The Sopranos/The Emil Kolar Dream

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The Emil Kolar Dream
"Change my meat to Black Forest."
Episode 1x08 - The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti
Dreamer Christopher Moltisanti
Character(s) Christopher
Adriana
Carmela
Emil Kolar


The Emil Kolar Dream is a dream sequence from The Sopranos episode 1x08 - The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti.

Dream Synopsis

Christopher sips espresso at Satriale's while the song "You" by the Aquatones plays in the background. He is drawn toward the coffee grinder as he hears some of Emil Kolar's last words, "In the Czech Republic, too, we love pork. You ever had our sausages?" repeated over and over again.

As he rounds the corner toward the deli case, he sees Adriana on her knees taking a bite out of a sausage being held out to her by a frozen, disembodied hand. He says her name, but when he looks back, she is Carmela. Suddenly, he sees Emil Kolar standing outside the front window.

In a flash, Emil Kolar is at the front counter, where Christopher is working. Emil orders a salami sub but changes his order to Black Forest ham. The frozen hand gives Christopher the meat for the sub. Emil says he is there to warn Christopher, and he drops four spent bullets on the counter. He says one of the bullets was found in the table. Christopher tries to give the spent shells to the frozen hand, but it grabs him and holds him down.

Analysis

Christopher interprets this dream as a warning from the ghost of Emil Kolar, but Big Pussy later dismisses that notion, saying, "Why the fuck would he want to tell you you're in danger considering you put a moon roof in the back of his head?" Instead, Big Pussy suggests the dream refers to guilt Christopher feels over the killing—guilt which will be soothed as Christopher kills more people. Nonetheless, the "warning" causes Christopher to move the body.

However, Christopher's main concern in this episode is not guilt, and it's not fear of being caught. When Christopher moves the body, Tony calls it the action of someone who wants to be caught—and the dream imagery seems to reinforce this. As a matter of fact, Christopher has been seen complaining in past episodes that the killing of Emil Kolar should have improved his standing in the organization but did not. All through this episode, he seems more upset by the fact that the feds and press seem to be ignoring him than by any ramifications if they were to pay attention to him.

In fact, the key symbols of the dream underscore Christopher's feelings of emasculation, impotence and helplessness. The coffee cup in front of Christopher at the start of the dream (over his lap) is an espresso cup, a small cup, suggesting a small penis. When Christopher moves through Satriale's, he doesn't walk so much as he floats along, as if not by his own power. It is true that the sausage Adriana bites (a castration image) is large, but it is also not Christopher's. What's more, Adriana wears all white—a symbol of purity, even virginity. It's significant that Christopher would picture a woman with whom he has presumably had sex is still a virgin, as though sex with him is not enough to make her no longer a virgin. She also transforms into Carmela, a woman who is both unobtainable to Christopher and who is presumably more powerful than he, as she is the wife of a capo (Tony), while he is merely an associate.

The fact that Emil Kolar comes back to life may not be a haunting but rather a further reinforcement of Christopher's inadequacy—even the man he kills doesn't stay dead. Worse, the ghost is not subservient to the murderer but rather the other way around, as Christopher serves Emil as a mere counter boy. As he does so, a strong wind blows through Satriale's. The Myths-Dreams-Symbols Dream Dictionary states that if wind in a dream "is moving dust or debris," as it is in Christopher's dream, "it may symbolize a possibility of, or a need for change in your lifestyle or self-image." Further, wind is a faceless, shapeless force of nature which carries objects (and people) helplessly along in its path. As Christopher serves Emil, there is blood on the front of his smock over his lower belly, yet another piece of castration imagery.

Even in this menial task, Christopher is inadequate and incapable. Emil's first order is for a "salami sub, hold the mayo." (The word "salami" is a common slang term for a penis.) But Christopher replies, "We're out of mayo." In other words, he doesn't have a viscous white semi-fluid—semen, perhaps? Instead, Emil tells Christopher to "change my meat to Black Forest." There may be several references here: Christopher gets the first order wrong; Christopher is associating the Black Forest in Germany with the Eastern European Emil (in earlier episodes, Christopher demonstrated that he did not know the difference between Poland and Emil's native Czech Republic); or it may be another phallic reference, as "meat" is also slang for the penis, and Emil orders Christopher to "change my meat to Black," perhaps referencing the common stereotype of well-endowed black males. In other words, Emil may be telling Christopher to give him a larger penis than Christopher has. Yet Christopher is incapable even of getting meat out of a deli counter on his own, as it is handed to him by the frozen hand.

It is not too much of a stretch to see the spent bullets Emil drops on the counter as phallic symbols, yet again, they are spent shells, no longer potent, no longer dangerous, impotent. These are Christopher's shells. Emil says one of them "went into the table," again suggesting Christopher misfires his bullets or is incompetent. As Christopher ducks behind the counter to give the frozen hand the spent shell casings to hide them—again something Christopher can't do for himself—Emil taunts him by saying, "You will have our sausages." Once again referring to the phallic implications of sausage, Emil seems to be symbolically threatening to rape Christopher.

Christopher ends the dream completely powerless, held captive by the frozen hand he can't fight or escape from.