Re: On the briefcase switch, Christ


VERY insightful post. I tend to agree with you about the wallet being switched, and some form of divine intervention resulting in the switch.

However, I lose you a little bit on the Christ imagery you are perceiving. I am hesitant to approach this from a Christ-centric perspective, and so there is one solid sticking point in my consideration of your argument. Could you clarify why, if a Christ-like character had "shouldered his burdens" (an image that I really like, by the way), it was crucial that Tony not "give up his business" in the form of the suitcase that he carries to the family reunion.

By your argument, that is not his suitcase, nor is it really his life inside it, because Christ has lifted those burdens from him (temporarily for sure, but still). I have read in your posts elsewhere, and I agree, that if Tony had surrendered that briefcase to the doorman (paid his toll to Charon possibly?), that he would have entered the house and died. So why is it important that he not surrender KEVIN FINNERTY'S briefcase?

Do you see that as him having to let go of the more, I hesitate to use the word "positive", maybe "humble" might work better, traits that Kevin displays? (meekness, humility, etc.)?

I'm liking a lot of your arguments, but I am not sure how I see your argument carrying over to the last scene in Coma-Tony's arc. I'd love to hear your thoughts though, maybe you can make me a convert.


Re: On the briefcase switch, Christ

<blockquote>Quote:<hr>If I'm trying anyone's patience by prolonging this discussion, I apologize. Just want to explain my interpretations as fully as possible.<hr></blockquote>
don't worry, until the season is over, we all possibly don't have the slightest's for example possible that the doctor tried to kill/poison him and that finnerty was the lamb on the way to the slaughterhouse but TS was just too strong.

right now i am thinking that tony is just the old tony and finnerty is the weak part of him after the surgery which has stillt o realize how much trouble tony has through chris, paulie and all.

</p>Edited by: <A HREF= ... rurusch</A> at: 3/31/06 12:58 pm

Re: On the briefcase switch, Christ

I think there are many clues that tell us this, in fact, does take place in Tony's mind.

Again, that doesn't rule out any religious intervention, but the world that Tony is in is still inside his head throughout these episodes.

The evidence for that is there and, in my mind, pretty clear.

First off, the phone calls home. His wife and kids are there. They couldn't really exist in a purgatory state, as they are all fully awake and coherent during the time in which Tony is "dreaming".

If Tony was entirely in a different metaphysical realm, he simply wouldn't be able to contact his wife and kids. They wouldn't be there with him. He is involved with conjuring up people, in his head, there.

Second, we are actually SHOWN that Tony can create events, in that place, from his thoughts that are not native to that world.

When Paulie is yapping at Tony, he has created the racket of a person in the room next door. And if you watch that scene closely, the person next door actually is Paulie, speaking with Paulie's voice and saying the exact things that Paulie is saying in the room.

If Tony was in a place, outside of his mind, he wouldn't be able to conjure up events like that. OR, if he could, then either way you can't trust anything that happens there as literal, because he is capable of changing that world with his thoughts.

The Paulie situation is very consistant with dreams, as anyone who has ever had their Alarm Clock in radio mode can testify. I have to keep my radio on the actual alarm, rather than radio wake up, or else I will never get up. My dreams will just be invaded by the music from the radio.

Once you become aware of the radio, it does tend to bring you closer to waking up though. Which is also consistant with what Paulie did to Tony.

Another case of Tony conjuring up things that wouldn't be native to that world is the helicopters from episode 2. We are shown that that was happening because of the doctors shining their lights into his eyes.

Now, in my mind, this is all evidence that this all still takes place in Tony's head and is metaphorical for Purgatory, not literal.

But, I wouldn't rule out a literal one either. However, the only rational conclusion I can come to about it, EVEN IF Tony is in a different metaphysical realm, is that his mind isn't able to see all of that realm and is able to conjure up these things to help him deal with it. So, with that being the case, you still couldn't trust anything that happens there as being literal truth.


Re: On the briefcase switch, Christ

Jayduck said:
<blockquote>Quote:<hr>First off, the phone calls home. His wife and kids are there. They couldn't really exist in a purgatory state, as they are all fully awake and coherent during the time in which Tony is "dreaming".<hr></blockquote>

Jayduck, my argument has never been that this is a purgatory state. I don't think that Tony is existing in some netherworld where the presence of people who are alive is precluded.

