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☞ Official SOPRANOS Thread


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Paulie was flirting with the idea of lining up with Johnny Sac years ago. Chris would rather see his fiancee killed then turn his back on Tony. Tony has a shot to kill them both and chooses Chris. Now Paulie has no family and his mafia family (in his old-school eyes) just slapped him in the face. I don't know what's going to happen but I think Paulie's going to have some say in what goes down. Who knows.

While that may have been true when Adriana was revealed to be an informant, it certainly wasn't true lately. As Tony stated to Melfi, Chris didn't have the sack to take care of "his mess" at the time so Tony did it (I guess a call to Sil qualifies). And even Tony is smart enough to figure out that now Christopher resents him for it. What's more there's proof: Cleaver.

Plus with Chris on drugs, I'm not sure Tony even has a choice at that point. He knows Chris resents him, is back on drugs - anything could happen. Tony didn't choose Chris (as if he could only off one), its almost as if Chris self selected.

I see Paulie as the guy Tony should have whacked when he had the chance and not Christopher. Paulie's pissed off and motherless. Recipe for disaster.

:blackdot:

What does Paulie being motherless have to do with it? Its not as if she was some sort of restraining influence on him in the past. Paulie earns. With Vito gone that's no small consideration for Tony.

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Was out of town yesterday so I caught this episode on On Demand last night. Fantastic stuff. I have no problem calling Season 6B the best so far. I know so many have much love for Seasons 1 & 2, but I've found every episode captivating this season, including the much criticized "Monopoly by the Shore" opener.

Everything was going so smoothly through the first set of episodes too and then David Chase reverted to his old crutch: A character graphically vomiting on screen. Why? Is it really necessary? Don't give me the standard line of crap how "it shows how Tony can't keep his evil inside him no matter how hard he tries" or other excuses. Chase obviously has some sort of vomit fetish or feels he needs to use the vomit to be shocking.

Beyond that little quirk, nothing but high praise for just about everything that's gone on this season. At least Chase has (so far) refrained from the pretentious and boring dream sequences.

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Just before the crash, Christopher is talking with Tony about Phil & NY. He then says that the stereo in the Escalade has no balls. The look on Tony's face seems to change at that moment. Does Tony feel Chris is really saying that Tony has no balls to stand up to Phil. Was all that talk about smelling the roses really Chris testing Tony to see if he has softened? Or at least Tony interpreted it that way?

did anyone else get the chills when Carmella gasped at hearing of Christopher's death? I watched that 1st 20 minutes twice, and got chills both times. That may have been Edie Falco's best job ever on the show. Well, except for the 1st episode. "The difference between you and me is that you're going to hell when you die" as Tony is going for the CAT scan.

Someone mentioned the sound of ducks as the trash was being dumped in the water. There were ducks quacking when Tony woke up the morning after the crash as well.

Who was the guy by Tony's bed that kept listening for Carlo?

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Just before the crash, Christopher is talking with Tony about Phil & NY. He then says that the stereo in the Escalade has no balls. The look on Tony's face seems to change at that moment. Does Tony feel Chris is really saying that Tony has no balls to stand up to Phil. Was all that talk about smelling the roses really Chris testing Tony to see if he has softened? Or at least Tony interpreted it that way?

It was because he realized that Christopher was tweaking.
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Was out of town yesterday so I caught this episode on On Demand last night. Fantastic stuff. I have no problem calling Season 6B the best so far. I know so many have much love for Seasons 1 & 2, but I've found every episode captivating this season, including the much criticized "Monopoly by the Shore" opener.Everything was going so smoothly through the first set of episodes too and then David Chase reverted to his old crutch: A character graphically vomiting on screen. Why? Is it really necessary? Don't give me the standard line of crap how "it shows how Tony can't keep his evil inside him no matter how hard he tries" or other excuses. Chase obviously has some sort of vomit fetish or feels he needs to use the vomit to be shocking.Beyond that little quirk, nothing but high praise for just about everything that's gone on this season. At least Chase has (so far) refrained from the pretentious and boring dream sequences.

you ever take peyote?? you always puke, always
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Michael Imperioli will be on Letterman's show tonight. Should be interesting to see what he says about his death!

