Re: Kennedy and Heidi dream theory

#21
FlyOnMelfisWall wrote: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.

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Also worth mentioning the last line of that episode, when Tony's on the phone with Carmella: "Is it light out there yet?" Maybe that's not verbatim what he said.

This is a fascinating discussio. Now I know why I continue to come around here, 10 months after the show ended.
"When my time comes, tell me, will I stand up?"

Re: Kennedy and Heidi dream theory

#22
I think there are at least three factors to consider in deciding whether the women on the porch and on the stairs in Mayham and CAC, respectively, were allusions to Livia or to something/someone else. First, the actress who gave us the quintessential Livia was deceased when both episodes were filmed. Two different actresses played young Livia in flashbacks (only one at the time of CAC), but, remarkably, the two looked nothing alike, and neither really resembled Nancy Marchand. So I'm not sure producers felt they had access to an emblematic physical form that would unmistakably connote "Livia" without the aid of dialog or a more explicit context.

Second, the whole Join the Club/Mayham coma scenario was, per those great interviews with Terrence Winter and Matthew Weiner last spring, Chase's meditation on the question "what if the process of dying involves the gradual loss of one's identity"? This meditation was supposedly inspired by some events surrounding the death of Chase's good friend (and former Sopranos director) John Patterson after season 5.

Third, although Tony S didn't recognize Tony B at the house, Tony B certainly recognized Tony S ("there you are", or words to that effect; told him everyone was "expecting" him and waiting inside.) Tony B kept trying to get Tony S to relinquish his briefcase, his Finnerty briefcase, which I interpret as a metaphor for Tony's physical life and his explicit recognition of his own identity crisis. He had the choice to die a definitive death as Tony Soprano or continue to live as Kevin Finnerty . . . or, in other words, to live with the burden of having to claim his "true" self (one of the "two Tonys") and of being defendant in a lawsuit for defective solar heat ("son love", I speculate. This makes sense in view of the intense focus in the final two seasons on father/son relationships and issues, both with Tony as son/surrogate son (vis-a-vis Johnny, Uncle Junior, Paulie, Dickie, and even Hesh) and Tony as father/surrogate father (AJ, Chris, Vito Jr.)) Names, the most common identity reference, were apparently not used at the Inn ("we don't talk like that here"), so the choice to list Buscemi's character as "man" in the credits instead of "Tony B" is reconcilable, especially since he was seemingly not meant to represent a living person but a spirit or metaphysical presence.

On the other hand, I would feel incredibly tricked and misled if the use of Buscemi was NOT intended to convey to the audience the spiritual/metaphysical presence of Tony B. This wasn't like deciding to give Joe Ganascoli a contract role in season 2 even though he'd been a speaking extra for 10 seconds in a bakery scene in season 1. This was the use of an actor with a substantial profile independent of the show who played the major "foil" for Tony in season 5 and whose casting that season was much heralded. So, to me, Buscemi had to be intended to help conjure the idea of Tony's deceased family at the Inn (it was a family reunion, afterall), similar to the many NDE tales of the clinically dead seeing deceased relatives and moving toward a bright light.

If you accept that Buscemi was portraying the spirit of Tony B and that other of Tony's deceased relatives were at that house -- and keeping in mind that Nancy Marchand was unavailable -- the mystery woman who turns her back to Tony and walks inside, just as he glimpses her, would almost have to be Livia. The look of profound hurt and sadness that covers his face in those moments resonates too well with the founding premise of the show, a "family" guy with family issues, particularly the issue of feeling unloved by his mother. It also resonates with the dream in CAC, and the two mutually reinforce, in my mind, that the woman in the bright light with the frightening or cold aura, though nameless and faceless, was Livia, and was recognized as such by Tony on a gut level. To paraphrase Paul in Corinthians, "Now I see through a glass darkly, but one day I will know, even as I am known."
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

