May 19, 2007

Last Sunday's "Sopranos" episode: "Kennedy and Heidi."

I'm a little late to this, but I want to talk about the most recent episode of "The Sopranos." Of course, there are major spoilers below.

I watched this episode once, thought about it, slept on it, and then I woke up this morning -- as they say -- and had so many ideas about it that I came downstairs at 5 a.m. so I could watch it again on the "on demand" channel. I felt pretty sure that Tony had died in the episode, because of the way it ended with him standing in a landscape, staring at the sun and screaming "I get it!" But at what point does he die? When do we shift from life to afterlife? I'm drafting this post as I re-watch with lots of pausing and rewinding, but this isn't pure simulblogging. I go back and rewrite, as this sentence shows.

The episode is titled "Kennedy and Heidi." Heidi and Kennedy are, most conspicuously, the two girls in the car that Christopher swerves around as he loses control of his SUV. Kennedy, the passenger, asks if they should go back and help, but Heidi refuses because she's driving after dark on a learner's permit. Why do their names belong in the title to this episode where the central occurrence is Tony's murdering Christopher after the car crash?

Kennedy is an evocative name, and in earlier episodes Tony has shown an interest in President Kennedy. (He owns the dead President's hat.) Later in the episode, at Christopher's viewing in the funeral home, someone comments that his widow has adopted the Jackie Kennedy look. But why Heidi? If it's the character Heidi from the novel "Heidi," the reference is to a young girl who is so optimistic and good-hearted that she brings an isolated, mean old man back into the community. Our car-driving Heidi is all cold-hearted selfishness, so maybe it means that absolutely nobody is good in this damned world anymore, and nobody can ever save the horrible, nihilistic Tony.

Before the crash, Christopher is driving his SUV -- he's the driver, thus corresponding to Heidi -- and he's having a conversation with Tony -- who as the passenger, could be said to be the Kennedy. (Maybe he'll get shot in the head in the end.) They're having a conversation about a deal with Phil over the disposal of asbestos. This episode began -- and it will (almost) end with a garbage truck dumping asbestos waste. The conversation has a philosophical dimension. Tony doesn't want to cave to Phil's demand because life isn't worth living if you have to bend over for people. Chris thinks that in life you need to "smell the roses," and this moves Tony to concede that some battles aren't worth fighting. Then Chris mentions his daughter, and Tony reverts to bitterness and says that Phil would take those roses and stick them up your ass.

Chris puts the soundtrack from "The Departed" into the player, and the song is "Comfortably Numb" -- a song about using drugs as an escape. Tony glances over at Chris a few times as though he's trying to see if he may be using drugs again. He lets his suspicion show when he asks Chris how that party was the other day. The crash follows.

After the long, sickening roll downhill, Chris, pinned behind the steering wheel, confesses that he won't pass the drug test, so Tony now knows Chris is back to his drug problem. Tony gets out of the car and comes around and breaks the window to reach Christopher. He starts to call 911, then changes his mind and holds Chris's nose until he drowns in the blood that had been flowing out of his mouth. In the middle of the grim, silent killing -- couldn't Tony at least have said I'm sorry I have to do this? -- Tony looks up at the highway as a car goes by and its headlights pulse in the same mysteriously symbolic way that a light kept pulsing in the long coma-dream sequence in the second episode of Season 6. I think the pulse of light is the instant of Christopher's death.

Once Chris is dead, we get water imagery: It starts to rain, and Tony, calling 911, gives the locations as "Old Pumping Station Road, next to the Resevoir." Later in the episode, there will be more light and more water.

At the hospital, Tony's lying on a gurney in the hall, near Christopher's body bag -- we see the "Cleaver" hat next to it -- so this may suggest that Tony himself is dead. But I don't think so, because we also see Carmela at home, getting the phone call from him.

Now, there is a visit with Dr. Melfi and Tony is expressing happiness about Chris's death. "He was a tremendous drag on my future." But this turns out to be a dream. After checking with Carmela that he wasn't talking in his sleep, Tony goes downstairs, finds the "Cleaver" mug and hurls it across the swimming pool -- the central water symbol of the whole "Sopranos" series. The mug -- which represented Chris's hatred of Tony -- lands in the underbrush. We understand Tony's motivation for the murder fully at this point. Had Christopher lived, the drug test would caused the FBI to swoop in on him, and he would have betrayed Tony.

