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Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Sopranos: Seventh of Nine: What Rough Beasts

AJ reads from W. B. Yeats' "The Second Coming" ...

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world ...
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Yeats' Collected Poems
This poem pushes AJ to almost committing suicide, and Tony saves him. The poem of course perfectly captures just what is happening to Tony and his family and business as we reach the end of their story in this series.

But the thread of tonight’s episode that struck me as an even clearer picture of Tony’s situation concerned Meadow.

With tension dangerously increasingly between Tony and Phil, one of Phil’s guys comes over to Meadow’s table at a restaurant in Little Italy. He makes sexually harassing remarks to her. Meadow tells Tony.

Tony comes close to killing the guy – he admits later that he “lost it,” over his daughter, but managed to exercise some restrain by not killing this guy.

But this means little to Phil, who ups the insults another big ante…

What else could Tony have done? It would have been understandable as a father had Tony put Phil’s goon completely out his misery – Tony did show remarkable control. But yet he’s paying the price for it, anyway. He did the right thing – the best he could have done under the circumstances – and he is still being drawn, ever deeper, into a pit with no escape.

This has been Tony’s story, and the story of The Sopranos, all along. On the one hand, upper-middle class, even rich, suburban parents, who love their children and want what’s best for them. On the other hand, in a business which, however hard Tony and others may try, inevitably bleeds into their personal lives, as Tony aptly put it in his conversation tonight with Phil.

There’s no getting beyond or away from or out of this. The only question now will be whether Tony and his family can survive. . . .

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, Sixth 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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