Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Sopranos, season 4, proper.

Maybe Livia was right?
What a dark, sociopathic mess. Seriously, if it wasn't so brilliantly written, I may have just had to, you know, quit watching because it's really hard seeing everyone literally hurl themselves directly into the gutter. What I think Season 4 accomplishes best is a concrete link to the gangster film genre and its theme of decline (or self-destruction). Emptiness and despair. Where we all may have idolized Tony Soprano et al in the past, the events in these episodes serve to pretty much neutralize that sentiment and to leave us backing away slowly. Christ, what a downer.

---Bobby Bacala's wife suddenly dies; his kids are traumatized by AJ and a ouiga board.
---Gloria Trillo commits suicide.
---Ralph Cifaretto's young son takes an archery arrow through the chest.
---Paulie betrays Tony to Johnny Sac.
---Ralph burns down the stables; Tony reacts by killing him.
---Paulie's mother is pathetic and unable to make friends at Green Grove.
---Christopher is addicted to heroin.
---Adriana meets regularly with the Feds.
---Tony cheats. (Again). (A lot). Carmela finds out. (Again).
---Carmela and Furio are in love but cannot act on their feelings.
---Tony quits therapy.
---Johnny Sac wants Carmine clipped; Tony first agrees and then backs out.

It's all very disheartening. Also, there is a scene, near the end of the episode "Calling All Cars," where Tony dreams he is a masonry worker at an old house. He knocks at the door and starts to open it when suddenly, slowly, a dark figure comes down the stairway just in front of him. You never see the figure's face, but it's clearly a woman. It just sort of hovers down the stairs, silently, while he watches from the door. And it's goddamned terrifying, almost in a Mother-Bates kind of way. What does it mean? Is it Tony's depression? Livia, from the grave? A warning of events to come? THE DEVIL? Who knows, but seriously, gross. I very nearly didn't even include the clip because I really didn't want to revisit it, but if this has to be in my head, I figure it can be in yours, too. Enjoy.

Lastly, there are two positive things I can include, but they're pretty minor considering the rest of the season's (unfortunate) events:

1. COUSIN BRIAN CAMARATTA (Matt Del Negro). Wow. Like a tall, Italian Doctor Carter. Definitely captured my interest. Unfortunately I was not able to find any action shots of his drunken vomiting or snorting coke off the stripper's rack, which is a shame.

2. Carmela's (Edie Falco's) performance in "Whitecaps," the season finale. Double-wow. That was some seriously heavy acting. Nice work.