Episode: Long Term Parking (SE5, EP12) Characters: Tony and Carmela
Tony and Carmela survey the land on which Carmela plans to build her spec house
at the end of one of the most poignant episodes in the series. The ground coincidently
looks similar to the woods where Adriana was murdered by Silvio a little earlier,
as if Carmela is about to build her spec house on blood. Tony expresses sadness,
most likely for his cousin. Things are really messed up now. There is the definite
sense of impending doom as if the whole thing is about to collapse. This feels very
much like the ending of THE GODFATHER: PART II, when Michael Corleone is contemplating
after having his brother killed.
09. Hello FBI
Episode: Pax Soprana (SE1, EP6) Characters: The New Jersey Soprano Family and members
of New York Lupertazzi Family
The beautiful instrumental version of ‘Paparazzi’ by Xzibit plays when the
FBI is introduced in the series. At Junior’s inauguration as new boss of the family,
a waiter is secretly making pictures. Then we see that at the FBI headquarters, the
late boss Jackie Aprile’s picture is replaced by new boss Junior’s. The editing of
this scene is an excellent job, as we get a new perspective on the scope and structure
of the Jersey mob hierarchy.
08. Gimme Shelter
Episode: I Dream of Jeannie Cusamano (SE1, EP13) Characters: Tony, Carmela, A.J.,
Meadow, Artie, Charmaine, Christopher, Adriana, Paulie and Silvio
A storm moves through Jersey, literally, that changes all relations and shakes
current positions. The Season 1 conclusion is a beautiful moment in THE SOPRANOS
saga. Tony and his family seek shelter from the storm in Nuevo Vesuvio where they
also meet Tony’s close mob relations. It is a moment where everybody is still as
happy as they can be. When looking into the future it is easy to see trouble ahead,
but now the times are good. Later in the series, this will be indeed a good memory
for the characters involved like Tony tells his son. The final song of the season
is a genius choice; ‘State Trooper’ by Springsteen. ‘License, registration, I ain't
got none, but I got a clear conscience about the things that I done.’ Problems are
solved for now, Junior’s crew is finished and Tony is gonna be the new boss from
next season onwards. Hurrah!
07. Tony’s True Face
Episode: College (SE1, EP5) Characters: Tony and Fabian Petrulio/Fred Peters
The Hitchcock like cat and mouse game in COLLEGE comes to a conclusion when
Tony kills Mafia turncoat Fabian Petrulio by strangulation. With this murder – which
is Tony’s first on the show – THE SOPRANOS shows to be a truly uncompromising series.
The audience comes to the realisation here that they are watching a cold-blooded
murderer, a psychopath that enjoys the suffering of other people. It is therefore
one of the most confronting moments in the series or television episodes in general.
It is especially powerful because of its duality; the murder happens during a trip
Tony is undertaking with his daughter Meadow to look for a college. After the murder,
when Tony is at Bowdoin College, he is struck by a quote on display by Nathaniel
Hawthorne. ‘No man... can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude,
without finally getting bewildered as to which one may be true.’ Very applicable
on Tony’s case. No wonder he is in therapy.
Season 2 of THE SOPRANOS ends the way it started; with a beautiful montage.
This concluding montage features happy images from Meadow’s graduation mixed with
Soprano Family activities; garbage, porn, gambling, stock fraud, prostitution, et
cetera. The very suitable ‘Thru and Thru’ from The Stones plays during the sequence,
which is the perfect choice as the lyrics fill in the lack of dialogue and it helps
to create the perfect atmosphere. The scene ends with a close-up of Tony smoking
a cigar; he overcame all obstacles once again. Then we see the ocean where Pussy
lies forever… This is a brilliant ending to an outstanding work of fiction.
05. The Last Ride
Episode: Long Term Parking (SE5, EP12) Characters: Adriana and Silvio
After a long and heavy rollercoaster ride, this is finally it: the end of the
line for Adriana. Her death at the hands of Silvio is a surprise during the first
viewing because they left out the scene in which Christopher tells Tony about Adriana
and the feds (as suggested by actors Drea de Matteo and Steve van Zandt). The way
Silvio does it is very cold making the scene even more tragic. This is definitely
one of the most iconic scenes in the entire series. Absolutely shattering. Adriana
really is long term parking now and so is Christopher with Tony.