:blackdot: The guy is a great actor. I'm looking forward to seeing what he decides to take on after The Sopranos.
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Was out of town yesterday so I caught this episode on On Demand last night. Fantastic stuff. I have no problem calling Season 6B the best so far. I know so many have much love for Seasons 1 & 2, but I've found every episode captivating this season, including the much criticized "Monopoly by the Shore" opener.Everything was going so smoothly through the first set of episodes too and then David Chase reverted to his old crutch: A character graphically vomiting on screen. Why? Is it really necessary? Don't give me the standard line of crap how "it shows how Tony can't keep his evil inside him no matter how hard he tries" or other excuses. Chase obviously has some sort of vomit fetish or feels he needs to use the vomit to be shocking.Beyond that little quirk, nothing but high praise for just about everything that's gone on this season. At least Chase has (so far) refrained from the pretentious and boring dream sequences.

you ever take peyote?? you always puke, always
I'm not arguing that there shouldn't be an element of realism. But there's no reason to have the act of vomiting clearly displayed. You can do it off-camera, showing Tony from the back while he retches into the toilet, etc. He seems obsessed with having at least one, visible vomit scene on camera each season and it's unnecessary.
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Was out of town yesterday so I caught this episode on On Demand last night. Fantastic stuff. I have no problem calling Season 6B the best so far. I know so many have much love for Seasons 1 & 2, but I've found every episode captivating this season, including the much criticized "Monopoly by the Shore" opener.Everything was going so smoothly through the first set of episodes too and then David Chase reverted to his old crutch: A character graphically vomiting on screen. Why? Is it really necessary? Don't give me the standard line of crap how "it shows how Tony can't keep his evil inside him no matter how hard he tries" or other excuses. Chase obviously has some sort of vomit fetish or feels he needs to use the vomit to be shocking.Beyond that little quirk, nothing but high praise for just about everything that's gone on this season. At least Chase has (so far) refrained from the pretentious and boring dream sequences.

you ever take peyote?? you always puke, always
yes. it would have been unrealistic if he had not puked.
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Was out of town yesterday so I caught this episode on On Demand last night. Fantastic stuff. I have no problem calling Season 6B the best so far. I know so many have much love for Seasons 1 & 2, but I've found every episode captivating this season, including the much criticized "Monopoly by the Shore" opener.Everything was going so smoothly through the first set of episodes too and then David Chase reverted to his old crutch: A character graphically vomiting on screen. Why? Is it really necessary? Don't give me the standard line of crap how "it shows how Tony can't keep his evil inside him no matter how hard he tries" or other excuses. Chase obviously has some sort of vomit fetish or feels he needs to use the vomit to be shocking.Beyond that little quirk, nothing but high praise for just about everything that's gone on this season. At least Chase has (so far) refrained from the pretentious and boring dream sequences.

you ever take peyote?? you always puke, always
I'm not arguing that there shouldn't be an element of realism. But there's no reason to have the act of vomiting clearly displayed. You can do it off-camera, showing Tony from the back while he retches into the toilet, etc. He seems obsessed with having at least one, visible vomit scene on camera each season and it's unnecessary.
Yeah, I see your point, but the edit where it goes from calm to bursting through the bathroom door was great.
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Was out of town yesterday so I caught this episode on On Demand last night. Fantastic stuff. I have no problem calling Season 6B the best so far. I know so many have much love for Seasons 1 & 2, but I've found every episode captivating this season, including the much criticized "Monopoly by the Shore" opener.Everything was going so smoothly through the first set of episodes too and then David Chase reverted to his old crutch: A character graphically vomiting on screen. Why? Is it really necessary? Don't give me the standard line of crap how "it shows how Tony can't keep his evil inside him no matter how hard he tries" or other excuses. Chase obviously has some sort of vomit fetish or feels he needs to use the vomit to be shocking.Beyond that little quirk, nothing but high praise for just about everything that's gone on this season. At least Chase has (so far) refrained from the pretentious and boring dream sequences.

you ever take peyote?? you always puke, always
He seems obsessed with having at least one, visible vomit scene on camera each season and it's unnecessary.
Why do you consider it unnecessary?
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you ever take peyote?? you always puke, always

You know this first hand??I can't imagine Vegas on mescaline. I'd love to hear any personal experiences with the stuff if anyone is willing to share
On beaners in Vegas, no. But you puke no doubt. I didnt consider it very fun. It messes with your brain way too much. I liked being outside much more than inside on the stuff. Inside I felt way too confined.
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There was another unmistakable (though perhaps easily missed) lighthouse beacon reference.

