The beginning of the end. So says all the promotional material for the last 9 episodes of what may be one of the most influential shows to ever air. At the very least it made a network.
Well this episode sure isn’t going to satisfy everyone who complained that last year’s shows moved too slow. Except for a couple of scenes it didn’t really advance any of the plots or give any indication that the show is headed for the end. (Tony being arrested on a gun charge stemming from his running from Johnny Sack in the season 5 finale being the exception.)
But that is the beauty of The Sopranos. It isn’t a plot driven mob drama but a detailed character study of a man and his two families. Tonight’s episode had Tony and Carmela celebrating his 47th birthday with a trip up to Bobby and Janice’s lake house. After some deep conversations about the paths that lie before someone in Tony’s business (dead or in prison), the foursome partake in a drunken game of Monopoly that leads to a knock-down fight between Tony and Bobby.
Chase uses the aftermath of the fight to remind us that Tony is still the flawed character he always was despite all the talk of his changing after being shot. Carmela may say he isn’t vindictive but you can’t call what he did to Bobby anything but.
Maybe my expectations are just higher in these last remaining episodes but despite my enjoying the episode and the character moments I would have liked to see a little more plot momentum.
8 more to go.
Avi’s Episode Rating: B+