April 23, 2007

A nicely written episode of "The Sopranos."

There was a fine new episode of "The Sopranos" last night, with two neatly paired stories.

Tony and Paulie go on a road trip. Yes, a reason is trumped up, but the idea is basically to get them on a road trip, where there's lots of comedy (beginning with Paulie packing and revealing his impressive collection of white slip-on shoes) and with that slowly accumulating feeling that something violent is about to wipe that smile off our face.

Meanwhile, Junior is in the cuckoo's nest and his counterpart is a guy named Carter (who is reminding us -- by strange accident -- of the Virginia Tech shooter, Seung-Hui Cho). This is the opposite of a road trip, as the patients are cooped up in room doing things like playing poker with white and red buttons (and Junior will be pissed off at you if you say you think "red buttons" is amusing). Here, too, we love the comedy even as we dread the impending violence.

Only one of the parallel stories ends in violence, though, and we end with Junior accepting the medication that "numbs him down" and Carmela accepting the $2000 Williams Sonoma espresso machine.


George M. Spencer said...

Next episode: Christopher gets hooked on Metamucil, Carmella has a bad Fosamax trip, thanks to that expired Arab/Canadian stuff, and Bo Tocks rubs out Meadow's wrinkles....

Jim Howard said...

Could we please have at least one episode that doesn't involve long hosptial visits?

If I wanted 'General Hospital', I'd Tivo it!

Anonymous said...

Actually both Tony and Junior accept their "lot in life" and "numb down". It remains to be seen if Tony will be attacked as Junior was for that choice.

Ann Althouse said...

Tim, good point. I need to watch the show again, with an eye to the symmetry of the stories. There was so much detail to distract me the first time. Oddly, I can get bored on the first watch, but I find it fascinating when the surprises are gone.

PatCA said...

I think this season is about the "family" ending not with a bang but with a whimper. Nobody wants to be boss. Tony is losing his edge--Paulie is happy for that--and Carmela buries her conscience again in baubles.

BTW what happened to Finn? All of the sudden Meadow is back, without him.

I'm sorry it's all coming to an end. David Chase is magnificent.

John Stodder said...

The Tony/Paulie scene on the fishing boat had such odd cinematography and peculiarly repetitive dialogue, leading up to that fleeting moment when we thought Tony might stab Paulie (because of the joke? because Paulie talks too much? because Tony is a sociopath?), I thought it might be a dream sequence. So far this season, Tony seems to be in a completely passive state, as he said, "waiting for the other shoe to drop," and seemingly apathetic about the outcome.

But another bit of symmetry was Junior's visit from the two elderly wise guys who wanted to spring him using a dentist visit as a pretext. Here were the 20 percent who don't end up dead or in prison, trying to run stupid, toothless little scams. Is that any better? Maybe Tony envies the dead bosses.

The one thing that rang a little false was the brief suggestion (developed more in the coming attractions) that Tony has become a gambling addict. I'm not persuaded, although I'll give Chase every opportunity to convince me. I just remember the contempt Tony had for the sporting-goods-store owner whose life was ruined at the executive poker game. I can't see Tony going that route.

Jody Tresidder said...

My youngest teenage son doesn't remotely know One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

So - slyly -I was able to impress him by "spookily" predicting the young Asian patient (aka The Chief) would try to murder Junior (aka Nicholson's Murphy) if Junior showed signs of relinquishing his ward rebel role. Which he duly did by accepting his medication.

A tiny moment of pleasure for me after so many duff Sopranos predictions over the years.

I'm so glad you linked to your original Cuckoo/Nicholson's-fine-instincts piece, Ann - I also enjoyed it very much at the time!

hdhouse said...

ahhh draw back a bit...Pauli is running his mouth. Tony beds an escort who after T grunts around like a pig in heat, she starts bringing up Pauli...more to follow I'll tell ya' that.

And we probably have to give the girl some credit...that is a bad part on soooo many levels.

ModNewt said...

Anne, I thought the same thing about Carter and Cho, but would we have had that though if he weren't Asian?

TalkLeft said...

I love the dialogue. Like Carmela asking Tony whether he packed sun screen as he's off on a lay low from the law trip.

I think this is all about Tony wanting out from the mob. That discussion last week with the guy from the other family at the golf club who said he won't take the chief's job because he's too into his family and Phil not taking the job either.

It seems like Chase is giving each of the primary players a last episode. We've had Janice and Bobby, Chris (with the Cleaver movie) and now Paulie.

There's bound to be an AJ one.

Ann Althouse said...

There's got to be more about the end of Janice, though don't you think? And much more about Christopher.

I'm going to rewatch the episode tonight.

amba said...

As for Carter being Asian, that was completely incidental. There was nothing specifically "Asian" about the character.