Stage Five

The fifth stage in the grieving process is acceptance. Johnny Sac reaches it before he dies. He doesn’t fight the inevitable. He makes arrangements for Ginny, lights up in fine Sacramoni-style, and prepares to meet his maker. There are no regrets. Ginny is lost -- helpless, really -- in denial ... if only John would put down his cigarettes he might squeeze something more out of life.

Where is Christopher in his grief over Adriana’s death? Stage two: anger -- repressed anger turned into revenge fantasy. He'd love to take a cleaver to Tony’s skull for supposedly having an affair with his fiancée and for whacking her up once she’d rolled for the feds. Tony knows it too. After years in Melfi’s office, he finally understands the subconscious. Tony may be ready to accept the death by a thousand cuts that he experienced, growing up in his dysfunctional family? (Note: the phrase “dysfunctional family” appears for the second episode in a row.)

In a brilliant scene, Carmine waxes poetic about the “empty box,” the casket of grief that is a boss’s fate. He’s passed beyond the grief of his ambition. Let someone else deal with New York’s dysfunctional mob family. He’d rather bask in his swimming pool, share a drink with his wife, and produce grindhouse movies. And Phil? By episode’s end, he’s stewing in stage two. How long will if be before he seeks vengeance for his brother’s death? How long will it be until he takes a real weapon (not a cinematic cleaver) to Tony’s head? God! Even the Ellis Island corruption of the Leonardo/Leotardo name sets his blood boiling.

The writing is all over the wall. In fact, Christ crucified glowers over Tony and Christopher in the final scene, the christening, a ritual of rebirth and death to sin. The beatitude comes to mind: “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted”? The question is this: will Tony survive in order to fill up the empty box of self-pity that is his life? He certainly hangs on to every word in Carmine’s dream parable.

In a sense, Tony is mourning already. During “Sopranos Home Movies,” he sits and listens to the wind blow over the lake. The Native American aphorism -- "Sometimes I go about in pity for myself and all the while a great wind carries me across the sky" -- demands that he abandon his self-pity, demands that he die so that he can be born again? The adage was posted on a sticky over his near-death bed. In "Stage Five" the words take on new meaning; the catalyst is Johnny Sac’s death, the noble passing of a don.

Re: Stage Five

Another fine post Avellino. Thank you for your great insight. (I am still focused on the Four Truths from last week!!)
I didn’t want to show crime pays, I didn’t want to show crime doesn’t pay...David Chase on the ending

Re: Stage Five


Sometime I go rushing about this forum reading the most recent threads and becoming excited by the hot topics and all the while a beautiful insightful post lies buried at the bottom of the list.

I'm going to settle in and wait for the next few episodes in anticipation of the struggle between Tony's sid. and Phil's side.

In the meantime, I'll try to find re-watch episode 59 "In Camelot" where Tony chases down Phil to try and get the money he's owed. It always seemed to me that DC made it clear that when it comes to a fight between Phil and Tony, Phil is not even in the same league.

Thanks for a great post and some wonderful insight. Please try to post more often. This post was a real gem.
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