Joe wrote:you should take it as a compliment...while i don't necessarily agree with alot of what you say...i think your insight into the show is brilliant...and i can honestly say...you have made my overalll viewing experience more pleasurable. i think many people on this board probably feel the same way.
but i have to ask....if you really think the coma experience took place in another metaphysical plane of existance...and wasn't just a product of tony's subconsious....than how were all the people in the hospital able to influence tony's thoughts?
i mean, its sort of far fetched that paulie's talk of getting old somehow transcended the barriers of our reality and inflitrated its way into purgatory.
i asked this before but you never responded.
Joe, thans so much for the kind words. I'm flattered and very gratified to hear that my posts might increase someone else's viewing pleasure.
I did not intend to ignore your prior post about the metaphysical/physical dichotomies of the coma thing. There's just been so much incredibly deep and interesting stuff to absorb and talk about from this last ep that it's difficult to keep up with every tangent of discussion.
I have no problem reconciling the fact that aspects of the "real" world in the hospital room were influencing aspects of Tony's coma experience. That's principally because a spiritual or metaphysical plane of existence is still essentially a mystical, unknown, unknowable, irrational, yet, for many, a paradoxically "truthful" phenomena. When you base a belief on faith or primitive intuition or something other than man's limited rational processes, then rationality, as we know it, is in no way a constraint on your imagination and efforts to portray or understand the dimensions of that belief.
As far as I'm concerned, and as far as I understand what was being portrayed, Tony's physical self, and all the senses numbed by his coma, were in the hospital room. His spiritual self was no where physical because spirits do not have a location. "Where" is not a parameter of the soul. He was everywhere and nowhere.
But the spiritual experiences he had during the coma were relayed to us in a metaphysical (non real) location called Costa Mesa with metaphysical people (other souls, of which his is a part). The voices on the phone and from the trees were the spiritual messages of love sent by Carmela and Meadow. That's why when Carmela strokes his arm and asks, "Anthony, can you hear us?" and tells him she loves him, there are analgous experiences in Tony's spiritual realm (phone calls to his generic "wife"). When Meadow lies beside him in the hospital bed, Tony instinctively feels the spiritual, emotional equivalent of that (when he nuzzles an imaginary figure in the bed next to him).
Conversely, when Paulie was going on about testicular injuries and how miserable "rats" are, Tony's spirit is dealing with the stress of that, trying to block out any influence from a man like Paulie on issues of masculinity, manhood, or the propriety of "ratting" or otherwise violating the code of omerta by talking to outsiders about the crimes it's designed to keep secret. And I'm increasingly convinced that it was Tony's appreciation that his son was sick (coma Meadow's "he puked, mom put him to bed"), paralleled in the hospital room by AJ's tearful confession that he would "put a bullet in [Junior's] fucking mummy head", that ultimately caused Tony to embrace life as Kevin Finnerty rather than embrace death as Tony Soprano. Meadow called him back, but AJ was his mission, his reason for returning. As a "solar heating salesman", he must rectify his failure to provide "solar heat". He must rectify his failure to love and guide his son as a son should be loved and guided. And to do that, he must slay his own father as a male role model.
The flaring "son" at the end of the peyote trip signifies, I believe, that he finally understands this mission. I think he also understood at that moment that slaying Chris, as a symbolic act of slaying his father, was part of the confounding duality, the "everything is one and connected" philosohy that emerged after his coma. In slaying one son, and having to accept the painful emotional crash that will ensue, he was taking a perverse step toward saving the other. An act of sacrifice in which both evil and good walk hand in hand.