Test Dream links to Join the Club???

Hi everybody, I wanted to get your opinion on this one.

Since "Test Dream" and "Join the Club" contain important dream sequences and they are only a few episodes apart (the end of season 5- the beginning of season 6), I wanted to see if there might be any links. The beginning of Tony's dream in "Test Dream" contained Carmine Sr (RIP) who told Tony that he was lonely down there, referring to Hell. Then in Tony's "Join the Club" dream sequence, he ends up being isolated and lonely, and then obviously there were the references to Hell. Any thoughts on this one?


Re: Test Dream links to Join the Club???

This show is a metaphor of Purgatory, read on.......

Here's the review of "Join The Club" as written in the Newark Star Ledger.

Tony checks into the Hotel California
Monday, March 20, 2006
by Alan Sepinwall

WARNING: This column contains major plot spoilers for last night's "Sopranos" episode. If you're waiting until later in the week to watch, read on at extreme peril.

IT'S NOT a dream. It's Purgatory.

When I had my annual summit with "Sopranos" creator David Chase a few weeks ago, I complimented him on having the onions to put a major dream sequence like this so early in the season, considering how many fans complain about the dreams.

"I, frankly, would not call those (episode two scenes) dreams," he said, which sent me scurrying back to watch my DVD over and over again, until (with some help from my wife) I got it.

Here Tony's stuck in Orange County, quite possibly the most personality-free corner of the world, with no way to leave (aka Purgatory). On one end of town is a shining beacon (Heaven), on the other, a raging forest fire (Hell). Over and over, he stops to assess the worth of his own life, asking, "Who am I? Where am I going?"

Then he steals the identity (sin) of Kevin Finnerty -- a heating salesman who lives in one of the hottest states of the union (Arizona) -- checks into another hotel, and falls down a red staircase, at which point he learns he has Alzheimer's (eternal damnation). And while Carmela's busy in the real world telling him he's not going to Hell, Tony's in Purgatory debating whether to tell his wife this is exactly the fate he has in store.

It may be hair-splitting to call this something other than a dream, but Tony's misadventures in Costa Mesa were much more linear and coherent than his regular dreams have ever been. There were important details scribbled in the margins (the bartender joking, "Around here, it's dead," or the "Are sin, disease and death real?" commercial on the TV), but there was an actual story here instead of Tony bouncing from one surreal tableau to another.

Still, Chase followed last week's watercooler cliffhanger with an 11-minute opening sequence set in a world that's not our own, with a Tony who wasn't quite right (it's startling to hear James Gandolfini's natural speaking voice), and only one split-second nod to the shooting (the brief flash of the doctor shining a light in Tony's eye mixed in with the chopper spotlight).

For years, most of "Sopranos" fandom has been divided into two intersecting sets: those who watch for the whacking and crude humor, and those who watch for the psychiatry and art-house storytelling. By putting the shooting right next to Tony's afterlife business trip, Chase is pushing his chips to the center of the table and telling the audience they had better go all in -- murder and therapy, flatulence jokes and metaphysics -- if they intend to stay at the table for this final season.

So will Tony ever get to check out of this hotel, and, if so, where will he end up? Again, I can't say, but if this season is going to be about a moral accounting for all of Tony's sins, then there's no better place to start.

Back in the physical world, give Edie Falco the Emmy right now. Just give it to her. Seriously. Do not pass Go, do not collect other nominations, just ship the statuette to her apartment today. There is no way any other actress on television is going to have two better scenes this year than Carmela's hallway breakdown and her monologue to Tony, scored perfectly to Tom Petty's "American Girl."

And is there an Emmy category for Best Silent Hug? Because Michael Imperioli was pretty great when he put his arm around Carmela in the hallway. I know scenes where characters sob or give long speeches are stock award-show bait, but these performances went so far past showing off that I actually had to look away a few times out of a feeling I was spying on a private moment between real people.

Some other random notes:

The song played at the end was Moby's "When It's Cold I'd Like To Die," with vocals by Mimi Goese.

The voice of Purgatory Tony's wife wasn't played by Annabella Sciorra, or any other actress who's been on the show before; she's just a generic non-Carmela female voice.

Boy, Janice's gift for making every moment of every day be all about her survives even her brother's shooting, huh? She shows up at the hospital, pretending she's there to help comfort Carmela, then immediately spazzes out so she's the center of attention. If I didn't know Janice so well from the last four seasons, I might have found her freak-out genuine, but this is Livia Soprano's daughter, people. And speaking of which...

Did you catch AJ throwing Livia's "Poor you!" at Meadow during their hybrid car argument? That's at least three other characters who've now used the old bat's pet insult (Tony and Gloria were the others), and it shows just how rotten and contagious the Soprano genes are.

Meanwhile, you have AJ trying to have his Michael Corleone moment with his plan to murder Junior, but the kid's still too dumb and weak to even pass for Fredo. Loved that he chose to waste all the good will from Carmela by telling her he flunked out of school. (If those other two scenes don't get Falco a drama actress Emmy, maybe she can win the comedy award for her delivery of "With your father in a coma!"

The overall mood was grim, but Vito had the line of the night, if not the season, when he speculated about Eugene's suicide, "Maybe he was a homo, felt there was no one he could talk to about it. That happens, too." Oh, Vito, project much?

