger as she did , probably not but she did.

Was she angry at him, maybe a little but probably more angry at herself for not turning him over in season three like she wanted to, for keeping this man on who she knew deep down she couldn't help and for helping him become a better criminal.

Re: Tony's last words to Melfi/Yochelson, Elliot, Melfi and

#42
Which brings me to my next point: Elliott. Who is the real sociopath here? In my book Elliott is as much of a sociopath as Tony: he engages Melfi in her treatment only to satisfy his own curiosity about her work with Tony, and he takes pleasure in revealing her "secret" client to their colleagues, with no concern as to how this might impact her safety or her work with Tony. This is behavior he could lose his professional license for, yet he seems to have no concern about the consequences of it. In the end, he has used a 30 year old study as a means to manipulate Melfi into dumping Tony. All the "criminal mind" behavior that Elliott pointed out regarding Tony he was guilty of himself. And she fell for it hook, line, and sinker!

this is a wonderful point


She knew Tony wasn't progressing in his therapy. She knew he wasn't progressing in his progress. It took a BOLD, and IN YOUR FACE confrontation from her own shrink to get her to have a "breakthrough".

Oh POOR YOU, to people that feel sorry for Tony. He is a murderer, a cheat, and manipulates people when given the chance. And although I like Tony too, Melfi's only fault is she should have let him go years ago.

We saw the breakthough. Melfi never had a chance to help Tony be a better human being. SHe might have helped him be a better mobster.



I'm honestly curious how you think Tony manipulated Melfi? I'm not saying he didn't - but what in particular would you point to?

And if Chase really thought Tony was a true 'sociopath' (an overused term IMO that has become a catch all for all sorts of behavior) why not show Tony explode at such an obvious ego wound as having your doctor of seven years dump you out of the blue? it certainly would have made better TV and driven home the 'Tony-is -a-monster-who-manipulated-the-nice-lady-shrink' school of thought

Re: Tony's last words to Melfi/Yochelson, Elliot, Melfi and

#43
I saw Melfi's dismissal of Tony as motivated more by her humiliation than by any professional or moral ethics. Elliott had told her about the study, some of the other therapists at dinner had discussed it as if it were valid, and then she finally, after being embarrassed by Elliott's revelation, read it for herself.

In the last session, she was sarcastic and dismissive of Tony and could barely contain her scorn for him. And I feel it was due more to her feeling duped and taken advantage by Tony (which I don't believe he did intentionally) than for a professional reason.

Re: Tony's last words to Melfi/Yochelson, Elliot, Melfi and

#44
EdaMaria wrote:Which brings me to my next point: Elliott. Who is the real sociopath here? In my book Elliott is as much of a sociopath as Tony: he engages Melfi in her treatment only to satisfy his own curiosity about her work with Tony, and he takes pleasure in revealing her "secret" client to their colleagues, with no concern as to how this might impact her safety or her work with Tony. This is behavior he could lose his professional license for, yet he seems to have no concern about the consequences of it. In the end, he has used a 30 year old study as a means to manipulate Melfi into dumping Tony. All the "criminal mind" behavior that Elliott pointed out regarding Tony he was guilty of himself. And she fell for it hook, line, and sinker!

this is a wonderful point


She knew Tony wasn't progressing in his therapy. She knew he wasn't progressing in his progress. It took a BOLD, and IN YOUR FACE confrontation from her own shrink to get her to have a "breakthrough".

Oh POOR YOU, to people that feel sorry for Tony. He is a murderer, a cheat, and manipulates people when given the chance. And although I like Tony too, Melfi's only fault is she should have let him go years ago.

We saw the breakthough. Melfi never had a chance to help Tony be a better human being. SHe might have helped him be a better mobster.



I'm honestly curious how you think Tony manipulated Melfi? I'm not saying he didn't - but what in particular would you point to?

And if Chase really thought Tony was a true 'sociopath' (an overused term IMO that has become a catch all for all sorts of behavior) why not show Tony explode at such an obvious ego wound as having your doctor of seven years dump you out of the blue? it certainly would have made better TV and driven home the 'Tony-is -a-monster-who-manipulated-the-nice-lady-shrink' school of thought


Great question! How did Tony manipulate Melfi? I am not so sure he manipulated her, as much as he used what he learned in therapy to manipulate others.

Melfi took her years of treating him, and saw that he "fit the bill" for this study. Maybe she didn't want to "help" him hone his mafia skills no longer?

