Why Dr Melfi Stopped Seeing Tony

The more important part of The Sopranos ending

Jacky Tang

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Photo by Heather Wilde on Unsplash

Dr Melfi has always stuck to her guns with Tony, believing she can understand him and help him change. She always kept her doors open to Tony despite his unsolicited advances and her potential danger. Even when she was told about that paper, she resisted. She didn’t want to believe her practice was being used, she was being used, to justify Tony’s behavior and even possibly encourage it. At first, it seems like the answer is straightforward. Dr Melfi reads the paper and realizes that she is wrong. Tony cannot change. There is nothing good about him after all. So she ends things with him.

But that would be cutting The Sopranos short.

I only watched the show in this year (2022) after learning that it was the stepping stone for Breaking Bad, one of my all time favorite shows. As soon as I watched a few episodes, I understood why it was such a big deal. Sure there’s the great acting, funny and tense writing, and memorable characters and moments. However, the real soul of the show is in its deeper layers and themes weaving from season to season.

At the heart of it, The Sopranos was about all about people that wrestle between who they truly are inside and who their world shapes them to be. Chris wanted to be a film maker. Paulie a good son. Carmela a good Catholic. And Tony a caring provider. The mob life, however, required them to be an entirely different persons, to hold the line and set the example, to follow their family code with a heavy hand. Each character, whether they were mobsters or not, were all heavily affected in their own way by the presence of the family and its extreme actions.

Dr Melfi was different.

The original premise and pilot of the show was a mob boss that goes to therapy. These sessions between Dr Melfi and Tony was very much at the core of the show. So much so that even other characters like Janice, Meadow, AJ, Carmela, and even Dr Melfi herself would have their own therapy sessions. Chris would go to rehab. All the characters were either working in the family or relatives of the made men. Dr Melfi was the only one outside. She only knew about the family through storied from Tony himself or from news on TV or shared by her outer circle. So, to…

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Jacky Tang

A software-psychology guy breaking down the way we think as individuals and collectives