There is some question about whether and at what point Christopher wanted to die. Did he crash the car intentionally because he realized that Tony knew he was back on drugs and that Tony would want to kill him? Did he confess openly after the crash to offer himself up for the killing he knew Tony had in store for him? Why suffer the pain of his injuries and try to live only to die soon enough? His final words were "Call me a taxi." Is a taxi a symbol of death? There's "Death Cab for Cutie."
Bad girl Cutie, what have you done?
Baby, don't do it
Slipping, sliding down on Highway 31.
Baby, don't do it
The traffic lights change from green to red.
They tried to stop but they both wound up dead.
Death cab for Cutie
Death cab for Cutie
And there's Joni Mitchell:
Late last night
I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi
Took away my old man
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you’ve got
‘Til it’s gone?
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
Presumably, that's Long Term Parking.

Carmela makes Tony a cup of coffee with that expensive expresso machine Paulie gave her in the April 22 episode. Tony says "It's good." At least something is good. They have a conversation that brings out the mother theme. (I note that Paulie's aunt/mother Nucci also dies in this episode, and there's a fair amount of childish whining by Paulie on the subject.) Carmela, crying over Christopher's death, says that when Tony was in the hospital -- back during that coma-dream -- "It was Christopher who held me." This mother-son image prompts Tony to bring up the baby seat in the SUV after the crash. It had a tree limb in it, so if the baby had been in the car, it would have been "mangled beyond recognition." Carmela stomps off, and Tony is left holding out his empty arms toward her in a way that says this boy has no mother.

The following scene is Tony's real session with Melfi, and he's talking about mothering. He's disgusted that Christopher's mother is showing up now and soaking up all the sympathy, when she didn't mother him well during his life. He says, "I hand carried him through the worse crisis he ever had." "Hand carried" is an odd expression, but it conveys the image of a mother carrying a baby. Of course, it's completely ridiculous for Tony to think he ought to be getting the sympathy when he's the murderer. Tony thinks Chris was ungrateful, that his hand carrying only inspired hate. Well, yeah. It consisted of offing Adriana.

This sequence of mother-themed scenes culminates in a gathering of various mothers in the Soprano living room. Tony wanders out of his bedroom and looks down on them from the upstairs railing. Christopher's baby is there. Christopher's mother says: "She doesn't know. Isn't God wonderful that way?" Christopher's wife pulls out her large breast and as the baby takes it, Tony snaps open the cell phone. He's calling some guy in Las Vegas. "I need a suite." The guy offers a plane too. Enough of the female. Bring on the phallic symbol. Escape from the family sphere into the realm of sin.

On the phallic plane, he looks out on the clouds. Is he dead now? I wonder. There's a quick but surreal-looking drive through a tunnel, which also gets me speculating. He arrives at Caesar's Palace. He plays roulette once, loses, gets up, and we see him eating in restaurant alone. It's all very quiet. Deathlike?

Cut to AJ's classroom. The lovely teacher's lesson is about Wordsworth. "'The world is too much with us.' Later, he invokes nature again. Why such strong words against the material world?" Cut to Tony in a lounge chair by the glitzy Roman-themed pool at Casear's. Water again. Water is death. The camera wheels around him, and we notice the incline of his head, propped up on a folded up towel. It mirrors Christopher's head angled up on the casket pillow. So is Tony dying now? Or is he still in the material world?

We see Tony driving past a sign for the Tropicana and the Folies Bergere. Then, he's in a hallway, where he transfers a wad of cash to his back pocket. He's going to see a woman who is never named -- except in the credits (as Sonya Aragon) -- and that money is the tip that she's a prostitute. But she did know Chris, and she's somewhat sad to hear he's dead. She asks how long Tony's going to be in town, and he says -- seeming to speak more generally of life itself -- that he doesn't know. He's playing it as it goes.

After a scene with Anthony and his friends beating up a young man, mainly because he's black, we see Tony driving through a tunnel again and then having sex with the woman who is never called Sonya. She offers him "paranoid free" marijuana. He takes it. She says, "Chris loved to party." Tony's all, "What's your point?" And she's says: "So much for paranoid free." Why is she comparing him to Chris? He wants to know. She tells him that Chris said sad things, but Tony seems really sad. He asks about peyote. Chris had talked about taking peyote with her. When he says "Why the f*ck am I here?" she thinks he means he wants to take peyote to get at the meaning of life, but he says "I mean Vegas."

