Re: Anyone else?

#51
I'm not trying to start an argument but saying "Chase left it open for interpretation" is itself an interpretation of his intent, that is either right or wrong. I really think it's wrong. He did not leave it open for interpretation. He tried to show something in a creative way that many (most?) people misinterpreted. This is a relevant issue if one's criticisms are focused on the last scene and ending.

Re: Fly, you need to read this

#52
richieaprile, I really don't have much time now to post, and I think I'm content to let my other replies in this and other threads speak for me on the issue of my satisfaction, or lack thereof, with the choices Chase made re his characters final destinies. But I will say, again, that I read the last scene in Mayham as Tony choosing to continue living but with a conscious embrace and appreciation for the identity crisis he'd been long denying and with an understanding that he would have to "take responsibility" for his actions and "talk to his docs back home" in order to deal with this identity crisis. He did none of those things, or, to the extent he did them, he did them in the most perverse, subversive way possible.

There's a lot of sense in an interpretation of this series as a battle between "good" and "evil" for one man's soul with evil prevailing. Though I strenuously disagree that Tony being killed in front of his family is some kind of cosmic justice for him (life is far more punitive, especially for people like Tony, than an instantaneous, painless death), I readily concede that you could interpret the blackout as Tony finally reaping the violence he sowed.

Spiritually, in this scenario, he reaped the opposite of what he was convinced he would reap. He had experienced a true metaphysical, spiritual journey in 6A and told Melfi as recently as Second Coming that he was certain there was "something else out there", something beyond this life. Yet he was shot through the head and then went . . . nowhere. Literally. Blackness, an infinite void, nothingness, a total vacuum is what he harvested.

I suppose there's room to interpret the blackout not just as nothingness -- including the obliteration of Tony's consciousness -- but rather of Tony having a spiritual awareness of nothingness. In other words he was doomed to an eternal consciousness of total, complete darkness and cold, of infinite isolation from every other quantum of matter or energy or life or spirit. That, I agree, is completely devastating, a message too dark for me to even want to think about.

And therein lies a major factor in my problem with the direction the series ended up taking. As cynical, depressed, and pessimistic as I can be much of the time (and, trust me, that's a lot:icon_biggrin:) I'm just not constitutionally built to easily cast aside hope and love like that. For all his truly hideous actions and more routine criminality, I still loved Tony (and family) up until Kennedy and Heidi.

The weird irony or paradox is that once that love went away, my love for the show was never the same. Notwithstanding anything I've written in this post, a part of me simply stopped caring about Tony, and that inevitably meant I stopped caring about what happened to him, including whether he lived or died in that diner and what the parameters of that death might have been. I still feel a sense of waste for spending so much time deciphering what I felt were clues towards a redemption and a sense of waste for investing emotionally into a moral bankrupt.

I dunno. Maybe mine was the reaction Chase intended to engender all along, an alienation and a final casting aside that illustrates what must happen in the cosmic sense when some souls prove irredeemable.
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"

Re: Anyone else?

#53
cold x wrote:Well after close to two months i've had a lot of time to reflect on the ending, and i've watched nearly the whole series again since the screen went black (just finished long term parking - oh shit!) and once again it's been very fulfilling. The ending isn't immediately satisfying, it leaves too many questions and doesn't deliver enough on plot. Yet now I think Chase has not copped out but has rather left us with the best and most satisfying conclusion.

Firstly, perhaps i never saw the series the same way as others. I never had a real emotional investment in the characters on this show the way i have with other shows. When i watch 6 feet under, or even shows with much more 2 dimensional characters like 'entourage' or the 'west wing', i get excited and i care for the characters. On the sopranos, i always felt that while they were the most 3 dimensional and interesting characters ever put on screen, it felt like i was watching from a distance, enough to feel emotionally detached. I was fascinated by them, but couldn't truly care for them. Tony was truly a character to study, not to care for. And i was prepared to follow him on that journey with that mentality wherever chase and co wanted to take me.The only major exception was the death of Adrianna, where I was truly shaken. Also, Whitecaps, watching Tony lose the one good thing in his life. There were a few other times as well. But overall i had intellectual investment in seeing Tony change, and the prospect excited me, but in the end his inability to change despite so many triggers is equally appealing. That may be one reason why i am more satisfied with the ending than those who went along the rollercoaster genuinely caring for Tony and believing he could change.