#23
I think we will have to agree to disagree on this one. I believe the Tony B statement which was something like we don't talk like that here when Tony referred to his identity was referring to that fact that everybody becomes one after death. In the same episode, one of the monks made a comment to Tony something like see that plant out there? When you are dead, you become part of that, or just like that, or something along those lines. Also the rocket scientist in hospital talking about what appears to be opposing forces actually being one force, like the boxers and the tornados. I admit this interpretation is based on a conversation I had with a reverend who told me about an experience she had. She wouldn't elaborate too much, but she basically said that she believed our spirit lived on after death in energy, and that it was possible everybodies energy joined together. This kinda makes sense when you think about the bright light people report seeing with near death experiences - a bright white light being energy of past people, and you going to join them/add your energy to the pile!!
Anyway, I am digressing. I am starting to think along the lines that Tony's I get it moment in Vegas was along the lines of, everybodies identity is lost, and that we are all part of one "collective soul" if you like eventually. "we don't talk like that here" translates to we don't care what your name is or who you were in human form. It took the bright light of the sun to remind him of the white light in the Inn (which he couldn't remember clearly until then). This was reinforced by him killing Chrissy, yet having good luck and a great time in Vegas. Sort of like humanity as a whole will be judged, not as individuals, so you may as well free ride on the backs of the good people!! This was reinforced by the rocket scientists comments about what appears to be opposing forces actually being part of one force.

Re: Kennedy and Heidi dream theory

#24
FlyOnMelfisWall wrote:I think there are at least three factors to consider in deciding whether the women on the porch and on the stairs in Mayham and CAC, respectively, were allusions to Livia or to something/someone else. First, the actress who gave us the quintessential Livia was deceased when both episodes were filmed. Two different actresses played young Livia in flashbacks (only one at the time of CAC), but, remarkably, the two looked nothing alike, and neither really resembled Nancy Marchand. So I'm not sure producers felt they had access to an emblematic physical form that would unmistakably connote "Livia" without the aid of dialog or a more explicit context.

Second, the whole Join the Club/Mayham coma scenario was, per those great interviews with Terrence Winter and Matthew Weiner last spring, Chase's meditation on the question "what if the process of dying involves the gradual loss of one's identity"? This meditation was supposedly inspired by some events surrounding the death of Chase's good friend (and former Sopranos director) John Patterson after season 5.

Third, although Tony S didn't recognize Tony B at the house, Tony B certainly recognized Tony S ("there you are", or words to that effect; told him everyone was "expecting" him and waiting inside.) Tony B kept trying to get Tony S to relinquish his briefcase, his Finnerty briefcase, which I interpret as a metaphor for Tony's physical life and his explicit recognition of his own identity crisis. He had the choice to die a definitive death as Tony Soprano or continue to live as Kevin Finnerty . . . or, in other words, to live with the burden of having to claim his "true" self (one of the "two Tonys") and of being defendant in a lawsuit for defective solar heat ("son love", I speculate. This makes sense in view of the intense focus in the final two seasons on father/son relationships and issues, both with Tony as son/surrogate son (vis-a-vis Johnny, Uncle Junior, Paulie, Dickie, and even Hesh) and Tony as father/surrogate father (AJ, Chris, Vito Jr.)) Names, the most common identity reference, were apparently not used at the Inn ("we don't talk like that here"), so the choice to list Buscemi's character as "man" in the credits instead of "Tony B" is reconcilable, especially since he was seemingly not meant to represent a living person but a spirit or metaphysical presence.

On the other hand, I would feel incredibly tricked and misled if the use of Buscemi was NOT intended to convey to the audience the spiritual/metaphysical presence of Tony B. This wasn't like deciding to give Joe Ganascoli a contract role in season 2 even though he'd been a speaking extra for 10 seconds in a bakery scene in season 1. This was the use of an actor with a substantial profile independent of the show who played the major "foil" for Tony in season 5 and whose casting that season was much heralded. So, to me, Buscemi had to be intended to help conjure the idea of Tony's deceased family at the Inn (it was a family reunion, afterall), similar to the many NDE tales of the clinically dead seeing deceased relatives and moving toward a bright light.

