- “They didn’t design it, but they knew how to build it.” Tony understands the concept of learning from the past, he takes Meadow to the forefathers’ church to make a point. He respects and appreciates the glorious creations that would last for generations to come, the honorable nature of establishing trust, dignity and integrity, the cornerstones of humanity, but when pragmatism is involved, such core values are diminished in practice or simply ignored. This overarching theme later comes to shine during Carmela’s trip to Paris (6.11) when she begins to have a dark existential revelation, until Rosalie snaps her out of it; from the subconscious stages of grief to blissful ignorance: “Generation after generation, hundreds and hundreds of years. All those lives. God, it’s so sad…” – Again, is it all a ‘big nothing’?
- Tony’s well aware of what happens around the world, the ripples caused by the builders/destroyers of the past setting the scene for future generations, but like most people he just receives the information and then simply tends to his own business as the waves pass him by. This is perhaps best depicted in Tony’s daily ritual of taking the morning paper witnessed in every season of the show. There are two occasions where he’s interrupted, when outside forces interfere and one (5.01) where he’s not even there to pick it up; the tree that falls in a forest. Also remember how in the series finale AJ was quickly distracted from joining the army when his parents bought him a new car, found him a job at Little Carmine’s film production company and promised to consider his nightclub management plans.
- Horrifying implications of the past are buried deep beneath the mixed rubble of the present, the joyous thrills of today. Tony and Carmela build the spec house on a land which looks terrifyingly similar to the woods where Adriana was executed (also on an implausible, far-fetched note, to the road leading to Tony’s house). In 6.01 the ghost of Adriana haunts Carmela’s very same unfinished house and later during her trip to Paris she appears in her dream, where she’s walking among almost leafless trees, similar to the final moments leading to her death.
- “You work so damn hard to see your life’s dream burn down…” – Will it all be forgotten through “waste” management operations? As quickly as the explosion that starts and ends it all? Rising and vanishing like the same cleansing SUV flames that triggered AJ’s illusive new outlook (6.21) before a brand new fancy car extinguished it, or the flickering sun at Red Rock Canyon which brought Tony his almost-hallucinatory revelation (6.18)?
- “I think about my father. He never reached the heights like me, but in a lot of ways he had it better.” – Interesting how Tony predominantly throws blame at the pessimistic Livia and is partly apologetic with his father. He blames Livia for wearing down this tough guy to a nub; like how he believes she’s doing the same to him. Tony remains nostalgic about the glorious old times and hopeless for the future. Sadly enough, he ends up neglecting both his sons, Christopher the spiritual one, and AJ. A mistake that arguably leads to the abrupt end of his therapy.
- Who or what takes track of all the past actions and their consequences? Tony himself, whom we open to his eye at the morning of the day his life’s about to change forever? Or the all-seeing eyes of the painting and and the dollar bill just hanging there, staring in silence, as if signalling the characters to take a long, hard look at themselves to hopefully realize ‘who they are’ and ‘where they are going’?
Next: (Un)Fortunate Sons…