FlyOnMelfisWall wrote: And that brings me to the whole Pie-O-My thing. Just as Tony's unconscious had used ducks as a proxy for his family in the expression of his deepest fears, Pie-O-My seemed to represent some idealized object of love to Tony, which Melfi instinctively knew and tried to penetrate in one of the therapy sessions. Pie came into his life at a time when his relationship with Carmela was beginning to fall apart, and I could write paragraphs on the poetry of seeing Tony go to that stall after another fight with Carm and hold a vigil when the horse was sick, tenderly petting and soothing her and smiling when the comparatively mutt-looking companion goat entered the stall to join them.
When Tony introduced Carm to the horse, she marveled how Pie went straight to him, and there was a strikingly long, pensive stare between Carm and horse after Tony moved away.
Also in that scene, Tony instructed Carm that "she likes it when you rub her muzzle." Artie used those exact same words in Test Dream as he was coaching Tony on how to bang Charmaine. Though it's a whole other tangent to cogently argue this, I think it's clear that Charmaine was a proxy for Carmela in the dream, an idealized "wife" figure, and Tony's "good" father figure/alter ego (Artie) is trying to impress upon him the unique rewards of sex with a wife as opposed to with a whore/goomar (something Tony himself alluded to in his first therapy session with Melfi after Marco Polo). The causative event for this dream image was likely Artie having been present and extremely close, if asleep, when Tony and Carm made love in the pool a few episodes before.
I never seize to be amazed at your analysis of "The Test Dream" especially in relation to Charmaine and Artie. You have discussed this before and I think you are right on. It's extremely perceptive. I still just don't see most of those examples as foreshadowing of Carm's death. Even the freeze frame you cite I think was just to highlight that Carmela, at that moment, knew she was going to go back to Tony.
Then there was the sudden cut to black on Carm's face at the end of Test Dream, just as it's very obvious that the sun is RISING and that light is gradually filling her bedroom and just as Tony asks her "is it light where you are." Since you place so much weight on the cut to black in MIA, I'm surprised you don't accord it more weight here.
I think there conceptually, contextually, and thematically different. The cut to black in MIA is merely an edit to suggest instant death. I don't see it as anything more beyond that.
I think this is a reasonable interpretation in hindsight to try to make a full circle connection, but I don't think this was anywhere on the radar when Chase wrote those early episodes, and so it's not a very compelling bit of foreshadowing to me. It's ad hoc foreshadowing, at best, if you'll pardon the contradiction in terms.
I agree with the first part. I don't think Chase knew the ending that early on. I don' t think he even knew it when he did "Test Dream" (although notice that the dead Carmine says "he is lonely on the other side"). That being said, a huge part of what makes the show special is that the later stuff deepens and enriches the earlier stuff. That is a clearly intentional motive by Chase.
The clear impression left with me from Tony's anxieties and from the imagery of that seminal dream he narrates in the pilot is that he feared experiencing a devastating loss, he feared feeling what he felt when those ducks flew out of his pool. He feared that unscrewing his bellybutton would lead to his penis falling off and being carried away by a water bird. I read: he feared that untangling himself from the umbilical cord that ties him to his unfortunate parentage and to all its consequent psychic injuries and bad life choices would lead to, or could only happen as the result of, profound personal loss. He would have to suffer that loss to truly change, an idea advanced fairly clearly, IMO, in Calling All Cars that promptly frightens him into quitting therapy. It also recurs in a few subtle ways in season 5 (the remark about not being able to do anything about the bear until it hurts someone . . . or, as Tony put it, "when somebody's leg is gone", an evocation of Svetlana, who, not coincidentally, figures in the Calling All Cars dream.)
Obviously none of those fears bears any relationship to Tony "not even hearing it coming" and having his consciousness and life completely obliterated in a tiny fraction of a second. In your scenario, he felt nothing, appreciated nothing, experienced nothing, and had not even a nanosecond of recognition of the fact that he was "losing" his family. That's not my idea of a proper tieback to the anxieties he expressed in the beginning of the series. But I guess I like things a little more pristine than Chase does.
Well, we disagree. It's all subjective but I think it does tieback. I think what you're expressing about Tony losing Carmela in relation to the ducks is very provocative and perhaps may have made more of an elegant ending. Yet, Chase wouldn't do it because it would be too melodramatic and probably just unrealistic (I'm assuming you think Carmela's death would be a result of Tony's other family). I think Tony dying in an instant may not be a cognizant realization of losing your family but I do think it represents the separation he feared and ties into his anxieties. The ducks were about both families. His subconscious fear that that his mafia world woud threaten his real family. Consciously, he believed he could keep those worlds apart but subconsciously knew they weren't compatible. Dying means never experiencing any more good times with your family (which we're reminded of when AJ repeats Tony's words from the Season 1 finale in the final scene.) What gives it meaning is the tragedy that Tony had a second chance to appreciate life but squandered it after the NDE. Losing his life and "the little moments...that were good" with his family has profound meaning even if Tony isn't consciously aware of his own death.
I also thinks it ties into Chase's own sensibilities and his views of death. Tony's death is the "big nothing" that Livia talked about. The final shot of black as Tony's POV is truly the reminder that "we all die alone" as Livia said.