Despite this, the ending for me isn't about the hopelessness of the characters. It isn't Chase being a pessimist, simply saying that either these people, or perhaps all of us, are incapable of great change. In the last ep, he gave us Hunter, the former 'freakshow' who was (apparantly) able to turn her life around. This change didn't just come about by tinkering at the edges, as Tony and other's do from time to time. She had to change her whole lifestyle if she deeply wanted to change who she was. Despite his NDE, Tony was unwilling to change who he was. Sure he can try being conciliatory to Phil, telling him (sincerely, I believe) to enjoy the grandkids, and that there's enough garbage for everyone, but in his business, that mentality cannot hold. He's still trapped in the same orbit as before. If Tony wants to be a good person he needs to renounce everything else that goes with his lifestyle. Same as everyone else in the show, Carm, Vito, the list goes on.

So change for tony, given the life he has built for himself, given the inherent selfishness we have seen in him since the start of the show, was never likely to be complete. It has always been a battle for him and the opposing elements of his character. It could seem like Tony got worse as the show went on, or was it just that we finally got to see more of the ugly side that was always there? Or was it a devolution that went along with the power of being at the top, just circumstance bringing out the worst of him? Yes, he was at his most despicable during 'the final nine', but we also saw him holding AJ by the pool in 'the second coming', we saw him genuinely happy for his daughter and her success, and we saw him holding Sil's hand while his friend lay in a coma. I believe Chase came to trust the audience enough not to hold back on how despicable Tony et al could be, hoping that he had banked enough of our goodwill through showing us Tony's potential for decency in the past.

So as for the ending, whether T lives or dies, he is neither good nor evil. Circumstaces can and will bring both out of him. Necessity motivated him to forget everything else except wanting to take his son's pain away after the suicide attempt, just as he believed it motivated him to kill Adrianna back in LTP. Tony will likely go the rest of his life swaying between the yin and the yang, never permanently becoming either. He has, throughout the series, refused to go deep enough to change. And in watching the series again, yes, it is full of hints that tony could change, but there are far, far more clues that he will always stay the same, and that has been my perverse joy in re-watching the series since the finale. But anyway, my point is that rather than looking at the negative, that Chase is saying these characters are too shallow to change, let's look at the positive of the series. Change takes real commitment. If a superficial prick like Tony had changed for the good (and for real) it would be tantamount to a slap in the face for every person who has struggled hard their whole lives to undergo profound change. Getting out of a bad orbit is possible, but if you just try and change your orbit a little, gravity will pull you back, so you therefore need to undergo a more profound shift in what it is you are orbiting. Change is real, it takes a long time, and it's something to truly be proud of if you can pull it off. And if you stuggle and fail, don't be down on yourself, just trying to change is more than tony ever did.


This is a great post with a lot of provocative ideas, some of which I share. I don't have time now to reply in depth, as we were crossing each other in posting time.

This whole thing about change, though, once again begs the question to me of what we really control in life. Did Tony not change because he was weak and superficial and selfish? And, if so, did he truly CHOOSE to be any of those things? Was he lacking only the desire for true change or the personal resources to make something of the desire? Did Hunter change because she possessed great resiliency and fortitude and a capacity to work very hard at self improvement? If so, by what grace or accident or luck did she come by those traits that enabled her to succeed where Tony failed?

See, I believe that true character change has to have a divine, spiritual component. It's much more a gift than it is a wage for toil and perseverance, though those who have toiled and persevered are likely to think otherwise.

