Monday, April 23, 2007

Sopranos Rewind: Remember When

From my column on episode three:
"Things are going great, finally," says Tony Soprano. "Maybe I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop."

So are we, Tony.

As this final season has gone on, fans have been waiting to see who will die, who will wind up in jail, who will rat. If a sad, moving episode like last night's "Remember When" is any indication, the wait might not end -- and that might be okay.
The full thing's up at NJ.com, but you can comment here.

19 comments:

Jim Monaghan said...

Alan -

Any thoughts on the blonde Tony hooked up with in Florida? As she was peppering Tony with questions about Paulie, I couldn't help but wonder if she wasn't working undercover (even if she did take "undercover" a bit too literal).

ooda said...

Jim: That was the same thought going through my head, as it seemed like she remembered names way too easily for what you'd assume is just a dumb whore. Then again, even if she was undercover, it could be that we were just being shown how secretive Tony was as opposed to all the blabbing Paulie was doing.

But damn, it was heartbreaking to see Junior in that state, yet nice to see him at the same time. The asian guy deserves kudos, and while a fuss is being made about it, I don't think the episode needed to be pulled because of him. More bad luck than anything else.

I can't wait for the finale, but at the same time, I just don't want the show to end.

Bobman said...

I thought there was a subtle parallel at the end to the Godfather, with Junior sitting in a chair stroking a cat. Maybe an ironic parallel, considering Junior's current state vs Don Corleone's at the time. But it's still a famous enough image that I can't imagine the writers didn't think of it.

Adam said...

The Carter stuff just took me out of the episode; just hit too close to recent events for me. Kept me on edge the whole hour, and not in a good way.

Also, don't touch Phil's food.

Crewgrrl said...

I didn't make any connection at all between Carter and Cho until I read about it on here. I'm glad they didn't pull the episode.

dez said...

I didn't make any connection, either. Were they really going to pull the ep?

Phil continues to be a scary mofo. The minute Doc took food off Phil's plate, I knew Doc was a goner. I also thought Carter was going to kill Junior, though Uncle Jun probably deserves to live the rest of his life zoned out on drugs, completely impotent.

Question: Do you guys think it was narratively necessary to show Paulie's flashback to BP's death as he realized the kind of trouble he was possibly in? It didn't seem very Chase-like to be so blatant.

Greg said...

dez: I agree about the flashback to when they killed Pussy. I was not necessary and not like the show's usual MO. In fact, now that I think about it, the whole boat ride was not at all how the show usually does things. The close up of the knife, and Tony throwing something at Paulie, and basically the whole scene was way less subtle than normal for the show. I wonder if the change in style itself is meant to signify something?

JD said...

Dez,

The same thought crossed my mind when I saw the Big Pussy flashback. It was a little too on the nose. It struck me as something thrown in to remind the casual viewer that Paulie participated in Pussy's ill-fated three-hour tour.

However, I think having that flashback in there really racheted up the tension. There's nothing wrong with underlining a point or two every now and then.

Also, does anyone get the feeling that Tony's gambling has gone too far? Last week we saw him betting before lunch with Little Carmine, this week he's asking Hesh for money and the preview for next week hints that he's addicted to the high-roller lifestyle. Is this another Chase red herring? Or, could this be a domino effect that pushes Tony to the edge. No cash could make him cooperate with the Feds, or put a bullet in his head. That scenario is doubtful, though, considering that we've seen Tony horde so much cash over the years and mention the use of off-shore accounts.

Just an observation. All in all a great episode. The highlight was Paulie's closet full of white shoes. It reminded me of Cousin Eddie's gift to Clark in "National Lampoon's Vacation."

Kristin said...

Anyone else get seasick just watching Tony & Paulie on the boat?

Ted F. said...

1) Do I remember correctly that the actor playing Paulie has a clause in his contract that his character can't ever be a rat?

2) Both Tony and Paulie were talking way too much. Compare the scene in "Full Leather Jacket" when Tony beats Sean for talking too openly without appropriate respect for the fear of bugs. Paulie's conversation with Tony was like he was doing a bad job of trying to elicit a confession for a tape.

3) The flashback worked for me; it did ratchet up the tension. (And, yes, that boat movement made me feel seasick.)

Edward Copeland said...

The Cheney letter was one of the best gags in a long time. It also was good to see Dominic Chianese get at least one more good episode before the series ends. The parallels between Va Tech and Carter struck me immediately. That's some creepy synchronicity. My only quibble: I never for a minute believed that Tony was really considering whacking Paulie, so while it was mostly entertaining, it seemed anticlimactic since I knew what wasn't going to happen.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Do I remember correctly that the actor playing Paulie has a clause in his contract that his character can't ever be a rat?

Tony Sirico says this all the time -- or, at least, that he made it an unwritten condition of employment -- but I'm skeptical. Nothing in Chase's dealings with actors in the past suggests he would give any of them (save maybe Gandolfini or Falco) that much story input.

SJ said...

I think that picture of Paulie was probably from the days Tony Sirico used to be an actual wiseguy...

I was really, really glad to see Junior...it was wonderful to see his humor and attitude again, which have been one of the highlights of the show. It all ended in such a sad way too...

sean burns said...

Interesting... my take is that Tony never considered whacking Paulie - he was just testing him by setting up all these parallels to Pussy's murder and then aggressively pushing Paulie to admit that he'd told Johnny Sack about Ralphie's joke.

Didn't he say something to Beansie about how "Paulie's never been put to the test?" Seems like he finally was, and he passed.

Once he didn't spill about tattling on Ralph, that's when Tony did the about-face and said to Carmela to the effect that they owe their lavish lifestyle to guys like Paulie.

Has there ever been a sight more pathetic and embarassing than Sirico cackling at Three's Company like that? Makes Junior's wet pants seem dignifed by comparison.

Crewgrrl said...

No doubt. Paulie watching Three's Company was one of the most depressing things I've ever seen. This show is incredible. Doc gets shot in the eye (in HD!) but the scenes that really affect and scares me is Paulie and his sad white shoe existence.

dez said...

That scene was the first time I truly felt sorry for Paulie. He's a lonely old man. Of course, he's reaping what he's sown, so there's that.

ooda said...

That and you know if he was killed, no one would really care.

dez said...

Did anyone else see the "Making of Cleaver" special? I finally caught it this week and it was hilarious. I especially liked the way they used scenes from past eps to illustrate what Christafuh and Carmine were talking about as they recalled how the ideas came to them for the film or their pursuit of Ben Kingsley, etc. But the best was the way they continually diminished the director's role (paraphrasing: "We heard about an up-and-coming indie director who was really good, and he knew this guy [points to the one they hired]").

Abbie said...

I have a question about your article, Alan. I know I'm days late, but I was out of town and couldn't see the episode until last night.

You say in the article that Bacala has to kill in order to be a made man. I thought he was made, but just wasn't a capo. It's hard to believe that he would be as trusted (especially as he originally came from Junior's crew) as he is without being made. But I am not as familiar with the terminology as others.

I too thought the Cheney gag was about the best of the year. And I am always happy to see Ken Leung.