On the home stretch already. Bear with me a few more pages and I’ll let you get back to browsing porn.
Artie Bucco and the Restaurant
- Episode 1: Artie Bucco, Tony’s old childhood friend, loses his restaurant. Tony torched it to prevent a hit on the premises that would have ruined business for him.
- Episode 3: The insurance is not coming through for Artie. Going through arson investigations. Doing catering work to survive.
- Episode 9: Artie is working in a cheap restaurant now and is not happy at all. He opposes Tony’s idea to whack a soccer coach for sleeping with underage girls. Shows his moral mettle.
- Episode 13: Artie buys a new restaurant with the insurance money. He learns from Livia that Tony torched his restaurant. He confronts Tony, but Tony convinces him he didn’t burn down the building. Artie decides to let the matter rest and look to the future.
Now, the next one is a bit harder. The therapy sessions are a bit dodgier because, for much of the season, there’s not a lot of story that escalates.
Everything going on here is primarily character-based. Some moments are simple breathers from the episode’s action.
Other moments provide solutions for the plot, like when Tony gets ideas from talking with Melfi.
And other moments serve as comments on what transpires in the episode.
But they can also be the most fascinating parts of the episodes. But we’ll get to that in future entries.
For now, let’s stick to basics.
Tony and Melfi
- Episode 1: Tony and Melfi meet. They try to discover the reason for Tony’s panic attacks. Despite a lot of reluctance on Tony’s part, they get to the bottom of it: he’s afraid of losing his family.
- Episode 2: They concentrate on Livia, Tony starts to realize he hates his mother, but represses the emotion.
- Episode 3: Tony grapples with death and the fear he may not have a cause worth dying for.
- Episode 4: Tony is worried somebody in the Mafia will find out he’s seeing a therapist. Engages Vin Makazian to find out more about Melfi. Tony considers quitting, until he realizes he gets good ideas from talking with Melfi.
- Episode 5: Carmela finds out Melfi is a woman.
- Episode 6: Tony becomes infatuated with Melfi, tells her he loves her, she doesn’t reciprocate.
- Episode 7: Back to the duck dreams. Tony’s fear of losing his family is tied to a fear of his children discovering who he is.
- Episode 8: Tony and Melfi have their first major falling out. She sees his bad side for the first time.
- Episode 9: Melfi challenges Tony’s desire to punish a soccer coach for sleeping with an underage girl.
- Episode 12: Melfi suspects Livia was behind the assassination attempt on Tony, but he’s not ready to face it yet.
- Episode 13: Melfi forces Tony to confront the truth about Livia. He snaps. They make peace later and he warns her to leave town. There might be people after her. She leaves before Tony can say goodbye.
The sense of escalation is not as strong as in the previous story threads.
…for the slow realization of why Tony can’t change.
Tony has realizations in these sessions, particularly in the episode when he flashes back to his early years.
But these journeys into his subconscious don’t lead to transformation. In a standard story it would, but The Sopranos is more than that.
It’s a study of Tony Soprano and what is holding him back. There are not going to be major revelations here. No uplifting transformations.
But there are intense emotional moments. Even if Tony doesn’t learn anything from the sessions, we do.
The story serves us, the audience, by providing entertainment and illumination.
Now that we have a clear idea of where the season is going, we can dissect the individual episodes.
And by “we” of course I mean “I,” because nobody else has lost as many marbles as me to even consider trying this undertaking.
(Except for the Pundit, of course, and his hands are already full. Of nicotine stains, mostly, but that still counts as full.)
If you ever hear of someone as crazy, please let me know.
I’ll be sure to whack him. I don’t like competition.