Either way, besides not giving him up as a patient year ago. I am glad she closed that door. Tony was that lightbulb that never wanted to be changed.
[font="Book Antiqua"][SIZE="3"][color="DarkSlateBlue"]I didn’t want to show crime pays, I didn’t want to show crime doesn’t pay...David Chase on the ending[/color][/SIZE][/font]

Re: Tony's last words to Melfi/Yochelson, Elliot, Melfi and

#46
What always made me curious is that Melfi conducted therapy with Tony at all. Most psychiatrists today prescribe psychopharmacotherapy for most patients, with the psychiatrist providing the diagnostic/pharmacological treatment while farming out the behavioral treatment. The only psychiatrists I know who provide actual talk-therapy are Freudians, and Melfi is clearly no Freudian.

She did Tony a disservice six years ago when she continued to treat him. I think a large part of her anger at Tony was actually self-anger because she knew she should have referred him out years ago. The talk at the dinner party merely put into words her own self doubts about treating Tony. In my years as a therapist I knew that individual therapy was near worthless for sociopaths, and I've never met a therapist who wasn't aware of the minimal effect of treating sociopaths with one-on-one therapy. At best, Tony needed group therapy for his problems (for the confrontational and empathetic aspect) but, of course, he would never have done that because of the secret nature of many of his problems. Couldn't you picture Tony whacking his therapy group members one by one?
Christofuh says: "Tony has big decisions to make, like whether or not to have that third sandwich..." :icon_razz:

Re: Blue Comet Further Suggesting "Football" Heidi

#47
[quote="Cold Cuts"]

'Descent into evil? He's always been evil."

The particular descent from 6B1 to 6B7. It begins with Tony ordering Bobby to kill the fellow in Montreal, proceeds through Tony's "shitting" on Hesh and thinking about killing Paulie, and continues with Tony killing Christopher, and then going to Vegas to "take" Christopher's drug and woman. Our attention in those episodes is on Tony's character and it's continued deterioration. Wouldn't you agree?

"Disagree. An "action hero" would've kicked down Phil's door and shot up that house and everyone in it. An "action hero" wouldn't have set down his pizza to go mournfully hug his son, he would've told the nurse to go screw and dragged AJ out of there."

The "action hero" jumped into the pool fully-clothed and saved his son, and then beat the living crap and teeth out of the man who insulted his daughter. Meanwhile, Tony ran around trying to reason with Phil, attend his session with Melfi, attend AJ's session with Vogel, listen to Little Carmine, and go with Little Carmine to see Phil. To me, that's a lot of action, and some of it very heroic.


"It might be a 30-year old study in real life, but it was the first time Melfi's actually read it, apparently. Her shrink and her professional colleagues forced her to re-examine her therapy with Tony. She should have stood her ground, but she didn't, because she's human and not Super Shrink. I don't see that as betraying the audience at all. Apparently some audience members feel cheated because the therapy didn't turn out the way they wanted, but doesn't that happen sometimes with therapy in real life?"

It was the first time she's "actually read it?" Come now. You're saying that a psychiatrist treating a sociopath isn't aware of the literature in the field? Yet after Season 1, Chase described Melfi as "a good psychiatrist." Besides, she says at the dinner that she's read Robert Hare, who comes to similar conclusions about psychopaths. Of COURSE she should know about that study. And Chase should know that she should know. BTW, I'm not talking about therapy; I'm talking about dramatic cohesion.


"Sounds like someone had their expectations shaken up.

Tony'd made some progress over the years, but always took steps back. He wasn't cured. He didn't have the big breakthrough and change into a new person the way a lot of people apparently needed him to.

I'm glad he didn't, because in my view, that would have been predictible and typical of TV and bad writing. The main character is magically redeemed into a good guy, the end. That would have been a big disappointment to me, it's too neat and predictable and typical of TV."

Tony didn't "have to change." Rather, Melfi's realization of what he's been doing needed to come through a dramatized confrontation with Tony. Go read Shakespeare and watch how it's done. Instead, Chase came up with that magic study, had her read it alone (with us watching over her shoulder), so that her mind was made up by the time she opened the door. From the minute Tony started talking, we could see her filtering his words and actions through Yochelson. To me, that's an unsatisfactory DRAMATIC way to end the relationship that opened the show and has been at the center of the show all along.


"What lack of control? By things not going the way you anticipated them, that's a lack of control over his material?"