When Tony puts his hand over Christopher's nose and mouth, Christopher starts choking. Just as Tony is about to finish the deed, a car goes around the curve on the embankment above them. Tony looks up, obviously wondering if someone will catch him in the act. Of course, the car keeps going and he finishes killing Christopher. There is a cutaway to the car's headlights sweeping from left to right, and it looks exactly like the sweeping beacon of a lighthouse. I'm sure that wasn't by accident.

Nor was having someone named "Kennedy" fleeing the scene of a fatality.
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Was out of town yesterday so I caught this episode on On Demand last night. Fantastic stuff. I have no problem calling Season 6B the best so far. I know so many have much love for Seasons 1 & 2, but I've found every episode captivating this season, including the much criticized "Monopoly by the Shore" opener.Everything was going so smoothly through the first set of episodes too and then David Chase reverted to his old crutch: A character graphically vomiting on screen. Why? Is it really necessary? Don't give me the standard line of crap how "it shows how Tony can't keep his evil inside him no matter how hard he tries" or other excuses. Chase obviously has some sort of vomit fetish or feels he needs to use the vomit to be shocking.Beyond that little quirk, nothing but high praise for just about everything that's gone on this season. At least Chase has (so far) refrained from the pretentious and boring dream sequences.

you ever take peyote?? you always puke, always
He seems obsessed with having at least one, visible vomit scene on camera each season and it's unnecessary.
Why do you consider it unnecessary?
Besides it being disgusting and possible distracting from the storyline? Chase is brilliant enough to imply a character is vomiting without being graphic. If he did it once in a while (like the finale of Season 2), I could understand. But he feels it's necessary to do it all the time (mostly through Tony) and he could make the point just as strong with sound effects or others' reactions.I'll throw the question back at you: Why do you feel it IS necessary?
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My take on the "I get it" line. Tony now gets that if he eliminates anyone he consideres a burden or pain-in-the-a*, the stress that goes along with it is eliminated as well. He now knows he has to kill everyone - Carm, AJ, Janice, Phil, Paulie, etc.

:bangbang:

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My take on the "I get it" line. Tony now gets that if he eliminates anyone he consideres a burden or pain-in-the-a*, the stress that goes along with it is eliminated as well. He now knows he has to kill everyone - Carm, AJ, Janice, Phil, Paulie, etc.:bangbang:

I think he just gets that he's a heartless monster.
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With everyone seeming to think that the end of the show is going to be about Tony dying, going to jail or his “downfall,” what about the last few episodes building up to something where Tony becomes more powerful and ruthless and does something like take out Phil and whoever else stands in his way. So after all the life-altering experiences and the therapy, etc. Tony just simply comes to grips with who he is and embraces it. ("I get it.")

Just saying that after all the other things people have complained about Chase doing, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he ended things on a simple and understated note that is going to piss off a lot of fans.

Edited by The Noid
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Was out of town yesterday so I caught this episode on On Demand last night. Fantastic stuff. I have no problem calling Season 6B the best so far. I know so many have much love for Seasons 1 & 2, but I've found every episode captivating this season, including the much criticized "Monopoly by the Shore" opener.Everything was going so smoothly through the first set of episodes too and then David Chase reverted to his old crutch: A character graphically vomiting on screen. Why? Is it really necessary? Don't give me the standard line of crap how "it shows how Tony can't keep his evil inside him no matter how hard he tries" or other excuses. Chase obviously has some sort of vomit fetish or feels he needs to use the vomit to be shocking.Beyond that little quirk, nothing but high praise for just about everything that's gone on this season. At least Chase has (so far) refrained from the pretentious and boring dream sequences.

Maybe that is part of why he chose Peyote rather than Mushrooms or LSD - peyote is notorious for inducing vomit before you start tripping.But, peyote was important b/c it is representative of a spiritual journey even more than it represents the standard trip.
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Someone mentioned the sound of ducks as the trash was being dumped in the water. There were ducks quacking when Tony woke up the morning after the crash as well.