I saw a desire on Tony's part, repressed as it was, to be a different person than he was. I saw a man who at key moments (as when he told AJ he was a "good guy" and that he was "grateful" that he didn't have it in him to kill someone, implying a lot about his own self image) seemed to damn himself as somehow inherently "bad", a genetic defective, if you will. There's something very pathetic and pity-inspiring about someone with that self image, regardless of whether or not it's true.

All this is why the "waste" of the NDE hits me so badly. Here was the spiritual spark, the divine component that I thought would be necessary for Tony to truly change. And it was squandered, though I'm not sure if it was squandered by Chase or by Tony.
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"

Re: Anyone else?

#54
Fly,
Excellent post. I feel your need to see Tony redeemed is leading you to fail to fully appreciate the beauty of the final season. I also have to disagree with you. Tony did try to change after he came out of the coma (at least at much as a guy like him can change). He was more tolerant. He really debated letting Vito go and seemed to accept his homosexuality. He even stopped cheating on Carmela for a little while (with Julianna). He shared with Phil and Dr. Shwinn that he felt he was being pulled towards hell in the coma. However in the end he failed for numerous reasons (his basic nature or just being a Mafia boss cant allow him to go soft). You cite the "Second Coming" conversation with Melfi. Tony did say he saw something else that is out there and had an epiphany but he also says that you come to realizations and "grab it" but then its gone. This reflects his realization to live a better life after surviving the Junior hit but in the end this realization was gone (back to the old Tony). Chase is not a pure nihilist. Chase clearly points out Tony's love for his children. Even AJ grows and is given the chance to think of a purpose outside of himself (fighting terrorism). There are many moving moments in the history of the show. Chase embraces justice and morality. Richie, Pussy, Chris, Silvio, Ralphie, Sack and all the others have met "justice" in some form or another. That is why Tony DID die in those final moments. Meadow joing the table and the family having "The Brady Bunch" moment that Tony has always dreamed of is inconsistent with Chase's sensibilites and everything else he has done on the show previously. In the end Tony ruined many lives (both directly and indirectly) and has no chance for redemption. That is what Chase is telling us and that is not nihilistic. That is why we have the Members Only/Eugene Pontecorvo connection. That is why Tony never once mentioned Eugene's suicide during the show (very unusual). Chase wanted the audience to forget about Eugene just like Tony forgot about Eugene. The point being that we the audience should NOT forget about the lives that Tony has ruined. Tony is oblivious to the destruction he has caused and MOG (Eugene) gets him in the end when Tony thinks he is safe. Tony is not a man the audience should be rooting for. Notice Tony completely mocking God and destiny in the scene in "Chasing It". Carmela cries that she is worried about Tony dying. Tony arrogantly says that he is immortal b/c he survived a gun shot wound and b/c of this says "I am Up...way up". Notice how Tony laughs off Paulies Virgin Mary sighting and the cat omen. These things were deliberate by Chase and have only have full resonance in the context of Tony's death at the end. Of course all he sees his "Darkness" and "nothingness". Tony isnt going to a happy place, the "Inn at the Oaks" told us that. Fly, you are one of the great commentators on the show on the web and we need you back. Put aside how you though the show should
end and start digging into the material. Like Chase said "It's all there".

Krakower,
I agree with you. However, I am trying to be political and not start another Tony lives/Tony dies debate.

Re: Anyone else?

#55
I wasn't trying to be provocative or snide but I do think to say "It's open to interpretation" is a specific interpretation I disagree with. At least as far as the facts of the plot are concerned. It's noteworthy to me that Chase made his Planet of the Apes joke. That ending was of course not open to interpretation and Chase's joke was about misunderstanding a specific ending. The vast majority of people I talk to the show about, all of whom I consider to be extremely intelligent, did not think Tony died when they saw it. (Several have changed their opinion. Others have not.)

