Re: Tony’s Vicarious Patricide

#31
LOL, Silvio. Thanks for taking the considerable time to read the whole thing and for your kind comments.

I have to say, this was one of those times that, as I was writing it and going back over the entire history of the show in my mind, it just really seemed to fit. If I had to guess when Chase envisioned this end for Christopher, tied to this kind of perverse catharsis for Tony, it would be sometime during the writing of season 4. That's when those amazing statements of foreshadowing took place ("You can't be high on [smack] and raise a kid"; "I oughta suffocate you, you prick.") And the black Cadillac as Johnny's emblematic car during Tony's childhood is introduced in Calling All Cars (and those two things might well be connected, with the title conveying more than just Melfi's throwaway line to Elliot after Tony quit therapy.) The early flashbacks in Down Neck and Fortunate Son depict a Cadillac, as I recall, but it was aqua blue in the former and red in the latter, so the change to black in season 4 seems portentous.

In Test Dream, that same black Cadillac is featured, and it surfaces again in Soprano Home Movies and Remember When. When season 5 starts, Tony is driving a black Cadillac for the first time, representing a change from his Chevy Suburban in all prior seasons. After the crash with Adriana totals the black Escalade, Tony replaces it with a white/cream colored one, IMO playing on the "two Tonys" theme of season 5 and symbolically representing the polarities of Tony's dual nature as well as the beginning of this subtle rebellion against his father. We see the white Cadillac for the first time in In Camelot, the same episode where cracks in the Johnny pedastal develop. Then Chris suddenly is driving a black Cadillac for the first time in season 6B so that, when the crash occurs, Kaitlyn's destroyed car seat is located in the back of her father's black Cadillac.

So it's finding little details like these that really adds to the texture and the feeling that this subtle design has been there going back to season 4.
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"

Re: Tony’s Vicarious Patricide

#32
The chopping off of Satriale's finger connects to AJ slipping into helping burn an indebted gambler's toes. (In KnH, AJ and Jason Parisi laugh hearing his toes were amputated.) Tony's son here is becoming Tony's father. As Tony himself spirals down into gambling addiction with spotty luck, he's vulnerable to the cleaver from son become father attacking unlucky gamblers. Fathers rear sons into being fathers, inviting the threat upon themselves, as with Uncle Jun serving as father figure to Carter then being attacked by him interwoven with Paulie pushing Tony to be a killer then almost being killed by him. Tony, the big father, is vulnerable to the same patricidal impulses against himself. There are many ways to teach sons, including accidental example, or in the dumping your shit out in the world unmindful of the noxious effects. AJ is neither a literal mobster nor threat to Tony. (Chase in interview offered an explicit interpretation that he most probably escapes the violence of his father.) But he still symbolizes as son, the threat posed by a new generation angling to overthrow - those somehow influenced to indulge the worst impulses in human nature.

The episode following Chris's death is the story of AJ inheriting Tony's disease. On a literal level depression, but on a symbolic level, it suggests more generally the sins of the father. Tony's explanation of the dynamic mirrors Chris's for his addiction: it's hereditary. Chris pondering Vito Junior's breakdown suggests about Vito (or warns about himself?) the effects of a murder aren't limited by the victim's death. Like a pebble in a lake, even the fish feel it. About AJ's disease, Paulie speculates it's the toxins kids are exposed to that fuck with their heads, bringing up mercury in fish. The asbestos link is impossible to miss here, being the most conspicuous toxin in the last episodes (and itself a metaphor for these men's own toxic influence). AJ opens 'Second Coming' complaining about the virus sprayed on beef in a greedy preparation process. There's also the father in the beginning of KnH trying to stop his naive kid from ingesting asbestos with his yum yum comida. That the bigger consequences of destroying life aren't neatly contained by the victim's death is represented in the concept of victim reborn into aggressor (Cleaver and Second Coming the poem). The gun in the snow is part of the metaphor collage for this unintentional transmission of violence to the next generation. I think that so many metaphors are missed on the show by much of the show's audience and critics (or so it seemed) is tribute to the Sopranos writers' ingenuity as their symbolism isn't obtrusive but so organic to the plot as to almost be camouflaged. (And for sure the other way symbolism is also probably often imagined where not intended.)

When New Jersey drops those gun charges, Tony breathes an undeserved sigh of relief, lulled into believing he's evaded the repercussions of the thrown gun picked up by the young man. It's the same false security Sally Boy has in Cleaver before Michael returns. And I'd say that Tony has when he cackles about, "He's dead." and believes his gambling luck is up. And maybe in Yeats' poem, "Surely the Second Coming is at hand." And in The Public Enemy Chase described as an early obsession - Tommy's coming home. I bet even those who don't see Tony's death in the end recognize the last scene at least as a sudden twist from Tony's confidence in danger passed.

