Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Rewatching the Sopranos S1 E12, Isabella

Family Events: Tony is both worried and depressed about Pussy's apparent disappearance but brightens when he meets Cusamano's cousin Isabella, a dental student staying next door. After his therapy session he runs into Isabella and takes her to lunch. While chatting, Tony has a vision of her nursing an infant named Antonio. Livia comes to dinner that evening and scoffs at the idea that Tony is depressed but becomes upset when Tony refuses to stay for her insults. The next day Livia attends a film with Junior and insists what they've planned is justified given Tony's disturbing condition. Tony is attacked outside his vehicle, shot, and then crashes into a parked car. In the hospital, Carmela confronts Tony about the danger he's in but he refuses to acknowledge it. Livia and Junior show up to visit Tony after the shooting and Livia makes a comment suggesting she doesn't recognize Meadow. Junior confronts Livia about the botched hit and her sudden memory loss but she insists she doesn't understand.

Tony sees Cusamano and asks after Isabella; Dr. Cusamano knows nothing of her whatsoever. 

Mafia Events: At a funeral, Jimmy Altieri openly asks Junior about the hit on Brenden
Filone; Mikey informs Junior that the hit on Tony is happening the next day. Christopher updates Tony on what's happening in the crew and is concerned about his depression so he follows him out. Just as the hit is about to go down, Christopher blocks the street and thwarts the attempt. 

Mental Health Events: Melfi explains that the lithium she's prescribed is meant to kick start his system, but Tony says he feels dead. "I don't even know why I come here." Melfi suggests Tony consider a residential treatment program but Tony says he'd rather kill himself. Carmela brings Tony to Melfi's car for an impromptu therapy meeting where they discuss whose knowledge of Tony's treatment might be implicated in motivating the attempt on his life. Tony tears up when he tells Melfi about the vision he had of Isabella nursing the baby. Melfi explains this fantasy is about him, desiring the nurturing the baby was getting. Later when the lithium is revealed to be the source of Tony's fantasy of Isabella, Melfi draws further conclusions about the meaning of the hallucination.

Significant Ideology: Tony wants a nurturing mother so badly he hallucinated one. Funny how the momentary "escape" from his crippling depression was at the hands of just what he needs. The question of what Livia saw as the end game to this assassination still remains to be seen: either through her own skill or the help of the crew loyal to Tony Carmela would have eventually figured out Junior and Livia's involvement, did Livia think this would get her house back? Clearly Green Grove would have been out in the absence of Tony, it may have actually worked, if Carmela simply washed her hands of the entire business and someone (Junior) intervened to stop the sale of the house. However, Livia instead turns on Junior and plays up dementia instead, suggesting she is afraid of Tony's retaliation, knowing he'd likely figure out her role. 

On some level, Tony has known his mother was troubled: ineffective as a parent and unable to provide love and nurturing, and victim to depression, anxiety, and possibly one of three personality disorders. Did he consider her to be capable of arranging to have him killed? From the beginning of the season he's tried many times to prove his love to Livia (with the exception of almond biscotti bringing a somewhat positive reaction) but fails to elicit anything close to love or even kindness back from her. What will he do about this?

Monday, May 30, 2022

LOST: It Wasn't Purgatory, Season 3, Episode 1, A Tale of Two Cities

On-Island Events: 

Others: A blond woman (Juliet) looks into the mirror and listens to Petula Clark's "Downtown," and cries; moments later during her book club group the house begins to shake. As she and her guests hurry outside they encounter "Henry Gale," dressed as they are in clean, contemporary clothing. They look up at the sky to see Oceanic 815 fly over and then break in two pieces. Goodwin and Ethan come running and are instructed to hurry to the respective landing places. After the two men depart, "Henry" looks down at Juliet's book and laments that he's out of the book club, ID-ing him as "Ben," the man another book clubber earlier stated who wouldn't read Juliet's pick, Carrie, in the bathroom. 

Survivors: Jack, Kate, and Sawyer awaken in three different confined areas: Jack a dark glass enclosure, Kate a locker room, and Sawyer an outdoor cage across from a teenage boy. In his cage, Sawyer sees a red button and pushes it twice, but when he ignores the boy's advice not to push it a third time, gets electrocuted. The boy escapes from his cage and unlocks Sawyer's to let him out but Juliet shocks Sawyer. Later, Sawyer discovers a certain combination of button-pushing earns him a fish biscuit from a feeding slot in the cage. 

