Melfi's session with Carmela

<blockquote>Quote:<hr>...don't say you were not warned<hr></blockquote>

Remember this prophetic confrontation from old shrink with whom Carmela consulted a while back? He was referring to her inevitable existential crisis, if not moral-legal "bottom" as charactized by Jennifer. Melfi's intervention with Carm felt to me to be the perfect culmination of this ealier consult and cystallized the need for what Melfi called clarity. Without much probing from Melfi, Carmela described her willing participation in her own denial and duplicitous approach to life as well as the ambiguity of her own "truth." Critically important session...also felt genuinely supportive and warm in that Melfi was able to name some harsh truths (e.g. cultivation of the kids' complicity, etc.) while at the same time containing Carmela empathically and ::grimace:: non-judgementally.


Re: Melfi's session with Carmela

OE, thanks for making this thread. It definitely deserves one.

I thought this was some of the best "work" Melfi has done in the entire series. Of course I'm sure it's because she had a patient who was far more honest with her than the one we usually see.:-) But I also sensed that Melfi knew this was likely a singular opportunity to have an impact with this particular woman (and, derivatively, with Tony) and she was determined to gently grab any horn Carmela gave her rather than wait for Carm to expose everything on her own. It was a wonderful, wonderful scene, imperfect only in that I thought it was too short.

I particularly would like to have heard more about the last question Melfi posed (paraphrasing), "Are you afraid you won't feel that way (so loving) when he wakes up?" We know from the scene in Join the Club that, like many women, Carmela is viscerally attracted to physical strength, power, boldness, and masculinity, all of which Tony possesses in abundance and are obviously elements of his tremendous "success" as a mobster . By extension, they also indicate his potency as a family earner and provider, which remain the shallow metrics by which society quantifies the "worth" of a man and derivatively the worth of the woman who is able to snag him as a husband. Carmela possesses some self-knowledge about this, evident when she confessed that she didn't know if she "loved" Tony "in spite of or because of" the whoop-ass he could put on other people and the power and earning prowess it reflected.

But lurking in Melfi's question, to me, is her intuition that no matter the complexities and layers to an inquiry about the motivations of love, Carmela values and longs for a genuine emotional connection to her husband above anything else. The fact that her stunning outpouring comes at a time when Tony's been at his most physically frail, vulnerable, and unlikely to ever again be the man she married shows that her devotion originates in a place considerably nobler than her concern for her social status or the tokens of wealth Tony enables her to flaunt. I would love to have heard this explored more. Indeed, the whole scene made me long to see Carmela as Melfi's patient even more than Tony (for the time being, anyway!)


Re: Melfi's session with Carmela

<blockquote>Quote:<hr>Indeed, the whole scene made me long to see Carmela as Melfi's patient even more than Tony (for the time being, anyway!)<hr></blockquote>

FOMW, I agree, but for a different reason than what you found most interesting.

I am only 24, so maybe its easier for me to relate to Meadow than to Carm, Tony, or even Chris. What I found ABSOLUTELY RIVETING about the Carmela session was the discussion of AJ and Meadow.

Carm talks about how she made her choices, either "knowing" about what Tony is, or "because" of what he is. But she also is cognizant that Meadow and AJ did not have any choice in who they were born to.

I found myself sympathizing heavily with Carm in terms of AJ and Meadow. The sins of the father are often imputed to the kids. IF Tony is killed, or indicted and arrested, AJ and Meadow may face not only knowing that their dad had some shady dealings and was in the mafia, but that he has personally murdered people, ordered people killed, and been involved in every other crime that can be linked to him (either as a matter of sufficient evidence for trial or as matters of news after his possible death).

My feelings are split two ways. One, I feel that Carmela would suffer tremendous guilt if all of this came to light, and it fell on AJ and Meadow to carry the burden.

Second, I feel especially for Meadow, but for AJ as well if they become exposed to the full depth of Tony's crimes. I don't know how one could even begin to reconcile the Tony they know with the Tony we do, especially in regards to Jackie Jr. I personally believe that Meadow was rebelling against her father, but has managed to turn a blind eye to her insincere allegations that Jackie Jr.'s death was caused by the mafia. I think even if she was sincere about it, her blame would not extend to her own father.

At any rate, this therapy session really made me think hard about AJ and Meadow and where they stand in, to use Melfi's word, "complicity" to Tony's crimes. It also set me thinking about Tony and Carmela's roles in making their kids a party to this lifestyle, especially since I think no one could assert that Tony does not love his immediate family to the very depths of his soul.

THAT element of the Carmela therapy session was what really got me thinking, and had me on the edge of my seat.

