Re: Sopranos re-visited at A.V. Club

#62
Fly's interesting point about the blackness and the white light.

quote:

I've always felt the much more important point was in the contrast between the immediate cut to black at the end of MIA and the slow fade to white that happened at the Inn at the Oaks when Tony flatlined and briefly "died" in his coma. They were diametrically opposite experiences of "death", and I think the effort was to say something about what the nature of Tony's ultimate choices -- especially those made after he was given a "second chance" to reform his life and failed to do so -- meant for his "afterlife", whenever and however it came to him.

Prior to being revived Tony was reluctantly heading towards the mysterious inn. He was about to join the Finity family reunion. The haunting but indefinite image of his mother might have suggested that this was not Heaven at all.

Despite the apparent image of contentment I painted about the Holsten's scene there was a noose hanging over Tony of another round of RICO indictments following Carlo rolling over to the Feds.

But what does a cut to black mean if it represents but one of "Tony's ultimate choices...."?

Camus' Myth of Sisyphus was used by Chase as a reference point about Tony's life as a mobster. Like the wily ancient Greek King, Tony would continue on with the cycle, pushing the boulder up the hill, where it will roll back down and then once again repeats the same task forever. Instead of being a punishment from the Gods, it becomes a chore he blithely accepts. It was interpreted by some as meaning that Chase meant that life will go on for Tony after Holsten's.

That is true as long as Tony remains alive - and his story is conveyed in regular episodes of a TV series.

But the show ceased to exist as an on-going narrative after we see Tony's face for the last time and we then stared into the black oblivion.

I thought of another Greek, the materialist and hedonist Epicurus who over two thousand years ago came up with this observation;

Accustom yourself to believing that death is nothing to us, for good and evil
imply the capacity for sensation, and death is the privation of all sentience;
therefore a correct understanding that death is nothing to us makes the
mortality of life enjoyable, not by adding to life a limitless time, but by
taking away the yearning after immortality. For life has no terrors for him who
has thoroughly understood that there are no terrors for him in ceasing to live.
Foolish, therefore, is the man who says that he fears death, not because it will
pain when it comes, but because it pains in the prospect. Whatever causes no
annoyance when it is present, causes only a groundless pain in the expectation.
Death, therefore, the most awful of evils, is nothing to us, seeing that, when
we are, death is not come, and, when death is come, we are not. It is nothing,
then, either to the living or to the dead, for with the living it is not and the
dead exist no longer.


Perhaps the only true afterlife is one where there is no desire, hope or fear at all.

Re: Sopranos re-visited at A.V. Club

#63
I recently came across a post deep in the archives from a one time poster that actually has me thinking a bit more about the cut to black. I'm not sure if the comparison ever came up again but the poster refers to an earlier episode when Meadow and AJ are discussing Robert Frost's poem, "i thought black meant death". Meadow replys "white too".

Re: Sopranos re-visited at A.V. Club

#64
I've been talking to the AVClub writer doing these re-visits and he refuses to accept that he is long winded. I have questioned him about the terrible article about the season four premiere and how it contains very little about the episode itself. Who talks about the season as a whole in an article about the season premiere?

To be honest, his write-ups would receive a poor mark if graded by a community college literature professor I know of.

"It's totally cool if you want recaps interspersed with occasional observations, but that's not really essay form."

What?!
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=1F9AC409DECF0F65

Re: Sopranos re-visited at A.V. Club

#65
bloodshot wrote:I recently came across a post deep in the archives from a one time poster that actually has me thinking a bit more about the cut to black. I'm not sure if the comparison ever came up again but the poster refers to an earlier episode when Meadow and AJ are discussing Robert Frost's poem, "i thought black meant death". Meadow replys "white too".

Yeah, I sent a PM to Detective Hunt about that years ago.

I have not read the entire MIA thread yet, so this may have already been mentioned, but did you notice the many instances where the color white is present in MIA? It is everywhere.

If you recall from Season 3 episode 2, "Proshai, Livushka", AJ is reading the Robert Frost poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening". He is having difficulty figuring out the meaning, so Meadow helps him out. She tells him that the snow, the color white, symbolizes death. Death is cold.

