After a series of episodes tinged with foreshadowing, last night's Sopranos episode was wall-to-wall foreshadowing. But what did it all mean? We have to pick apart the lengthy dream, full of old characters and movie/TV references. This is an episode that you have to talk/read about and then rewatch retalk/reread and write about. HBO really is aiming to take over our lives. I've always found it hard to keep all the secondary male characters straight. I've just never cared enough about the complicated criminal ties, even though I know understanding this sort of thing would make watching the show much more fun as various connections pay off in plot twists. I often read Television Without Pity recaps and think: Oh, so that's why they went there/did that, etc. (Aaron pays attention, so we don't have to.)
But it's certainly fair to say there will be a bloodbath in the end. These midseason episodes are marking the time until that happens, holding back the tide of blood. The device chosen to mark the time in last night's episode was the long dream, and you don't really have to get suckered into analyzing it and talking about it, as they want you to do. But what better media experience is available to us right now to take our minds off the troubles in the news? Going to see golden actor boys hit each other with their shields in Troy? Wondering if the force that is Diana DeGarmo will really continue to gather strength until the tiny teen defeats the towering Fantasia? I think we might as well speculate about just how the anticipated bloodbath will play out. We know Tony will die in the end, don't we? So the questions really have to do with other things, such as who will kill him. I offered my choices on this subject last week. Today, I'm just going to predict that the bloodbath will take place in Artie's restaurant.
For one thing, the entire show began years ago with an episode centered on Artie's old restaurant: the dramatic action began with Tony's attempt to help his friend by torching the place to spare him the notoriety of having a mob killing occur there. So it would be nicely symmetrical to have the whole story end with a big mob killing there. For another thing, there have been many dark, foreboding scenes in the restaurant this season, suggesting a spiraling closing-in on the place. And finally, the restaurant was in the dream: Tony arrives late for dinner, loses another tooth, etc. Artie was in the dream car full of dead characters.
My Clue-style prediction: Janice, in the restaurant, with ... oh, I have no good ideas here ... a fork.