In parsing the eponymous poem remember obviously it wasn't written for the show and doesn't refer to anything in the show but important things at least in 6 part 2 of the show were written off the poem. I didn't get "I get it!" as linking to "some revelation is at hand" but I'm so convinced by the idea I feel setting up the second coming may be the moment's primary purpose. In the poem, it immediately precedes the apocalyptic birth of the sphinx, and in the series the revelation precedes that too I'd say. What he "gets" is so ultimately ambiguous in any case. "He's dead" follows the end of the model earth rotating and revolving on the roulette wheel. Then Tony observes an astronomical phenomenon that calls back the beacon tied to death or, per the Finnerty reunion, beyond which is death. So maybe it's a processing of that rotating beacon as the rotation between dark and light (literal and figurative) that is life. A comprehension (again) that as life is a finite number of days, each one is a gift? A connection made in death to a homonymous sun rising? I'm going nymous crazy. Does Tony finally and excitedly get Pauiie's joke about Chris's daughter growing up to be a stripper? (fyifly, 20 centuries of stony sleep, not 20 years.) AJ is the slouching lion man. Rooooaaaar!!! (Sorry, wanted to keep any toddlers who may be reading this entertained). AJ represents the rough beast, the monster as Carmela calls him when he smoked dope like Tony and Chris. Entering the world of film production with Carmine, AJ is in another way Chris reborn. And my conviction that Members Only is Tony's "son" is because sons don't even need to know their fathers to inherit their DNA and threaten them. Phil has no actual son and no relationship at all to Walden that we see except symbolic father-son. Walden's shot is fired soon after his name was mocked as not a good Italian name. As "son" out there in the world with his "father" Phil's disease: sensitivity to the mockery made of his proud Italian name (that is, his fucked-up, toxic way of coping with emasculation, by coveting the father's power). "Leonardo" means Lion Strength by the way. Probably that, like Grampa was a lion, the cat, and tiger all off the rough beast of the poem. By the way, Leotardo, hahahahaha. What a name! His shame is justified! (Again, for the kids.) Happy Passover Easter. Apologies if anyone here's last name is Leotardo. How awkward.

Re: Tony’s Vicarious Patricide

#33
harpo wrote: (fyifly, 20 centuries of stony sleep, not 20 years.)


Did I actually say years? LOL, at least I'm pretty sure I got it right in the poem quote since that was cut and paste.:icon_biggrin: I'll go back later and correct the mis-statement in the discussion text.

Very keen and provocative post, harpo, as usual. I would comment more, but it's 2:26 AM and I have to get up early tomorrow, so I'll be brief.

I'm not sure how much we agree or disagree on The Second Coming. I concur that it had to have served as an inspirational element in the patricidal decompensation storyline, and that's why it was specifically invoked briefly in Cold Cuts when the finger chopping was first revived in therapy in the context of repressed rage. And remember this was just one episode before Test Dream, which, if you buy into the interpretations of the coach and the JFK assassination, seems a significant bit of timing.

Not to disagree that Second Coming isn't also applicable to AJ, but I think the imagery and primary thrust of the poem concern Tony and that it was literally used as visual inspiration when the Kevin Finnerty "identity" was conceived (which certainly coincided with the conception that Tony would later find his inner fraudulent solar heating salesman in the desert outside of Sin City.) It's ironic that the episode after the desert epiphany is the one titled for the poem that seems so inspirational to it, but then Chase had good reasons for choosing "Kennedy and Heidi" too, I presume. So Second Coming nicely bridges the prophesied "collapse of the center" with the issue of AJ succeeding to his father's psychological, and perhaps even criminal, legacy.
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"

Re: Tony’s Vicarious Patricide

#34
harpo wrote:...In parsing the eponymous poem remember obviously it wasn't written for the show and doesn't refer to anything in the show but important things at least in 6 part 2 of the show were written off the poem. I didn't get "I get it!" as linking to "some revelation is at hand" but I'm so convinced by the idea I feel setting up the second coming may be the moment's primary purpose. In the poem, it immediately precedes the apocalyptic birth of the sphinx, and in the series the revelation precedes that too I'd say. What he "gets" is so ultimately ambiguous in any case. "He's dead" follows the end of the model earth rotating and revolving on the roulette wheel. Then Tony observes an astronomical phenomenon that calls back the beacon tied to death or, per the Finnerty reunion, beyond which is death. So maybe it's a processing of that rotating beacon as the rotation between dark and light (literal and figurative) that is life. A comprehension (again) that as life is a finite number of days, each one is a gift? A connection made in death to a homonymous sun rising? I'm going nymous crazy. Does Tony finally and excitedly get Pauiie's joke about Chris's daughter growing up to be a stripper? (fyifly, 20 centuries of stony sleep, not 20 years.) AJ is the slouching lion man. Rooooaaaar!!! (Sorry, wanted to keep any toddlers who may be reading this entertained). AJ represents the rough beast, the monster as Carmela calls him when he smoked dope like Tony and Chris. Entering the world of film production with Carmine, AJ is in another way Chris reborn. And my conviction that Members Only is Tony's "son" is because sons don't even need to know their fathers to inherit their DNA and threaten them. Phil has no actual son and no relationship at all to Walden that we see except symbolic father-son. Walden's shot is fired soon after his name was mocked as not a good Italian name. As "son" out there in the world with his "father" Phil's disease: sensitivity to the mockery made of his proud Italian name (that is, his fucked-up, toxic way of coping with emasculation, by coveting the father's power). "Leonardo" means Lion Strength by the way. Probably that, like Grampa was a lion, the cat, and tiger all off the rough beast of the poem. By the way, Leotardo, hahahahaha. What a name! His shame is justified! (Again, for the kids.) Happy Passover Easter. Apologies if anyone here's last name is Leotardo. How awkward.


