The Sopranos: Soprano Home Movies (mid-season premiere)
by Tom Biro, posted Apr 9th 2007 1:05AM
(S06E13) We've all been waiting long enough for it, and that Sunday in April finally came. Tonight, we were returned to the scene of the crime as far as the Soprano family goes, or at least the scene where Tony left Johnny Sack to get snatched by the cops way back in 2004. It was definitely helpful to have something absolutely material to the current plot line be "ripped" from something we all more or less forgot about, in Tony's tossing of the gun as he ran from the yard that winter day. As the episode's title would suggest, however, "family" was definitely what it was all about.
The foreshadowing of Tony speaking with Bobby about hunting and killing - and how he hadn't done so as far as people went, at least - was curious at least, but the way this show had been going the last season or two, I hadn't expected to see things come to fruition so quickly. As far as "family" goes, however, there are a lot of different ways to look at things. AJ certainly dropped a few pounds and has a new "look" that he's sporting, ink and all, Tony isn't letting the "pork chop" nickname go to his head or anything (not that anyone would ever call him that to his face), and while health might not be the first concern for the Jersey team, Phil most certainly is looking healthy and is looking to assert himself with his family, even if there is someone else (a much younger someone else) being groomed for the job.
Family is obviously a big thing for the Sopranos, and most likely this season will be like no other when it comes to this. Tonight, I've heard suggestions that range everywhere from Janice pushing Bobby closer and closer to the "top" of the crew, causing big problems with her blood relatives, all the way to Christopher getting on the bad side of Carm (did you see the preview?) and Tony taking care of matters in that vein. I'm frankly surprised that with all the time that's passed since last season that haven't heard more and more wild and crazy suggestions as to what might happen. Then again, the shows' makers do some pretty hard work to keep things under wraps.
Overall, though, I'm pretty pleased with this premiere. It didn't set off the people who always complain that there wasn't enough action and killing (a house-trashing fight and a murder this week were plenty), and it certainly didn't set off the people who love the character development and back story. We learned something very interesting about Tony's father, through a pretty funny story about him shooting a hole in his wife's beehive hairdo, and saw that yet again, Janice appears to be trying to undermine Tony's life. The issue I have with Janice, as much as I'd love to see her vanish, is that I almost feel like she doesn't know what she's saying or doing at a lot of junctures. She's not really healthy for Bobby's life near the top of the Soprano crew, and she certainly isn't making any friends with anyone else, either.
I thought it notable that this episode was a lot lighter on the sex (sans Tony's birthday gift) and even a little bit of the language, as compared to many previous episodes. It was also potentially devastating to the volume of air that Christopher might breathe in the next few weeks in that the airtime he got this week could be about the same amount of time he spends on-screen, at least before he could end up underground, at the rate he's going. As the "entrances" for a lot of the characters have been notable - Tony seeming to still be that "level" guy, even after the fight, Phil slimming down, Bobby living the high life, and so on - I'm going to expect nothing less as the usual suspects make their way on screen in the next week or two.
The Christopher story has got to get more interesting, considering where it had left off, Ade will probably crop up in some way, shape, or form, and the leadership of the crew, if it's not settled by series' end, will shock me. I just don't know if the folks behind this show have it in them to really cut down the crew(s) in any big way as a sendoff, or if that would be just too "easy" for a show featuring hit men and crime bosses. I think AJ will probably be minimized, as his "taking over" is probably off the charts now, and Carm seems truly in love with her man.
As for things I'm looking to find out about: Whatever happened with Furio, and will we ever hear from him again? Is Christopher working with the Feds? What's up with the terrorist guys? Can we clarify that Ade is dead, please? And of course, will Carm ever sell her spec house?
All in all, big thumbs up from me. Anyone shocked by anything? Wondering where someone in particular was? Theories, suggestions, hate mail, we'll take it all.