"Interesting that Chase may be exprimenting with Tony ACTUALLY being in purgatory as opposed to a purgatory content dream/nightmare "

YEAH, absolutely. I'm fascinated to see him play with that (although, I highly suspect he'll never answer either way).

Much can and should be said about the concept of heaven / hell and good / evil in the Sopranos... for me, that's the most interesting part of this (and any) series. It's the most striking and uniquely human conflict concept humanity has developed, and thus gives the basis of the best drama.

(Incidentally, that's why shows like Sopranos, Oz, the Shield, etc. are so interesting to me, while shows like Big Love I'm already a little tired of - there's no questioning that Roman is evil in that show, he just is, because he's a cult leader. Too easy!)

We sometimes see the issue explored in movies... and certainly in every day life, where events and people are frequently broken down for us by media or government... so-and-so is evil, so-and-so is good.

But few TV shows have dealt with heaven and hell in a serious way, which is odd when you think that over 80% of Americans say they believe in an afterlife. There's ones that over-literalize death and the afterlife (Touched by an Angel, Dead Like Me), and there's ones that are firmly on a naturalistic side - death is the end of ends. Few have dealt with the actual psychospiritual concept of heaven and hell, and for that matter, purgatory...

Tony is in purgatory. Whether he's dreaming it or really psychophysically `there'... he's in Purgatory. For Tony Soprano, purgatory as a place now exists.

I'm slowly changing my line of thinking about this episode... it may well be impossible for Tony to come out of this experience unchanged.


Re: purgatory

I just read the article.....it was a good read.....that guy also seems to be on point with his articles......i read nj.com all the time and have read other soprano related articles by that reporter....

The Purgatory thing makes more sense now........i watched the episode again earlier today.....and i am going to watch it again later on because i read that article....


dream sequence

I don't think this is a 'dream' sequence at all, but rather a glimpse at Tony's subconscience. He is in limbo between two undefined worlds. Sitting on the bed, staring at the beacon of 'home' or 'heaven' (which pulses like his vital signs) vs. trying to take the broken elevator 'down' or to Hell (the teddy bear holding the sign is brilliant).

Remember, the first words out of his mouth in this episode were when he called his family and said 'I'm Here.' Where's "here"? He didn't say, and we didn't find out until after we'd seen signs like the wild fires and the sign asking if sin and heaven were 'real'.

He's searching for a way to either place. Asking everyone with they know Kevin Finerty - which sounds a lot like eternity.

It appears the device to show Tony 'stuck' is simply the generic, road-weary salesman. He's not "the boss" here, in fact, even the bartender barely remembers him. He lost his life in the briefcase and he needs it to get back - but something tells me Kevin Finerty will not show up give it up easily.

The seven souls: the first to leave the body.. this is it. The first to go is the name. All the references to Tony by name or otherwise (AJ won't say Dad, only "Tony Soprano") perhaps indicate the first to leave.

The rest is just so facsinating: While Tony deals with his current state of repose, the rest of his family begin dealing with like without him.


Re: dream sequence

At about 9:10 last night i was expecting him to come out of the coma by the end of the episode......because i thought it was a dream and he usually comes out by the end of episode when its a dream......obiviously things going on in the episode with Tony i knew had deeper meaning and it would take sometime and probably a few more repeated viewings of this weeks episode than normal in order for me to understand....

The purgatory thing makes alot of sense right now.....


Twin Peaks

I hate to say it, but this discussion of purgatory is really making me think of the Lodges in Twin Peaks. I'm not trying to say there is any similarity, but the last time I saw dream sequences so well done and with so much applicable symbolism was in Lynch's twin peaks.

This Tony/Kevin split is really seeming to me to be very similar to the Mike/Bob spirits in Twin Peaks. This isn't really a very insightful post, just thought I'd share the similarities with the group.


Re: dream sequence

Just to tie in with the Burroughs monolougue:

"The land of the dead" = "the Western Lands" according to Burroughs/egyptians

And here Tony is half dead and has a dream that he is on the west coast.

I would also like to restate that "western lands" could mean physically running west, into the witness protection program. There was tons of hints in this dream that Tony is contemplating that on some level.

But I'll have to admit, all those religious interpretations you have come up with makes a lot of sense. Didn't see that myself at all...



One of the more 'TECHNICAL' reasons why, as much as i love the idea of Tony's Purgatory, that i have trouble fully embracing it, is that, in Catholicism, to experience Purgatory, or heaven/hell for that matter, as simple as it sounds, you have to have died.

You could argue that in Christopher's 'Purgatory experience' he was 'clinically dead' for 1 minute so with that point in mind it could be appreciated.

As far as we know, Tony didnt clinically die for any period of time during his time in the hospital, infact in thinking about it, did Carmela apparently say something to one of the doctors like "Does he know he is dieing?"

I suppose that lapsing very close to a stage of death, within Catholism/believe of after-life, could result in going to/being on the fringe of any of these 3 places.

This is in part backed up in light of the specific scenes of the beacon (a manifestation of the doctors eye torch) and the lights of Tonys medical support monitors being represented which would, suggest him being "SO" close to death that in a spiritual sense he has already entered Purgatory yet the lapsing demonstrated by the beacon etc suggest he is still responsive to a corporal life and so may yet pull through

(which indeed the season trailer further suggests by featuring Tony in future scenes/episodes)

</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p098.ezboard.com/bthechaselounge ... Soprano</A> at: 3/20/06 4:35 pm

Re: dream sequence

Although I'm sure the light Tony sees in the distance represents Heaven, my first thought was of The Great Gatsby, where Gatsby gazes at the far-off light where his beloved Daisy lives. I guess it symbolizes many things, including what he wants but cannot have. If that fits in here or not, I don't know.

I also noticed at the convention sign-in desk on the wall is "QED," which stands for a Latin phrase meaning "the result required for the proof to be complete has been obtained." I can't quite work that in.

The phrase that Tony sees on a big TV screen -- "Are sin, disease and death real?" -- comes from Christian Science, which believes that the material life and all it contains is not real. Spirit and things spiritual are the only reality. What with that and the Buddists, I expected to see more religious references in the dream.


Re: dream sequence

It's interesting that Tony is in California, unable to get back to his life because of someone named Finnerty, who has taken something important of Tony's.

Meanwhile in the "real" world, Finn is in California, and is about to marry Tony's daughter.

I wonder if this is possible foreshadowing, maybe of Finn one day squealing to the feds and taking away Tony's "real" life.

If it is foreshadowing, it wouldn't take away from all the other symbolism and meaning going on here, just add another level to it.

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