Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Sopranos: Sixth of Nine - Stunner!

Well, after five relatively quiet episodes, The Sopranos finally got down to serious, finale business. It was thoroughly expected, certainly warranted, but what a kick in the stomach it was.

Tony had problems with Christopher from Day One. But the killing of Adriana put their relationship in a new, far more drastic and merciless light. Christopher felt he made the ultimate sacrifice for Tony - giving up, to murder, the woman he loved. And Tony knew that Christopher held something over him - the murder of Adriana - that no one other than Silvio knew about. But since Silvio not only knew about it, but pulled the trigger, there was no way he could ever talk about it. Not so Christopher.

But Christopher never really did talk about it, except in oblique references, to Tony. And that's what made tonight so difficult. For Tony Soprano, and the viewers.

Christopher did do plenty wrong. Just last week he blew away the scriptwriter of his movie (leave it to the writers of The Sopranos to have the writer killed - their commentary, no doubt, on the way writers are treated in show business). It made Tony uncomfortable, understandably, to see any part of his story on the screen. And tonight Christopher was driving, drugged, and the car carrying him and Tony went off the road...

I doubt that Tony could ever have brought himself to gun down Christopher or order one of his guys to do it. Tonight, Tony took advantage of the situation. Spurred by the realization that Christopher's drugs could have led not only to Tony's death in the car, but Christopher's baby - whose car seat was impaled by a branch - Tony takes fate in his hands and suffocates Christopher, who was hurt so badly, he might have died, anyway.

But Tony knows full well that Christopher might not have died, either.

The rest of the show was a haze - for Tony and I bet most viewers. The death of Paulie's Ma provided some comic relief - sorry for the disrespect, Paulie - as almost no one except Tony and Carm show up at her funeral. Daniel Baldwin's appearance of Christopher's funeral reminds us of the importance of that movie to Tony.

After the funerals, Tony takes a trip and has some good sex and trips out with one of Christopher's women. A. J. continues his sorry, petty-criminal ways. And tensions rise between Tony and Phil.

R.I.P, Christopher Moltisanti. Your actor, Michael Imperioli, put in an unforgettable performance of a lifetime.

Useful links:

Naked Bodies, Three Showings a Week, No Commercials:
The Sopranos as a Nuts-and-Bolts Triumph of Non-Network TV
my 2002 article, published in David Lavery's This Thing of Ours: Investigating The Sopranos

reviews of other episodes this final season: The Sopranos: First of Nine, Second of Nine, Third of Nine, Fourth of Nine, Fifth of Nine, Seventh of Nine, Eighth of Nine, Ninth of Nine

listen to free podcast of this review, and reviews of all the other final nine episodes

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