AJ goes to his psychiatrist twice in this episode. The first time, he's doing well, even interested in school. That goes with the Wordsworth scene. In the second visit, after the attack on the black man, he's become completely nihilistic: "Everything is so f*cked up." Absurdly invoking Rodney King, he adds "Why can't we all just get along?"

Now, we see Tony taking the peyote with Sonya. Of course, he's got to vomit. Not only is peyote famous for causing vomiting, but "The Sopranos" is famous for vomiting scenes. Tony vomited in this one, and, in this one, Adriana performs "the best projectile vomiting scene in the history of television." After the peyote vomit, Tony collapses against an ugly patterned towel that clashes nauseatingly with his jagged patterned shirt. He stares up at the light fixture. There's the light! Is it death now?

Tony and Sonya are walking in the hotel lobby, across the shiny patterned floor. There's a slot machine with the word "Pompeii" on it to remind us of death and destruction. Then Tony is staring at a cartoon devil face on one of the machines. But, really, is he in hell finally? Now, he's staring at the roulette wheel and observing: "It's the same principle as the solar system." Does that make this the afterlife? He keeps winning. That's not the way real life goes. The croupier looks somewhat like Christopher. There's a strange white chip held in a vertical position on a glass cube. Are there really chips like this or is this more proof we are not looking at the real world? The chip seems to signify a communion wafer. Tony starts laughing a lot and says, "He's dead." He falls on the floor laughing. We're look down on him. Is he dead now?

Perhaps symbolizing the disposal of his evil body, the garbage truck full of asbestos waste backs up to the edge of the Jersey swampland and dumps. More water.

And now Tony and Sonya are hanging out peacefully, tripping on the sunrise in a beautiful -- unearthly? -- landscape. It was filmed in Red Rock Canyon, I see in the credits, so the place is really there, outside Las Vegas. Sonya is in a motionless trance. Tony is squinting toward the sun. As it rises above the canyon edge, it pulses in a burst of light that chimes with the headlight on the highway and all those lights in the coma-dream.

"I get it" he says quietly, standing, then once again, he stretches out his arms out. He yells -- and the canyon echoes -- "I get it." Surely, at this point, he is dead.

I see that over on Television Without Pity, there's talk that the entire episode was a dream. The episode begins and (almost) ends with a big truck dumping powdery contents, ostensibly asbestos, but also symbolizing the cocaine that caused Christopher's downfall, and perhaps representing the sleep of a dream.

The only part of the episode that is outside of the garbage truck brackets is Tony, at the canyon edge, getting it. Conceivably, Tony was asleep and dreaming throughout the episode, and the final dump of the toxic waste into the swamp was the point where he died in his bed like a good old godfather. The waste went down as the sun came up. He gets it as he passes into the infinite. The dream -- if that's what it was -- contained many indications of his death, but he was still alive and merely approaching his death. It is only when the sun bursts in the end and he shouts "I get it" that he dies.

We shall see this Sunday, if Carmela discovers his dead body in the bed.

ADDED: That powdery asbestos drifting off the garbage truck in the beginning and at the end represent the funereal line: "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust."

35 comments:

PatCA said...

Great analysis. (I never could figure out what was in the baby seat because the shot was so close, so that helps.)

I don't think Tony's dead, though. As I watch AJ decompensate, I remember that this show is about a mother trying to kill her son, and that needs to be played out. Tony has been in therapy to resolve his love/hate about that but there is no resolution, because deep down Tony believes in the naturalistic view of life: it's all about survival. With him, the survival instinct always wins over any human impulse to love.

I have a gut feeling something terrible is going to happen with AJ. It's all going to come full circle in a Shakespearean, operatic, really bad way.

I hope it's not a dream, anyway. How Dallas!

Chip Ahoy said...

Woowzer. Then after all that the whole thing could have been a dream. You gotta hate that. It sounds like the writers depicted Tony slowly realizing he's dead so that by the end of the episode equating whirling slots with a balanced solar system his entire life and his place in the universe made sense.

