Here I am, delivering the sixth and final words on Week 4 of The Sopranos, and we've barely touched on the only instance of real violence in last night's episode, the killing of lady loan shark Lorraine Calluzzo. The poor thing was confronted after stepping out of her shower and shot to death as she ran naked through her home in a vain effort to escape, her nude body coming to rest face down, next to her very ineffective (and very dead) bodyguard/strongman Jason What's-His-Name. The double slaying should have satisfied the needs of even the most ghoulish viewers.
The episode also highlighted a few meaningful themes that are sure to surface again in the coming weeks. Many scenes involved Carmela, as Tony's home life creeps into his crime life. Carmela points out Tony's lack of "real friends," and all of sudden, he begins to see the truth. (The exaggerated laughing faces of Paulie Walnuts, Silvio, and Big Vito Spatafore were priceless.) But Tony rationalizes: "What do I give a shit if they're scared. I'm running a fucking business, not a popularity contest."
Carmela knows that Anthony could very easily be sucked into Tony's world.
She feels A.J. is at a crossroads and he doesn't even know it. And as the writers bring him into Tony's bachelor life—there were several funny scenes with the two of them hanging out with Artie Bucco and Tony B.—they're trying to humanize Tony once again, to drive home several points: He's just like us, an Everyman who enjoys The Honeymooners; he's a good father; he really does need therapy; and we will soon be seeing more of Dr. Melfi.
The scene with Melfi and her shrink, played by Leon's "risibly self-important" Peter Bogdanovich, was pretty funny, especially in light of Leon's description. (In addition to Leon's acting and linguistic talents, his observations that Mafia rules mean very little show him also to be an astute observer of mob life. I'll let readers determine whether my "suck up" suggestion was hard-hitting or exactly how tall it made me seem, but, I dare say, he misses when he proclaims me a "tough guy," as many from the old neighborhood proved ad nauseam whenever the issue arose over the years.)
Melfi's shrink brings some psychological meaning to the fact that Tony sent her a basket of cleansing products; more than likely they fell off a truck, maybe the one that was parked in Feech's garage. If I can play armchair psychiatrist for a moment, I'd say that Tony is having a virtual love affair with Melfi. They fight; they make up; he leaves her; she leaves him; now he wants to come back, and she's seriously considering a reconciliation.
Meanwhile, will Johnny Sack survive this season? Or will Rusty, a recently arrived New York capo played by Frankie Valli, lead a gaggle of Johnny Sack's gangsters in a chorus of, "John, go away; you're no good for me"?
Will Carmela have an affair with the guidance counselor? Will he live to regret it? Does Tony already suspect this? Is that the reason that the show ended with Carmela opening the door to a house bereft of any furnishings at all?
And with Feech and Lorraine Calluzzo gone, who will be next to disappear from the scene? The teaser wants us to think it will be Adrianna, but in good television, things are rarely what they seem at first blush, and The Sopranos is good television.
Leon, it has been a pleasure. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
Jeff, I'll be back at you next week.