03-20-2006, 07:27 PM #1
- Join Date
- Jun 2005
Soprano's Episode 2 : Warning SPOILERS
If you haven't watched it yet, don't read this!
(Side note, note the name of the episode...Hotel California...by the Eagles. ".....up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light... ....this could be heaven or this could be hell...."
> Tony checks into the Hotel California
> Monday, March 20, 2006
> WARNING: This column contains major plot spoilers for last night's
> "Sopranos" episode. If you're waiting until later in the week to
> watch, read on at extreme peril.
> IT'S NOT a dream. It's Purgatory.
> When I had my annual summit with "Sopranos" creator David Chase a few
> weeks ago, I complimented him on having the onions to put a major
> dream sequence like this so early in the season, considering how many
> fans complain about the dreams.
> "I, frankly, would not call those (episode two
> scenes) dreams," he said, which sent me scurrying back to watch my DVD
> over and over again, until (with some help from my wife) I got it.
> Here Tony's stuck in Orange County, quite possibly the most
> personality-free corner of the world, with no way to leave (a k a
> Purgatory). On one end of town is a shining beacon (Heaven), on the
> other, a raging forest fire (Hell). Over and over, he stops to assess
> the worth of his own life, asking, "Who am I? Where am I going?"
> Then he steals the identity (sin) of Kevin Finnerty
> -- a heating salesman who lives in one of the hottest states of the
> union (Arizona) -- checks into another hotel, and falls down a red
> staircase, at which point he learns he has Alzheimer's (eternal
> damnation). And while Carmela's busy in the real world telling him
> he's not going to Hell, Tony's in Purgatory debating whether to tell
> his wife this is exactly the fate he has in store.
> It may be hair-splitting to call this something other than a dream,
> but Tony's misadventures in Costa Mesa were much more linear and
> coherent than his regular dreams have ever been. There were important
> details scribbled in the margins (the bartender joking, "Around here,
> it's dead," or the "Are sin, disease and death real?" commercial on
> the TV), but there was an actual story here instead of Tony bouncing
> from one surreal tableau to another.
> Still, Chase followed last week's watercooler cliffhanger with an
> 11-minute opening sequence set in a world that's not our own, with a
> Tony who wasn't quite right (it's startling to hear James Gandolfini's
> natural speaking voice), and only one split-second nod to the shooting
> (the brief flash of the doctor shining a light in Tony's eye mixed in
> with the chopper spotlight).
> For years, most of "Sopranos" fandom has been divided into two
> intersecting sets: those who watch for the whacking and crude humor,
> and those who watch for the psychiatry and art-house storytelling. By
> putting the shooting right next to Tony's afterlife business trip,
> Chase is pushing his chips to the center of the table and telling the
> audience they had better go all in -- murder and therapy, flatulence
> jokes and metaphysics -- if they intend to stay at the table for this
> final season.
> So will Tony ever get to check out of this hotel, and, if so, where
> will he end up? Again, I can't say, but if this season is going to be
> about a moral accounting for all of Tony's sins, then there's no
> better place to start.
> Back in the physical world, give Edie Falco the Emmy right now. Just
> give it to her. Seriously. Do not pass Go, do not collect other
> nominations, just ship the statuette to her apartment today. There is
> no way any other actress on television is going to have two better
> scenes this year than Carmela's hallway breakdown and her monologue to
> Tony, scored perfectly to Tom Petty's "American Girl."
> And is there an Emmy category for Best Silent Hug?
> Because Michael Imperioli was pretty great when he put his arm around
> Carmela in the hallway. I know scenes where characters sob or give
> long speeches are stock award-show bait, but these performances went
> so far past showing off that I actually had to look away a few times
> out of a feeling I was spying on a private moment between real people.
> Some other random notes:
> The song played at the end was Moby's "When It's Cold I'd Like To
> Die," with vocals by Mimi Goese.
> The voice of Purgatory Tony's wife wasn't played by Annabella Sciorra,
> or any other actress who's been on the show before; she's just a
> generic non-Carmela female voice.
> Boy, Janice's gift for making every moment of every day be all about
> her survives even her brother's shooting, huh? She shows up at the
> hospital, pretending she's there to help comfort Carmela, then
> immediately spazzes out so she's the center of attention. If I didn't
> know Janice so well from the last four seasons, I might have found her
> freak-out genuine, but this is Livia Soprano's daughter, people. And
> speaking of which...
> Did you catch AJ throwing Livia's "Poor you!" at Meadow during their
> hybrid car argument? That's at least three other characters who've now
> used the old bat's pet insult (Tony and Gloria were the others), and
> it shows just how rotten and contagious the Soprano genes are.
> Meanwhile, you have AJ trying to have his Michael Corleone moment with
> his plan to murder Junior, but the kid's still too dumb and weak to
> even pass for Fredo. Loved that he chose to waste all the good will
> from Carmela by telling her he flunked out of school.
> (If those other two scenes don't get Falco a drama actress Emmy, maybe
> she can win the comedy award for her delivery of "With your father in
> a coma!"
> The overall mood was grim, but Vito had the line of the night, if not
> the season, when he speculated about Eugene's suicide, "Maybe he was a
> homo, felt there was no one he could talk to about it. That happens,
> too." Oh, Vito, project much?
> In the days after the premiere, many people floated the theory that it
> was really the finale and the rest of the series would be flashbacks
> leading up to Tony's shooting. Obviously, that's not the way things
> are going, and it wouldn't have worked, since not enough of interest
> had happened to the characters since we saw them last. Yes, Janice and
> Bacala have spawned, and AJ's hair is longer, but it's not like we
> came back from hiatus with Silvio missing and Chris wearing an
> eyepatch. The premiere established that Tony's life had been
> profitable but uneventful since his jog through the woods.
> Now, is Agent Harris really that in love with Satriale's veal parm, or
> he is baiting a hook to turn Christopher into a cooperator? Nothing on
> this show is a coincidence, and a few scenes after Harris mentioned
> Matush, the terrorist-supporting drug dealer, we saw a couple of
> Middle Eastern men chatting up Chrissie at the Bing. Hmm...
> Alan Sepinwall may be reached at
> firstname.lastname@example.org, or by writing him at 1 Star-Ledger Plaza,
> Newark, N.J. 07102-1200.
03-20-2006, 11:03 PM #2
WOW...that was a great article. I agree with most of the things he said, and (admittedly) wasn't quite sharp enough to pick up on the details as the reviewer did.
Thanks for posting...
03-20-2006, 11:06 PM #3
03-20-2006, 11:24 PM #4
Interesting, and yeah, I am pretty sure that with Junior in prison and Tony in the hospital it will leave rocket scientists in the art of diplomacy like Phil, Paulie, Christopher and Silvio the opportunity to fuck it up like champs...
03-21-2006, 09:25 AM #5
- Join Date
- Jun 2005
I didn't pick up on most things either, or if I did I analyzed it incorrectly.
One of my mustang club members posted it on our club forum.
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