What I do believe is left open to interpretation is not the facts but the meaning of the whole show. I doubt from what I've heard Chase say that he would go so far as to tell people what to feel. I take him at his word that he's more interested in asking than answering questions. Whether you think the idea is "No one can change" or "Tony was served justice" or "The show went nowhere" or "It was all a tease" or anything else I do think is the viewer's prerogative to feel and there is no objectively right answer on that. Nor do I think Chase was saying "This is what I know happens when you die" or this is what Tony deserves or not. I would guess it was simply "Here's the story" and he has his own strong feelings about it but everyone naturally will bring their own worldview into reacting to it.

Re: Anyone else?

#56
krakower,
I agree with everything you said. It does seem that Chase's comments indicate that there was a definitive ending in mind and that some people are interpreting it incorrectly. I always thought that analogy was very simple. Chase's words "So they also have there own Statue of Liberty" conveys that he failed to see an implied ending that was not explicitlymade clear with exposition (the implied ending being that The Planet of the Apes is actually earth). In other words, Tony death is implied (b/c of the blackout, POV pattern, all the clues, etc.) and not explicit (actually see his death on screen) or made clear with exposition ("Tony is dead" said by a character). In any event I still see the analogy as a stretch. Chase cant honestly believe that his ending is no more ambigous then the ending of Planet of the Apes. I think we can agree that MOST people thought Tony lived the first time they saw the scene (including myself) while MOST people understood that the POA was earth the first time they saw the movie. If Chase really thought it was that clear then why include the "Anyway you want it" in the jukebox. This cleary shows that Chase knew that people would misinterpret the ending.

Re: Anyone else?

#57
richieaprile- i thought your post on the POV comparisons was incredible- and at the same time i still don't conclude the same thing. Death is not the obvious conclusion IMHO, and its not because i didn't work hard enough to see it. Your excellent post walks us thru the parallel views, yet i wind up on a different path anyway! Or is it again just the paralax view? You say that at the Inn Meadow saves Tony's life but at Holsten's she causes him to lose it. Isn't it possible that you're wrong and Meadow somehow is instrumental in saving him (in your scenario of a possible shooting) at Holsten's? Could it be that his children are the evidence and legacy of his successful transformation, regardless of his actual physical fate? :smile:

Re: Fly, you need to read this

#58
FlyOnMelfisWall wrote:I dunno. Maybe mine was the reaction Chase intended to engender all along, an alienation and a final casting aside that illustrates what must happen in the cosmic sense when some souls prove irredeemable.


Fly- i have to say that i think you are standing in judgement with this POV, which never works, because we cannot know the Judgement of another's soul. Only God can know this.

Seems to me that your disappointment in his apparent lack of transformation from his NDE might be a reflection of your own concern about your own response to the infinite light. -In the sense that sometimes what we don't like or fear in someone else-- is actually a reflection of what we don't like or fear in ourselves. You encountered Jesus Christ in an amazing experience, per your astonishing Easter post last year, and you seem to want Tony to have a similar response--. But Tony has to have his own response, which may differ from yours, and yet is completely and 100% valid for him, and maybe on a different timetable, possibly not to be revealed right now, or maybe ever in this life. We cannot say for someone else, what occurs between them and their God. It is profoundly sacred and private. We can only hopefully share the results if it is willed...

Re: Fly, you need to read this

#59
BB, I really was not being judgmental or intending to be. Rather I was proffering that, if you accept the interpretation of the blackout as not just Tony's physical death but as his move to an eternal consciousness of utter dark, cold, isolation, Chase himself was obviously saying this man went to hell and that he earned it (and I wouldn't argue with that at this point). It was Chase who was being judgmental, if you like (and he is God in the Sopranos universe, afterall:icon_biggrin:). I was merely trying to make sense of my own reaction in that context, the detachment, the sense of divestment that I now feel toward the character and his fate and, derivatively, towards the show. I was wondering if such a reaction might somehow have been intended or forseen by Chase as sort of a harmless parallel to the divine judgment that must issue towards any soul that is beyond redemption.

badabellisima wrote: you seem to want Tony to have a similar response--. But Tony has to have his own response, which may differ from yours, and yet is completely and 100% valid for him, and maybe on a different timetable, possibly not to be revealed right now, or maybe ever in this life. We cannot say for someone else, what occurs between them and their God. It is profoundly sacred and private. We can only hopefully share the results if it is willed...