I thought they were seagulls at the dump site. The ducks returning is extremely symbolic - Tony loves those feather covered little buggers and he seems to be much happier when they are around.
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With everyone seeming to think that the end of the show is going to be about Tony dying, going to jail or his “downfall,” what about the last few episodes building up to something where Tony becomes more powerful and ruthless and does something like take out Phil and whoever else stands in his way. So after all the life-altering experiences and the therapy, etc. Tony just simply comes to grips with who he is and embraces it. ("I get it.")Just saying that after all the other things people have complained about Chase doing, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he ended things on a simple and understated note that is going to piss off a lot of fans.

I can see this angle playing out too. It's anyone's guess what Chase will do, but I'm defintely going to be there for the unveiling. :lmao:
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With everyone seeming to think that the end of the show is going to be about Tony dying, going to jail or his “downfall,” what about the last few episodes building up to something where Tony becomes more powerful and ruthless and does something like take out Phil and whoever else stands in his way. So after all the life-altering experiences and the therapy, etc. Tony just simply comes to grips with who he is and embraces it. ("I get it.")Just saying that after all the other things people have complained about Chase doing, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he ended things on a simple and understated note that is going to piss off a lot of fans.

For the record, I have contended all along (and in the last few pages of this thread) that Tony lives and doesn't personally suffer.I recently said that, after losing some mafia friends, but not losing any of his real family, the final scene would be Tony walking out in his bathrobe and T-shirt to get the paper and giving the FBI camped across the street the finger.I could also see an ascension/expansion of power.But if anyone thinks there will be a war with NYC, then they have to believe Tony will die. The last two heads of the NYC families have bit it of natural causes after their captains get crunched - I could see Tony not dying, but losing his mafia family.On a side note, anyone notice how well loved Phil was by his real family?
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With everyone seeming to think that the end of the show is going to be about Tony dying, going to jail or his “downfall,” what about the last few episodes building up to something where Tony becomes more powerful and ruthless and does something like take out Phil and whoever else stands in his way. So after all the life-altering experiences and the therapy, etc. Tony just simply comes to grips with who he is and embraces it. ("I get it.")Just saying that after all the other things people have complained about Chase doing, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he ended things on a simple and understated note that is going to piss off a lot of fans.

I'd be very satisfied with that kind of ending.
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AJ crying to his shrink about why can't we all get along - what do you make of that? Is he thinking he needs to step in on his friends and not let them do the things they do - that he needs to take a stand (just like his father) or is it something else? If so, what?

AJ is most definitely heading towards hooliganism and Tony would be proud as heck if he fell in with those college boys - he pushed AJ that way when he was depressed last week.
I disagree in a big way. He "pushed him" to hang out with some kids his own age in order to forget about Blanca. He would be PISSED if he knew A.J. was involved with kids who are into the stuff they are -- the violence and whatnot. He thought Carlo's and Pat's kids were merely harmless campus bookies from whom he receives fat envelopes once a week. If he knew about the other activities, he wouldn't be pleased.

Tony despises when A.J. acts like a fhag... such as sitting in front of the computer "giggling like a school girl" or when he lays in bed pining over his lost girlfriend. But he made it clear to Melfi quite often that he never wanted the life for his kid. Jackie Aprile felt the same way about Jackie Jr. also.

I know what you are saying and Tony has said many times that A.J. shouldn't be in the life and that he isn't cut out for it.

But do you not think that there is some part of Tony that wants A.J. to follow in his footsteps? He wants him to be a tough. Maybe he says he doesn't want it for him because he knows that A.J. is incapable. And we know that it bothers Tony that his son is not tougher, for which he has often blamed Carmela. It is hard for me to believe that Tony would derive no happiness from A.J. following him, even though he may believe that on a more rational level.

:hey:
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My favorite part was at the end when the soul of the dead indian entered Tony's body.

I thought it was the soul of Billy Jack, and now Tony will head back to NYC, kick of his shoes and put a beat down on Phil's crew.
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With everyone seeming to think that the end of the show is going to be about Tony dying, going to jail or his “downfall,” what about the last few episodes building up to something where Tony becomes more powerful and ruthless and does something like take out Phil and whoever else stands in his way. So after all the life-altering experiences and the therapy, etc. Tony just simply comes to grips with who he is and embraces it. ("I get it.")Just saying that after all the other things people have complained about Chase doing, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he ended things on a simple and understated note that is going to piss off a lot of fans.