In THE SOPRANOS’ very own Baptism scene (from GODFATHER I) beauty is mixed
with ugliness. The beautiful part is Tony and Carmella attending Meadow’s school
choir performing ‘All Through the Night’ (while on speed, but they don’t know that).
Simultaneously, the ugly part takes place in which Junior extracts his vengeance
on Christopher and Brendan Filone for hijacking his trucks. Christopher gets a mock
execution, while Brendan gets killed for real. Junior’s hitter Mikey Palmice puts
one in his eye, because his eyes were bigger than his stomach (‘Hi Jack, Bye Jack’).
There are few scenes in THE SOPRANOS in which the contrast between the dark Jersey
underworld and Tony’s ‘normal’ family life are shown more effectively.
03. A Very Good Year
Episode: A Guy Walks Into a Psychiatrist’s Office… (SE2, EP1) Characters: Tony, Carmela,
Meadow, A.J., Paulie & prostitute, Silvio, Raymond Curto, Christopher, Dr. Melfi,
Irina, Uncle Junior and Livia
Tony and his crew are back! The introduction sequence of the second season
is a wonderful montage of all the major characters in their day to day activities.
Tony is now boss and the money is flowing in. Livia is still in the hospital, while
Junior is doing the perp walk in an orange jumpsuit. Christopher is watching gangster
movies and snorting coke, Paulie is doing a Bada Bing girl and Silvio is out buying
new shoes. Tony is also hiding his infidelity, while Carmela is baking one dish after
the other. Dr. Melfi is practicing therapy from a bungalow home. A.J. is worrying
about his hair and Meadow is taking her first driving lessons from her father. The
audience is all up to date again. The Frank Sinatra song ‘A Very Good Year’ perfectly
sets the moods for Season 2. This is how you tell a story without dialogue.
02. Bon Voyage
Episode: Funhouse (SE2, EP13) Characters: Tony, Pussy, Silvio and Paulie
‘They had me, Tony.’ After being confronted during a boat ride by Tony, Paulie
and Silvio, Pussy confesses he has been ratting for quite some time. He briefly panics,
but then accepts the fact that he will not be coming back to shore. They have a round
of tequila, a few final laughs and then his three former best friends take shots
at him, but not in the face as he requested. This is the first time, the guys have
to take out one of their own. It’s a bittersweet moment, but in Mafia terms; what
has to go down, has to go down. Goodbye Big Pussy Bonpensiero.
01. Pussy on the Brain
Episode: Funhouse (SE2, EP13) Characters: Tony and Pussy (as fish)
In possibly the best episode of THE SOPRANOS – Season’s 2 finale FUNHOUSE –
Tony is having fever dreams while suffering from bad food poisoning. All dreams have
certain elements in common; danger, cancer (destruction from inside out) and Pussy.
It all leads up to this final dream; the dream in which Pussy – in fish shape – reveals
to Tony that he is working for the government. It is in moments like this that THE
SOPRANOS is at its most powerful; using a dream as a method to really push the plot
forward. In the first season, when his mother wanted him whacked, Tony was in denial
and started fantasising about a Madonna. But he didn’t acknowledge the truth until
he heard his mother speak on the FBI tapes. Now, Tony has learned to listen to his
subconscious. He has been having a strange feeling about Pussy for a long time and
now he is open to the ultimate truth. When he wakes up he knows. The fish is also
a brilliant find. In a macho gang like the Sopranos, it is considered unmanly to
betray your friends. Therefore, it is Pussy – the guy with the feminine name – who’s
a rat. There is also a pussy joke in there, pussy smells like… you get the picture.
The reference is also to death, as in ‘sleeps with the fishes’, and it foreshadows
Pussy's ultimate resting place, the ocean. This dream is the perfect crossover between
the series’ essentials; the mob and psychiatry.