Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sopranos Rewind: Stage 5

My thoughts on "The Sopranos" episode two, "Stage 5," are up at NJ.com. After you read it, feel free to comment here.

UPDATE: I also have a very spoiler-y interview with the whacked castmember up at NJ.com, so if you didn't watch the episode yet, don't read it.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great episode, excellent recap, and dead-on about Christopher McDonald, but the best line of the night... "Isaac Newton invented gravity cause some asshole hit im wit an apple"

Great contrast with last week's episode, as this week the camera hardly spent more than two minutes at a time with any character or scene. Even the "Cleaver" plot line, which has up until now felt sub-standard, really delivered on a level that was, if not a little unusually blunt for The Sopranos, thematically aligned with everything we've seen lately from Tony and his relationships in the big family.

This week's ending with Phil's ode to vengeance and the Tony/Chris/Phil montage may be one of the most intense build-ups Chase has left us with in 6 seasons of ups and downs, and I thought it recalled (on a not nearly as brilliant/awesome level) the eery season-6 intro montage, though maybe it was just the unique song choice. Truly, this was the type of anticipation usually reserved for the "next week's previews" after the episode. Can't wait to see where we go from here, and whether this is all one big set up for THE END or if there will be some serious bumps along the way.

D said...

I really enjoyed the episode, but it committed two of my least favorite Soprano tropes. First, bringing in Melfi at the last minute to tell Tony (and the audience) just what he's feeling so everyone gets the THEME of the episode. Second, wanting to tell a story about Tony feeling old and worrying about his memory, so they tell a story about Johnny Sack feeling old and worrying about his memory. It's just the laziest possible parallel and they've done it a number of times.

SJ said...

Another thing: The Indian guy who was John's doctor (Gupta) is the same guy who plays Jack Donaghy's assistant on 30 Rock, and also plays Sanjay on Weeds.

Great episode and great recap.

Alan Sepinwall said...

My interview with Vince Curatola.

Dennis Wilson said...

So are we supposed to draw any parallels between the baaptism scene in this ep and those in The Godfather?

Dennis Wilson said...

"Baaptism." That's when you christen a sheep.

Anna Laperle said...

Sad to see Johnny Sack go like that. As a character, he's someone who has evolved steadily over the years, becoming something quite interesting and formidable. Whether ally or foe, he provided the perfect contrast to Tony in almost every way. As a leader, he was decisive, often vicious, cool and aloof. As a husband and father, he was loyal, dedicated, loving. There's very little romance on The Sopranos. But John was as near a romantic figure as you could get on this show. He was, as Terence Winter said, the last chivalrous man.

Anonymous said...

Alan, the punk poet you mentioned is interviewed a few times in the documentary "Punk: Attitude," and man, is that guy a cautionary tale about the rock and roll lifestyle. He looks 600 years old and makes Keith Richards seem like an Olympian.

Pandyora said...

My favorite line had to be The Hairdo's ernest explanation to Silvio about the meaning of Phil Leotardo's heart attack:

"Don't you understand, its a metaphor. He lost his balls."

God bless Terence Winter, King of the Malapropism.

Chris said...

"So are we supposed to draw any parallels between the baaptism scene in this ep and those in The Godfather?"

Dunno, but I drew a heck of a parallel between the setting and camera position at the scene of The Hairdo's whacking and Michael Corleone's first murder at Louis' Restaurant in the Bronx.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Chris, good call, and not finding room to discuss the Godfather parallels (after Winter's previous Johnny Sack episode, "Mr. & Mrs. John Sacramoni Request...," was so filled with allusions to the wedding scene in "One") is one of two big regrets about this column. The other was not being able to mention Dr. Kupferberg totally giving into his mob fascination ("I called this Santoro thing a year ago!").

Abbie said...

Good episode, and who knew Johnny Sack would die in Missouri, my home state? I wasn't aware of the federal prison hospital in Springfield until this episode.

I loved the way the sound went out on Silvio and the use of slow-motion as the Hairdo was being killed. It sounds kinda cliche on paper, but it didn't end up being that way at all.

dez said...

Dr. Kupferberg totally cracked me up with his "I told you so!" moment. Made me wonder how much he listens to Melfi during their sessions and how much he picks her brain for mob tidbits so he can make predictions like the one about Santoro.

