Which Way for Meadow?

The Sopranos: Season 4 Analyzed; Week 2

Which Way for Meadow?

The Sopranos: Season 4 Analyzed; Week 2

Which Way for Meadow?
Talking television.
Sept. 23 2002 2:15 PM

The Sopranos: Season 4 Analyzed; Week 2

VIEW ALL ENTRIES

Dear Joel, Phil, and Glen,

Advertisement

First, a word of thanks to my fellow columnists for relieving me of the responsibility of shredding the Kobler character—I couldn't have said it better. In this episode, my heart belongs to Meadow and (oddly enough) Adriana. Each has tried to further her need for attachment and the pursuit of identity formation by establishing a romantic bond with a junior mobster. Each has been badly burnt in the process. Meadow's mourning for Jackie is ironic—after all, it's his death that gives her the best chance of escaping the family heritage of moral depravity that life with Jackie would have brought. Meadow stands at the crossroads of her psychic development. The question is, will she learn to put her feelings (of mourning but also disorientation, moral outrage, alienation, and self-doubt) into verbalizable form, "making the unconscious conscious," despite the dangers of doing so in such a family? Or will she continue simply to discharge psychic upset in primitive outbursts in typical Soprano fashion? Will she reflect and take emotional stock or bolt to Europe? A second question: Will Meadow move more toward neurotic or sociopathic functioning, both choices that have been modeled by her father, "vertically split" as he is? (Many analysts believe that a sociopathic turn is foreordained in the earliest childhood years, but this fictional depiction of late adolescence suggests it "ain't necessarily so.")

I admit to pitying the poor Adriana, who of all the characters seems to be the most lacking in any of the seven or more types of intelligence. She is fool enough to bring "Danielle" into her confidence and crushed when she learns her mistake. Ade's childlike longing and effort to achieve a mutually supportive intimacy with a girlfriend was the closest thing to healthy relating she had in her life. The symbolism of her feared inability to conceive (either "think" or "bear fruit") is accurate, if a little heavy-handed. Ade is the purest embodiment of what happens when you sell your soul to the devil and are incapable of seeing it.

Glen O. Gabbard, M.D., is a professor of psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine and author of The Psychology of The Sopranos, inspired by this discussion. Philip A. Ringstrom, Ph.D., Psy.D., is a senior faculty member at the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis in Los Angeles. Joel Whitebook, Ph.D., is on the faculty of the Columbia Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. Margaret Crastnopol, Ph.D., is on the faculty of the Northwest Center for Psychoanalysis and the William Alanson White Institute in New York. All are practicing therapists as well.