I'd be very satisfied with that kind of ending.
Agreed. This has been my thinking over the last few weeks and I think it would be dark, powerful, and understandable. Remember, this show began as a fight for Tony's soul (Melfi vs. the Mob). It would not surprise me in the least if Chase knew long ago that Melfi was going to lose that fight. More importantly, it seems that Chase has been making an even darker point. That is, it's one thing to show that analysis is impotent, but quite another to show that Tony is capable of using analysis to make himself a bigger/better gangster (unconsciously perhaps). There have been many points throughout the series where I've felt that his analysis/insight has made him exactly that and while I do not expect Chase to make the point so apparent in the final episodes, I would not be surprised to see Tony on top at the end (i.e. he gains the world but loses his soul in the process). Indeed, I'm reminded of the ending to Crimes and Misdemenaors where Martin Landau character is telling Woody Allen's character that his story is one where a man does terrible things, but instead of being punished by the universe, he finds that he benefits from it.That sounds like an ending Chase could appreciate.
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With everyone seeming to think that the end of the show is going to be about Tony dying, going to jail or his “downfall,” what about the last few episodes building up to something where Tony becomes more powerful and ruthless and does something like take out Phil and whoever else stands in his way. So after all the life-altering experiences and the therapy, etc. Tony just simply comes to grips with who he is and embraces it. ("I get it.")

Just saying that after all the other things people have complained about Chase doing, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he ended things on a simple and understated note that is going to piss off a lot of fans.

I'd be very satisfied with that kind of ending.
Agreed. This has been my thinking over the last few weeks and I think it would be dark, powerful, and understandable. Remember, this show began as a fight for Tony's soul (Melfi vs. the Mob). It would not surprise me in the least if Chase knew long ago that Melfi was going to lose that fight.

More importantly, it seems that Chase has been making an even darker point. That is, it's one thing to show that analysis is impotent, but quite another to show that Tony is capable of using analysis to make himself a bigger/better gangster (unconsciously perhaps). There have been many points throughout the series where I've felt that his analysis/insight has made him exactly that and while I do not expect Chase to make the point so apparent in the final episodes, I would not be surprised to see Tony on top at the end (i.e. he gains the world but loses his soul in the process). Indeed, I'm reminded of the ending to Crimes and Misdemenaors where Martin Landau character is telling Woody Allen's character that his story is one where a man does terrible things, but instead of being punished by the universe, he finds that he benefits from it.

That sounds like an ending Chase could appreciate.

Both :goodposting:s.

Sepinwall re-visits the eppy :lmao: and, I think, concurs with this theme:

...but given how happy and triumphant Tony seemed at the moment he shouted "I GET IT!" to the heavens (or hells, or whatever), I don't think it was an acknowledgement of his own misery. I think it was Tony finally recognizing something he's been building towards ever since he woke up from the coma: that for him to be truly satisfied, to feel truly safe from death or prosecution or whatever, he has to completely abandon his last shards of humanity and do whatever is necessary to protect himself, no matter who has to suffer for his own personal growth.

There's that scene in last spring's finale where Tony reveals to Phil Leotardo that he does remember something about where he went during the coma, "And I know I never want to go back there." At the time, he's implying, disingenuously, that he's trying to be a better person so he won't end up in the Hell suggested by that image of Livia standing in the doorway at the Finnerty family reunion.

But I think what Tony meant -- which he only came to recognize while staring at the desert sun -- is that he doesn't want to die, and his instincts of self-preservation have overwhelmed every last shred of decency he had. More than ever before, Tony is looking out for Tony, first, last and always. He's alienating or humiliating all the members of his inner circle, doing rapid cost-benefit analysis of whether to kill them to fractionally increase Tony's own survival and freedom. (Paulie survived such a calculation; Chris didn't.)

He's a monster. And he's okay with it. And he gets that, finally. I think.

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I see Paulie as the guy Tony should have whacked when he had the chance and not Christopher. Paulie's pissed off and motherless. Recipe for disaster. Tony had the inclination to take him out a few episodes back and Beansie talked him down a bit. If He whacks Paulie then, Christopher doesn't relapse and in all likelihood is still alive.Also, during the "real" Melfi scene this week, Tony talks of his help to Christopher in dealing with Adriana and says something like "wives, girlfriends can complicate things", only Adriana was only a girlfriend and not his wife. Seemed like a famous Soprano Freudian slip to me. Watch out Carmela. Carmela always looking at new places to live as well (the laptop site when Tony calls with news of Christopher's death). Tony's "he's dead" in the casino I felt was not citing Christopher but part of Tony himself. Incredible episode IMO. So much going on internally in Tony's scenes. Love the way all of his indifference to both deaths was interpreted. I wonder what "it" is he "get"s and how that's going to effect everyone else. IMO No way he's still boss after the show is done.

