Melfi's question

#1
One thing I noticed on the second viewing of the episode was the question that Melfi asked Tony that went unanswered: "what do you want for your life?" (forgive me if it's not exact...)
Tony immediately looked flustered by the question and changed the subject. I sat thinking "this poor guy still has no clue!" He's unable to face the reality of the choices he must make in so many areas of his life. So goes the storyline of the series, right? I think, when the whole series is over, we can reflect on this episode as one that began paving the way to completion of this entire saga.

I'm also curious as to anyone else's opinion about the seemingly drastic contradicition in "management style" between Tony and Phil. Here's my case: Tony and the crew learn of Vito's "preference"....What should be an obvious no-brainer decision to whack Vito now turns into Tony saying "but gosh, he has kids" essentially. Vito shows back up, and Tony has to literally talk himself into whacking the guy. Phil, on the other hand, sees it as a disgrace and takes the appropriate actions immediately. Phil is also very active in getting all he can, revenue-wise, for the family (leaning on Tony for a bigger piece of the no-shows, etc.). If you compare the strengths of Tony and Phil right now, Phil is hands-down your choice for a Boss of a family. This would be the guy you would want running your family. At least with Johnny Sac, Tony always held the upper-hand...he was always smarter than Johnny, and always seemed to be one or two steps ahead of him. He's not doing that anymore...Phil's ahead of him. Tony's deterioration as a boss, husband and father cannot continue...Chase will not let that happen will he?

</p>

Re: Melfi's question

#2
I was also wondering how Melfi could have let Tony off the hook so easily for not answering that question. But in thinking further maybe the reason that Tony didn't answer is because he has no answer; he doesn't know what he wants. He may not have ever focused on such a direct core question before. All of his adult life has been spent doing the things he was expected to do by family members, making his rep in the mob and taking care of his families. With his attention diverted to the rigors of earning a criminal living and life's little ways of chipping away at the joy of it all, he may simply have, up to this point, been content to be the best mob boss he could be. He has achieved that goal, so what is next? That is what Melfi was asking, and Tony has no clear answer yet.

Will he ever get that answer? I don't know. If he doesn't then he really can't ever hope to move on from the trappings of his current life.

</p>

Re: Melfi's question

#3
Consider also the "home" family is not what it once was, with Meadow a continent away and AJ surely about to leave the nest now that he is an "earner" at his new construction job.

Carmella also appears to be disenfranchised based on her thoughts and visions in Paris.

In reality, the "ducks" have flown off. Tony is probably on his own.

</p>

Re: Melfi's question

#4
Actually, few people in organized crime have anything like a vision for the future, or a sense of they "want out of life," other than sensual gratification. George Anastasia (who's written prolifically on the Philadelphia mob) once wrote that in the end, the mob wasn't about tradition, or helping each other, or really anything other than greed and power. It's not surprising that Tony couldn't answer Melfi's question; he's trying to get through today and tomorrow, not plan for the future. He's the boss because he can see into next week, or next month.

I'll go a step further and suggest that Chase has depicted all the mobsters this season as, frankly, just plain dumb. It's very much in Phil Leotardo's financial interest to keep the relationship with Jersey "mutually beneficial," but he's blowing it on a point of homophobic pride. It was just plain dumb for Sil and Carlo to kill a capo from another family, no matter how emotionally satisfying it might have seemed at the moment. Bobby going to collect at night was dumb. Paulie's failure to address the safety issue at the feast was dumb (and greedy). Tony's and Chris's adventure with the Vipers was dumb (they had just sealed a construction deal in PA, and they risk it over some cases of wine?). Christopher doing drugs is dumb. Vito going to a club that ponies up to the mob was dumb. Patsy trying to shake down a Starbucks was dumb. About the smartest move we've seen was the guy borrowing from Vito, knowing he probably wouldn't have to pay it back.

And that's what we're seeing: dumb mobsters who live day to day. Is anybody going to be surprised when the whole thing implodes (just as the mob's been imploding in real life over the past decade and a half)? Yet against that backdrop, Tony continues to see Melfi, who may yet yield an effect. But it also wouldn't surprise me if she doesn't.

</p>

Re: Melfi's question

#6
Welcome to Thing of Ours. Nice first post.:-) And good responses.

Her question echoed what she told him in Calling All Cars . . . that, when they didn't have to focus on "putting out the fires" of debilitating panic attacks and depression, they could begin the "real work" of finding out who Tony is and what he wants out of life in his brief time on earth. He was having none of it then.

But I think there are some cracks in his armor. Some astute posters linked Tony stumbling on the 5th floor of the descending Omni Hotel staircase to him stumbling on "greed", the 5th ring of Dante's Inferno. He certainly has manifested a diminution in greed and material motivations this season (caving on the Barone Sanitation conflict, killing Rusty out of perverse compassion and without exacting a financial or power gain, paying Artie his tab (at long last!), resisting the sale of the chicken house property on principle . . . at least until the price went through the roof, giving Janice the benefit of the $500K windfall on the Sac house instead of keeping it for himself, etc.)

To me, the loss or significant diminution of appetite for money and material things is closely related to the kind of existential crisis that prompts a person to contemplate the questions, "what is important in life . . . what do I want from it?" Somehow the realization that money and stuff are ultimately pretty shallow, unsatisfying things goes hand in hand with spiritual or religious enlightenment. So while he has a long way to go, I do think his diminution in greed since the NDE is a positive.

</p>

Re: Melfi's question

#7
Yes.....it's also a "how do I top this" thing....which, by the way, we're seeing in AJ.

My god, the boy is...how old? 20? And already he's jaded, what with the 5,000 bottles of champagne....

That question posed by Melfi reminded me of all the times we see Tony wander into Carm's kitchen. He's hungry...maybe...and for what? He stares in the fridge. Eats mindlessly....picks....wanders away...

</p>
Post Reply

Return to “Episode 6.11: Cold Stones”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest