Greg, I don’t know if you are aware, but I think you will love the Talking Sopranos podcast. It is co hosted by Michael Imperioli & Steve Schrippa. Very behind the scenes stories. Fascinating.
|Posted: 25 July 2020 at 4:56pm | IP Logged | 3
Thanks for the tip! That would go well with a rewatch from the start. As it stands, I still need to finish my first viewing, but my time and energy have been limited, hence my very slow progress.
That being said...
A really interesting episodes which traces the parallel stories of Carmella and Tony B. as they attempt to lead straight lives...but inevitably find their efforts hindered by their familial connections.
With Carmella, we see a desperate, lonely woman actually having some fun and romance with a Wegler, decent man. Of course, it speaks to her fear and paranoia (a fear justified and underlined for us, the audience, when we see Tony violently assault his own son over breakfast) that she starts sleeping with a gun after she has sex with Wegler. It’s also a nice callback to her first brush with infidelity when she seeks out Father Phil for advice. Phil, of course, is clearly suppressing some jealousy when giving his Fatherly advice to honor the laws of the Church.
Meanwhile, everything is going fine and dandy for Tony B...and then he blows it all. Literally, in the case of the drug money he stumbles across, and figuratively, in terms of his life plans. By giving into criminal temptation, he puts a strain on his relationship with his girlfriend, and ends up severing ties with Kim, his employer. By, y’know, exploding on him and beating him to a bloody pulp without provocation. And, worst of all, he turns to Tony for some less-than-honest work, which is what Tony has been clamoring for ever since Tony B. was introduced to the show.
The cost of past sins is very much the motif of this episode. As she notes, Carmella will always be judged and second-guessed because of who she married. Tony B. Will never be able to escape the temptations of the life he’s tried to leave behind. And Wegler even raises the issue when twisting Mr. Fiske’s arm to give AJ a higher grade. Of course, on the surface, he’s not entirely wrong about giving the kid a chance, but WE know that A) He’s seeing AJ’s mother and taking pains that he most likely would not, otherwise (which is why he dumps her, in the end); B) Not only is AJ an underachiever, but he’s also a cheater.
Nice to see Peter Bogdanovich actually directing an episode instead of just doing his usual acting bit, too.