May 18, 2004

New Interpretation of Soprano's Dream.

Now I've rewatched the episode of The Sopranos I wrote about yesterday, and I have also been reminded that they are still doing another season (something I'd previously read they were not). Since there is to be a final set of 10 episodes next year, that affects what this season's pay off can be. It doesn't mean Tony can't get killed, though. It's shocking to kill off a lead character early (Psycho is the classic example), which might make it a good plot idea. Godfather II went on and was quite great without Marlon Brando. Also, since Gandolfini has been troublesome, that makes killing his character compelling for non-plot reasons. Let Buscemi take over!

So here's my interpretation of the dream and new prediction. In the dream, two key things happen to Tony. First, he's being instructed to do something (the phone call at the beginning, the constant pointing), which appears to be to kill someone. Second, he's constantly experiencing impotence (he doesn't have a gun, the gun malfunctions, Christopher takes his Toblerone, he loses his teeth, the coach who's chewing him out has a big cigar). I think the person to kill, based especially on the way he is driven up to the house in the car of death, is Carmela. When he is in the house with Carmela, he's on a horse, which she disapproves of. His being on the big horse obviously represents having sex (there are several other incidents in the dream that combine riding a horse and having sex). The horse is another one of the many phallic symbols in the dream. But here he is successfully riding the horse and approaching his wife: but she turns him away. In his real life, his horse was burned to death, and in this episode, before the dream, his girlfriend is badly burned. So the horse represents both sex and death. One could say the dream means he must either kill or get back together with Carmela. In the dream, there is also the idea of another man doing the murder instead of him. His cousin (Tony/Steve Buscemi) arrives at a scene and shoots a man before Tony Soprano can, so I think there is a good chance that cousin Tony will arrive at the scene and kill Carmela before Tony is able to. Tony will have a failure of will, as he had 20 years ago, when his impotence left his cousin to do a crime without him, to his endless shame. His failure as a man is tightly interwoven with the story of cousin Tony, so the key role in the end for cousin Tony makes sense.

The appearance of Annette Bening in the dream reinforces the prediction that Tony will try but fail to kill Carmela. Bening appears in the dream as herself. Other movie stars appear in the dream, but on a TV screen, in their roles--most notably, Gary Cooper, in High Noon, who is the model of a man who has some killing to do and does it. Bening appears in person, at the restaurant, and interacts with Tony. Now, clearly, Bening is most associated with the movie American Beauty, which has a marital breakup at its center and ends with the shooting death of the husband. In the end of American Beauty, Bening drives up to the house with a gun--she's got herself a gun--yet it is someone else who gets there first and does the shooting. Now this might mean that Carmela is going to be the one who tries to kill Tony, but I think all of the impotence symbolism in the dream suggests Tony will go to kill Carmela and cousin Tony will end up shooting her. It's hard to believe Carmela will die, but it would be very shocking, and there could be a great death scene. Emmy for Edie Falco. Oh, what the hell: let Tony die too (or instead). The new season: it's all about Steve Buscemi, the new boss, who hung an I'm-the-boss plaque on his wall in this episode.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

You've taken it much deeper than I have, but many interpretations are similar. I'm assuming that Tony Soprano's cousin Tony needs to be killed for messing with the New York family. Tony Soprano regrets having to do what needs to be done.

John O

Anonymous said...

While I admire your close reading and definitely agree that there is a motif of marital distress running throughout the dreams, I think you're misinterpreting the crowd scene. The man who Steve Buscemi shoots is a high-up in Johnny's New York crew, with whom Tony has an important personal and professional relationship. Not to mention that the shooting will basically bring gang warfare raining down on the Soprano family. So Tony was actually supposed to kill Steve Buscemi, to prevent this type of chaos from breaking out. I think will see Tony kill Steve himself in the next two episodes.

Ann Althouse said...

Maybe it's just me, but I find the NY people uninteresting. I know a plot is being worked out on that front, but I find it hard to believe that is the way this season is going to pay off. I realize the guy cousin Tony shot in the dream was one of these minor characters that I don't bother to keep track of, but I feel he's a stand in for one of the important characters. This season the important characters, in addition to big Tony, are: cousin Tony, Carmela, Adriana, and Christopher. Maybe Meadow. The ending needs to converge on these people. The NY gangsters are only important, I'd say, for the way they affect the relationship between Tony Soprano and his cousin. They may be important gangsters, but they are pawns in plot terms.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Carmela will shoot Tony. He survives, but is permanently affected in some way. Temporarily in a wheelchair? Pronounced limp? Now we're back to the impotence theme.

Armen said...

Also for the Horse scene, horse acts as the word 'whores'...She mentions that she cant stand the smell and 'shit' it leaves around the house. this is referring to the smell of womens perfume she found on his clothes, and the fake nail she found once...

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Gary Wilcox said...

Wow, you were really way off. For one, Tony did not suffer from a psychological inability to do the job with his cousin. He suffered a panic attack due to an argument with his mother, which had nothing to do with the upcoming job. Second, even without knowing the future episodes, Carmella was never a target. Aside from the Godfather reference of the gun in the bathroom, Carmella was never suggested. The economic pressure of dealing with his cousin over the unauthorized hit in New York had been building. Towards the end of the dream sequence Tony was clearly told that his cousin needed to be stopped before future events transpired. Most of the dream (that made any sense) was about his struggle to come to terms with his "duty."