Monday, May 07, 2007

Sopranos Rewind: Walk Like a Man

Thoughts on "The Sopranos" episode five:
"Everything turns to (excrement)," laments Tony.

Funny how often he's the reason for that.

Episode Five, "Walk Like a Man," follows the pattern of the Junior/Paulie episode "Remember When," constructing parallel narratives about Tony's biological son (A.J.) and the person he's always treated like a son (Chris). Where "Remember When" was about the pain of growing old alone, "Walk Like a Man" showed the psychological toll of being related, by blood or by bond, to the Family in general and Tony in particular.
You can read the full thing over at NJ.com, but feel free to comment here.

24 comments:

Jim Monaghan said...

I've long thought that the show was as much about what wasn't said as what was, but last night that was even more apparent. Body language spoke volumes. Chris looking at Tony and Bobby during the bbq scene...the look on AJ's face as the acid is being dropped onto that kid's foot (you can just tell that AJ has been sucked right into the life that his dad didn't want for him)...the looks on Tony & Carmela's faces when they think that their parenting skills have actually worked with AJ.

Maybe it's just wishful thinking, but I still think that even if the final episode doesn't have the slam-bang finish that many fans will like, these last few remaining episodes will tie up a bunch of the loose ends that are out there.

Homertojeebus said...

I oved the column, especially the shout-out to my Renata theory. Is it weird that I feel honored to be debunked in a real Alan Sepinwall column? My wife is going to be sooo impressed. She was stoked that you even asked the writers about it.
So, last night's ep? As Chris was shooting Tim Daly, the little therapist in my head deadpanned, "See, that's classic Transferrence..."
Tony and Carm are almost hilariously clueless about their bad parenting. I love Carm's outrage at AJ going to a strip club. I also loved that Tony's denial of AJ's depression seemed to be more out of laziness than anything.
It would be a fitting end to The Soprano's if Tony and Carm were to remain in denial about AJ's depression right up until he killed himself. I wonder if it would even sink in then.
The scene where Paulie was breaking Chris' chops at the Bing was nicely informed by the "Go fuck yourself, Tommy" scene from Goodfellas, providing bonus tension. Does that make J.T. a surrogate "Spider"? Did Chris in effect kill himself?

M.A.Peel said...

Barbara at Chris's party! Maybe she's the key to the ending :)

Adam said...

Seems set up for a tidy ending, if they want it -- as Alan suggests: Tony's info on the "terrorists" leads to a squeeze being put on Christopher, who decides to rat out Tony on the Adriana killing. Man, was he close to just spilling that twice last night as-is.

Abbie said...

What a good episode. And nice call on the many Jasons, which mirrors my real life- all Jasons and Jennifers. It's like the people in my parents' generation didn't know any other names.

I love this AJ storyline. We wondered for awhile if they'd pull Meadow into the Family, but we've proved that she's much too bright for that. AJ never seemed smart enough for it, or never seemed to have the stomach for it, but they've been pushing him in this direction for awhile. I'm excited to see this find a conclusion.

I also loved the JT whacking, which I saw coming a minute before it happened. Still I liked it since he's been on the verge of it so many times. Funny that it was Chris's mistakes that led to JT's death. Good for Tim Daly to get whacked and get closure on his character, rather than just never appear again.

In all, I felt a ramp-up of momentum last night. It's ending!

Anonymous said...

Now if Chris can just follow J.T. to the wellness clinic in Bev Hills and do the same to all the characters that work there . . . .

Homertojeebus said...

I also meant to mention that they had AJ watching my all-time favorite cartoon, "Tom & Jerry", in their most awesome short, where T & J are at war. Is this a joke about AJ being "Tony-Lite", vis a vis Tony's obsession with the History Channel's war docs?

paul c. said...

I'm withholding judgment on this one until we see what happens down the line. The episode didn't break much new ground. Christopher falls off the wagon for about the 132nd time, and AJ is a pathetic loser who seems destined to end up a pathetic thug. And Tony is largely to blame, which we already knew.

There was some incremental movement: Chrissie pulling a Tommy D., and AJ enjoying torture. But it remains to be seen if anything comes of either development, or if these events end up in the Pine Barrens along with the interior decorator. If the former, this is a good episode. If the latter, then it was just more teasing.

Edward Copeland said...

I do think it's significant that Chris was ready to spill his guts when he was sober at the AA meeting as well as when he was plastered. I was watching with my dad who immediately suggested in the AA scene that the guy Chris talked to was a Fed. On a sidenote, the show's opening credits continue to puzzle me. I know most people don't delve into the little things like that, but I don't understand why last week for instance Max Casella was in the opening credits, but this week he wasn't, even though he appeared in both episodes about the same amount. Also, another mystery name popped up in the opening credits, whom I guessing is Carlo, but he's been on previously this year without an opening credits shoutout as well. One other thing: They seemed to be setting up something in the first half of season 6 about Angie Bompianserro being more involved on the crime side of things since taking over Big Pussy's shop, but she hasn't been seen or mentioned this year.

dez said...