I agree completely. Except that Tony's god is David Chase and, if you accept that Tony died at the end and went to hell in the form of an infinite dark void, I was given the voyeur's perspective on God's judgment of one man.: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: Anyone else?

#60
richieaprile- i thought your post on the POV comparisons was incredible- and at the same time i still don't conclude the same thing. Death is not the obvious conclusion IMHO, and its not because i didn't work hard enough to see it. Your excellent post walks us thru the parallel views, yet i wind up on a different path anyway! Or is it again just the paralax view? You say that at the Inn Meadow saves Tony's life but at Holsten's she causes him to lose it. Isn't it possible that you're wrong and Meadow somehow is instrumental in saving him (in your scenario of a possible shooting) at Holsten's? Could it be that his children are the evidence and legacy of his successful transformation, regardless of his actual physical fate?


Much appreciated. I was surprised as anyone to notice the continuity between the 2 scenes. I am currently going through the final season w/ a fine tooth comb. I am writing a paper on it and I hope to share it with everyone after it is done. It's funny, I thought to myself to check if the Inn scene had the same amount of Tony POV shots of the door as Holstens. I really didnt expect it to be the same but was blown away when I discovered that they each had 5 Tony POV shots of the door. This along w/ the other similarities I posted originally just leads me to believe that they HAVE to be connected. My admiration of Chase is only growing. He was not sitting on his butt for the 2 year break between S5 and S6. He meticulously put this all together. As far as your last question, I can only answer based on the information that is given. Chase gave us nothing to indicate that Meadow saves Tony. He does give a a Tony POV pattern that argueably puts his POV as the last shot of the series. To me if Tony sees nothing and hears nothing, he is dead. Just before this Chase shows me MOG walking to the bathroom. He shows me that MOG will have a clear shot coming out of the bathroom. He shows me that Tony will not see or hear it coming b/c MOG will be behind Tony. This is my interpretation based on the evidence Chase is giving me. I think that there has to be a major significance to the Meadow parking scene besides just creating more tension. To me it serves 3 purposes (1)If Meadow is on time MOG does not have a clear shot (2)Gives Tony the excuse to look up one last time so we get the POV shot and (3) creates artistic continuity with Inn at the Oaks and Tony coming out of the coma.
Also, I am noticing other Tony coma-dream references. Like I said it is important to how Chase ended the series. Just before the Holstens scene we see Tony raking leaves in his backyard. We then get a similar Tony POV scan of the trees like when Tony scans the trees and hears Meadow's voice. The only difference is these trees are dying (as it is in the middle of the winter). I strongly believe that this also foreshadows T's death. Also, Blundetto's "You are going home" in the Inn at Oaks to Tony (meaning Tony's death) is also referenced again. One of the things I am discovering in reviewing the final season is the parallel's between Phil and Tony in the final season. Both are powerful men who suffer physical setbacks(heart attack, gunshot) that cause them to question there lives and perhaps change(Phil doesnt want to be boss, Tony grows softer) but they end up worse then ever(Tony kills Chris, Phil takes over and starts killing everybody) and both die in strikingly similar fashion (Both never hear it coming, both die in front of their families, both have conversations about a "doctor's appointment" just before they die). Nancy Sinatra asks Tony and Phil "Are you to Going Home together?(death)" These things taken individually mean nothing but taken together they mean everything and are part of the big picture that Chase has shaped. IMO after reviewing this season I just cant come to another conclusion other then Tony's death.

Return to “Episode 6.21: Made in America”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests