A pretty grand episode, no? In just under an hour, we watched: wrenching sadness (Tony's frustrated desire to be loved by the uncle who once tried to have him killed and is now content to disparage, hilariously, Tony's high-school-era athletic skills); sadistic violence (Is it sweeps week? Does cable have sweeps week? What is sweeps week? I'm telling you, Jerry,Slate is going to regret having us write about television); and, as a bonus, Tony, the bullied bully, cruelly handing Bobby his Fredo "I Can't Control My Wife" Corleone moment. Plus, Ron Silver reading the Books-on-Tape edition of The Art of War by Sun Tzu in Paulie's car ("Sun Tazoo" as pronounced by Paulie) just before Paulie bashes in the head of a recalcitrant tree-trimmer. And let's not forget Uncle Junior's Vincent "Chin" Gigante bathrobe episode, which proves, to paraphrase Henry Kissinger, that just because a man fakes dementia doesn't mean he's not actually demented.
By the way, again no Melfi this week, and during an episode in which Tony is in pressing need of therapy, or a good beating. Tragically, no Edie Falco, either. Is something wrong, do you think? I need more Edie Falco. I would watch Edie Falco in anything; I would watch her read from Jayson Blair's book, even. If I were a television executive, I would a) know what happens during sweeps week; and b) give Edie Falco her own show. She's a wonder.
OK, a couple of quick thoughts (I'm running around a bit today, on account of what you might call the "whack job" on Sheikh Yassin): 1) Feech can't be long for this world, no? I mean, he's completely out of control. He's corrupting Tony's cousin Tony, he's asserting turf rights where he has none, and he yells too much. (Sun Tzu is against yelling, I think.) This is a strange thing to say, given the repulsive violence perpetrated by almost every male character on the show, but Feech is a little bit much for me. His treatment of Sal Vitro—a true innocent, at least by the standards of The Sopranos—was awful. We haven't seen such sadistic use of a curb since American History X.
2) Is it at all plausible for a New York family to employ a female shylock? Especially one so debased as to offer to perform fellatio on Johnny Sack's goons? I've checked around a bit this morning (all right, I went to ganglandnews.com—perhaps you've heard of it?), and there's nothing to be found about women rising quite so high in an organized crime family. Though you did remind me of the wonderful story of Camille Colucci, whose first husband was killed—by Sammy Bull Gravano, no less—to make way for the second. A heartwarming tale if there ever was one.
Over to you.