It's funny that Tony was so worried previously that Paulie would sing if the Feds ever picked him up, but he's apparently not that worried about Chrissy, who's come *thisclose* to singing loudly (and who gave stuff away in "Cleaver," albeit cloaked in fantasy). It would be ironic if Tony's passive-aggressive selling out of Chrissy to the Feds (which is what I think he was doing when he told them about Ahmed and Mohammed) results in Tony going down for Ade's murder and everything else he's done that Chris has been privy to.

The raven which appeared when Chris was being made may turn out to be a harbinger of doom for Tony....

Homertojeebus said...

Edward Copeland said... "I was watching with my dad who immediately suggested in the AA scene that the guy Chris talked to was a Fed."
I thought that, too. I wonder if there are any legal protections for AA meetings, ie privilege.
Alan,
since you're going to be away, why not post open threads for the other shows and let us write the reviews?

Ted F. said...

How can Chris kill an Emmy-award winning writer with a loud gunshot in the latter's middle-class apartment, do nothing to hide the body, and have no repercussions? I'm also withholding judgment.

SJ said...

I just want to know one thing: what was the name of the song playing at the end when Chris was walking to his home? HBO.com usually has all the music listed but they don't have any listed for this episode.

SJ said...

@ted,

There will be repercussions...else it would be really sloppy writing.

Btw, was it a shout out to Law and Order which Imperioli guest-starred on for a few episodes last year? I think it was.

dez said...

sj, it was "The Valley" by Los Lobos off their latest album, "The Town and The City."

SJ said...

Thanks a lot dez, I appreciate it.

No show uses music better than The Sopranos.

Dark Tyler said...

Speaking of, I thought that Tony humming "Comfortably Numb" in the beginning of the episode was genius. I love it when the show "explains" its subtext with little things like this instead of having Melfi spell it out during some session with Tony.

Also, this week's session featured the best performance Gandolfini has given for some time.

And one final thing, regarding Blanca. Maybe she wasn't intimidated by the money, but by the mere fact that she realized there was no other way out. Remember, she shrugged the moment Carmella revealed that the buyer of her house was actually her cousin. Blanca probably thought, you know, if she's gonna be living with them even after she's married to AJ, how is ever going to distance herself (and her family) from the Sopranos?

SJ said...

Also, did anyone see the callback to the first episode? They showed the naked statue when Tony was sitting in Melfi's office and the shots were similar, only this time Tony looked bored instead of curious in the first episode.

Bramlet06 said...

In keeping with the subject of suicide, one of the songs playing in the Bing was Hot Chocolate's "Emma", a song about a young woman who takes her own life. Don't think it was a coincidence because it really stood out as being an uncharacteristic choice for the Bing and a great song. Also, I hope that David Chase was trying to say something with Carmela's bedtime reading choice (Fred Barnes' Rebel in Chief) in an episode in which she was a particularly horrible person.

memphisJ said...

Did anyone think the AJ "torture" scene was faked (by the college wiseboys) to intimidate the kid who owed money? In other words, hold him down, make him think its real acid, scare the beejesus out of him and then warn him next time, its real. Because if you poured real acid on a kid, cripple him or scar him for life, the college, the family, everyone will know and the gambling operation is busted for good. But if that's the case then clearly AJ thought it was real, or so it seems.

And this fits in with commentary about Tony looking for an out by scapegoating the "terrorists" while his own son participates in some Abu-Grahb torture action. Lots to contemplate.....

Anonymous said...

Note that AJ didn't actually participate in the torture. He wasn't even helping hold the kid down. He's failed at everything else except managing the pizzaria. Will he fail when he actually has to put hands on someone? Will he himself get killed when he wavers? Cannot wait for next week.

dez said...

I could have sworn the acid started "smoking" once it hit his foot. I'll have to rewatch the scene to check.

Anonymous said...

The Acid was probably real. In the previews after the episode there is a quick shot of the kid who had acid poured on his foot walking on crutches. And I don't know if this was ever established in the show, but Tony must have got AJ the pizzeria job since it's Beansie's Pizzeria (written on the aprons). It's not like AJ earned a managerial position.

dez said...

^ I was wondering about the Beansie's thing, too. But even if Tony got him the job, that doesn't take away from AJ's expressed desire to keep working until he owned his own pizzeria franchise. Is that the most motivation we've ever seen from him?