Sopranos Final Season

Week 7: Chlorinated Waters Run Deep
Talking television.
May 22 2007 12:18 PM

Sopranos Final Season

VIEW ALL ENTRIES

Dear Brian and Tim,

Brian, Brian, Brian—please don't worry, you're not here because someone dropped out on us this week. You are—dare I say it?—our anchor. At least until Katie returns our phone calls.

Advertisement

I never had a Lincoln Log sandwich growing up. Maybe it's not a Jewish thing. What is it, anyway? It looked repulsive, like something you would find at a Cracker Barrel or at Stuckey's. Have I ever told you the story of John Gotti Jr. and the chicken-fried steaks at Cracker Barrel? I know, I know, "remember when" is the lowest form of conversation. But it's funny. (I do fear, by the way, that I'm going to end up like Paulie—not the vampire hair or the willingness to smother old ladies to death with their pillows, but in my preference for nostalgia over actual conversation.)

Tim, I'm glad you noticed that great Carmela lit-crit moment; I also laughed out loud, in part because her condemnation of Yeats echoed her earlier criticism of the late Leslie Fiedler. You might recall this from an earlier season: Carmela and Tony get trapped in an undergraduate bull session about gay subtexts in American literature, and Meadow quotes Fiedler, who asserted that Melville's Billy Budd had a little touch of the old Vito Spatafore in him, to which Carmela responds, "Well, she's wrong."

Tim, one more thing, and I'm sorry to get all Tipper Gore on your ass here, but maybe you should take Will's Gears of War game and, ummm, throw it out? Or better yet, give it to me, a grown male who will curb-stomp responsibly and in moderation?

Department of Corrections Department: I slandered AlJazeera.net in my previous post by confusing it with Aljazeera.com, which is the Web site of Aljazeera Magazine, not the television network. Aljazeera.com has a section devoted to conspiracies. AlJazeera.net would never, ever make a market in conspiracy theories.

Since obviousness is a subtheme of this week's dialogue, I'm surprised at myself—and youse guys, too—that we didn't see the significance of Tony's pool as the location of A.J.'s incompetent suicide attempt. (I don't think it was a cry for help, by the way; I think Tony's right—the mathematical calculations necessary to complete the mission successfully were simply beyond A.J.'s capacities.) Luckily, Emily Yoffe, Slate's perspicacious Prudence, did see the significance. In an e-mail, she first insulted us—"I think Sopranos commentators are the rough beast"—and then noted, "The whole series began with Tony jumping into the pool, enchanted with the duck family that had landed there, then heartbroken when they flew away." It is no coincidence, she said, that A.J. tried to end his life in the pool. The ducks symbolize life and family tranquility; why not end the illusion of Soprano family happiness in the same place?

Brian, not too shabby in the perspicacity department himself, points out that the most wrenching moments in the episode concern a family in a world of hurt. There is nothing else just then—everything else is stripped away. I know we're under a self-imposed ban on rank speculation, but it seems to me that we're being clued in here about the series' climactic episodes; if tragedy is to strike Tony, it will strike his family, not his business, because he is not a sociopath when it comes to his love for Meadow and A.J. Of course, I've been known to be wrong before.

Best,
Jeff

Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for the Atlantic and the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Outward
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
  Technology
Technocracy
Oct. 20 2014 11:36 PM Forget Oculus Rift This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual-reality experience.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.