If you accept that Buscemi was portraying the spirit of Tony B and that other of Tony's deceased relatives were at that house -- and keeping in mind that Nancy Marchand was unavailable -- the mystery woman who turns her back to Tony and walks inside, just as he glimpses her, would almost have to be Livia. The look of profound hurt and sadness that covers his face in those moments resonates too well with the founding premise of the show, a "family" guy with family issues, particularly the issue of feeling unloved by his mother. It also resonates with the dream in CAC, and the two mutually reinforce, in my mind, that the woman in the bright light with the frightening or cold aura, though nameless and faceless, was Livia, and was recognized as such by Tony on a gut level. To paraphrase Paul in Corinthians, "Now I see through a glass darkly, but one day I will know, even as I am known."

But what if Tony B was at the Inn at the Oaks on the same level as Tony S? Not as Tony B,but as the equivalent of a Finnerty Tony B, a non-Tony B? No names...

Re: Kennedy and Heidi dream theory

#25
Some great thoughts here from everyone. Its good to see everyone back in the game.

-To me, the loss of identity is associated to death. As mentioned earlier, Tony B's "we don't talk like that here" says as much. Not to mention the alzheimer's diagnosis. Tony/Finnerty won't even know who he is very soon. Now also notice the doctor talks about the "Black spots on the brain" shown on Tony's MRI. Does this directly link to the final "black out" at the end? I think it does. However, this fate is not final. Tony has to "talk to his doctor's back home"(Melfi) to avoid this fate, he has a second chance. 6B teaches us that Tony blew that chance.

-It ties into what Fly has said. Tony's embrace of his family could ultimately lead to his redemption and salvation of his soul. I'm not sure I agree with the whole "white light/good death" thing. I think Tony sees the light as Meadow's voice pulls him away from death. The light gets brighter (and actually fills the screen for about 9 seconds) as he comes out of the coma (on a more physical level the light is the bright hospital light that awaits him when he opens his eyes). The light represents life and his second chance.

-Now go to the final scene (and this ties into what Fly was talking about). Tony forgets what he told AJ in the first season finale. He does not remember that he tells AJ to "remember the good times (with family)" This is critical because it echo's Tony's alzheimer's diagnosis. Tony was too distracted by money and power that he forgets the lesson he briefy learned when he survived Junior's shooting. he forgot that the love of his family and rejection of his lifestlye could have saved him. The prophecy of the Alzheimers diagnosis, which is directly referred to as "black spots" on the brain and is called a "death sentence" by Tony has now come to fruition.

-So what does Tony "get" in Vegas? It doesn't matter because Tony will forget it anway. Tony always forgets the lessons he learned. Just like he forgets his breakthroughs in therapy. Just like he forgets how he felt he should have lived his life right after he came out of the coma. Tony says so himself when he tells Melfi about his epiphany in Vegas. He said you "grab it" but its quickly gone. That line was Tony Soprano is a nutshell. In the final Melfi-Tony scene, he blames himself for AJ's suicide attempt but then all of sudden says AJ was "coddled" and just needed a kick in the ass. Just as Tony was to take responsibility for AJ, he held back. Melfi, realizing the endless futility of therapy for Tony finally dumps him. Tony was never brave enough to take responsiblity and change.

-Tony's Vegas trip is the contrast to his Costa Mesa trip. The signs are everywhere but in a far more nefarious tone. In the Vegas trip, Tony does sleep with the girl. Tony has no qualms about who he is in this trip. He laughs about Chris death and how his luck has changed. We see the beacon again (behind the sun) that is supposed to lead to the "Inn" and Tony's death. We actually see the beacon a second after Tony kills Chris, the headlights of the car that Tony sees also echo the beacon. Tony takes comfort in the light of the bathroom after he vomits from the Peyote. He has a slight smile, this is the "comfort light" that reminds him of coming out of his coma and the hospital light. However, this light is artificial with a wierd humming noise beneath it. Tony's vomitting in the bowl also echo's his vomitting blood after he beats up Perry. This beating being the first signal that Tony's "smell the roses" attitude would be short lived and he would quickly return to the old Tony.