The thing is, Chris would be a risk to relapse at some point and thus a greater detriment to Tony than Paulie ever would be. Paulie doesn't have the nuts to challenge Tony and T knows it.I guess now with Chris gone, the main focus will likely turn to Tony and Carm. That's not a bad thing, they're both sensational actors and I'm sure they'll have something really good to work with here.
Paulie was flirting with the idea of lining up with Johnny Sac years ago. Chris would rather see his fiancee killed then turn his back on Tony. Tony has a shot to kill them both and chooses Chris. Now Paulie has no family and his mafia family (in his old-school eyes) just slapped him in the face. I don't know what's going to happen but I think Paulie's going to have some say in what goes down. Who knows.
maybe, but I don't think he has it in him. it would be a turn in his character to stand up to tony. he even openly questioned it in his own dreams a few episodes ago. he's just a soldier in line. he'll go down with the ship.
:goodposting: If he's openly questioning it in his dreams, doesn't that mean the wheels are turning? Wasn't his exact line to #### in that dream in the kitchen, "Will I stand up?" Something like that? What else do you need?
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My favorite part was at the end when the soul of the dead indian entered Tony's body.

I thought it was the soul of Billy Jack, and now Tony will head back to NYC, kick of his shoes and put a beat down on Phil's crew.
I'm gonna take this right foot, and I'm gonna whop you on that side of your face... and you wanna know something? There's not a damn thing you're gonna be able to do about it.
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This whole thing is just Tony's imagination. The last scene will be of Edie wandering out into a snowstorm, then the camera pans out and we'll see Tony, as some broken down schmuck, shaking a snowglobe... (anybody remember what show ended this way?)

Seriously though, I can't see Tony dying at the end. That's too easy of a way out. Plus I think it needs to be open-ended, this franchise is too big to just close the book, there needs to be possible movies in the future, IMO. Although Chase has said he's known how to end it for a long time, we'll see what happens...

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This whole thing is just Tony's imagination. The last scene will be of Edie wandering out into a snowstorm, then the camera pans out and we'll see Tony, as some broken down schmuck, shaking a snowglobe... (anybody remember what show ended this way?)Seriously though, I can't see Tony dying at the end. That's too easy of a way out. Plus I think it needs to be open-ended, this franchise is too big to just close the book, there needs to be possible movies in the future, IMO. Although Chase has said he's known how to end it for a long time, we'll see what happens...

The snowglobe was the infamous ending to St Elsewhere, which then turned out to be, after all the cross-show crossovers were resolved, one of Bob Newhart's dreams I believe.You're all wrong. Tony had a heart attack in the pilot episode. This whole season is his "What could have been" life flashing before his eyes as he died. The series finale will jump back at the end to him collapsing on the driveway in his bathrobe from the very first episode.
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Tony had a heart attack in the pilot episode.

I must have missed that scene.
It won't be shown until the finale, duh, or else it would have given the whole series away as a dream from the beginning. In fact, Tony is actually an old black dude in Georgia, dreaming of what it would have been like to have been born Italian in Jersey.
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Tony had a heart attack in the pilot episode.

I must have missed that scene.
It won't be shown until the finale, duh, or else it would have given the whole series away as a dream from the beginning. In fact, Tony is actually an old black dude in Georgia, dreaming of what it would have been like to have been born Italian in Jersey.
My bad... I missed the brilliance. :)
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Great review I found online. Long, but worth the read.

