The Sopranos: Chasing It
(S06E16) First off, I've gotta say that this was the weakest episode in this short half-season so far, in my opinion. A lot of commenters on this site were a little ticked off at the fact that Tony was now well in debt as far as his gambling problem went, even if he did have cash elsewhere, and how that just cropped up out of nowhere. While I wouldn't say it was out of nowhere, the heaviness of his losses piling up were definitely a big surprise.
On top of that, there were a few random bits of dialogue that didn't seem to go anywhere, kind of like how Bobby didn't really have much to say one way or another about the horse race. Some part of me wants to say that the boys are just becoming glorified yes-men to Tony, but I'm not sure that it's, and I think I might be trying too hard to get to that point. Out of everything that did happen this week, though, what might be most important - and maybe a huge plot point - was Tony's spotting of the guy that used to hang out at the Bada Bing, in front of what looked like a Muslim gathering place. Of course, Chase & Co. will catch hell from some group for that particular portrayal, but if you're going to take a page out of anyone's playbook, it might as well be 24's.
The reason I'd like to focus on the passing scene with the familiar guy walking across the street was that Tony has obviously been "warned" by the FBI to keep an eye out for those potentially involved with terrorists. Now I can see this spinning a few ways - one, that Christopher was somehow involved in working to take these guys down, so Tony could either help drive that stake home, or he could put himself at the wrong place at the wrong time, even if his intentions were "good," and get himself taken down with the "bad guys," if we can even say that. Outside of those options, I wonder if Tony can get some dirt on what's happening with the suspicious guy, and if he happens to get nabbed at or close to the show's end, maybe it's an out for him. Still, I can't see him turning rat as far as witness protection goes, can you? Then again, he seems so focused on making sure Carm knows she'll be taken care of that I could see him somehow trying to atone for everything he's put her through.
Howabout that blowout between Carm and Tony, though? I really thought he was going to hit her, and that was going to be the end of it, but somehow he stopped at grabbing her arm. As much as she was cringing at it all, she definitely stuck to her guns in his face, which was very impressive. I just don't know if she sat down and listened to him, tears welling up and all, because she really believed it or because she realized the situation that she was stuck in, on her own volition. As for AJ getting ditched, I'm sure that's not going to go over so well with his parents, and I can see Tony finding himself in a situation much like the one that Marie Spatafore is in with Vito Jr., although AJ probably won't get sent to Idaho.
I'm still seeing the rest of this season as a coin flip as to whether things end calmly or in an ugly fashion. Things in New York seem to have calmed down, even if Phil's attitude (smell the cognac, huh?) and ability to take time off to hang out with Nancy Sinatra are giving Tony a headache. Moving on to next week via the promos, though, we yet again have what looks to be at least one hit of someone, and Paulie and/or Christopher in some iffy situations. By now, I should have learned enough to know that it's just a tease, but you never do know, do you.
Overall, I'm going to give this week a 5. I wanted to drop a 4 on it, but I thought the Nancy Sinatra scene followed by Tony giving Hesh some cash after his love died was just so utterly appropriate for this series, so I couldn't leave that alone. Other than the possibility (again) of some trouble for one member of the crew, I'm not sure I have any wide-eyed predictions for next week, so I'll leave that to the rest of you