A.J. reaches an absolute low in his depression and rather than eating a Lincoln Log Sandwich, he jumps in the swimming pool with a stone tied to his leg and a plastic bag over his head. Luckily, the rope is too long and Tony comes home to rescue him. Very affecting scene. It was time Tony did something nice for somebody again and the way he comforts A.J. is genuinely touching.
A.J. attempts to kill Junior as revenge for shooting his dad. But – luckily for him – he accidentally drops his knife and is halted by security. Tony manages to get him released and gives him a good talking to. Then A.J., calls him a hypocrite because Tony named the scene in The Godfather, in which Michael Corleone kills his father’s attackers, his favourite scene of all time. His own attempt to pull a Michael Corleone failed though. He is more like Fredo who also dropped his weapon when his father was gunned down.
“Ever heard of the Masada? For two years, 900 Jews held their own against 15.000 Roman soldiers. And the Romans? Where are they now?” Tony: “You’re looking at them asshole.” Great scene in which Tony eventually manages to explain the realities to the stubborn Jew Ariel whose hotel business he wants to take over. Threatening with castration (advice from Hesh) eventually does the trick. The inventiveness of these wiseguys to get what they want is really extraordinary sometimes.
An awesome metaphor: Tony has left the premises and a replacement shows up; an extremely strong and dangerous brown bear. A.J. nearly shits his pants. This is the perfect visual representation of Tony and Carmela’s separation. Great also that this episode is called ‘Two Tonys’, as in Tony – Bear / Tony – Tony Blundetto and Old Tony – Different Tony (the one that tries to seduce Melfi).
The Sopranos go psychedelic. A great place to experience a peyote trip is a casino obviously; Tony wins every hand he bets. He must be the devil himself as indicated by the slot machine. Tony survived a gunshot wound which means his luck was way up. In his mind at least. Then his luck was down again with the gambling in ‘Chasing It’, but now that he killed Christopher, his lucky streak is back again. This is basically Tony’s disturbed mind at this point. “It’s the same principle as the solar system.”
This scene is priceless. Paulie is pissed because Feech La Manna squeezed out his mother’s gardener Sal Vitro, so he takes down Feech’ nephew Gary to settle the score. The damage Paulie does to Gary is even greater than the number Feech did on Sal Vitro. He causes him to fall out of a tree and break his legs. Then he takes his cash and lawnmower as down payment. Incredible these guys…
Tony visits Paulie and spots the painting on the wall that he wanted burned; the painting of him and his horse Pie-O-Mie. He takes it off the wall and throws it in a dumpster outside. Then he looks again and sees himself as a general. Now he knows what he needs to do about the Tony B dilemma (see 61). Tony is back to his decisive self again.
Tony does some truly terrific parenting here. He apologizes for hurting A.J. earlier. Then he says there is no excuse for what he did, and explains carefully why he did it. Then he says he couldn’t ask for a better son. It’s truly impressive. The only minor point of criticism is bringing pizza and a six-pack of Coke, while they both have weight issues, but who cares after this? The contrast between this scene and what comes right after, the murder of Matt Bevilaqua, makes this scene even more powerful.
Phil is complaining again at his dead brother’s birthday party. He is not happy about his name, since a Leotardo is a ballet costume. He is also telling Butchie that he regrets having spent 20 years in jail for people who don’t stick to the rules any more. Then we get a look at the portraits of fallen comrades behind the bar; Carmine Lupertazzi, Billy Leotardo and Johnny Sack. Great way to end an episode that is about making choices and leaving behind something meaningful. Phil would like to do it over again, but he can’t. Now he has to decide what to do with his remaining time and by the looks of it he aint gonna do the right thing. “No more, Butchie. No more of this.”
Tony shoots his own cousin Tony Blundetto in the face to make things right with New York. It would be enough to give a normal person nightmares, but not Tony Soprano. The make-up job on Tony B’s corpse is pretty gruesome.