The show surged back last week, teasing major developments and imminent changes. Little did we know just how imminent those changes were — fifteen minutes into the episode, one of the series’ central characters is gone, killed by Tony. I always doubted whether Chase would go the route of having Tony kill Christopher; it seemed so obvious, so melodramatic, and that’s why I love the way it happened here. Rather than being a big thing, the cinematic death Christopher would have wanted, it’s so simple — the car crash does most of the work, and Tony just has to finish the job.The whole scene in the car was a deliberate callback to “Irregular Around the Margins,” in which Tony and Adrianna drove to get some coke, and wound up in an SUV-flipping car crash. After last episode, I was surprised to even see Tony and Chris together, meeting Phil. Chris seemed so disconnected from that world at the end of “Walk Like a Man,” and once they get in the car, you can see how removed he is. It’s no coincidence that he puts on The Departed soundtrack at full blast rather than spend time talking to Tony. Tony referenced “Comfortably Numb” last week; it’s the feeling he’s had since coming out of the coma. He’s seeking some kind of thrill to jar him out of the boring world he’s living in, just as Christopher is using drugs because it’s just too hard to go without them.And then the car goes off the road, Christopher’s messed up, and Tony finds out he’s using drugs again. Tony has always felt that Christopher was weak. His addiction made him a poor choice for successor, and given the chance to get rid of him in a clean, untraceable way, he takes it. It’s a chilling scene, no glamour, no grandeur, just a cold-hearted murder.Some people have said that their was no buildup to Christopher’s murder, which is completely off. To digress for a moment, I have to agree with Chase that some of the fans of this show are absolutely stupid in the way they view things, with people unironically insisting that Adrianna isn’t dead, or that the Russian is going to play a critical part in the end of the show. It’s not happening, beyond the fact that it would be an awful cheat on any show, it’s not Chase’s style at all. His storytelling is always clearly telegraphed, nothing comes out of nowhere.Christopher’s murder has been elegantly set up the entire season, with his slump back into addiction, which Tony perceives as a personal betrayal. Another betrayal is his dalliance with Julianna, which Tony is reminded of here. The issue for Christopher is that he could never do anything to satisfy Tony; if he’s doing well, maintaining his sobriety, Tony does everything he can to sabotage that. When Christopher makes his movie, Tony is unhappy with that too, but when Christopher slips into addiction, he’s even more angry. If he does too well, Tony is jealous, if he does badly, Tony is disgusted with him. I would argue that Christopher essentially killed himself by proxy last week when he walked out of the Bing and shot JD. He wound up killing the one person who could actually help him out of the mob life.When Tony sees that Christopher is using, all his issues from previous seasons come to the fore and he does what’s in his best self interest. The genius of this episode is that the rest of it becomes about Tony trying to justify what he did without actually confessing. The baby seat and tree story is the most obvious example, implying that Christopher could have just as easily killed his daughter. And then there’s a lot of subconscious stuff, as he tries to alleviate his own conscience. One of the strongest scenes is when he asks Carmela if there was a bit of relief in her voice when she found out Christopher died, hoping for a subconscious affirmation that he did the right thing.Over that whole scene, we once again had the specter of Adrianna. It seemed possible that Tony would reveal what happened to her, or a version in which Christopher killed her, as a way of taking away Carmela’s pity for him. I had assumed that Adrianna’s murder kept coming up because it was going to play a critical part in either Tony or Christopher’s downfall. Now that Chris is gone, will it come back?There’s been a general motif of Tony’s increased conflict between his guilt and his own self-interest. In a dream, he tells Melfi everything he’s done, then worries that he might have said it in his sleep. Christopher is just one of many, and eventually he’s going to crack and reveal his secrets. He wants to talk to Melfi, he even might want to talk to the feds, just because it’s too much to keep everything inside.That issue is magnified in this episode by the grief of everyone around him. Their sincere feeling is a mockery of the hollow within him. He would argue that they are all putting on a show, reinforced by his reference to Kelli as “a movie star.” He points out the hypocrisy of Chris’s mother’s grief, the fact that her feelings now are marred by the fact that she wasn’t there for him before. At least Tony was there for Chris through his life; it was her failure that turned him into an addict and forced Tony to kill him.One notable thing about the episode is the fact that Tony isn’t so much guilty about killing Chris as he is annoyed that everyone else cares so much. The characters on the show have always been intensely selfish, but I don’t know that it’s ever been taken to this extreme. Much of this season has been concerned with tearing down the mythology surrounding Tony and exposing him for the murderous thug that he is. Some people see this as a betrayal of the previous seasons, but I think it’s consistent