Rather, I see this as a glimpse for us (and possibly for Tony, depending on how much he remembers) of what his life could have been, had he not been scarred by Livia and entered the mob life. As has been mentioned, several times references have come up that Tony thinks he might have ended up as a "patio furniture salesman", as he indeed did begin his career in his coma life.

I'm not endorsing the alternate reality angle either, as I do think that most of this is occurring in Tony's head. However, subconsciously, he may be viewing himself without the traits and elements in his life that present his ultimate moral dilemma. Absent the mob, Tony could have been a gentle-mannered salesman, turning his charisma into sales, instead of using it to broker illegal deals that lead to violence and murder.

Your arguments make good sense if he is in purgatory, but I have always argued that in the coma we see Tony as he could have been, and in a path of life that would lead to a more positive karmic experience. (I don't mean to set off a bomb with that religious term, but I think you can catch my drift.) As I have articulated before, it is my personal belief that the dark spots of brain activity that the coma doctor diagnoses as Alzheimer's is in fact the aggressive/depressed/sociopathic parts of real Tony's brain that exist in real life, but are dormant in his coma.

Kevin Finnerty, to meld FOMW's thesis to my own a bit, could be Tony's subconscious desire that he could somehow relieve himself of the burdens that take him away from being more like Coma Tony (most likely a better father, without the mental anguish of his criminal choices, and without the burden of constant fear of death or separation from his family via incarceration). He wishes someone would shoulder his burden (briefcase) in real life the way that Kevin Finnerty does within the coma.

Without alleging the presence of Christ in the coma, it seems possible to me that in real life Tony will yearn for the release that he saw in the coma, and might see Jesus as the way to get there. I don't know that I can sign on to that yet, but its a thought.

I suppose to answer my own question that I posed to FOMW a couple of posts up without the benefit of her thoughts, I think that could help explain his reluctance to let go of Finnerty's life (briefcase). He LIKES Finnerty, and on some level he really desires to become Finnerty. Whether he will or not, or whether he is even able, is something for real-life Tony to discover.

In other words, the coma is not purgatory, it is in his head. But it is also possibly a view of the EXTREME OPPOSITE persona of real-life Tony vis a vis Kevin Finnerty. Maybe there is a happy medium, but I don't see the word "happy" in Tony's future, as much as I could wish for it.

I apologize if I have beat a dead horse, but I have seen this discussion veer away from my perception, and I thought I would share for those of you who are interested in an alternate view to the two that seem to have become mainstream in our little pond here.

I look forward to all of your thoughts.

EDIT: Anyone else notice when Tony asks the bartender "is it possible -- I am Kevin Finnerty?", then there's a pregnant pause, and almost like he's addressing the viewer, he says "alright, I'll stop". Its not like he ever got started, it just seemed a pretty significant nod.

</p>Edited by: <A HREF= ... dCoffee</A> at: 3/31/06 1:47 pm

Re: On the briefcase switch, Christ

May I just say to everyone - to quote Jeannie Cussamano, I have simply been "knocked the f#ck out" by the amazing level of contribution and fascinating insight on this dream thread in particular, and on the 'Mayham' episode in general.

I was only able to view the episode on Wednesday and already by that time, the discussion here was so substantial and frankly riveting that it felt futile for me to post my thoughts as pretty much all of my thoughts, theories and questions had been respectively agreed/developed on and answered (and then some!). Whilst all the posters here have shown incredible insight, please let me particularly applaud

Fly On Melfi's Wall
Detective Hunt
Darn Good Coffee
Catherine Trammell
Mr Gebowitz
Observing Ego
Ex Gloucester
Eda Maria

for your truly fascinating, well-reasoned and alluding posts.

Somthing that I had only just noticed (only took 300 viewings!)....on the whole issue of 'TonyBlundetto/TheMan' not allowing Tony/Finnerty to take his 'briefcase/soul/life' into the Inn on the Oaks......I realised that in the scene where ComaTon arrives at the monastery and begins to explain he recently discovered he has Alzheimers, while one of the younger Monks mockingly declares "No fraud without fairytale", the older of the 3 monks seemed at that point of Tony's Alzeihmers revelation, to be sincerely concerned for ComaTon, giving a "Ohhh" and concerned look upon which he welcomed him into the Monastery to continue their discussion.
He also later apologised to ComaTon for his Monk brothers subsequent laughing at him and seemed to be more of a considerate confidant than the others?