No, by Chase straying all over the place. As I said above, we have a concentration on Tony's character in 6B1-6B7, a reversion back to "old Tony" in 6B8 as though he never endured the previous 7 episodes, and then a gory little whacking-fest in 6B9 while Melfi rejects Tony and throws him out. Look, dramatists, novelists, poets, filmakers all create expectations for their audiences from the opening lines and images of their works. They shape and control those expectations throughout the course of the work. I don't "expect" anything from Chase that Chase hasn't led me to "expect." The decisions he made throughout the entire series, and especially those he made during 6B, have pointed us in certain directions and not others. And if Chase fails to follow-through on the expectations HE created, then that's HIS failure. Perhaps in addition to reading Shakespeare, you might want to read some Wayne Booth (some of whose best work ALSO is 30-years old, and older).

Re: Blue Comet Further Suggesting "Football" Heidi

#48
shantyirishman wrote:It was the first time she's "actually read it?" Come now. You're saying that a psychiatrist treating a sociopath isn't aware of the literature in the field? Yet after Season 1, Chase described Melfi as "a good psychiatrist." Besides, she says at the dinner that she's read Robert Hare, who comes to similar conclusions about psychopaths. Of COURSE she should know about that study. And Chase should know that she should know. BTW, I'm not talking about therapy; I'm talking about dramatic cohesion.


I don't think it's clear if she has read this study or not. I would guess that as a professional she has at some point. I'll use your "go read Shakespeare" advise to ask you something. Doesn't a person get something completely different out of say "Hamlet" when they read it at 30 rather then their high school years? Hell, at 14 "Hamlet" was a boring read, yet at 16, I saw myself in him.

Life experience always adds layers to such things and you pick up different points for better or worse. I would guess she has read the study and the eventual dissenting articles before.

Melfi had a complex relationship with Tony and I think she wanted to be done with it for personal reasons. IN that mindset and after what Eliot did to her at dinner, I don't find it very odd that she saw what she wanted out of the study. Humans do it all the time.

Edit: I forgot to add that this wasn't a coincidence. Coach "Man Genius" has to be a reference back to the Test Dream and H&K.
Bacala: You know, Quasimodo predicted all this.
Tony: Who did what?

Re: Blue Comet Further Suggesting "Football" Heidi

#50
Pork Store wrote:I don't think it's clear if she has read this study or not. I would guess that as a professional she has at some point. I'll use your "go read Shakespeare" advise to ask you something. Doesn't a person get something completely different out of say "Hamlet" when they read it at 30 rather then their high school years? Hell, at 14 "Hamlet" was a boring read, yet at 16, I saw myself in him.

Life experience always adds layers to such things and you pick up different points for better or worse. I would guess she has read the study and the eventual dissenting articles before.

Melfi had a complex relationship with Tony and I think she wanted to be done with it for personal reasons. IN that mindset and after what Eliot did to her at dinner, I don't find it very odd that she saw what she wanted out of the study. Humans do it all the time.

Edit: I forgot to add that this wasn't a coincidence. Coach "Man Genius" has to be a reference back to the Test Dream and H&K.


1. When Kupferberg first mentions the study in The Second Coming, Melfi offers no acknowledgment that she's familiar with it.

2. At the dinner party, she says she's read Robert Hare, but does not give any indication that she's read Yochelson and Samerow.

3. We're shown her reading Yochelson in bed, and then we're shown the words that apparently are leaping off the page at her.

I think it's made quite clear that she hadn't read the study.

As for understanding Hamlet, it's only "boring" to those whose reading abilities haven't expanded enough for them to grasp what Shakespeare's doing. But as I've said before, unless you wish to treat lit/film as a Rorschach blot ("well, this is what it means to ME"), then it's best to pay attention to all the decisions that the mind BEHIND the work was making. Put simply, the series opens in Melfi's office and continuously returns to Melfi's office throughout the series. We're asked to watch as events are filtered through the sessions, but also as Tony makes or doesn't make progress over the years. To bring that central relationship to an end by giving Melfi a "Eureka!" moment with Yochelson's study betrays all the time in the office that Chase had us watch over the years. Essentially, Chase is saying that the time in the office was a waste, that it was useless to think about Tony's "progress" because sociopaths can't progress through talk-therapy, and that Tony had been gaming Melfi all these years. Then throw in the notion that Melfi isn't aware of a study relevant to her patient that was first published in 1976, and we've got an incompetent therapist who is easy pickings for Tony's "games."

Moreover--and I don't have time to go back to look these up--there were numerous moments when Tony DID make at least some progress in his meetings with Melfi. We saw them; we know they happened. But Chase is asking us to forget about them because, well, sociopaths can't progress through talk-therapy. My question for Chase, of course, is "then why did you show us Tony the sociopath making progress over the past seven seasons?" I'd love to hear his answer. Anyway, it's these kinds of dissonances that kept hitting me during the last two episodes.

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