Kate meets Ben, who provides a fancy breakfast on the beach and tells her the next two weeks will be very unpleasant. Later, Kate is returned to the cage adjacent to Sawyer's.

Jack meets Juliet as he's trying to dismantle the chains in his room; Jack thinks he hears Christian's voice through an intercom but Juliet insists it hasn't worked in years. Jack tells Juliet a series of lies about who he is and what he does but is honest about Christian's death. As Juliet delivers a tray of lunch for him, Jack charges her and insists she let him go. He ends up opening a door that floods the area. Juliet explains to Jack she is not part of the Dharma Initiative, but that he is being held in one of their stations (the Hydra), underwater. She reads to him from a file of information and knows everything about Jack. After Jack asks after his ex-wife, Sarah, and is told she is happy, Jack allows Juliet to bring him dinner. 

Flashbacks: Jack watches Sarah outside a school building conversing excitedly with another man, in the next scene they are meeting at a divorce hearing. Jack confronts Christian after he finds out his number is in Sarah's phone and later confronts him at an AA meeting. Jack is arrested; Sarah pays his bail after Christian, no longer sober, told her about the confrontation. Jack sees Sarah's new love interest and cries about what he has done to Christian.

Greater Meaning: Juliet is a new character, one that apparently works with Ben-formerly-Henry, does his bidding ("Good job, Juliet,") but selected a book Ben decidedly doesn't like for book club and is allowed to fend for herself when Jack opens the flood door. There seems to be a bit drama in this relationship, one wonders how and why. 

Kate is the only survivor given a sit-down with Ben; her word choices of Sawyer first, Jack second are noticed twice. Chances are good she's more worried about Sawyer's fate as he had been seriously injured and just recently recovered, but possibly for deeper reasons. She admitted to Sawyer, unconscious, that she associates her feelings for him with her feelings for Wayne, her abusive father, and despite also having feelings for Jack, there seems to be a slight inferiority complex between them ("I'm sorry I'm not as good as you!") Sawyer and Kate are being held prisoner very close to each other; Jack is underground. Whatever Ben has planned, it seems Kate and Sawyer for whatever reason, need to be separated from Jack. 

The title of the episode, "A Tale of Two Cities," might refer to Jack being separated from the other two, or could also be a reference to Ben's people, who live in a functioning, upscale community on the island where the Oceanic 815 survivors have very different experiences and quality of life. 

Further Questions: 

1. Who is Ben? 

2. Why is there drama between Ben and Juliet? 

3. What will happen to Jack?

4. Is Hugo okay on his own? 

5. Will Sawyer and Kate escape? 

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Rewatching the Sopranos S1 E11 "Nobody Knows Anything"

Family Events: Livia refuses to attend Carmela's open house party; Carmela comes to Green Grove and admonishes her for manipulating Tony. Livia refuses to acknowledge any wrongdoing and instead complains about being abandoned. When Tony asks Bonnie to inform Livia that her house has been sold Livia retaliates by suggesting to Junior that Tony has meetings at Green Grove to talk about him with his crew, effectively setting in motion the plot to have Tony killed. 

Mafia Events: Pussy suffers an injury to his back and then gets arrested with Jimmie after fleeing an FBI bust at Jimmie's club. Junior criticizes Pussy for having run from the feds and for carrying too much cash. Makazian informs Tony that Pussy is "wired for sound" after being busted dealing heroin; Tony reacts poorly to this news but begins to entertain suspicions. Tony visits Pussy and listens to his concerns but immediately informs Paulie about the wiretap, saying he's "90% sure." Paulie offers to take care of Pussy but Tony insists that he actually see the wire before acting. Paulie surprises Pussy with a trip to the spa but Pussy refuses to get undressed and storms off. Silvio discovers that Makazian owes Pussy upwards of thirty thousand dollars. In the middle of afternoon traffic, Makazian pulls over after presumably being fired from his job as a detective and jumps off a bridge, killing himself. Jimmie gets released from prison and insists on getting Tony to talk about the Columbian money deal; Tony realizes Jimmie is the one who is working with the feds. 

Mental Health Events: Tony admits he's worried about Pussy; Melfi tries to refocus Tony's attention
on his own therapy but eventually suggests too much responsibility and secrets could be factors in someone's chronic back pain. In a passing comment to Bonnie, Tony mentions that Livia has always been "depressed." 