Never knew Sopranos was all that interesting. Never seen an episode all the way through, but familiar with a few names through crosswords. Knowing little else about it, I'm going to go ahead and reject the 'just a dream' conclusion because of all you've said and because the whole show, not just this episode could be a dream, and that would be too much of a contemptable cop out.

yashu said...

Interesting reading. I don't think he's dead-- though I'd say something in him has died, in a way... (There was an existential choice of sorts presented to him when he was in the coma: Tony has definitively killed off a possible-Tony, a possible way of being-in-the-world. He's absolutely, irrevocably turned into his mother... a monster. And seems to have embraced it, embraced nihilism-- ironically finds in *that*, as opposed to human morality or redemption, a kind of harmony with the cosmos ("I get it")-- a universe indifferent to human value. Cf. what he says about the gambling table = solar system, harkening back to his discussion with the physicist in the hospital in the early episodes of the season.)

I wish you'd written more about the Sopranos (maybe you will, for these final few chapters?).

By the way, two other great blogs for Sopranos discussion, which you might find interesting. Alan Sepinwall's here: http://sepinwall.blogspot.com/2007/05/sopranos-rewind-kennedy-and-heidi.html

And Matt Zoller Seitz's here: http://mattzollerseitz.blogspot.com/2007/05/sopranos-mondays-season-six-ep-18-heidi.html

Story52: The WelBlog said...

OOH, Dr. Althouse,

So so fun to read your analysis. There's some great stuff here. To begin, I'm glad you set me right with the "I GET IT" ending...I don't hear well, so here I was thinking he said "I DID IT". Wow. Big difference.
I don't think he's dead, nor do I think it's a dream. But perhaps that's just being hopeful. I hated the coma episodes with Tony, I found them trying and uninteresting.
I have some random thoughts that I'd love to discuss:

1.) Chris's nose was horribly bruised. Either Carmela or Chris's wife noticed it. Something's going to come of this (and isn't it ironic, Tony's comment about Chris's baby daughter inheriting his schnoz?)

2.) As Tony was entering the casino, on peyote, with the beautiful stranger, and we're seeing all the lights, the little winking demon, etc., I'm thinking, it's Dante and Beatrice entering Hell.

3.) It seems to me as if the last few episodes have been largely about T choosing between Paulie and Chris (remember, T almost killed Paulie on the boat).

4. Question: Why the hell did Hesh's girlfriend Renata die? What happened?

5. As the show has entered its last stretch, it seems like the world of the Sopranos has been infiltrated by "foreigners." Non Anglo/ European types. There's the whole middle east terrorist angle. There's the Asian kid who nearly killed Jr. There's the Somalian kid AJ and friends beat up. And of course, Blanca. AJ adopted the Latino thing fully. He's got that facial hair thing that young PR guys do, and that pathetic scene where he's decked his car out in PR flags for the Latino Day Celebration. And then, the beautiful Middle Eastern woman who is T's guide on his peyote trip. What does it all add up to?

6.) Kennedy and Heidi. The Kennedy connection seems clear, but the Heidi still puzzles me. I'm wondering if it might be a prelude to next episode, entitle "The Second Coming." According to the description, Tony believes that someone has insulted Meadow...Heidi?

Anyway...it's soooo good.
I hope to hear any thoughts you may have on the above points!

Leah

George said...

Jiminy H. Christmas, Professor, that is one heckuva essay.

You should be teaching graduate English seminars.

Slate should have hired you to analyze each episode instead of the guys who presently have the job.

Don't agree that Tony is dead. The audience has to see him suffer and die for killing his symbolic son.

My guess is that Carm will find out that he's responsible for Adriana's death, and she'll kill him because she regarded Adriana as a daughter.

Whatever happens, you know it'll be like Hamlet or Lear and anyone who's anyone will end up dead.

joe said...

It never occurred to me that Tony might have died. This episode did made clear how truly screwed up Tony really is. Not only to kill Chris, a crime of opportunity under circumstances where it appears he will get away with it, and without a word to Chris, he resents the sympathy he gets from others, almost seeming to want someone to say Chris deserved it. Perhaps he will give away to someone what he really did, though having kept Adriana's demise to himself this long would belie that idea. At first I thought what he did to Chris was a mercy killing, given the extent of his injuries, but Tony made clear later that this was not the case.
I think the peyote scenes of winning at the casino, and the "I get it" were merely manifestations of the psychedelic experience, where everything around you seems to fall into place.

