Quite frankly, there is absolutely no way nor any reason for me to delve into an in-depth analysis of The Sopranos at length. I recognize I am quite a few years behind the times and I am certain no one is holding their breath for a Bunnylogue review of 7 seasons of murderous mafia magic. So as much as I would like to, I will refrain from doing that. What I simply cannot abstain from doing. however, is paying tribute to (I know I may have uttered this a few times before but for real this time), what I can truly say is one of the best premium cable shows I have seen to date.
It is nearly impossible for me to rank the best episodes, the most provoking scenes or sexiest mafia-rific hook-ups with any semblance of finiteness. There are simply too many to recount. But even though it is far too vast and brilliant a series to justly do so, please indulge me while I stream-of-consciousness-ly pay tribute to a few top-of-mind moments of sheer genius experienced along my Sopranos journey.
Season 1 - College. I wrote about this in a previous post so please accept my apologies for repetitive writing but the chemistry between Carmela (Falco) and Father Phil Intinola (Falco's clear personal comrade Paul Schultze) is electric. The scenes between the two characters are electrifying... an in-home communion over the fire, home-cooked Italian meal shared between the good Catholic wife and her priest combined with altogether too much wine. What an absolutely breathtaking sixty minutes. It was the first that truly captivated me.
Season 3 - Employee of the Month. As if Lorraine Bracco really needed to prove her brilliance on-screen any more than she already had up until this point. Although difficult to watch Dr. Melfi get brutally raped, the depth of character portrayed during this episode was magnificent. Melfi showed a side of herself that we were never previously allowed to witness: vulnerability. I salute you, Lorraine Bracco. You. Are. Brilliant.
Season 4 - Whitecaps. Un-fucking-believable. You always felt Tony and Carmela were one day just going to burst at the seams in rage at each other. Or should I say, Carmela to Tony. The tension until now was, needless to say, palpable to the point of uncomfort. Tony's never-ending lies, his incessant cheating and temper... you prayed for her to finally lose it at him. And finally, in this hour plus episode, she does just that. The heat of Carmela's anger burned me through the screen of my iPad. If only all acting could be that fucking real.
Season 5 - Two Tonys. As I have no doubt many others did, I always prayed Tony would profess his love and ask Dr. Melfi to be with him. Taboo as we all knew it was, certain as we were she would say no, there was still that somehow guilty desire to watch doctor and patient duke out the off-limits on-screen. Watching Tony desperately plead for Bracco's Melfi to give him a chance as something other than her patient was so oddly fulfilling. Although she predictably turns down the offer, the episode at last quiets the latent desire... both his and ours. And the kiss. Yeesh.
Season 5 - Marco Polo. This brilliant episode marks the end of the what-we-know-will-be-temporary separation between Tony and Carmela. You can feel the reconciliation building during the sixty-minute birthday barbeque. You know it is coming... and when it finally does (in the pool mind you), all you can do is sigh. How could you take him back, Carmela? But in the end, you know you couldn't wait for it to happen.
Season 6A - Cold Stones. Carm and Ro do Paris. The raw emotions. The stunningly breath-taking Parisian scenery and psychological symbolism. Just wow.
Season 6B - Blue Comet. So much occurs within this we're-almost-there finale precursor. Doors that we don't think will ever close, do. RIP Bobby. A.J. returns to chez-Soprano from the psych ward after his unsuccessful suicide attempt. But the undoubted most provoking plotline lies in psychotherapy. The first jaw-dropper (at least to those with an inkling of psychology protocol) comes when Elliot, Dr. Melfi's own therapist, betrays the identity of his "favorite patient Soprano"at a dinner party. Bracco's Melfi is shocked, revolted and bewildered at the psychological no-no. But the most intense, and much anticipated, moment occurs between Melfi and Soprano behind the familiar walls of her office. In an attitude-ridden spat of therapeutic and human frustration, Dr. Melfi veritably fires Tony. "I don't think I can be of help to you." Disgusted by his relentless arrogance and disrespect and with the knowledge she cannot fix his sociopathy, she cuts him off for good. She stares, then slams the door as he makes his final exit from her office. The scene finally breaks the doctor-patient eggshells that have existed for 7 long years. It is sheer on-screen brilliance.
Season 6B - Made in America. The final episode. No. Words. Needed.
I suppose I went against my initial assertion that I would not do a series review. But what I said above was not intended as an analysis. Really. It is true heartfelt praise for some of the most adeptly-written-and-acted stuff I have seen. While I am sad I have reached the end of my Soprano road, I am encouraged and for the most part, fulfilled. David Chase, a true hats off to you. So that's it, I am finished... but definitely not the same. Ciao. For now.