Re: On the briefcase switch, Christ

Interesting points DarngoodCoffee. It is certainly possible that the monks are misguided and that your interpretation that they "keep telling him (Tony) what they think he needs to do, albeit for themselves, not for Tony's benefit" might be true. This would make sense to me if we are to follow this dream, NDE, metaphysical experience etc. literally. One could conclude that, since Tony is not Finnerty, the monks are misguided and Tony could not possibly take responsibility for something he could not do.

BUT, what if we are NOT suppossed to take this experience literally? What if these representations that are seemingly happening in Tony's mind (which was summarized nicely by jayduck) are symbolic representations of what Tony thinks and feels about a metaphysical experience his brain us struggling to comprehend. In this case, Finnerty, the solar heating system, the monks etc. all represents things they are not. They are symbols from which we can interpret Tony's true feelings, attitudes, and beliefs about himself, his family, and, most importantly, what is happening to him. Lets take the example of when Paulie is talking to Tony in the hospital. The actual event is that Paulie is talking to Tony in the hospital and going on and on about stuff that is stressing Tony both emotionally and physically. However, it Tony's experience he does not see the actual event - he experiences it as a disrepectful hotel patron who is making too much noise is the room next to him. Therefore, in my opinion, Tony in this dream, NDE, metaphysical experience is seeing things in symbols not how they actually are.

So, to come back to my other post about what is the significance of the conflict between the monks and Finnerty, we may need to interpret this event symbolically as well. If so, what does it mean?



Re: On the briefcase switch, Christ

i think the monks stand for some kind of idealism which is almost unholdable in society.while the monks may ask for responsibility in a perfect dreamworld, this idealism and responsibility would cost tonys own life in the real world.
for example killing ralphie was a good thing in tonys eyes, ralphie was a swine, lets scratch this idealism out of our soul for now, alzheimer can take that place for now in the real life it would mean tony is not the perfect christian.

</p>Edited by: <A HREF= ... rurusch</A> at: 3/31/06 8:02 pm

The monks

Unfortunately I taped over Ep 1, but do still have the dream episodes and have enjoyed watching them over and over.

I'll admit I'm lousy at interpretations and conclusions, but I still enjoy trying at it and especially enjoy all the insights here that set me straight.

Rewatching the two episodes last night, one thing struck me that I thought I'd throw out (well, a few things but I'll keep them to myself now):

In the Melfi/Carmela session, Melfi observes that although it may be painful "clarity can't be a bad thing" or something to that effect. The monastery has the unusual name of the Crystal Monastery - could there be a connection? (i.e. clear as a crystal). The monks, and Melfi in her role as his therapist, both seem to aiming toward Tony/Finnerty taking responsibility.

In fact, as I type this I wonder if the three monks at the monastery are some sort of Trinity representing the three aspects of Melfi's personality. I think of this because I keep wondering, what is up with the monk who slapped Tony and can't disguise his sneering contempt? What doies he represent?

One more random observation re: the numbers. As someone else noted, the reunion is May 5 (5/5). When Finnerty falls down the stairs, he is at the 5th floor (the camera seems to take pains to show the floor levels as he descends). But I have no idea what this means. <img src= ALT=":rollin">


Re: On the briefcase switch, Christ

<blockquote>Quote:<hr>In fact, as I type this I wonder if the three monks at the monastery are some sort of Trinity representing the three aspects of Melfi's personality. <hr></blockquote>

Good thought....I had a similar thought, not previously posted, that they may have represented the 3 sides of his relationship with Carmella.....

One side of her disdains him for his arrogance and slaps him for being the uncaring philandering no good so and so he can be at times

The second laughs at him telling him that there is no fraud without a fantasy....letting him know that she is aware of all of the lies, deceits and frauds inherent in their relationship

The third seems to want to "embrace" him and come to an understanding with him, but complains that they need "heat"....meaning a warm relationship (passion) and that without him taking "responsibility" for the relationship, the lawsuit (perhaps a divorce) would proceed.

</p>Edited by: <A HREF= ... ac72261</A>
at: 4/1/06 11:21 am

Re: On the briefcase switch, Christ

<blockquote>Quote:<hr>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?<hr></blockquote>

DC let me try to summarize how I view the whole thing thus far (with the caveat that I'm free to amend this at any time in the future.:-))

Tony's Bally briefcase represents his life and sin up to the point of the shooting, a life and sin that, when distilled, really amounts to little more than just the "bad Tony" of the "Two Tonys" that we've been led to believe might exist within this man. Modifying something I previously posted, that's why it's important that Carm gave the Bally briefcase to him -- she is his accomplice, and her appetites and tacit approval have helped drive Tony's criminality and stifled conscience.

This bad Tony, Tony Soprano, was going to die on this occasion, one way or the other. Obviously we hear the doctors forecast that he will likely die over and over, and we also know that he checked out of his Radisson lodging (read "Tony Soprano life") and couldn't get the room back, "could not sign on the previous bill".

By the intervention of the different, Kevin Finnerty briefcase and ID, Tony was denied admission to the "space" convention that represented his true death and expulsion into infinite, dark, cold space . . . or "hell" if you prefer. Yet though everything about Finnerty looks very similar to himself (birth year, photo, briefcase, & wallet), he is unwilling at first to even consider that he and Kevin Finnerty are the same person, or, perhaps more accurately, that Kevin Finnerty is the "good Tony" which we've all glimpsed but not seen truly sustained throughout the series.

When he receives the Alzheimer's diagnosis, he realizes that if he resumes life, his future will be frought with difficulty and that he "won't recognize himself", i.e., he will become a different person than he has been. He questions hard that first night whether life is important enough to him to face this difficult future or whether it's just easier to die now, thus his inability to pick up the phone and the "I don't want to swim the ocean" song.

