The Afterlife

#1
From what we have seen on our screens, in the world of the Sopranos, the afterlife is a reality. This is evidenced by several things:

- Season 2 episode 9: Christopher awakens from his coma telling people that he has been to hell. As a result of his paranoia and anxiety Paulie visits a psychic who talks to the spirits of Paulie's previous victims and asks Paulie to leave, no doubt because they told him how Paulie murdered them. The details of Charles Pegano, Paulie's first murder victim and the stinging poison ivy leaves no doubt as to the fact that in the Sopranos world ghosts and the paranormal do exist.

- Season 2 episode 13 (i think, or episode soon after Pussiy gets whacked). Pussy appears to Tony at a dinner party. Pussy can be clearly seen in a mirror when Tony opens a cabinet door. At the same time as Pussy appears in the mirror, Tony pauses and momentarily glances towards the mirror and Pussy is gone. It's very subtley done but it is there. This again shows the existence of ghosts in the Soprano world.


So what implication does the existence of the afterlife in the Sopranos world have?

I would say firstly that unless they repent, which I doubt they will and assuming a Christian model which I believe the show can reasonably be based upon, Tony and his whole crew are going to purgatory for a very long time or hell. Christopher's near death experience, or possible actual visit to Hell confirms the existence of such a reality for those in the show.

Secondly, I believe this has ramifications for the Coma Dream that Tony had when he was shot. I reckon when he went to the house where Tony B greeted him, Tony S was at the door of death. To my mind the house represented purgatory and the afterlife where Tony would have spent the rest of time doing penance with his whole family, Livia included. What makes me think this was not merely dream, but an actual visit to the boundaries of "this" world and the "next" is that Tony never talks of it and nor does it seem to influence his behaviour by the end of the season.


I'm just putting my thoughts out there and I'd be interested if you shared yours with me.

Thanks

Re: The Afterlife

#2
I found that in the 'Coma' sequence, Chase leaned more towards a buddhist philosophy, where all identities merge.
The monks telling him, "when we die we will be no different than that tree. No you, no me."
Tony's (Finnerty's) 'life' being in that briefcase, and Buchemi's character saying "you won't need that."
Also when he says, "I'm looking for Kevin Finnerty", and Buchemi says "We don't talk that way here." implying identity is no longer valid.

Although contrary to Chris' experience, it's interesting to note that Chris has a detailed recollection of his experience, where Tony does not. -Tony to Phil- "I don't remember what happened to me, but wherever I was, all I know is that I never want to go back there."

Also interesting to note that Chris's character shows no real happiness beyond superficial self-indulgence. His character remains impulsive and unchanged by his near-death or death experience.

Tony, however changes dramatically at first and even though old habits of self-indulgence creep back in, he can still be seen noticing the sights and sounds of nature, as well as being very in-tune to Carmella's feelings. (as of episode #80).

If I had to summize David Chase's belief, it would be Buddhist, and Chris' experience - and the whole 3 O'Clock thing - was just a dream.
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