Monday, August 23, 2021

Rewatching The Sopranos S1 E4 Meadowlands

Family Events: Anthony fights in school, Carmela presses for more details. Tony brings Livia macaroons from her favorite bakery but she reacts very negatively despite initially being pleased. Tony meets with Lieutenant Vin Makazian, a detective he hires to check on Melfi. Makazian ends up assaulting Melfi's date on a traffic stop. AJ demands money from Jeremy, the kid he fought with, and the two again scuffle and make plans to fight after school. Instead of fighting, Jeremy pays AJ the money owed for the shirt and exits. AJ speaks with Meadow about why Jeremy was scared to fight him and Meadow explains what Tony does for a living.

Mafia Events: Christopher gets released from the hospital and finds Brendan dead in his apartment. Tony has a near miss with Silvio in the hall at the medical office. The crew visits a declining Jackie, and Chris plans to seek revenge on Mikey for killing Brendan. Tony prevents Chris from acting but assaults Mikey with a staple gun and confronts Junior himself. Junior refuses to cooperate and sends Tony away. The council of captains discusses how best to deal with the situation with Junior and want Tony promoted to acting boss while Jackie is sick. Chris assaults an employee after Junior's crew took his cut of drug money while he was in the hospital. At the Bing, the crew gets news that Jackie Apriel has died, and Chris shares the news that Junior is moving in on their turf. Tony confronts Junior again and surprises him in offering him Jackie's position as boss. 

Mental Health Events: Tony dreams of seeing all his friends in the therapy waiting room; when Melfi turns around, in her chair is Livia in disguise. After a mild panic attack, Tony receives Xanax from Melfi to get him through the stressful week. When Tony tells Melfi about his frustrations in dealing with Junior and Livia, she suggests Tony give them illusion of still being in control, to handle them like children. Melfi admits to Tony she's upset by the assault on her date.

Significant Ideology: Roles change in this episode: AJ, the only remaining family member ignorant of Tony's true occupation, learns the truth and like everyone else becomes an accomplice to it. Tony becomes acting boss of not only Junior but presumably Livia as well (though we have yet to see how this plays out) after Melfi's suggestion and book recommendation. Even before this though, Tony had unique insight into his business dealings that Junior and Chris lack, neither being fathers. Junior is angry at the perceived disrespect Chris has shown toward him but also at Tony's refusal to hand out punishment. Chris expects immediate action and retaliation for Junior's murder of Brendan (which Mikey goaded Junior into committing by playing up the disrespect factor) and twice has to be restrained from acting impulsively. In the first case, Tony acts himself, taking the staple gun to Mikey, and in the second case, having just heard the news about Jackie's passing, Tony admonishes Chris and bullies him physically into standing down so he can approach Junior with the plotted offer of boss. 

Tony has also learned to pick his battles with Livia, which lessens her power over him. "You could be happy here, if you wanted to," he tells her before leaving with the macaroons she rejected. It's almost as if since having his panic attacks under control he's able to think two steps ahead of everyone else's actions instead of simply reacting with aggression. Despite this, his need for control remains, evident in his need to know intimate details about Dr. Melfi and in employing Makazian to spy on her.

Italian Language: 

Cialtrone = rascal/scoundrel (Junior tells Tony, "You crazy cialtrone, you had me worried, there.")

Jackie Apriel's Funeral: