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Flavio Sapha
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Joined: 16 April 2004
Location: Brazil
Posts: 13005
Posted: 26 June 2018 at 3:26pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Man, I may have watched the whole series 5 or 6
times...with Greg doing this ep-by-ep thing, I may go back
once again!
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Flavio Sapha
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Joined: 16 April 2004
Location: Brazil
Posts: 13005
Posted: 26 June 2018 at 3:29pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

JB: It's interesting, to me, that some have compared this
show with GAME OF THRONES -- not in terms of content,

++++

There´s this clever Wisecrack video that points out that
both shows depict "interregnums", periods of chaos and
transition, due to a void of central power...

Link!
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Greg Kirkman
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Joined: 12 May 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 14982
Posted: 30 June 2018 at 12:17am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

“House Arrest”.


A highly-entertaining, low-key, “calm before the storm” episode. Lots of fun to be had from watching Tony deal with his self-imposed “house arrest”, while Junior deals with his literal one.

I’ve really developed an affection for Junior. Steals ever scene he’s in, and his extreme sarcasm and sailor’s mouth (juxtaposed with his giant glasses and friendly face) are comedy gold. In this episode alone, we see him having to deal with a stent, a CPAP machine, and getting his hand stuck in the kitchen sink. For six hours. Hilarious.

Meanwhile, Gandolfini ably portrays Tony’s boredom and frustration with having to—gasp!—actually spend some time managing his legitimate business. After not having even been in his own office for eight years. Hilarious. 

Nothing of major consequence happens in this episode, but I really appreciated the down time with the characters. Lots of fun and revealing little moments. In terms of character exploration, Dr. Melfi actually gets the most to do, since she’s still struggling with her growing alcoholism and her inability to drop Tony as a patient. 
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 08 July 2018 at 10:08pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

“The Knight In White Satin Armor”.


A great episode which has some big laughs mixed with important developments. 

It’s simultaneously funny and sad to see Big Pussy become gung-ho about working for the FBI...and then his stakeout of Christopher (...who plans to steal Pokémon cards!) ends in that horrific car accident which puts an innocent man into a coma. Yikes. 

Carmella’s increasing depression and paranoia over Tony’s infidelity is moving stuff, too. Edie Falco does a wonderful job of portraying her hard-as-nails exterior when in public, and her vulnerability when she’s alone. There’s also a big laugh when Vic Musto realizes that Carmella came to thank him for stopping their affair before it started, since he’s absolutely terrified of Tony Soprano, and wants nothing to do with his family. And, in addition to Irina name-dropping the episode’s title, and Janice wearing a satin wedding gown, Vic could also be considered Carmella’s hoped-for knight in white satin (paint) armor. A nice, subtle bit a thematic resonance, there.

Quite a twist to see Uncle Junior determine that Tony is better for his operation than Richie. The entire season has been building toward a civil war, or another attempt on Tony’s life, and seeing Junior suddenly take Tony’s side—If mainly for selfish reasons—is rather refreshing.

But, of course, the big moment in the episode is Janice’s murder of Richie. Unfortunately, I was accidentally spoiled regarding this twist, a few weeks back, despite my attempts to avoid spoilers as much as possible. So, it didn’t have as much impact as it would have. That said, it’s quite a shocking moment. One of the big laughs of the episode is when Janice says “He usually takes out the clip!” when referring to her creepy gun-sex roleplay with Richie. Of course, in retrospect, that was obviously a setup for this big twist. Quite a way to (literally) send Janice packing. 

Amazingly, Janice has solved two major problems (namely, herself and Richie) for Tony, and yet the use of “I Saved The World Today” over the closing credits serves as ironic juxtaposition when set against the continuing disintegration Tony and Carmella’s marriage.
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Marc M. Woolman
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Joined: 17 April 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 2001
Posted: 09 July 2018 at 12:09am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Janice is a great character! NOBODY can get on Tony's
nerves as well as she can! :)
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Trevor Krysak
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Posted: 09 July 2018 at 5:20am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

You're nearly up to the third season. Get ready for Ralphie. For fun count the number of Gladiator references. There are a lot of them.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 10 July 2018 at 4:43pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

“Funhouse”.


A very gripping and memorable season finale. It lulls one into a false sense of security, since it initially gives the impression that it’s gonna be a “decompression” type of episode which depicts Tony’s inner life via his fever dreams. Nope!

The dream sequences themselves are properly surreal and well-done. Lots of neat little camera and sound design tricks. And, of course, Tony’s subconscious tells him what we’ve known for some time: Big Pussy has been flipped by the FBI. 

Unfortunately, I knew going in that Pussy wouldn’t survive the series. That tidbit filtered into my brain via the pop culture grapevine, some years ago. That being said, the whole sequence of events is masterfully executed, if you’ll pardon the phrase. Tony makes use of his illness to search Pussy’s bedroom, and things just go downhill from there. The whole sequence on the boat just builds and builds and builds tension. The fact that it’s on a boat allows for the use of handheld shaky-cam, which adds to the tension and uneasiness of the sequence. This is a plot thread that’s been waiting to be tied for quite some time, and it doesn’t disappoint. Pussy is a likable mobster, so his departure from the show is unfortunate. But, it feels properly earned.

Of course, immediately after Pussy’s murder, his “disinformation” causes the FBI to come knocking on Tony’s door, which is a wonderful bit of karma. The ending montage after Meadow’s graduation could be viewed as a sort of “triumph montage” for Tony, since things are going relatively well for him. That last shot of him, back to full health, cigar in hand, could be seen as an ascendant moment. But...there’s an emptiness and a sense of melancholy to the whole thing. Like it’s a hollow victory, since Tony, y’know, just murdered one of his best friends.

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