Beyond the possible endings that have garnered significant discussion through the years (e.g., Tony "singing" at the end by flipping, betraying his idea of being a man in the process, thus fulfilling the prophecy of his last name), some odds and ends from Blue Comet
stick out in my mind and further my prediction that Carmela's death will be the ultimate or penultimate climax of the series. (I've been predicting her death since mid season 5, so this my last chance for vindication.
Per billymac's transcription:
When Tony is in Melfi's waiting room, he is reading the recipe for a steak marinade in "Departures" magazine. The headline for the recipe's article is "Basque Marinade with Piment d'Esplette". The sub-headline is "This fiery Basque pepper puts any grilled steak into orbit."
A google shows the espelette pepper is a chile pepper that gained prominence in, and its name from, the Espelette (Basque) region of France. Recall that Carmela's Paris trip marked a genuine if temporary spiritual awakening for Carmela analogous to Tony's coma experience. She even referenced Tony's "Who am I? Where am I going," tearfully telling Roe that that's how she was feeling. She seemed touched to the core by the timeless cathedrals, sculpture, and general beauty of the city. When she was getting ready to leave, she saw the same kind of beacon that Tony saw in his coma, but instead of looking at it with some trepidation or hesitation, she looked at it warmly, almost longingly. The beacon was death.
When Tony followed the beacon to his own death, he stopped literally at the door and couldn't go inside. Carmela's reaction to the beacon indicates she will not turn away. She will "go inside." And France will be the metaphorical landscape for her death.
Back to Blue Comet
, when Carm and Tony are in the kitchen, the edit cuts back to Rosalie looking at a picture of herself and Carmela with their faces poking through cardboard cutouts of two French historical figures, a man/woman couple. I thought of Napoleon/Josephine (although the man cutout's clothes didn't look quite right) and Marie Antoinette/Louis XVI. The few comments I've read from others on this indicate people thought it was Marie Antoinette and hubby.
Obviously there's the "French connection" again with that photo, but there's also the fact that Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI were the presiding royalty of France before and during the French revolution. In other words, the boss and the boss' wife. According to some Internet references, Marie Antoinette tried to convince Louis XVI on a couple of occasions to flee the trouble closing in on them, but he refused and she refused to leave him. Both were beheaded.
Which reminds me of Phil's remark that "we decapitate and do business with whatever's left." It's almost certainly a simple coincidence, but the visual association of Carmela with a woman famous for dying by guillotine got me wondering if she may literally have her head chopped off some way.
As for who will kill her, if in fact her death is not due to accident or illness, obviously Phil's gang is the prime candidate. But, given the descent Tony has followed this half season, I have to admit that I'm giving a tiny bit of consideration to the possibility that he may kill her and then himself. (I feel certain he would not kill her without also committing suicide.) The primary reason for considering this otherwise unthinkable ending is that it provides the other side of the theoretical coin that Tony committed the symbolic murder of his father when he killed Christopher. For him to complete his parental vendetta, he must kill a Livia surrogate, and, with Melfi out of the picture, the only logical choice left is Carmela. She's always been as much a mother to him as a wife. And if she does something that rings a Livia bell in Tony's head, she could wind up headless herself.
I give this a very low probability of happening, though, because I have a hard time imagining a credible psychological provocation of the proportions necessary to move Tony to act on that kind of impulse. And I say that in spite of what he did to Christopher.
I give much stronger consideration to the possibility that AJ, instructed by Tony to help his mother (i.e., be a “man” for her) in this time of crisis, and fueled by a burgeoning, morbid obsession with terrorism, weapons, and violence, tries to assume the role of protector and winds up accidentally killing Carmela in a fumbling attempt to protect the home from what he perceives as an attack by Phil's crew.
Whatever happens, I think it's important to consider all the references to the sun, orbits, space, and celestial bodies in general that have occurred in season 6.
Kevin Finnerty was a solar heating salesman. The Tony of the coma dream was a seller of precision optics, technology useful in building telescopes and other instruments for space investigation. The conference had to do with space exploration, as there was an Air Force Colonel (Collona) speaking at the convention and a sign at the event reading "Western Div. Mil Spec '06" with a space satellite icon. Coma Carm tells him on the phone that he should come home immediately and "not go on to Houston", home of the U.S. space program. The rising, flaring sun was what caused Tony to yell "I get it" at the end of K & H. The last episode was titled "The Blue Comet", which billymac brilliantly proposed
as a metaphor for a depressed Tony who is about to "change orbits" as comets often do when approaching the sun or another planet. The poem from which the episode "Second Coming" was derived speaks of the orbital motion of a falcon, an orbit that eventually fails and flings the bird free when the "gravity" of its trainer is overcome by the delicate force counterbalancing that gravity. There was the aforementioned espelette pepper that would "send any grilled steak into orbit." And Tony himself, right before his Eureka moments in the casino and in the desert, observes that a roulette table works on the same principal as the solar system, the ball orbiting the center like a planet around the sun, held in balance by cooperative centripetal and tangential forces until friction finally causes the ball to collapse towards the center.
This last point seems especially important in light of the following excerpt from the David Chase interview dad1153 linked in the countdown thread:
Chase, who growls to himself when he feels the audience missed the point of an episode or a particular story line, cleared up a few minor points from this season.
In an unforgettable episode that began with Tony "assisting the death" of his own nephew, Christopher (the great Michael Imperioli), Tony later went to Las Vegas and did peyote with a young woman who'd known Christopher intimately (virtually all the married male characters had mistresses and got sex from additional women).
The episode ended with Tony in the desert, still high, beholding the morning sunrise and leaping to his feet to shout: "I get it!" Some viewers, including bloggers, insisted that Tony said, "I did it." Chase says they are wrong.
"It was very upsetting when I realized people thought it was 'I did it,' " he said. "To me it was so clear, you know; he had a transcendent moment. Early on, when he was at the roulette table and saw the ball going around, he said, 'Oh, it's the same principle as the solar system.' "
Exactly what all this means I don't know, but I suspect it means Carmela will die, probably as collateral damage from Tony's way of life and very possibly by the accidental actions of his own son. Tony's "orbit" around his "son" (whose "illness" was a major factor in Tony recovering from the coma) will undergo a major shift due to the gravity of a large, proximate planet (Carmela's death), just like a comet's orbital path around the sun shifts (possibly even ejecting it from the solar system) when influenced by proximity to Jupiter. In other words, Tony will either kill himself after Carm's death or leave the mob in an effort to salvage what's left of AJ's sanity and life.