-What's most distressing is how Tony's lifestyle is in a sense "gambling" with the lives of his family. He loses on "Meadow's Gold" horse early in 6B. In Vegas, he actually wins roulette on the number "24" (Meadow's age), then "20" (AJ's age) and "24" again (Meadow's age again). Now look at the final scene again, MOG is a possible threat to Tony but also dangerously close to Tony's family. Just like Phil's wife or grandchildren could have taken a bullet. Just like the innocent "father/daughter" that is murdered (Phil's goomar and her Dad) as a byproduct of Tony's lifestlye (Here the daughter witnesses her father get shot in the head which could foreshadow the end although the daughter is also shot in the first scene and I don't believe Meadow dies in the final scene).

I agree with Fly in that the "black out" is ultimately about Tony's isolation from his family. The prophecy in the "pilot" episode is complete. Because Tony couldn't realize what was important (his family) he is destined to "lose" them (just like his fears in the pilot). However, the twist of the "Pilot" is through Tony's death, he has "lost" his family. Tony is never again to "remember the good times" with them or create any new memories. He is engulfed in endless blackness and nothingness.

One more thing, the lady at the door of the Inn is most certainly meant to be Livia.

Re: Kennedy and Heidi dream theory

#27
badabellisima wrote:But what if Tony B was at the Inn at the Oaks on the same level as Tony S? Not as Tony B,but as the equivalent of a Finnerty Tony B, a non-Tony B? No names...


The crucial point IMO is not what these characters thought subjectively about their identities or what names, if any, they answered to. The audience would have one and only one character association upon seeing Steve Buscemi at that house, and the circumstances -- Tony flatlining and going towards a white light, glimpsing deceased family members, both playing upon well-known death cliches -- all further imply that the identity of the character, whether recognized as such by Tony S or not, was Tony B. The "two tonys" angle itself even plays at another level on Tony's persistent identity crisis and may well have been the reason that Buscemi/Tony B was chosen to greet Tony at the door rather than the actor that played Tony's father.
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

#28
turangawaewae wrote:She wouldn't elaborate too much, but she basically said that she believed our spirit lived on after death in energy, and that it was possible everybodies energy joined together. This kinda makes sense when you think about the bright light people report seeing with near death experiences - a bright white light being energy of past people, and you going to join them/add your energy to the pile!!


My beliefs, amorphous though they be, are actually very similar to this and have evolved in more detail since watching a lot of the "Universe" series recently that History Channel produced. Fascinating stuff, especially when you consider the cliches of NDEs with Einstein's special theory of relativity and the notion of time essentially stopping as one approaches the speed of light.
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

#29
In the weirdest coincidence, when I went to bed, i had been chewing on what you just said, Fly, and i woke up this morning (…no gun, but with a blue moon in my eyes…), turned on the TV, and there was that 'Universe' episode of "After the Big Bang" on History Channel, talking about Einstein, light, gravity, relativity, etc. Of course I knew instantly that I was meant to watch it!

-Interesting that they mention, theoretically, that light cannot escape gravity- hence the Black Hole”…

(For more amazing insight on if a coincidence is really just a coincidence, see Catherine Tramell's links on ‘synchronicity’ back on pages 7 and 8 in the “Sopranos Trivia Game" thread):
[color=#3366ff]http://thechaselounge.net/showthread.php?t=1093&page=7[/color]

Here’s her link on “Synchronicity”:
[color=#3366ff]www.crystalinks.com/synchronicity.html[/color]

She also cites Dr. Melvin Morse, (a Must Read if you’re into NDEs)an amazing pediatrician who studies Near Death Experiences and the light:

[color=#3366ff]http://www.melvinmorse.com/light.htm[/color]