In the days after the premiere, many people floated the theory that it was really the finale and the rest of the series would be flashbacks leading up to Tony's shooting. Obviously, that's not the way things are going, and it wouldn't have worked, since not enough of interest had happened to the characters since we saw them last. Yes, Janice and Bacala have spawned, and AJ's hair is longer, but it's not like we came back from hiatus with Silvio missing and Chris wearing an eyepatch. The premiere established that Tony's life had been profitable but uneventful since his jog through the woods.

Now, is Agent Harris really that in love with Satriale's veal parm, or he is baiting a hook to turn Christopher into a cooperator? Nothing on this show is a coincidence, and a few scenes after Harris mentioned Matush, the terrorist-supporting drug dealer, we saw a couple of Middle Eastern men chatting up Chrissie at the Bing.

Alan Sepinwall may be reached by writing him at 1 Star-Ledger Plaza, Newark, N.J. 07102-1200.


Re: Test Dream links to Join the Club???

I understand metaphors. He's not in Purgatory. Just because a "critic" says something doesn't make it a fact. Purgatory is a rest stop to Heaven, so one must be DEAD. He's not dead, however he seems to be between life and death. He sees the "white light" numerous times.

I would agree these aren't dreams but rather his internal struggle to avoid death. Losing his identity means he is stuck where he is. He can't go "home" which is a metaphor for life.


Re: Test Dream links to Join the Club???

<blockquote>Quote:<hr>I understand metaphors. He's not in Purgatory. Just because a "critic" says something doesn't make it a fact. Purgatory is a rest stop to Heaven, so one must be DEAD. He's not dead, however he seems to be between life and death. He sees the "white light" numerous times.<hr></blockquote>

You are looking at the word "purgatory" as defined in Roman Catholic doctrine, and you are correct. However, the non-Catholic definition of the word is: a place or state of temporary suffering or misery. (Drug rehab could be considered a purgatory) Thus, death is not a prerequisite to be in purgatory.


Re: Test Dream links to Join the Club???

even if we assume 'Join the Club' isn't a dream (I'm inclined to think it's not too) both Test Dream and the recent episode involve Tony's inner world. some similarities that come to mind (sorry in advance if some of this is overly basic)

1) Not being prepared.
Both Test Dream Tony and Finnerty Tony are unprepared. Test Dream Tony THINKS he's prepared for a while, 'I did my homework' -but in the end, he's not. He tries to kill off his old self/voice from the past (the coach) but the bullets turn to sh*t.
Finnerty Tony also is unprepared, though doesn't believe this is his fault (yet we do have comment from wife saying 'this is partly your fault')

2) Identity Issues.
Finnerty Tony's ID issues are self evident. Test Dream Tony faces a question of 'which Tony?' (echoing his comment in S5/1 : 'There are 2 Tony Sopranos')
in Test Dream there was the line: "wasn't that Tony there the one you were supposed to cap to prevent this from happening?' And then confronting his past self and a road not taken when the Coach yells at him for not going a different route.

3) Having to rely on others for help/guidance:
Both Tonys are strikingly helpless, in need. Test Dream Tony is saved at last minute by Artie. He's also riding in the back seat like a child and taking direction from the voice on the phone.
Finnerty Tony is almost annoyingly helpless (doesn't Tony's subconscious know that you can get on a plane after losing a wallet if you file a police report?) Finnerty Tony is a victim, something Tony Soprano is extremely afraid of being and is repulsed by when he sees it in others (as we've seen many times in Melfi's office and in his dealing with others, including Artie, Gloria, Valentina and Vin.)

4) Being Caught: The woman from restaurant tells Finnerty Tony that the helicopters are 'looking for a perp.' Test Dream Tony being chased by angry mob.

5) The TVs. This is maybe a stretch but I got a 'Test Dream' vibe when FinnertyTony watches the 'Is Death Real' bit on TV. in Test Dream the TV images help guide Tony thru his dream. Several people point to them, asking Test Dream Tony to take a look. (look at himself?)

6) my own pet theory:
clues about Tony and Witness Protection.
Test Dream: Valachi papers, many notable 'exit' signs.
Finnerty Tony takes a different route (the stairs, marked clearly by an exit sign) also, as has been noted, he's in California with a different name and mundane job (a 'program like' scenario) And Kevin Finnerty lives in Arizona - a place thought of as a possible relocation place for those in program.
Also, as someone brilliantly pointed out. Kevin Finnerty is an OPTICS salesman and is at the conference trying to sell his products to the government (helping the feds see things more clearly)

7) Finally, although these weren't part of the official "test dream' dream - i thought the shots of Test Dream Tony in the hotel and asking Carm if it was light where she was yet were somewhat mirrored in the shot of Finnerty Tony alone in the hotel room and the light flickering in the distance.

</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p098.ezboard.com/bthechaselounge ... daMaria</A> at: 3/22/06 8:41 pm

Re: Test Dream links to Join the Club???

Limbo would be a better choice than Purgatory if you choose to go that route.

To me he is simply battling internally in between life and death, his identity problem prevents him from going home(life). Internally he reacts to many things he hears while in the coma. Kevin Finnerty was responsible for him having no identity since he took his wallet and briefcase. The doctor is responsible for him being in a coma since it was medically induced. Tony is left with no control of his own, unlike in life. He is helpless. To go home he needs outside help(Kevin Finnerty to return his identity). To come out of his coma he needs outside help(doctors must bring him out of it).



"Limbo would be a better choice than Purgatory if you choose to go that route."

No, isn't limbo supposed to be for the souls of those who died before the resurrection or for unbaptized babies?

Post Reply

Return to “Episode 6.02: Join the Club”