Re: Kennedy and Heidi dream theory

#12
That, turangawaewae, is a brilliant question. and really gets to the heart of where Chase is coming from, regardless of all our interpretations! It also relates to Silvio's remarks about the non-moral code to karma, imo. If Chase is specifically claiming that his story doesn't want to show a position on the moral judgement of crime (the occupation of our heroes in this series), Then to me, he is not attempting to claim a particular answer about Tony's fate as a consequence of it. i don't think Chase is saying Tony went to hell, or even heaven. Not that Chase is saying its okay what Tony does, but he is just holding it up for us to see and to see ourselves reflected in, like a mirror.

Re: Kennedy and Heidi dream theory

#13
FlyOnMelfisWall wrote:Thanks for sharing more of your own, compelling NDE, bada. I'm always keen to know as much as I can about experiences like the one you had.

I concur about the importance of Kennedy and Heidi and Tony's epiphany, although I still don't have a firm notion of what that epiphany was. At this point, I lean to him simply gaining an insight that his mother was wrong, that it's NOT "all a big nothing"; that, unlike his nightmare in Funhouse, "everything is [not] all black"; and that, as he told Melfi, "there's something else out there," something he couldn't define but which he seemed to welcome. Unfortunately he lacked the insight that he was irrevocably forfeiting his chance to ever experience that "something" when his time on earth was up.

Quite apart from what I think Chase may have intended to say with the "I get it", I can't accept that Tony experienced anything like Christ's peace and forgiveness in that moment because the antecedent to both is genuine contrition for sin. To me, Tony seemed farther from contrition in Kennedy and Heidi than he ever did at any other point in the series. His complete lack of remorse, in fact, was what I found most revolting and indicative of a negative character shift, especially vis-a-vis the Tony we knew through the first three seasons.

Over the months since the series ended, I've gradually come to allow that no matter how much I loved Tony and hoped for some kind of moral/spiritual redemption for him, the very idea of redemption would be meaningless if there weren't an equally possible and real phenomenon of condemnation. Stated differently, there can be no salvation absent a junk heap from which to salvage.

It's a far less hopeful and comforting outcome for Tony, but I can't argue that it wasn't deserved or that it ultimately serves as a less valid treatment of the whole notion of salvation.

....


Regarding this position--

"Unfortunately he lacked the insight that he was irrevocably forfeiting his chance to ever experience that "something" when his time on earth was up".

-- i just can't concur. Thats why i mentioned the bit about a concept of purgatory to work off karmic debts, sin, etc. i do totally understand what you are saying about his apparent lack of contrition, and how revolting his lack of remorse was. Chase probably didn't want to show that Tony had a sort of "born again" Christian sort of epiphany. But nothing precludes it from happening down the road, whether we see it or not, just like we can't know the inside of someone's heart and whether they are sorry before God or not. That being said, you make alot of very excellent points, and at the rate Tony is going, if he doesn't change his tune at some point, its hard to stay hopeful...

Re: Kennedy and Heidi dream theory

#14
I agree badabell.
If we assume he was going to a "white light death" of an afterlife at the start of season six, but ended up in a "black light death" of nothingness at the end of season six, what happened during season six to change his afterlife destination? Tony had done some very bad things up to the start of season six, yet was going to a white light. What did he do during season six that was any worse than what he did leading up to season six? It wasn't that he rejected christ (although its a big call to even talk in terms of Christ, but lets assume the Christians are right!!), because he had rejected him leading up to his white light death. So what changed?

Re: Kennedy and Heidi dream theory

#15
The point I was making about white versus black death was much less in terms of traditional or Christian notions of hell, karma, sin, salvation, white representing "good" or heaven and black representing "evil" or hell. It was more an effort to simply incorporate an intriguing piece of metadata from Chase's own lips with other symbolism in the show. What did Chase mean after Join the Club/Mayham when he said "Tony has already made his choice?" And does it make sense to use the end of the series to help explain what that that choice was?

Don't forget that Tony's last dream in Calling All Cars was in many, key respects a distillation of his coma metaphysical experience: he arrived at a large, old country house, where a mafia crony that he had killed was with him outside; he conceived of himself as an "innocent", an immigrant stone mason like his grandfather and not too unlike Tony, the mild-mannered precision optics salesman; he felt lost and foreign at the house, attracted to it, yet afraid to go in; the thing that seemed to frighten him most in both cases was the aura of his mother, the ominous woman surrounded by bright, white light.

When Tony awoke from the dream in CAC, he grabbed his chest as if he'd been under extreme stress; he was sweating profusely; and, when he entered the bathroom, he turned on one of those red-orange heat lamps, which the camera showed in closeup, suggesting rather strongly "hell". The inference I drew was that Tony's concept of hell was that house and the woman inside.

That's not really very different from what happened in his coma. He was called to his death by the beacon, but, when he saw where and with whom he would be spending eternity, he was afraid and repelled. Although he retained no specific recollections of the experience after the coma, the strong impression it left on Tony was that he never wanted to return to where he'd been. In other words, Tony did not want and declined to choose a "white death".