Did anyone pick up on/read anything into this?

Furthmore, on being told to "Come In" (to the Monastery), we are shown a, IMO, EXPLICIT camera-angle panning down on ComaTon picking up the briefcase and explicitly entering the monastry, now upon specific invitation, WITH the briefcase.

I am wondering if this is meant to display some kind of polar opposite with how ComaTon WASN'T allowed to enter the Inn with the briefcase.

When thinking along the whole Briefcase=life/soul argument, the Buddhist invitation (to take responsibilty and willingly change) seems to be justified.

ComaTon, once inside the Monastery, also said something that stood out for me:

"I came here because I though you could help me <span style="text-decoration:underline">REACH</span> FINNERTY"

The fact that he specifically used the word "REACH" rather than say 'contact', and also used "FINNERTY" rather than the complete 'KEV(IN FINNERTY)', to me, seemed to at that point declare Tony's desire to <span style="text-decoration:underline">"REACH INFINITY",</span> or indeed a life outside 'The' life.

Im also loving how the 'Burroughs/Meadow as the Guardian Angel' point was so dramatically and tensely paid off with the call from the trees - on awaking from the coma, the fact that Meadow was much more prominent in Tonys slowly emerging vision than Carmela, who look both a back-seat both in terms of her positioning relative to Meadow, and in terms of Meadow doing all the talking at that point....then Tony's gaze is almost transfixed on Meadow in the next shot - this seemed to beautifully confirm the whole 'Guardian Angel' concept for me.

This season is just getting better and better!

</p>Edited by: <A HREF= ... Soprano</A> at: 3/31/06 4:07 pm

Re: On the briefcase switch, Christ

GiuseppeSoprano said:

<blockquote>Quote:<hr>I am wondering if this is meant to display some kind of polar opposite with how ComaTon WASN'T allowed to enter the Inn with the briefcase.

When thinking along the whole Briefcase=life/soul argument, the Buddhist invitation (to take responsibilty and willingly change) seems to be justified.

ComaTon, once inside the Monastery, also said something that stood out for me:

"I came here because I though you could help me REACH FINNERTY"<hr></blockquote>


Very good thoughts, I hadn't caught that, but I think you are definitely onto something.

First, of note, is that the monastery, where was WAS able to bring his briefcase, was of no use to him. He asked if they could help him "reach (in)Finnerty" (I like that a LOT), but they were UNABLE to help him. Instead, they talked a lot about taking responsibility, but ultimately they had no answers. In fact, it didn't seem like advice to Tony that they were giving, but rather a placing of the blame upon him. The monks, themselves, took no responsibility for not having heat in the winter, in SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. Their admonitions to Tony, rang very hollow in my ears.

However, at the inn, Tony COULD have reached (in)Finnerty, although almost all of us agree it is not the type of infinity he might hope for. At the very least, I think its fair to say that surrendering his briefcase and entering the inn would have led him to die.

Having said all that, I'm not sure where that gets me. I'm pretty sure its taking me somewhere, maybe someone else can generate some greater insight into the next step.


Re: On the briefcase switch, Christ

Hi all,

All of this interesting discussion has got me rewatching Eps 2 and 3. The more I watch the more I believe the monks are very important "clue droppers" about what Chase has in store for Tony. One thing that has got me stumped is the monks reaction to seeing Finnerty. They are obviously upset with him for selling them a poorly functioning heating system. On the surface that makes sense. However, in light of our continued discussion on the role of Finnerty in this dream sequence, NDE, metaphysical experience etc. we have generally come to the conclusion that Finnerty represents something good or potential for good - a wish to be like everyone else, a normal working Joe, a more positive aspect of his soul, what life could have been had he not been corrupted/influenced by his father's business, etc. Why then would Chase find it important to insert into the experience that Finnerty in some way cheated or took advantage of the monks? Clearly, if he wanted the monks to be in Tony's coma experience to provide knowledge and wisdom, he could have done this without the conflict brought about by the crappy heating system.

