Monday, May 21, 2007

The Sopranos: Sins of the Father



Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

--William Butler Yeats, "The Second Coming"
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.

--Exodus 20:5

It all comes back to that swimming pool and those ducks. In the very first episode of "The Sopranos," Tony fed a family of ducks that settled in his swimming pool, and he was saddened when the ducks flew away. Dr. Melfi opined that the ducks represented Tony's family. There have been a number of references back to the ducks through the years, and the swimming pool has served a symbolic function as a reflection of the state of the nuclear Soprano family. In last night's episode, "The Second Coming," the clinically depressed A.J. Soprano attempted suicide in the swimming pool (cement shoes, anybody?). Fortunately for A.J., he had second thoughts, and he used too much rope to keep him under involuntarily. In that first episode, Tony's fear was that his family would leave him, flying away like the ducks. Last night, it looked as if Tony's son would, symbolically, at least, die for Tony's sins, and, at the same time, serve as a symbol of the death of the Soprano family. Moreover, A.J.'s gasping for air when Tony showed up to save him reminded me of Chris's gasping for air just before Tony killed him. Predictably, Carmela blamed Tony--placing the blame on his genetic predisposition towards depression and totally overlooking Tony's profession, her complicity in that profession, and the corrosive effect that those factors might have had on A.J.

Not sure what to think of Melfi's therapist accusing her of enabling Tony's criminal behavior. She has encouraged him to get out of the Life on several occasions, but she also continues to see him despite knowing that he is a professional criminal. Also, with regard to Melfi, I recall her making the moral decision not to tell Tony when she was raped. Last night, Meadow made the opposite moral decision and told Tony about the disrespect paid to her by one of Phil Leotardo's gangsters. Is Meadow making her peace with her father's profession?

I'm not sure what to make of the Lincoln references throughout the episode. Combined with the fact that one of the girls in last week's episode was named Kennedy, I'd guess there's going to be a high level whacking or two in the final two episodes of the show.

2 comments:

Heather said...

Lincoln and Kennedy... My guess is Tony dies :/

mcewen said...

I heard the actor that plays the therapist on the radio - very interesting.
Best wishes