Monday, April 9, 2007

Easter Weekend

Apart from the new episode of The Sopranos, I didn't get a chance to watch much in the way of movies/TV shows/etc. over Easter weekend: I spent it with the family and, when we weren't too busy stuffing ourselves, we were watching the Masters. I did finish reading John Le Carre's Absolute Friends, parts of which I loved, but I want to hold off writing about it until I finish watching The Good Shepherd.

As for The Sopranos: this episode continues with one of my favorite themes from the last half-season - the idea that for Tony to be an effective boss he needs to be top thug as much as he needs to be a master of Machiavellian strategy. I knew that once they start playing Monopoly things were going to go bad, but part of what makes me like this show so much is that I didn't know exactly how things would go bad. Tony's eventual "punishment" of Bobby was really chilling and the final moments among the most moving in the show's history. Usually in The Sopranos, irony goes hand-in-hand with black comedy, but here the irony is played as a kind of small-scale tragedy.

2 comments:

Andy said...

Jon,

I think you're right on about the show. I am a season 6A apologist - I think it's among the most creative, moving stuff in American TV.

For me, they've been going down the hill into tragedy ever since Jackie Jr. was killed in Season 3. Tony's machismo is implicit in Ralphie's decision to have Jackie whacked (Tony had to know Ralphie wouldn't let the kid live, so leaving the decision to Ralph is the same as acquiescing to the murder, IMO). I think Adriana's death was sort of the "last straw" for Chase, et. al. I can't remember being so shaken, feeling so ill, after a TV character's death.

The beginning of 6B, with the lake house imagery, really reminded me of THE GODFATHER, PART II's ominous final scenes, before Fredo is killed. I remember reading that Coppola used to say he made that movie to punish Michael - that for all his praise of "the family," he was really a monster. I think Chase has arrived at that junction, vis-a-vis Tony Soprano.


AC

Jon Hastings said...

I do like the way that episode-to-episode The Wire maintains the same style, mood, etc., so that it ends up feeling like one loooong episode. But it also means that, on an episode-by-episode basis, it doesn't quite hold up to the best The Sopranos, which, like this one, are like little, nearly self-contained movies. The emotional/thematic payoff of the "Magic Moment" moment is impressive (and devastating), as you get really the sense of the awfulness of the choices Bobby has made as well as a sense of all the reasons he made them.