June 8th, 2007

moscot, : eye glasses, zeiss

So Long Sopranos...

Wow!  Has it really been 8 years since Tony Soprano and his crew arrived on the scene?  It's been a wild ride thanks to brilliant Sopranos Series Creator David Chase.  How will it end? With a whimper, or a bang?  We'll all know on Sunday night.  There's been speculation that Tony will get whacked in an all-out blood bath.  Come on--that would send the wrong message--that crime doesn't pay.  Crime has worked too long for Tony Soprano.  I'm betting on a subtle, classy end--here's hoping!

Just in case you missed some things along the way, here's a quick re-cap of the major highlights:

Season 1 (1999)
After suffering panic attacks, Tony starts therapy on the sly and spills his mommy issues. Later, he survives a hit attempt planned by Uncle Junior and, yes, his mother. There are ducks in his swimming pool and a rat (Big Pussy) in his outfit.

Season 2 (2000)
Tony's new-agey sister, Janice, arrives in town, dates mob guy Richie Aprile and then kills him. Christopher gets a jones for filmmaking. Tony strangles a guy while road-tripping with Meadow. Big Pussy becomes fish food.

Season 3 (2001)
Tony's mom, Livia, dies. No one has anything nice to say about her. Dr. Melfi is raped, but refuses to ask Tony to clip the guy. Bad blood develops between Tony and one of his soldiers, Ralph Cifaretto. A whack job goes very badly in the Pine Barrens woods.

Season 4 (2002)
Tony fights Ralph, and Ralph's head ends up in a bowling bag. Christopher goes into drug rehab, while his fiancee, Adriana, becomes an FBI snitch. Tony and Carmela hit the rocks and separate.

Season 5 (2004)
Tony and Carmela reconcile when he agrees to finance her real-estate project. Tony is forced to kill his cousin Tony Blundetto after the latter whacks a New York mob guy. Adriana's indiscretion comes to light, and it is made to look like she "disappeared."

Season 6, Part 1 (2006)
Tony slips into a coma after Uncle Junior, suffering from dementia, shoots him. Comatose Tony dreams he's a salesman at a convention. Vito, a gay mobster, is outed and killed by a New York wiseguy. Carmela wonders whatever happened to Adriana.

Season 6, Part 2 (2007)
 Tony and Christopher get into a car accident. Instead of aiding the badly injured Christopher, Tony suffocates him and then goes on a peyote high. A depressed A.J. botches a suicide attempt. Tensions mount between Tony and New York boss Phil Leotardo.

Choosing the best "Sopranos" Episodes is a cakewalk. How, after all, can you pick among so many gems? Then again, I'm game:

1. "Pine Barrens" (Episode 37, Season 3):
 Brrr, I get cold just thinking about poor Paulie and Christopher chasing that Russian gangster through the snowy woods and nearly turning into human Popsicles. Director Steve Buscemi gave this classic a "Fargo"-like blend of violence and comedy.

2. "Whitecaps" (Episode 52, Season 4):
 It's a matrimonial meltdown of epic proportions as Tony and Carmela go ballistic and go for the jugular. Gandolfini and Falco earn their Emmys with an acting tour de force, and though not a drop of blood is shed, it's one of the most unnerving sequences the series has produced.

3. "College" (Episode 5, Season 1):
 The first episode to truly delve into the whole blood family/crime family dynamic. Tony's tender moments with daughter Meadow during their campus-visiting trip make his vicious garroting of a mob turncoat all the more chilling.

4. "Whoever Did This" (Episode 48, Season 4):
 Tony loses his cool and Ralphie loses his head in this gruesome hour that had us thinking of bowling bags in a whole new way. Before the decapitation came, a hellacious brawl involving a frying pan, a butcher knife and a can of Raid. All over a silly horse.

 5. "Long Term Parking" (Episode 64, Season 5):
 Oh sweet Adriana, how we miss you. This whacking was more agonizing than any other. Pressured into becoming a stoolie for the feds, Ade pleads with Christopher to run away. No dice. Then comes the long drive with Silvio and the sad scene where she begs for her life.