Tuesday, April 04, 2006

the fleshy part of the thigh

Ok, all you Sopranos fans can simmer down now about the early and excessive dream/induced coma imagery, both to those trying to quickly to interpret it all before the full work can be seen and those who tuned off after Tony woke up in the Ocean County Purgatory Hotel. For those of you just tuning in, Tony Soprano was shot by his deranged Uncle Junior. Finally awake as of last week's 3rd episode's end, as of last Sunday night's episode he is fully engaged and although calmer than ever, is still capable of being righteously enraged.

Last night was all about Facing Reality, as Tony thinks about his belief in evolution and duality with the help of other patients (a gangsta rapper shot 7 times and a physicist with a sinus infection), Paulie Walnuts finds out is mother is his hoo'ah aunt, Sister Dottie and Jason Barone discovers the various truths of doing business in the carting industry. Waste management is a different corporate culture indeed. And the grimacing picture of Paulie with the award for 'excellence in recycling'. heh.
Of course, last night's star was Tony Sirico, layering pathos and self-realization and psychological distortion into a character often treated as comic relief. And the crying in the hall, kneecapping the guy because his mother begged for his life--because he was jealous, and ashamed. Many of his best lines came in the scene where he talks about EBIDA, and when Tony mentions his daughter is thinking about a career in medicine, and Paulie pipes up, 'She's also considering law!'. But then consider the menace with which he shames his mother about how great he has made her life while her own children have done nothing for her, including the 'massage chair from Sharper's Image'. And after a rebuke from Tony about his abandonment of Nucci, his ersatz Mah, (All the times she bailed you out of the can?), his twisted sense of justice leads him to make the guy whose own Ma was just begging for his life the source of the money to keep Nucci at the 'retirement community'.

And then there was Tony in the hospital with all the other patients.
Of course, here the entire ensemble shined, proving it to be a future classic episode: consider Chrissy rebuking Tony's observation on the relative longevity of the earth and the insignificance of humans; "I don't feel that way." It was so heartfelt. Oh, and as a former Blockbuster employee, nice product placement. Although I think Aj's job there will last until Carm goes into BBV one day to find Captain Corelli's Mandolin. Also, the "wallet biopsy" is another spot-on observation about our health care system. one of things this episode was saying is that we're all just one medical emergency from going broke. And it does get it across nicely that, yes, there are "bigger crooks" than Tony. Ambulance drivers are notorious about looting the unconscious. They figure that even if you survive, you can't prove anything, and they're right. And Bobby's claim to be a marksman was hilarious. I know it was the C-plot and unclear in resolution, but I still enjoyed the reference to Bobby's hunting experience (harkening back to his earflaps in the 3rd season Pine Barrens).

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