Not sure if you followed some previous posts on this topic (see a couple of pages of my and other's detailed posts on The Second Coming over in the Final Episode Scene-by-Scene Analysis):
http://www.thechaselounge.net/showthread.php?t=2229&page=7

Mainly- i see a direct connection between how Chase used the Beast theme consciously from the very beginning, and was heavily influenced by Yeats up until and including the very end. He ends the pilot epi with The Beast in Me; and imo, is revealing his deepest heartfelt connection to his (Chase's) own inner beast as he tries to express it thru Tony, as well as thru references to The Second Coming throughout the show.

From the Season 1/pilot episode final closing music:
There's nothing like hearing it while you read it, so---
Listen Link:

[size=100](YouTube video set to Tony’s beastly scene’s, including the phone beating at the Bing)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AePzxokvUJc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8751GEg0ow

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uA0d0-0Cvnc
[/SIZE]

"The Beast in Me"


The beast in me
Is caged by frail and fragile bonds
Restless by day
And by night, rants and rages at the stars
God help, the beast in me
The beast in me
Has had to learn to live with pain
And how to shelter from the rain
And in the twinkling of an eye
Might have to be restrained
God help the beast in me



Sometimes


It tries to kid me that it's just a teddy bear


Or even somehow managed


To vanish in the air


And that is when I must beware

Of the beast in me
[align=center]That everybody knows
They've seen him out dressed in my clothes
Patently unclear
If it's New York or New Year
God help the beast in me
The beast in me






[/align]

Re: Tony’s Vicarious Patricide

#35
So I'm watching the HBO Alzheimer's special last night, and something new occurred to me about the coma storyline.

I never bothered to research the physiological features of a brain with Alzheimer's and how that did or did not comport with what Tony was told in the ER about his own brain. I was stuck on the larger picture of the disease, with its characteristic loss of sense of identity and recognition of self, as a metaphor for what Tony was experiencing in his near-death state. In so doing, I think I missed another clue.

The doctor pointed to "dark spots" on the MRI images and told Tony that these were areas of his brain that had been "oxygen deprived". Well, in actuality, the lesions characterizing a brain with Alzheimer's have nothing to do with oxygen deprivation and everything to do with the accumulation of plaquy masses of amyloid proteins. The gross disparity here between the fictional and actual physiological causes/features of the disease had to be intentional and thus had to have a narrative purpose.

Oxygen deprivation suggests something that is buried, covered-over, or lacking exposure to open air. The doctor suggests that while the outlook for Tony is not good, the treatments for the disease have improved and that he should "talk to his docs back home" (which I always took, and still do, to mean that Tony should talk to Melfi). So here the ER doctor is metaphorically telling Tony that there is a dark, unacknowledged, unaired source of distress in his psyche that he must confront, try to understand, and talk about to his shrink. This is a perfect description of the repressed rage towards a father that's the subject of this thread.

What's more, as we hear Tony state to the bartender, his uncle has the disease, prompting Tony to openly wonder whether it's hereditary, evoking the "rotten putrid fucking Soprano gene" for panic attacks that Tony has referred to in key episodes as if it were something located on the Y chromosome and handed down through generations only from father to son. And that's actually just his way of trying to rationalize, on a genetic basis, a largely non-genetic issue, that of the endless cycle of bad men influencing their sons to become bad men just like them.
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"

Re: Tony’s Vicarious Patricide

#38
Thanks for the kind words, Corrado, and especially for taking the time to read all of that. When folks are willing to invest that much in reading, it makes me glad I put so much time into writing it.:icon_wink:
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"

Re: Tony’s Vicarious Patricide

#39
You´re welcome FlyonMElfiswall.

Let me add some thoughts after having thought about it for a bit.

Another interesting piece is the Tony-Jackie Junior relationship.

