Old poster from the sopranoland board, starting anew...

1.) Kevin Finnerty / infinity. A little heavy-handed, no? Especially with the comment from the bar guy.

2.) The voice on the phone was (to me) definitely, undeniably Charmaine.

3.) Purgatory, yes. Absolutely. My immediate thought when watching the episode.

4.) Dr. Ba - great catch with the name, whoever caught that... but not the same actor as the monk.

5.) The City to the West... Greek, Minoan and Mycenaean mythologies (among others, including Egyptian) paint the Underworld, or the entrance to it, as a `city in the west'. This has to do with their interpretation of the sun `dying' every day when it sets in the West. Literally, Tony is taking a trip to the west when he gets stuck (between life and death). Looking west, just over the horizon, he sees the light - but it's neither warm and comforting nor ominous / scary. It just is. He's close to death. Could go further, or could go back. But it's beyond his control.

6.) Anyone catch the exact name of the conference Tony/Kevin was going to?

7.) Symbolism of the colonel / authority / father figure?

Overall, I know this episode was rife with symbolism... textured, layered, well acted, shot, written, directed... and I am a very ardent Test Dream admirer... but despite all of that, was anybody else as downright BORED as I was during the first ten minutes? <img src=http://www.ezboard.com/images/emoticons/indifferent.gif ALT=":|">


Re: Dream Squence Thread

Some great observations here, many that didn't occur to me at all.

Not sure anyone mentioned it, (maybe its too obvious?), but did anyone else feel that the scene in which Tony was forced to use the fire stairwell when the elevator at the hotel was out of service was somehow symbolic of Tony's further descent into hell (or purgatory)? First, there were the fire-engine-red railings Tony was holding onto. Second, the camera seemed focused primarily on Tony's rapidly moving feet.

Could the fall he took on those stairs representat some kind of interruption on the way down? A second chance perhaps?

I my be stretching things here, but watching the emergency room scene again, where Tony's being treated for the fall he took, I felt like the ER Doctor was telling Tony that in essence, all of those black spots on the x-ray were parts of his former life. And that those were no longer viable long-term options for him; that he would have to "see his own physician when he got home", and makes some decisions about how to proceed.

Does anyone think this 'dream sequence' will be continued at all, or are we likely left to extrapolate the meaining out of what we've been given in this episode?


Re: Dream Squence Thread

John Sac, thanks for the link. I found this the most interesting part of the article:

<blockquote>Quote:<hr>When I had my annual summit with "Sopranos" creator David Chase a few weeks ago, I complimented him on having the onions to put a major dream sequence like this so early in the season, considering how many fans complain about the dreams.

"I, frankly, would not call those (episode two scenes) dreams," he said, which sent me scurrying back to watch my DVD over and over again, until (with some help from my wife) I got it.

Here Tony's stuck in Orange County, quite possibly the most personality-free corner of the world, with no way to leave (a k a Purgatory). On one end of town is a shining beacon (Heaven), on the other, a raging forest fire (Hell). Over and over, he stops to assess the worth of his own life, asking, "Who am I? Where am I going?"

Then he steals the identity (sin) of Kevin Finnerty -- a heating salesman who lives in one of the hottest states of the union (Arizona) -- checks into another hotel, and falls down a red staircase, at which point he learns he has Alzheimer's (eternal damnation). And while Carmela's busy in the real world telling him he's not going to Hell, Tony's in Purgatory debating whether to tell his wife this is exactly the fate he has in store.<hr></blockquote>

Well we have now in Chase's own words that this is not presented with the intent of it representing a simple flight of Tony's subconscious or his imagination of what purgatory may be. It is presented as an actual, alter reality, a real purgatory that Tony is experiencing.

Talk about BALLS. That has to be the most politicially incorrect thing I've ever seen on television. And it absolutely confirms that Chase has intended the incredibly strong spiritual undercurrent that I and many others have always felt from this show. Forget mafia and psychotherapy. Those are just the surface manifestations of a more fundamental tension, a war in this man's soul between good and evil, a battle for his destinty.

Back to the article. Sepinwald has Finnerty as the 180 degree opposite of God, an interpretation which also makes a lot of sense. As with the coach in Test Dream, there is a duality in Finnerty that makes him susceptible to polar opposite interpretations. Or perhaps, more accurately, he is susceptible of being both: a two sided coin of God/Satan, good/evil.

The satanic theory obviously explains the hostility of the monks as well or better than their frustration with their own search for God. However it doesn't explain why Tony would say that if he could find a Bhudist temple, the monks there might lead him to Finnerty. And Tony keeps hoping Finnerty will call (his wife TELLS him he will), as Finnerty seems to represent Tony's salvation from his current predicament.

Sepinwald's analysis of the descent down the red-handled staircase seems spot on. But unlike him, I draw significance from the fact that he stumbles on his way down and is consequently led to a hospital where -- yes -- he's given the Alzheimer's diagnosis but is also told that there are much better treatments now than previously and that he should "talk to his own docs back home" (i.e., that he should live rather than die and try to work through a "cure" or a reformation of his life). He's also told that a fall like he suffered could have broken his neck, in which case he would have already died (completing his descent) and wouldn't even have this option. But since he stole Finnerty's credit card, God has "financed" this trip to the purgatory hospital, this place where his fatal character flaws have been diagnosed and where he is given the chance to return home and sort things out.

He now knows that he can resume life but that it will be very difficult, that he will have to be a very different person. His old room, his old briefcase, his old life has already expired. He can't have it back.