Is it possible, that, if Finnerty represents Tony's soul or his potential to transform into a better man, Chase is saying (and Tony is perceving) that his soul is corrupted (Finnerty is corrupted). That he metaphorically "sold his soul." Moreover, to reclaim/occupy/make peace with his soul that he must take repsonsibility for his sins and repent. Otherwise, the "lawsuit continues" meaning this never happens and Tony is doomed to live out his life in a purgatory-like place or even worse - Hell. (Sorry for the Christian bent). I'm curious of what some of your thoughts are on this?




Re: On the briefcase switch, Christ


Good thoughts, especially about the soul being corrupted, but here's my question about your theory --

Coma Tony is UNABLE to take responsibility for what the monks want him to, because he has no knowledge of the deal they are complaining about, no knowledge of the solar heating industry, and no way to actually resolve the problem for the monks, because he can't get them a new heating system, since he isn't Finnerty and doesn't have access to the materials.

I tend to like FOMW's initial thoughts on this, that the monks are misguided and looking for someone to blame. FOMW said in an earlier post:

<blockquote>Quote:<hr>The monks were looking frustradedly for him too. (Religious leaders are as lost as the rest of us, seeking the same answers.) The monks also slapped him. (Tony has always felt alienated by religion and by the religious establishment.)

-- Tony tells his wife that if he could somehow find a Bhudist temple and "get a word in edgewise", "they might lead him to Finnerty." But at this point that's just too much trouble because all he wants to do is go home. (He would like to find and believe in God but he doubts his ability to find him on his own and the credibility of religious "authority" to help him.)<hr></blockquote>

In other words, the monks keep telling him what they think he needs to do, albeit for themselves, not for Tony's benefit, but their instructions are meaningless because Tony doesn't have the ability to take responsibility for what they think he should.

I had forgotten about FOMW's take on the organized religion front, but I think this is a good lens to view the monks through. Maybe their advice is good, but their more interested in helping themselves than helping Tony.

I do think that Tony needs to take responsibility for his actions and seek to change his life to find the sort of moral redemption that he desperately needs. But I don't think he's going to find organized religion to be his path to salvation.


Re: On the briefcase switch, Christ

I'm sorry to be flooding this thread, but I've been very engaged by what has been said here, and now I'm thinking about the monks.

I don't know how to take these issues, but I will lay them out for anyone in the event they are inspired by the concepts.

In the monks' lawsuit, they have several elements to prove (bear with me, its the price of having a law student among you). Of course, this would differ based on the cause of action selected by the monks, but if they have a good lawyer it would most likely be based on breach of express or implied warranty. This would allow for recovery based on not only monetary losses in the cost of the heating equipment but also for (cue FOMW) pain and suffering.

A breach of warranty claim is essentially a strict liability claim, meaning that plaintiffs need only show that the defendant's products or actions did not live up to the expected result in order to recover. In this case, a heating system would almost certainly carry at least an implied warranty that it would provide heat.

However, one of the most important elements to prove is privity of contract. This means that the plaintiffs must prove that there is a direct relationship in the contract between the injured party and the party sought to be held liable for the injuries sustained.

In this case, there is no privity of contract with Tony, so this lawsuit, as it applies to Tony, is completely ineffective. I suppose one could argue that Tony is in fact Kevin Finnerty, but I'm not sold on that point. In fact, when he calls home and gets his answering machine, the children clearly say "You've reached the SOPRANOS".

My suggestion here, is that the monks' lawsuit does not have any effect on Tony. The monks have no claim to him, or against him, but are futilely trying to blaim someone or anyone that they can find. We have seen a great number of times when characters in the Sopranos look to blame anyone or anything for their troubles or misfortunes (witness the Colombus Day episode).

My take on this is that Tony needs to learn from the monks that it is important to take responsibility for HIS OWN ACTIONS, both by hearing their words and seeing their example of blaming their trouble on someone without really caring if that person is in fact the source of their problems. Once again, I will point out the absurdity of the monks claiming to have been hurt or injured by the winter in SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. Not exactly known for its brutal wintry seasons.

As it stands in the coma, Tony has nothing to fear from their lawsuit.

</p>Edited by: <A HREF= ... dCoffee</A> at: 3/31/06 5:51 pm

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