XWL said...

Given that this is set in New Jersey, and given that gambling on the Jets was prominent previously this season, Heidi might have a different connotation.

Even though I wasn't born yet, I'm familiar with the infamous Heidi Game.

I think you have to consider NBC's decision to switch to broadcasting Heidi instead of the end of the AFL Championship one of the biggest broadcasting screw ups and fake outs of all time.

Hasn't this whole last season of Sopranos been one big "Heidi Game".

Every time we expect to get a big finale and resolution to some plot point, instead we get Renata dying, or Peyote Tony, or the white shoes trip where Tony doesn't kill Paulie, or the almost out of the blue 'Tony has a gambling problem' plotline.

If Chase is giving us a hint, it's that people will die (like Kennedy), but that it will happen off camera mostly (like the end of the Heidi Game).

I could be way off, I'm probably being way off, but it feels like to me that Chase has been punishing viewers for ever being sympathetic to these psychopaths and is finding ways to wring every last drop of sympathy we ever had for them out of the Sopranos audience. So a "Heidi Game" finale would make perfect sense.

And just to be a real stinker, maybe the Kennedy referred to isn't Joseph, John, or Robert, but Ted (sole survivor of a famous car crash).

Ann Althouse said...

XWL: So maybe Heidi cut short his "game." Later, in Vegas, there are games, and Tony tells Sonya that he is uncertain about how long he will stay (live) and that he's going to "play" it as it goes. Ergo: He died in the car crash!

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Let's hope Carmela doesn't discover Pie o'My's disembodied horsey head in bed with her.

I haven't seen any of this season and have been avoiding spoilers, but this looked too good to miss out on. Now I definitely want to get that DVD in my queue.

amba said...

I am so literal-minded!

I just figured Tony had run away to Vegas and was tripping on peyote.

It looks to me like AJ's going to kill himself, although Chase isn't usually that obvious. It's pretty widely known right now that the warning on adolescent suicide on SSRI antidepressant has been upped to include young adults.

If AJ comes to find his father in Vegas, then, it will prove that your theory's right. They're both dead.

patca: I was going to say "How Twin Peaks!"

Someone once said, "The reason why adolescents are so obnoxious is because it helps you let them go." In a way I think Chase is doing that with Tony: making sure we really get how evil he is so that we aren't too sad to part with him.

Irene Done said...

This was fascinating. Worth all the hours, I'd say. It's significant that we never do see Carm after Tony leaves for Vegas, do we?

I took the "I get it" line so narrowly. Remember how Tony tells the unnamed woman that he didn't party as much as Christopher because he, Tony, always had to be so responsible? This struck me because in previously this season, Tony is positively whiny about having to assume all the caretaking family and Family duties (like giving money to Vinnie's widow). The sun flashes -- which I thought of as the dead calling to Tony -- he shouts "I get it," and high as he is, I thought he's talking to Christopher. Sorta: "I get it, I understand the need to escape. Maybe drug use wasn't the weakness I thought it was."

Now though, with this interpretation, I can't wait to see the next episode.

Revenant said...

Personally, I think that's WAY too much analysis of that episode.

My take:

The episode is called "Kennedy and Heidi" because the show has a long history of naming episodes after oblique references to the plot events therein. E.g., "The Fleshy Part of the Thigh", "Toodle Fucking Oo", "Watching Too Much Television".

Tony's not dead. The significance of the Vegas sequence and the peyote trip is that it is transformative -- by eliminating a chronic problem (Chris) he has changed his luck from bad to good.

John Stodder said...

Bravo. But I don't think Tony's dead, materially. Spiritually, probably so. But I still think a moral crisis awaits him.

"I get it" is going to be the endlessly pondered koan of this show. The sun flare reminded me of the nuclear tests in the Nevada desert. If Chase is indeed punishing us for sympathizing with Tony, he might also be punishing us for thinking there is a meaningful distinction between Tony and us.

Killing Chrissy = "pre-emptive war?"

Testing nukes = poisoning the water with asbestos?

PatHMV said...