He had not made his choice when the episode ended but did fail to complete the call home. The song suggested he was tired of fighting and was ready to resign himself to death and his fate in hell. So IMO his answer will come in the form of whether he lives or dies. If he lives, it will be because of the pull of his family.

On that note, I find it significant that purgatory Meadow told Tony that Carmela had to put AJ to bed early because "he puked", indicating that AJ is diseased and troubled in his "gut" like Tony. I'm curious to see if the next episode builds on Tony's sense that he must return to a troubled life for the sake of his son, that he will sacrifice what he knows will be a bitter end for his son's own good.


Re: Dream Squence Thread

Assorted Impressions: There is grist for the mill in this dream from just about every school of dream interpretation thought: "The Royal Road to the Unconscious," "Unfinished Business," and the Jungian school of "assorted debris"... not to mention a tableau for literary device. Essentially, what I took from it has been pretty thoroughly discussed, but here goes:

The Happy Waunderer-Tony is the Middle American Joe, the happy waunderer (only not so happy...) as explored much earlier. He is decked out in blazer, khakis, rep tie, oxford shirt and carries an attache'...his kids are prototypically conventional (even with a hokey little vmail message); his vocation is normative...all of which may represent that part of Tony that yearns for yet reviles the simple life of "his" happy waunderer...Tony's alter.

The voice issue-That he was speaking to what we may infer was his wife object, yet clearly not Carmela's voice, speaks to his multiple attachments with assorted women. The fact that so many posters feel that it was Gloria's voice suggests lack of resolution and unrest concerning herand probably others.

Generalized mistaken identity...Tony's ambivalence and frustration about so much of who he is...his "real self." He struggles with access to this turmoil in his sesssions, but this crisis in identity plays out unambigously in his dream state.

Trust issues-Who can he really trust? He recently voices and seems to struggle with the ideal of loyalty vs. the reality of betrayal. We see this theme touched on by his spontaneous group of bar pals who appear at once friendly yet sinister.

Dementia/brain function losses-The moments leading up to his shooting, he was in the very presence of an Alzheimers patient, Uncle Jun. This reality comingled with what he may have been actually hearing merged into the piece with the MRI consultation IMO. Also, this may be more literary symbolism than dream interpretation.

Confluence of real life artifacts into dream sequence- Who hasn't absorbed something that is actually occuring and wrapped into the dream's "story"? The sounds and lights of the ICU fused with his dream drama...or more like dream trauma.


Where am I who am I

Tony says "where am I? who am I ?" when he jolts out of his coma. I agree with john sac, Tony's dream suggests what his purgatory or limbo would be like. Religious figures picking fights with him and him feeling helpless about it, being "lost" without his identity (the briefcase) and away from his family.
Who was he (Finnerty) going to call at the end of the episode, his wife? Because there are things eerily similar between this dream scene and Test Dream. Tony looking out the window with the city i<img src=http://www.ezboard.com/images/emoticons/eyes.gif ALT=":rolleyes"> n the background like in Test dream. Also Tony checking in under another name is in Test Dream. Tony picks up the phone in Test Dream and calls Carmella for comfort or just to talk to someone who "knows him." Maybe he was going to call to ask her who he was again???


Re: purgatory

moth78, glad to see you came here! Been looking forward to your thoughts.

<blockquote>Quote:<hr>1.) Kevin Finnerty / infinity. A little heavy-handed, no? Especially with the comment from the bar guy.<hr></blockquote>

Call me thick, but without the bar guy, I would never have caught that. More than anything, the "Finnerty" thing just suggested to me yet another aspect of Tony's identity crisis, the very Irish "Finnerty" like a disassociation from his Italian roots and Italian Mafia identity.

<blockquote>Quote:<hr>2.) The voice on the phone was (to me) definitely, undeniably Charmaine.<hr></blockquote>

I am just as convinced it was no woman we know. In the Star-Ledger article, Chase (or another writer) confirms that the voice was only a generic Jersey woman's voice, just as the kids' voices were generic voices not belonging to Meadow and AJ. But many certainly heard it the way you did (and even more think it was Gloria). Reminds me of the "is it Chase's voice" debates re Test Dream.

Your number 5 on "city to the west" sounds spot on. I'm not sure about the control issue, however. I think he's being given the choice. He can't do it until he accepts his new identity, complete with brain damage and bleak, probably painful future. But if he can accept those terms, I suspect purgatory Carmela to call and tell him that Finnerty called and has arranged for him to have his identity back (or at least some other identity that will gain him access to life).


Re: Dream Squence Thread

Great insightful posts, FOMW and ObservingEgo, absolute pleasure to read and absord - agreed on the NJ.com/Sepinwall articles - thats a few very good pieces he has released now and which serve well in supplementing/fueling our discussions here

Interesting that Chase may be exprimenting with Tony ACTUALLY being in purgatory as opposed to a purgatory content dream/nightmare and particularly when thinking back to Chris' Irish hell/purgatory morphine induced dream - im still struggling with accepting this is being presented by Chase as ACTUAL purgatory however as his comments taken in Spinwalls article were still open to some ambiguity as opposed to being 100% explicit


Re: Dream Squence Thread

Also, finding it hard to contemplate Tony will become brain-damaged to a degree as a result of his coma, even for no more technical a reason that we see him enjoying the assumed Allegra Sack wedding which we know to be on the horizon from trailers - those trailer scenes dont seem to show a Tony suffering from the effects of brain disorder, even of a mild scale but i guess we will know soon enough


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