This scene makes clear in a humorous way how global corporations will crush the mob. Patsy and Burt are making collections in the old neighbourhood. They walk into a newly opened Starbucks-like establishment and attempt to squeeze out the manager for protection money. But the manager explains the new realities to them: “Look, every last fucking coffee bean is in the computer and has to be accounted for. The numbers don’t add up, I’ll be gone and somebody else will be here.” They walk out disillusioned and Patsy remarks: “It’s over for the little guy.”
It has been a while since Tony last saw his mother. They hit it off immediately. Tony accuses her of ruining Janice’s love life, but Livia can’t even remember anything. “You tell me when have I ever done anything to any of you? I suppose now you’re not gonna kiss me?” This woman just loves to create confusion, Dr. Melfi would say. When Tony walks out the door, he trips and drops his gun. Livia is standing behind him and is clearly laughing. This reminds of the therapy session in which Melfi asked Tony to come up with a happy childhood memory and all he could come up with was his father falling down some stairs and everybody laughing. A terrific example of the extremely smart writing that The Sopranos is famous for.
Before the operatic violence in ‘The Blue Comet’ is about to break loose, there is this perfect ‘lighter’ moment in which Tony and Silvio pretend to box when they hear Cavalleria Rusticana, a reference to Scorsese’s boxing film Raging Bull. It reminds of the good old days that are now nearly gone.
Finn catching Vito giving a security guard a blow job on the construction site is one of the big ‘WTF!!!’ moments in The Sopranos. Vito’s secret is based on true events in the real Jersey mafia. It will lead to a whole storyline in the final season.
‘Woke up this morning. Got myself a gun.’ This is one of the greatest credit sequences in television history. The makers were very wise to never change it during the course of the series. The action moves from New York, where all classic gangster tales are set, to New Jersey, a new setting for wiseguy life. The soundtrack by Alabama 3 creates a hyper cool atmosphere that suits this series like Rocco DiMeo’s leather jacket. It gives viewers the perfect two minutes to get into the mood for the episode.
In later seasons, as Tony is getting colder and colder, this is one of the few emotional moments where he still displays some human feelings. Junior is getting demented, so he says all these nasty things to Tony. Since probably part of it is caused by Alzheimer’s, Tony is trying to find out Junior’s true feelings for him. “I mean, don’t you love me?” That expression on Junior’s face should give him the answer he is looking for. Yes, he does. Beautifully acted and directed.
In the New York power struggle, aspiring boss Gerry ‘The Hairdo’ Torciano gets clipped on orders by the other candidate Doc Santoro. The hit takes place in a restaurant and is technically one of the finest filmed murders on the show. The sound effects, the blood, the slo-mo… The audience doesn’t have a clue of what is going on until you see the shooter and Gerry going down. This is really what you would experience if you’d be witness to an assassination in reality. Great work.
After barely escaping from the FBI at Johnny Sacks’ house, Tony returns home without a scratch. He wasn’t even named in the indictment, only his feet got a little wet. The man is too lucky sometimes. This is another excellent season ending. It’s a lot of fun seeing a mob boss running through the snow and the song ‘Glad Tidings’ by Van Morrison is perfectly used here.
It is truly impressive how these writers can make you root for the bad guys every time. Despite everything they’ve done throughout the series, you don’t want guys like Tony and Silvio to get whacked, making ‘The Blue Comet’, a thriller of Hitchcockian proportions. In this adrenaline fuelled shootout, Silvio gets shot into a coma. Patsy manages to escape and a hapless biker is collateral damage.
After some Karaoke, the Sopranos play a game of Monopoly. Everybody’s drunk. They sure know how to build a party, these Sopranos, but they’re a little too drunk. After some tension about the Monopoly rules and an embarrassing story about Livia and Johnny Boy, Bobby explodes when Tony starts to tease Janice with her history in giving head (‘under the boardwalk’). A massive fight erupts with a spectacularly high ‘oh no’ level. Bobby wins and Tony has a Monopoly house stuck in his chin. Brilliant family fight, just brilliant.