Enter the monks. While I agree that they could represent established religion or those that he's wronged, the more I think about it, the more I feel that the monks represent Tony's own conscience. They are the tiny part of him that is inhabited by God. Thus their disgust that he has "ignored their letters and phone calls" (the depression, panic attacks, and other flares of conscience he's repressed or treated superficially without delving into the root causes). They plead for him to "take responsibility" for what he's done.

And what has he done? Well, he has provided defective solar heat. If you buy my previous theory, this makes the respective "industries" of Tony Soprano and Kevin Finnerty about diametrically opposite phenomena: space vs. density, cold vs. warmth, darkness vs. light, anti-gravity vs. gravity, disunity vs. unity, enmity vs. love. So "good Tony", aka Kevin Finnerty, is being sued by his own conscience to take responsibility for the fact that he has perpetrated fraud in his own industry. His unity, warmth, and love have been woefully defective.

It's important to consider how Tony gradually "accepts" being Kevin Finnerty in Mayham. He first responds to a lawsuit in which he doesn't even think he's the party defendant. Already a sign of confusion. The monks try to enlighten him that he IS Finnerty, that he can no longer deny his true identity or the painful baggage of conscience and accountability that come with it. He's "worried about what he may have done" but is unable to fully accept it.

At the bar, he wonders for the first time if he might actually be Kevin Finnerty.

In a phone call home he later says, "I got involved in a lawsuit. It could cause problems later." His first, almost Freudian slip that he is indeed Finnerty and his recognition that when he returns home, this new identity will "cause problems".

When he follows the beacon to the family reunion, he is, as I've previously posted, following a beacon to the reckoning of his own dual identity. He is "going home" . . . to that home which befits either his bad self, Tony Soprano, or his good self, Kevin Finnerty. He is either going to the hell or death in that house or to the life of a man with an enlightened, noisy conscience.

Appropriate that the Two Tonys duality is underscored by Tony B's presence. He recognizes Tony S and tries to get him to come inside, to die as Tony Soprano. But Tony S doesn't recognize him, underscoring that the Alzheimer's -- the transformation of Tony S to Kevin Finnerty -- has already progressed to the point that he doesn't even recognize the man he once thought of as a brother. When trying to urge Tony to drop the briefcase, i.e., the life that he might resume as Kevin Finnerty, Tony B comments that the briefcase "looks heavy", again a reference to the suffering Kevin Finnerty has in store as a man of conscience. TonyS/Finerty says, "I don't want to" give up the briefcase. He lost his other identity and life and is now starting to literally embrace life as a different man.

His ultimate choice is reflected in the fact that as he clings to the briefcase, he awakes from the coma to a "family reunion" with Meadow and Carmela, not with Tony B, Livia, et al. The family reunion was not billed as the "Soprano Family Reunion" but as the "Finnerty Family Reunion", thus showing that Tony made his choice to live as Finnerty rather than die as Soprano.

As for the Bally briefcase, Jesus is now carrying the weight of that briefcase and will sustain the punishment for the contents. Tony/Finnerty was not offered salvation totally without strings, just as in actual Christian doctrine (broadly speaking), salvation must be preceeded by admitting sin and asking foregiveness in the name of Christ (i.e., accountability, conscience, contrition). But the benefit is that Tony can now reclaim the identity he denied for the first 46 years of his life and can expect a different experience and destiny when he finally dies as Kevin Finnerty.


Re: On the briefcase switch, Christ

Once again, great post Fly. I wonder if rather than Christ, we should instead consider the Holy Spirit (Ghost.) Same thing, more or less (aka the trinity) but it makes more sense to me. However, your whole distillation (LMAO since you just posted the Glenlivet site) begins to inform more of my interpretation.

Further, this segment caught my eye in conjunction with the words of some others here:
<blockquote>Quote:<hr>And what has he done? Well, he has provided defective solar heat. If you buy my previous theory, this makes the respective "industries" of Tony Soprano and Kevin Finnerty about diametrically opposite phenomena: space vs. density, cold vs. warmth, darkness vs. light, anti-gravity vs. gravity, disunity vs. unity, enmity vs. love. So "good Tony", aka Kevin Finnerty, is being sued by his own conscience to take responsibility for the fact that he has perpetrated fraud in his own industry. His unity, warmth, and love have been woefully defective.<hr></blockquote>
First, it begins to assist in recognizing Finnerty as the "good" side of Tony. I'll admit, there is still part of me that sees Finnerty as the "bad" side since it is Finnerty being served the papers. But this explanation helps explain why that might be.

And bringing in what DarnedgoodCoffee was discussing re: the monks, one reason why they are Buddhist monks may have something to do with Gloria, yes? Not directly, per se, but that he certainly has much guilt over her suicide and she was the one that brought that Buddhist idea into his head. Not an idea he followed, but at least it served as an introduction. So the monks representing that, and Tony B. representing a type of Charon character that has been mentioned both speak to those things that stand out for him as items that deserve a closer look if he plans to recognize where in his life he has been ineffective.

And now for some really far out there thinking - anyone think the episode titled 46 Long has anything to do with this, given Tony's age at this point? That episode was the first where we were introduced to Jackie's illness, I think. And it also played out with the power struggle between Junior and Tony, not to mention Tony and Livia. As usual, I may be looking for way more clues than need be, but Tony's current age when this happened and the title of that show which still makes me wonder what it had to do with the episode - as Arsenio used to say, makes you go, "Hmmm."<img src= ALT=";)"> There is no doubt Chase has had a gameplan for a while with what he wanted to accomplish. One wonders if he hasn't been setting up clues since day one.


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