ACROSS THE SKY
“Woke up this morning, the world turned upside down…”
Tony represents the modern generation of mobsters, the ones who’d now have to deal with personal issues on top of it all; the strong on the outside, weak deep inside, living in the shadow of the RICO statutes and possible indictments, blabbing-to-therapists kinds, no less. Will he be sleeping with the fishes without ever experiencing the sheer thrill of the old days? His life of crime and ‘extracurricular’ pleasures is put on hold when glimmers of mortality strikes him hard. That by general, encompasses everything that could sabotage the precious life and career he’s built brick by brick over the years in a matter of seconds, whether it be the anxiety attacks, mob hits around every corner or simply the family of ducks leaving the pool. When does Tony’s life suddenly take a turn for the worse, or as he perceives it, for the gloomy and the depressing?
Just what exactly is bugging this authoritative, seemingly fearless, menacing mob boss? Is it those repressed feelings of guilt and shame brought upon by the countless times he’s cheated on Carmela or by the countless murders, beatings and other heinous ‘criminal operations’ he’s directly/indirectly been involved in? Or simply the fear that one day it’ll all end, when nothing remains but darkness? If that’s the case, why don’t we see him shifting gears in his personal life and profession, so to speak, as frequently and effectively as Dr. Melfi seems to expect of him? Is it because the euphoric side of his life, the thrill of power, the sweet taste of lust, the sheer sense of arrogance (and by all means, Artie’s delicious recipes!), overshadow the many major wake-up calls? Let’s examine the occasions in the pilot, and by extension throughout major points in the series, where it’s implied that Tony’s life as he’s grown accustomed to could be taken away from him at any moment:
- There are several indications of Tony’s life and its turning points passing him by throughout the series. He is symbolically born again on “the morning of the day he got sick”, as with the MRI session, and again following the coma when he wakes up as a man with no identity, literally and figuratively, eventually having no choice but to pretend to be some guy named Kevin Finnerty whose briefcase he holds possession of. Do these moments indicate an identity alteration or for that matter a midlife crisis? Similarly, in Season 6’s “Seven Souls” opening montage, Carmela wakes up from a dream featuring the already-whacked Adriana. Now she’s got a whole new burden to carry, a quest for redemption which culminates on a sad note during her fateful trip to Paris (“Cold Stones”); an experience equivalent to Tony’s comatose alternate reality.
Next: Across the Sky (cont)…