With a post that long, Ann, I think you need a couple of footnotes... ;-)

Cedarford said...

5 hours on a great Sopranos installment is not a bad thing.
It is an excercise in thinking.

My only quibble is that I and I think most audience had hoped it would never come to "pure evil Tony". Morally conflicted Tony was far better. I liked the guy who would weep for an informant or a dead horse.
I always thought Carmella was more amoral than Tony - saying otherwise with her posturing, but shutting up whenever her money and power were threatened. Reveling in her faux victimhood.

I, BTW, never saw the ducks and water as death, but bits of innocence flying away from "T"..

At TWOP, I did 5 hours on critiques of two S1 "Veronica Mars" - the only network show I thought matched "Sopranos Best".

Time well spent!

Luckyoldson said...

Just a theory:

Methinks Tony will be taken out by Bobby Baccala, via the urging of Tony's conniving sister, Janice, thus...finishing off the job their late, great nurturing mother always dreamed of orchestrating herself.

Joan said...

Tony's not dead. Phil Leotardo finally caught him on the phone in Vegas, remember -- "This is me hanging up - " just as Phil hangs up on Tony.

Tony's "I get it!" and all his other weird behavior is just typical peyote-tripping. Everyone thinks they get it, on peyote. That's the point of taking it.

What this episode showed is Tony finally realizing that being decisive, and taking/doing what he wants, is the only way for him to win. He finally stopped waffling over Christopher, and his luck turns around completely after that. Of course, if that luck doesn't hold, they'll trace that load of asbestos back to Tony's "business" and the whole house of cards will come tumbling down.

mythusmage said...

Correction

Comfortably Numb is about psychotic episodes and medication. It's been a few years, but I do recall that one of the original members of the band had serious psychiatric problems. Just when the group was about to hit it big he was forced to go to hospital for treatment. Roger Waters wrote Comfortably Numb to commemorate the times his friend needed sedation just to perform on stage. Other interpretations arose because some people had a idee fixe re drug use.

Jeff Z said...

Perhaps these two characters are not as inconsequential as they seem. One of them may feel guilt over what happened and confess to the police, or making it even more direct: Doesn't Tony look up and see their headlights as he finishes murdering Chris? Is there any possibility that they saw Tony, if not killing Chris, then doing something that will call attention to the accident? We were not shown them coming back, but we don't know that they didn't come back. Getting the title is a lot of billing for 2 supposedly inconsequential characters. Perhaps their names refer to this plot playing out: the Kennedy being referred to is not JFK, but RFK, who relentlessly prosecuted the mafia, and this Kennedy--the one who wanted to turn back--is the one to bring about Tony's downfall. As far as Heidi goes, that seems to me to be a pun on "High - T," "T" being Chris's usual name for Tony.

One other note for those making abstruse connections to Tony as the "other Kennedy," since he was the passenger in the other car. The RFK analogy could also apply re all the Arab (at the Bing) and Palestinian (AJ's class) content: RFK was murdered by a Palestinian. (RFK was actually the first American murdered by an Arab terrorist).

hdhouse said...

I'll have to watch the end again but i thought Tony yell "I did it" not "I get it".

If he got it, then think of the last scene in Grand Canyon, a movie I found very similar to this episode.

Seven Machos said...

Fabulous analysis. I just don't think this is Tony dead, for the simple reason that no one will watch without him.

I, too, wish that he could be redeemed. The whole reason we like Tony and root for him is because he is trying, man -- trying to fight his demons. The personal struggle in his soul is the show. The rest of those people are just demented.

Sadly, I am convinced that Tony will meet a bad end. That's how the writers always like to do it. Romeo and Juliet didn't make it. Hamlet is dead. Jesus. Socrates.

Judith Brodhead said...

My husband noted that Tony wins effortlessly in Vegas after all of his failed gambling attempts after he's killed Christopher - in other words, his luck has changed - and he is rewarded for killing him, and he laughs and falls on the floor (if Tony were a real mobster, wouldn't people in Vegas recognize him and perhaps take a photo of him on the floor entangled with a woman who isn't his wife, both of them high on peyote?) I think he's torn between the newer generation (Christopher) and the older (Paulie); he almost got rid of old-school Paulie, but chose to cut out new-school, AA-attending, film-loving Christopher. Where exactly this leaves his son Anthony I don't know.