The scene with The Hairdo getting whacked was made more powerful thanks to the cut in the sound. It gave a greater sense of how surreal that situation must be, especially for Silvio, who was in mid-sentence when he got splattered.

Old Man Snap said...

"... with f*cking murder in their eyes..."

I could swear this line popped up in the song as Chris and Tony hugged and the camera shot a close-up of Chris' eyes.

The foreshadowing is almost too obvious, but I still pause and wonder if Chris really will be the one who takes Tony down.

One brilliant part of the show is the continued tie-in to Aide's death.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this all plays out.

Andrew said...

I was glad that I'd watched a few Season 6 episodes with On Demand earlier yesterday, because it's hard to keep up with all of the different members of the New York family.

dez said...

Reading the HBO recap of the ep where they mention that Johnny Sac shared mob stories with the orderly (Sydney Pollack's character) & other inmates made me wonder if anything he said could come back to bite the NY Family in the ass. Was the orderly really an oncologist, or a smart FBI plant? Just because he told tales of old-school mobbery doesn't mean the Feds can't tie them in with modern mob events. It would be sort of amusing to see Phil getting ready to whack Chrissy (or another of Tony's crew), only to get arrested right before because of something Johnny Sac gave up in prison to his "doctor."

Alan Sepinwall said...

Dez, Chase wouldn't do that. He's never gone the shocking twist route. If Warren was a rat or a plant, we would have known about that ahead of time. He was just somebody for Johnny to talk to so Vince Curatola didn't have to spend his entire final episode moaning quietly to himself in a hospital bed.

dez said...

I would find that less shocking than I did the thing about the gun Tony dropped years ago coming back to bite him :-) At least I expect rats to be crawling all over this show.

Is that "Making of Cleaver" thing really on tonight, or was that just a clever clip on HBO's part?

Scott Tobias said...

I'll confess to missing the tone of last week's episode—that lakeside idyll struck such a perfect tonal contrast to the explosive emotions that would eventually surface. But I'm not going to gripe about another first-rate episode, which further assures me that the show has regained some lost momentum as it heads to the finish. Of course, Tony's fate isn't far anyone's minds as it reaches its conclusion: Phil and Chris have emerged more powerfully as potential instigators of tragedy, and I'm inclined to agree with Alan that Tony is damned to a fate worse than jail/death. (Given the inepititude of the authorities, I think we can rule out prison, can't we?)

TL said...

So are we supposed to draw any parallels between the baaptism scene

Still trying to parse that out. During the baptism montage in One, Michael was "settl[ing] all Family business." Doesn't seem like much was "settled" between Chris and T.

The "Making of Cleaver" really is on tonight, at least according to the DirecTv DVR guide.

dez said...

Thanks, tl!

pianodan said...

I loved the way the sound went out on Silvio and the use of slow-motion as the Hairdo was being killed. It sounds kinda cliche on paper, but it didn't end up being that way at all.

I cracked up when later, Silvio said something like "I didn't even realize what was happening until after the first shot." Seemed like a way to excuse the atypical non-realistic filming.

Forgive me, but I just caught up with last week's AllTV posts. So on the Monopoly-green-hotel topic: My guess is that Parker Brothers didn't give permission to show their product in the episode. Did we ever see a clear shot of the game board or any of the pieces or money? As I understand it, TV characters can talk about Monopoly (or other commercial products) to their heart's content, but producers have to get clearance to show such products onscreen. Thus the props department had to create a fake Monopoly hotel, with the wrong color, to avoid infringing on intellectual property.

Overthinking much?

Long-time reader, first-time commenter, by the way. You rule, Alan!

rockovergraceland said...

I’d love to see a spin off with Christopher in Hollywood via Bugsy Siegel...cheers best stuff written bout da show ....loved the line 'a certain Italian American subculture' by the late Johnny Sacks

dez said...

Aw, crap, I got home late and missed the "Making of Cleaver"! How was it? Anyone know if/when it will repeat (or if it's online)?

M.Chavez said...

I missed it as well, but it's on again tonight, and throughout the week. I can't wait to see the fun they have with that!

dez said...

Do you know what time, m.chavez? They don't always list the little shows like that in our local paper. Thank you!

paul c. said...

dez,

It's on HBO at 8:20 pm (eastern) Wednesday. So says TIVO, anyway.

dez said...

Thanks, paul c.!