Jackie, the name one more hint towards JFK and Camelot, becomes for a period
a time a second son of Tony. Jackie mirrors exactly young Tony. Jackie is a son of
a mob boss, getting involved with the mob and persuing a career within the family.
Inspired by what Tony did Jackie goes to Ralphies card game and tries to earn his stripes just in the same way Tony did. In addition Jackie does exactly what Tony does. His in a relationship with Tony´s daughter while hanging out in strip clubs behaving just like Tony. As we know Tony can´t have it. His anger has deeper roots than the obvious reason Jackie is hurting his daughter. Tony sees himself in Jackie Junior. Interesting to see how much interest Tony takes in Jackie´s career, wanting him to become a doctor. At that stage Tony isn´t ready to kill Jackie. He pressures Ralphie into the killing of Jackie who is killed by a shot into the back by Vito Stafore. Ralphie is a father and mentor for Jackie. He told Jackie the story about the card game, he gave Jackie a gun and he was living with Jackie´s mother.

Later in season 4 Tony (Episode "The strong silent type") isn´t ready to kill his son Chris after realizing Chris was a drug addict. He points out if it was anyone else but Chris death would be the punishment. The punishment follows in "Heidi and Kennedy". Tony kills Chris. The father makes it impossible for the son to breath, hence killing him. Nice illustration of the destructive dynamics going on in family relationships.

Not to forget that Tony tried to suffocate his mother who together with Junior tried to kill her son. AJ tries to kill himself with a brick tied to his feet. The brick representing the heritance from his father and even grand-grandfather. The first Soprano in America was a stone mason. The brick drags AJ down under wanter making it impossible to breathe for him too. The pool was once the home of the ducks. The family home is the place where you´re most likely to die. The panic attacks and depression run in Tony´s family and they rooted deep under the surface.

And now something really interesting happens. Tony saves his son and he doesn´t turn away from AJ. Something his father would have done most certainly. Tony doesn´t influence AJ to become a bad man. He even goes with AJ to therapy knowing very well what the therapeutical experience looks like. And as strange as it is in context of the whole show Tony does something good regarding AJ. After finally having freed himself from the dark shadow of his own father(s) as FlyonMElfis wall pointed out in analyzing why Tony started to behave like a degenerate gambler. At first, this appeared to be odd, but in light of the father-son themes explored it makes perfectly sense. The episode "The happy wanderer" is a huge and early setup for this development.

David Scatino gambled away not only his own life, but almost destroyed also the life of his son. Ironically, the uncle saves the day for Scatino´s kid by paying for the college.

Looking at Jun one can´t help but notice that Jun who is just like a father for Tony almost killed him twice. From all the people who could have killed or injured Tony it is Junior who does it. I think there´s a lot of significance in the gutshot
that Tony almost dies from. It´s very painful I suppose, the victim of a gutshot is in danger in bleeding to death from internal wounds inflicted by a father figure. "It´s allright Ma, I am only bleeding":icon_wink:

Well, I can´t help it but to touch the very last scene and wonder what it conveys about the father and son theme. Or about Tony´s own family. Regardless of the question what happened when the screen went black it looks like a rare happy moment in the life of "The Sopranos". Tony shows sincere affection for AJ, Carme and Tony are made for each other, Meadow is about to start her own family. "Focus on the good times", "Don´t stop believing", "Magic moment", let´s just say a lot of positive words support the impression of a happy family gathering.


For Tony himself I found the mentioning of the song "I´ve gotta be me" interesting.


Whether I'm right or whether I'm wrong
Whether I find a place in this world or never belong
I gotta be me, I've gotta be me
What else can I be but what I am

I want to live, not merely survive
And I won't give up this dream
Of life that keeps me alive
I gotta be me, I gotta be me
The dream that I see makes me what I am

That far-away prize, a world of success
Is waiting for me if I heed the call
I won't settle down, won't settle for less
As long as there's a chance that I can have it all

I'll go it alone, that's how it must be
I can't be right for somebody else
If I'm not right for me
I gotta be free, I've gotta be free
Daring to try, to do it or die
I've gotta be me

I'll go it alone, that's how it must be
I can't be right for somebody else
If I'm not right for me
I gotta be free, I just gotta be free
Daring to try, to do it or die
I gotta be me

Re: Tony’s Vicarious Patricide

#40
Corrado wrote:AJ tries to kill himself with a brick tied to his feet. The brick representing the heritance from his father and even grand-grandfather. The first Soprano in America was a stone mason. The brick drags AJ down under wanter making it impossible to breathe for him too. The pool was once the home of the ducks. The family home is the place where you´re most likely to die. The panic attacks and depression run in Tony´s family and they rooted deep under the surface.


You know, this is one of those things that may not have been intentional by the writers, where their subconscious was smarter than their conscious. That is an exquisite metaphor you pointed out re the stone mason heritage. I love it.
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"

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