A funny thing happened on his way to a cut to black, though, and that was his conscious acceptance and belief after the peyote trip that death was not in fact "all black", "all a big nothing". And he seemed happy about it and willing to embrace whatever "something" lay beyond it. Except that by virtue of his previous choice, he apparently no longer had the option.
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"

Re: Kennedy and Heidi dream theory

#16
turangawaewae wrote:I agree badabell.
If we assume he was going to a "white light death" of an afterlife at the start of season six, but ended up in a "black light death" of nothingness at the end of season six, what happened during season six to change his afterlife destination? Tony had done some very bad things up to the start of season six, yet was going to a white light. What did he do during season six that was any worse than what he did leading up to season six? It wasn't that he rejected christ (although its a big call to even talk in terms of Christ, but lets assume the Christians are right!!), because he had rejected him leading up to his white light death. So what changed?


That, again, is the million dollar question. Why would Chase put in that whole Sun-epiphany scene unless it was at the very least to bring into our reality the fact that Tony is still attempting to grapple with the big universal questions of life- not necessarily from the christian or traditional point of view of accepting Christ with the prerequisite proactive contrition and remorse for his grave sins- but perhaps from the pure childlike state of simply receiving and accepting from the universe, something that was given freely. It could be viewed as maybe even Tony receiving a gift from the son of the creator, or the creator him/herself. And not just from a christian perspective, but many religions and disciplines have this basic common foundation. The gift can also be, in many traditions, something to help him along on his journey, or insight to help him evolve and know himself or his Creator more, or for Tony to bring back (like the proverbial fire) something of value to his community and family, etc...

That being said, since we know that Tony does come from a christian catholic culture, he has some basic knowledge of that tradition, and it is an important part of the whole storyline. Like many catholics, he may not actually know Christ personally as most christians do, but rather, practices the culture of the religion and seeks to know Christ. May seem like a small distinction, but it is important for some people. To me, Tony continuing to seek, even if he hasn't yet found, is a great thing.

IMO, i think Chase is showing us, even with his failures, that Tony hasn't given up. He still looks up to the sky and scans the heavens for at least ducks! And there's nothing precluding Tony from finding truth and answers and even salvation further on down the road, according to the old standby "seek and ye shall find". To me, the underlying theme that operates throughout the whole story is Tony relating with his Creator, in some form or another- either thru therapy seeking answers or even when he's on the outs with his Creator when he's destroying other creations and seems oblivious to that relationship. The fact of that relationship keeps coming back in his face for him and us to see.

Re: Kennedy and Heidi dream theory

#17
FlyOnMelfisWall wrote:....
A funny thing happened on his way to a cut to black, though, and that was his conscious acceptance and belief after the peyote trip that death was not in fact "all black", "all a big nothing". And he seemed happy about it and willing to embrace whatever "something" lay beyond it. Except that by virtue of his previous choice, he apparently no longer had the option.

i still don't see or get it that Chase tells us Tony apparently has no option.

Re: Kennedy and Heidi dream theory

#18
FlyOnMelfisWall wrote:Don't forget that Tony's last dream in Calling All Cars was in many, key respects a distillation of his coma metaphysical experience: he arrived at a large, old country house, where a mafia crony that he had killed was with him outside; he conceived of himself as an "innocent", an immigrant stone mason like his grandfather and not too unlike Tony, the mild-mannered precision optics salesman; he felt lost and foreign at the house, attracted to it, yet afraid to go in; the thing that seemed to frighten him most in both cases was the aura of his mother, the ominous woman surrounded by bright, white light.

He was called to his death by the beacon, but, when he saw where and with whom he would be spending eternity, he was afraid and repelled. .


I have just watched the episode on DVD, which filled in a few gaps I had forgotten. I have to disagree that the fact his mother was inside was a reason he was afraid to go in. I believe he was confused because it was a Finnerty family reunion, they were supposedly waiting for Kevin Finnerty. He didn't want to go in because he wasn't a Finnerty. Remember Tony didn't recognise the Tony B character as Tony B - and he was listed in the credits as Man. I would suggest Tony felt it wasn't his family, which was the main reason he didn't want to go in.

Re: Kennedy and Heidi dream theory

#20
turangawaewae wrote:I have just watched the episode on DVD, which filled in a few gaps I had forgotten. I have to disagree that the fact his mother was inside was a reason he was afraid to go in. I believe he was confused because it was a Finnerty family reunion, they were supposedly waiting for Kevin Finnerty. He didn't want to go in because he wasn't a Finnerty. Remember Tony didn't recognise the Tony B character as Tony B - and he was listed in the credits as Man. I would suggest Tony felt it wasn't his family, which was the main reason he didn't want to go in.


That is a really good point i hadn't thought of. So many people posted on that mother figure, and the mystery just seems to deepen. There must be a reason Chase didn't make it really crystal clear that she was representing his mother. Your interp seems to add so much clarity to understanding it- even without knowing her identity.

If we just put ourselves in Tony's shoes- if we were facing death's door without knowing who we are, or if we were there under a different name- like the Angel of Death had made a mistake and took us there prematurely (like in "Heaven Can Wait"), then of course we would be reluctant to enter. i'm still not sure we always have a choice in it though. In that case, perhaps God, or Chase, or Tony himself, or someone, gave Tony the choice to come back from the Inn at the Oaks. Or maybe, until we know ourselves and are ready -(by God's determination i would argue, not our own determination)- we continue to have a choice in the matter?

Maybe Tony was allowed to go back to Meadow because he had not completed his life's journey, and the Finnerty journey was a part of that process of his self-realization, a revelation in internalizing who he is, even if he didn't remember everything when back in the 'real' world. Bringing a dream into conciousness makes it seem more real, but it is still a dream nonetheless. Sent by who? (Created by Chase for his Hero).

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