with what’s always been there. Tony is no less interesting because we see him this way; if anything, it’s fascinating to watch the pull in this episode, as we’re subconsciously aligned with Tony because we know what he knows. I had some real sadness after Chris’s death, but as the episode went on, I became more interested in the way Tony was dealing with his lack of feeling.Concurrent with this, we get an interesting parallel story with AJ, a story that reveals that, contrary to what we saw last week, AJ is not his father’s son, he still has a conscience, and a naïve wish that everyone could just get along. I don’t think we’ve ever seen him, or Meadow, fully interrogate their upbringing, in the way that Carmela had to interrogate her marriage in the early years of the show. The critical difference between what AJ saw last week and what happened this week was that this victim was an innocent, a guy who was just riding along and happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. He can’t support that, and it forces him to reassess his initial infatuation with the mob life. Notably, he seems to have more of an academic interest this time, the combination of Israel/Palestine and Wordsworth pointing him to a moment where he questions the world he’s been immersed in. Tony had to kill one ‘son’ because he got lost in the world of the mob, but things are looking better for AJ. Now, that could change quickly, but the contrast between AJ’s real moral trauma and concern for those beyond himself, and his father’s thorough self-absorption was very telling.Tony heads out to Vegas, escaping to the West Coast in a sequence that deliberately echoed his Kevin Finnerty dream that opened the season. Coming shortly after Chris questioning him about his stop and smell the roses attitude, it’s clear that Tony is hoping to return to the place he was right after the coma. The first person driving shots echo the opening titles, implying that Tony is moving into an alternate universe. There, no one knows him and he can sit alone, drinking at a bar. If the Kevin Finnerty story was purgatory, this seems to be hell, with everyone utterly disconnected from the world around them, Tony mechanically throwing chips down the roulette wheel.He meets Sonya, a stripper Christopher used to have sex with. He likely chooses to meet her as a way of finding some closure about what happened. If he can engage with this part of Christopher’s life, talk to someone who knew him outside of a world where piety and respect for the dead are valued, maybe things will get better.I love that they had Tony take peyote. Once it came up, I was really hoping it would happen, and I love what happened when he did. The show has always had a strong philosophical and mystical component. Tony’s dreams guide him on a kind of subconscious level, and the sense I got here was that he was in touch with some deeper level of the universe. That’s what allowed him to do so well at roulette, he was working beyond his conscious mind, and in that transcendence, he was able to move beyond the surface concerns that have plagued him for the entire series. The stresses that drove him into therapy in the first place came from his business and his family, here he disconnects from all that, and is able to just get lost in the moment.It’s even more liberating when he wanders out to this endless desert and sees the sun blink, echoing the Costa Mesa lighthouse. I feel like every peyote trip needs to end in the desert, but maybe that’s just Grant Morrison’s Animal Man and The Invisibles talking. Anyway, Tony yells out, “I get it,” and seems to have a moment of revelation.What is it that he gets? Does he remember the Kevin Finnerty episode, or is it something else? I can’t say for sure, we’ll have to wait until the next episodes to find out what he means, but the implication is that he has seen beyond the limits of his identity, and perhaps found a way out of this life. The fact that he constructed the Kevin Finnerty world in his mind implies that he has a strong desire to escape his life, and in this moment, maybe he sees a way. He spent the entire episode disgusted by the charade that is his world, it is in his break from society that he found a moment of happiness.The flashing light always seemed to indicate the presence of death, and maybe Tony has come to terms with his own mortality. He refused to give up his identity and go to the ‘Finnerty family reunion,’ but now that fear may be gone. He treated Christopher’s death so lightly, after the agonizing surrounding #### and Tony B. If it’s that easy to kill, maybe it’s that easy to die.I loved this episode. It’s shocking and thematically dense, everything a good Sopranos should be. I’d imagine the peyote trip will have a lot more to look at once it becomes clear where Tony is going in the final three episodes, in the same way that Kevin Finnerty is only just now starting to become completely comprehensible.I’d always imagined we’d end the series with Tony in a kind of purgatory, not particularly happy, but trapped in a prison of his own creation. Now, I’m not so sure; this ending has such an exuberance and freedom. I don’t think Tony’s back at “Every day’s a gift,” I think he’s closer to “F it all,” but in a good way. He’s seen the pettiness and falseness of those around him — can he go back to a world that’s all a pageant? It’s unclear; all I can say is that I hope this mystical component of things sticks around for the rest of the series, and we go out on a weird, wonderful note, like this episode did.

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