Upon the second viewing of this episode, the same day it aired, I noticed the color white throughout the episode. There are instances where white really stands out, like the lamp in the room where Tony awakens, the table and chairs at the sitdown, and the glasses of milk and sugar holders at the restaurant. It was also snowing in the episode.

I immediately remembered Meadow's explanation of what snow (white) represents when I viewed the episode for the second time. I thought that the presence of all of these white items meant that death is coming. I thought of the ending scene with Tony. However, the death that is coming could mean that Phil is going to get it, he was in a white vehicle after all.
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=1F9AC409DECF0F65

Re: Sopranos re-visited at A.V. Club

#66
It wasn't just black and white that featured in MIA. The colour orange was prominent throughout. Tony eating an orange at the safehouse, the cat which spooked Paulie, the tiger in the background at Holsten's and the orange hue in the diner...the onion rings.

Much has already been said about how orange was the colour associated with the death of Don Corelone in the Godfather.

On the subject of black and white, it can also mean a false dichotomy, in which reality is never only one or the other but a shade in between.

In Western culture we have been conditioned to think of it as good and bad. In an Eastern philosophy like Taoism existence is dependent on the confluence of the two.

We hear about a white light whenever some people talk about their near death experiences. It has been suggested that it is merely the brain responding to the rest of the body expiring.

But what happens when the brain finally expires?

Re: Sopranos re-visited at A.V. Club

#67
JLTucker wrote:I've been talking to the AVClub writer doing these re-visits and he refuses to accept that he is long winded. I have questioned him about the terrible article about the season four premiere and how it contains very little about the episode itself. Who talks about the season as a whole in an article about the season premiere?

To be honest, his write-ups would receive a poor mark if graded by a community college literature professor I know of.

"It's totally cool if you want recaps interspersed with occasional observations, but that's not really essay form."

What?!


Yeah, and its gotten worse and worse as it has gone on. Like the beginning of Season 2 was okay, I just read the ramblings of Funhouse. Where he makes the same points a number of different times. It was a chore to finish it.

Re: Sopranos re-visited at A.V. Club

#68
There was also his review of "Amour Fou" where he somehow managed to completely fuck up the story behind Tony, Jackie Sr. and Silvio taking down Feech's card game. He actually asked for help, in the review itself, because he was under the impression that every time that story was told by a different character, it was a different occurence. This was after he went on for eleven paragraphs about all kinds of shit.
What violin?!

Re: Sopranos re-visited at A.V. Club

#69
Pope Corky the IX wrote:There was also his review of "Amour Fou" where he somehow managed to completely fuck up the story behind Tony, Jackie Sr. and Silvio taking down Feech's card game. He actually asked for help, in the review itself, because he was under the impression that every time that story was told by a different character, it was a different occurence. This was after he went on for eleven paragraphs about all kinds of shit.

We learned about Tony's jacking of the card game in the same season he's reviewed Ralphie told Jackie Jr. How do you screw that up when you write dissertations on each episode? :icon_mrgreen:
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=1F9AC409DECF0F65

Re: Sopranos re-visited at A.V. Club

#70
JLTucker wrote:We learned about Tony's jacking of the card game in the same season he's reviewing. Ralphie told Jackie Jr. How do you screw that up when you write dissertations on each episode? :icon_mrgreen:


Season? Ralphie tells the story in detail in that very episode, that was the most irritating thing about it. It's a story that's told at least once a season by different characters, it's one of the most important aspects of the Sopranos backstory and it's the entire fucking reason Jackie Jr. decides to hold up that card game.

Look, I appreciate the fact that he tries to go into themes and symbolism in his reviews, it's a necessary on a show like the Sopranos. But you can't spend three paragraphs of a review for "For All Debts Public and Private" talking about 9/11 and then insist that the squirrel appearing out of the bushes is because Tony is feeling "squirrely" and not because he expected the ducks. I sometimes wonder if he actually watched the episode before writing the review, or if he's just going on his memory of having seen it when it first aired.
What violin?!

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