EDIT: I know this is tangential to this thread, but it seems like the best place to put it. Given my comments above on AJ, in a second viewing I also feel that the lines of knowledge about how involved everyone in the immediate family are VERY blurred. When Carm asks AJ if he brought a sweater from home, he gets really pissed off. He says "I can be a messenger boy but I can deal with the larger issues? Like you didn't put them up to it." I believe he was referring to Bobby and Chris talking to him about trying to buy a gun.

I think its pretty obvious that Carm doesn't know about AJ trying to buy a gun, and that if she had known about it she would have flipped out. It goes to show the lines of demarcation between the mafia family and Tony's actual family, but I think this sort of ignorance spread all around has tremendous ramifications for everyone involved. How much greater would the guilt we saw Carm exhibit with Melfi be if she knew that Tony's mafia life was now leading her son to try to buy a gun and contemplate committing murder???

</p>Edited by: <A HREF= ... dCoffee</A> at: 3/27/06 1:52 pm

Re: Melfi's session with Carmela

I thought this was one of the most interesting scenes in the episode. It said a lot of Carm and her relationship with Tony. It also reflected an issue that has come up before, that of her lack of purpose in life or the ability to hide Tony's real life and as Meadow and AJ became adults. As to AJ, she deeply fears he will follow in to the mob life, especially since he flunked out of college and that he may meet a bad end. This was worsened by the lack of her ability to control AJ blabbing to the media, putting the blood family's name as being connected to high levels of the Mafia. This badly shamed Carm and opened up to here complicity of being married to Tony. Carm was able to express very deep secrets to Melfi, something she cannot express to Tony or anyone else.


Re: Melfi's session with Carmela

right Bing, Carm is somewhat late though, she could have put up a kill bill(not necessarily all the killing but the mother there ran away because she wanted her kid to have a free choice) thing or put AJ to overseas instead of the military school the father put him into.
since she was so inactive for ages she might just forget that side of hers, like in the porsche cayenne episode.


Re: Melfi's session with Carmela

It is interesting to me that Carm comes to the session with the desire (it sounded like) to discuss her children and that complicity that Melfi mentioned. However, as the session went forward, I saw and heard some things that made me rethink what her true motive/desire was.

Just after the "complicty" comment, Melfi reaches into her bag and sets aside the morality and legality and simply suggests that "clarity can't be a bad thing." Who's clarity? Carmela's. Carm then makes her next statement about her surprise (or what have you) that she just told Tony she loved him for the first time in a long while, after already mentioning that she was not sure if she loved him in spite of his power or because of it.

It is interesting that the session stops (or we stop seeing it) as Melfi suggests that Tony had said things were going well.

Would some of this be termed as Carmela projecting her own fears onto her children? Truly, her worry of their complicity is a very real one. I do not doubt she feels this. But I wonder if, as usual, she is unable to come to terms with the real reason she feels as she does - she cannot spiritually condone Tony's lifestyle, and her seeming disconnect is not being able to leave that very same comfort.

As Fly mentions, I believe her love for Tony is very much there. But depending on his reaction to what he has just gone through, how much longer can Carm look the other way, knowing that she herself is just as much to blame? She has a very hard time admitting it. Take the scene with Roe from last week (and a great one, too.) Roe tells her point blank what AJ is. Carm snaps back at first and then goes into yet another "well, he shouldn't see that" answer. I do not think it mere coincidence that we hear a very loud horn that follows - as if to say - "Carm, wake up!"

The more learned psychological minds could look into this deeper, I am sure. But after a thrid viewing, I think Carm is still very much within her own struggle of morality. Clarity may not be such a bad thing (and is the first step towards recovery, they say.) But how much longer can Carm set aside those very real issues of morality and legality?


Re: Melfi's session with Carmela

This was an incredible scene and provided much to pore over.

There was an interesting connection between the coma sequences and Melfi session, or maybe I am making too much of it, but ...

Carmela's comment about how it was easier to maintain a "facade" when the children were younger (and less "complicit") juxtaposes with the fact that in the coma sequences, the voices of the children (on the answerting machine and Meadow's in the woods) were clearly younger than they are now.

I wonder if this, along with Tony's protestation that he can't take responsibility for a life (or briefcase, which carries a life as he told the doorman) thrust upon him, foreshadows the life being thrust upon AJ and Meadow now that they are older.


Re: Melfi's session with Carmela

YoLa, I think you're onto something with the Coma children being younger....and less complicit.

I also keep thinking of the scene where the daughter tells Coma Tony that she made the volleyball team. It's like they're going back before the child molesting volleyball coach from season one....when things were innocent and pure...his daughter wasn't exposed to this evil....or other evils...

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