[color=#3366ff]http://www.nbc10.com/news/3253894/detail.html[/color]

--And meanwhile, -getting back on topic to PaulieTheDestroyer’s original first post-

[color=#3366ff][font=Verdana]“…When Tony is standing in the desert with Sonya and is exclaiming to the sun in what I believe was the last shot (it's been a few months since I've seen the episode) and the sun appears to flicker and a fluorescent hum can be heard, like the overhead light he was staring into when he threw up and the trip started. Did he spend most or all of his 'journey' in the bathroom. I suspect that the whole Sonya character might have been imagined by Tony, a la Isabella, but there are some inconsistencies. Eh?”
[/color][/font]


- Well it really is amazing that after all these posts since last year, no one really mentioned that yet. The question of 'where do we go on these journeys?' is obviously an importantly huge theme to Chase and now to us as well. Back when the series had just ended, we all were so caught up in the trauma of the ending, that most of us didn’t have, or take, the time to really consider the details of the previous ep and the final ep outside of the obvious magnet of the sensational anticlimax. (hence my feeble attempts to keep the scene-by-scene analysis thread alive…). It makes sense to me that a year later, we still are captivated by it all and are still trying to make sense of it, because we never could get to it before or maybe weren't as open to it all. Its like the dawning of the age of The Son (sun) of Man/God, or even the Age of Aquarius or anything else- thousands of years later, its still here-and-now, present. Like opening a bible or ancient book of wisdom, and the newly read pages have fresh new insight that differs from the last time you read the same passage- (you can't step into the same river twice...).

The symbolism of light, and light itself, figures into so many episodes where Chase seems to be trying to wake up Tony (and us the viewer) in one way or another.

Re: Kennedy and Heidi dream theory

#30
-- Tony flatlining and going towards a white light, glimpsing deceased family members, both playing upon well-known death cliches --


FlyOnMelfisWall wrote:My beliefs, amorphous though they be, are actually very similar to this and have evolved in more detail since watching a lot of the "Universe" series recently that History Channel produced. Fascinating stuff, especially when you consider the cliches of NDEs with Einstein's special theory of relativity and the notion of time essentially stopping as one approaches the speed of light.


Well, i think that Chase is attempting something far grander than depicting "well-known NDE cliches". These experiences are very real, and go beyond cliche or caricature. To attempt to portray this in-between zone and give it meaning is an artistic endeavor of the highest order- with so much room for risk of 'failure' or lack of attainment towards elevating our understanding; he risks making it even more cliche, or a joke- like a clumsy B horror movie we laugh at, instead of philosophically introspect over. Speaking of which, imo, even the attempt to produce "Cleaver" was some important effort on their parts to understand their own involvement in violence and death.

And, if time indeed stops when you actually achieve the speed of light, it makes sense that there is a sense of timelessness when fully in the light. (there was no time in the bright light tunnel of my NDE). My experience tells me we ARE some form of light, not just accelerating alongside it.

i think light can have slightly different speeds under different circumstances...certainly it bends, per the Universe episode i referred to above and my memories of college Physics. I hope Splishak weighs in here- he knows a lot about physics.

This imo, is somewhat like the Star Trek episode where the high-pitched frequency mosquito-sounds the crew was hearing turned out to be 'others', who were existing at higher, unseen and barely-heard frequencies, sharing their same time-space simultaneously. (Also a little like the unseen 'dead people' in The Sixth Sense, who only slightly manifested with cold air, to the 'special' people who could perceive it). Which is why i am open to interpreting an alternate persona or coma-time identity of Tony B, or the Livia look-alike, etc. Sure, they mainly represent just what they look like; and a rose is still a rose. But if you observe anyone from another angle or parallax view, you can see them entirely anew and perceive who they are to us differently, -from new eyes. This show has always been about challenging our initial perspective and imho, being open to seeing with new eyes and hearing with new ears, even if Tony doesn't always manage to!...:smile:

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