Judith Brodhead said...

And as a Douglass/Rutgers grad (and I have been to a party at the DKE house) I thought it was both awful and fascinating that the Rutgers mobster boys found out that working as strong-arm bookies was very profitable. (So much for the Mario Puzo theory of at least attempting to cleanse the next generation of Mafia involvement by sending Michael off to Dartmouth: here the writers have combined college attendance and organized crime.) When I was there in the early 70s DKE was a jock house.

AJ Lynch said...

Yeah Ann great analysis for those who wanted to try and read between the lines.

For me, the show has always been a ripoff of "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight". Compelling TV but not much more that that.

I was glad to see Chris finally killed off- he epitomized the second-generation incompetence and stupidity and weakness of the boss's son.

PatCA said...

If Ann is right, we all owe her a bottle of expensive champagne! Tune in tomorrow...

Luckyoldson said...

AJ Lynch said..."For me, the show has always been a ripoff of "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight". Compelling TV but not much more that that."

Get real, there's absolutely no comparison...except for the criminals and crime.

PatCA said...

2 + 2 = 4.



Just checking to see if Lucky objects to everything or almost everything.

Luckyoldson said...

PatCA said..."2 + 2 = 4."
"Just checking to see if Lucky objects to everything or almost everything."

When I read something that silly, I comment.

Sorry for not "joining the crowd"...but...are you saying that YOU think the Sopranos are merely "a ripoff of "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight".??

Luckyoldson said...

Pat,
I forgot to ask:

Do you even know anything about Jimmy Breslin or the kinds of material he wrote?

The Mark said...

I really don't believe he's dead, but I'll agree there is a a definite significance to his trip (in both senses). In Vegas, at the peak of his trip, his losing streak is finally over. And he finally realizes, or at least lets go of hiding the fact that Christopher's death was holding him down. That scene of him on the floor was probably the happiest Tony has ever been depicted in the entire series.

As for his final "I get it!" proclamation at the end of the episode, I really think, at the time at least, he actually got it. (Anyone who has taken hallucinogens can attest to that reality) But the scene also shared the obvious similarity to the lighthouse in his coma, as you mentioned. Except, after the coma, Tony struggled to live, or at least find a way to move toward the life that will make him happy. That has been a lot of trouble for Tony, as well as every made guy on The Sopranos, this season. Now, however, without having changed his ways, but his surroundings, Tony has seemed to find a way to live the life that he thinks will give him happiness. The symbology of the light just connects the two. Now, I am not suggesting this happiness will last; it will go away soon after the drug wears off. But, for the time being, Christopher's death was a load of Tony's back, and allowed him to live life, even if for a couple of days, the way that will satisfy him most.

Revenant said...

I'll have to watch the end again but i thought Tony yell "I did it" not "I get it".

I thought the same thing, but the official HBO site says "I get it" in its episode summary.

amba said...

Ha ha, we were all wrong. Tony revisited his humanization on his peyote trip, made another futile human approach to Phil. Something similar, if darker, is happening to AJ. They're both having impulses to swim upstream against the garbage. Doomed, but not quite as nihilistic as everyone assumed. I still think AJ is going to kill himself.

amba said...

. . . and he just tried, and couldn't . . . but he may drown by accident while Tony eats a hot dog . . . not that either . . .

amba said...

Seven Machos:

Bet you liked this episode!

Telecomedian said...

Funny - I am an avid Sopranos fan who just can't watch the show lately without enjoyment. It used to be fun to watch the escapades of the group, but it all seems so joyless anymore. Perhaps it's the impending sense of loss, but the actors just don't seem to be having fun anymore. The only guy on the show who still seems to enjoy his work is Paulie, played by Tony Sirico. Everybody else seems to be in a pall.

What's worse is that the writing isn't *NEARLY* as sharp as the first few seasons. Ever since Tony's death trip last season, the show's been pretty lifeless. And this season's fascination with A.J. - perhaps the whiniest, weakest, least-likable character on the show, and this is a show dealing with *drug dealers, crooks and murderers* - is beyond me.

Christopher's death should have been more poignant, but it will ultimately be wasted. It's a shame that 80+ hours of quality television will be reduced by the last 10.