Significant Ideology: The strength of men is questioned: Jimmie and Pussy have charges serious enough to scare them into cooperating with FBI as neither of them feel strong enough to do jail or have the financial ability to stop earning. Makazian is not strong enough to handle his suspension after the raid on Debbie's place, or he's overcome by his sizeable gambling debt. Tony is the only one to put in motion what has to be done (re: Pussy) but he's very conflicted about doing it. Livia casually manipulates Junior into killing Tony with absolutely no remorse. Carmela understands both her husband and her mother in law and is the only one strong enough to confront Livia. 

The consequences that threaten the men are immediate and physical, jail or death; the consequences of Livia's decisions change in this episode from chronic emotional manipulation to also immediate and physical. She is willing to have Tony killed for the simple act of selling her home, and not only that, this is her second attempt. Informing Junior about the psychiatry introduced the idea of killing Tony but did not bring about immediate action. Livia may have been content to just revert to her usual emotional manipulation (as she has seemingly come to tolerate living at Green Grove) as evidenced by her refusal to attend Carmela's open house, but the news of her house being sold was enough to push her over the edge. This time she makes it personal to Junior ("maybe it was you that they were talking about!") and she knows exactly what she's doing.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

LOST: It Wasn't Purgatory, Thoughts on Season 2

Did everyone just forget about being rescued? 

Bernard didn't of course, he tried to build an SOS signal out of rock but was quickly redirected by Rose's reveal in regard to the island's influence on her health. Claire and Aaron seemed to be nicely settled on the beach with a number of fellow survivors to watch out for them; Sun and Jin are preparing for the challenges of parenthood; Eko started to build a church! Jack and Locke, as always, are in different places, but the events of the second season reveal just how wrong they've both been, all along. 

Jack versus Locke versus The Island versus The Others

As Jack is busy doctoring and leading, making decisions for the group, he doesn't often get the chance to actually see the island for what it is (which can't really be defined, anyway), and this is not the case with Locke. Because he's been personally affected in a way that leaves no room for interpretation --- before island: paralyzed, after island: able to walk --- Locke is prepared for the island's mysterious abilities, and seeks them out, even. Of course Locke has never had any interest in being rescued, like Rose, he can appreciate the gift the island has bestowed upon him, but the island doesn't just let him off easy simply because he believes in it, either. Locke is put to the test in this season, being made to earn his gift, earn his knowledge, and his faith in the island. He initially believes that pushing the button inside the hatch was important, but after finding the underground question mark hatch (Pearl Station) he questions everything he's done since landing on the island. 

Locke was invested in the Henry Gale situation, first by colluding with Sayid to interrogate him, then after the lockdown when Henry helped him, and again when Henry claimed the reason he got captured was that he was coming for Locke, "one of the good ones." Whatever Henry's intentions, he seems to be just as invested in Locke, if only for reasons of manipulation or playing him against Jack. After Sayid, Charlie, and Ana Lucia discover the truth about the balloon, it's clear that Henry has been lying about everything, which is further confirmed when Michael kills Ana Lucia and Libby in order to free him. After Jack, Sawyer, Kate, and Hugo are kidnapped, Henry is in charge of it.

Tail Section, Henry's Pretenders, The DI

Early in the season after the thwarted raft launch, Jin meets who he believes to be the others but who are really just survivors from the tail section. Henry's others are revealed to be the group who abducted Claire to the medical station (where Kate found the fake beard and other costumes) and later took Walt off the raft. Why did they take Walt in the first place, and why did they put Jack, Kate, Sawyer, and Hugo on the list to be taken only to release Hugo from the dock? After Michael asks who they are, Henry replies that they are the "good guys," but Henry's manipulation of Locke, physical assault on Ana Lucia, abduction of children and pack of lies in general seem to indicate the opposite. 

The Dharma Initiative is yet another division of "others," and though Desmond was trained by Inman and not a member himself, he and the orientation videos are the only link we have to this group. The completeness of the Swan Station (kitchen, bathroom, exercise equipment, and food stores) seems an amazing bit of good fortune to just be existing on its own in the middle of the jungle, especially considering the style of the others' clothing and the low quality of the huts where Walt was kept. Henry didn't seem ravenously hungry when they brought him to the hatch and his clothing was traditional for a middle-aged man, confirming as Kate suggested that they were "acting." Why are they taking such trouble to convince the survivors that they live so simply? The discovery of the tail-section at the Arrow station, Claire's stay at the medical station, and the strangeness of Pearl station (notebooks that go no where and a screen showing the man with the eye patch) imply a strong presence throughout the island. 


Shannon saw Walt twice after the raft departed; after the others took him, Ms. Klugh asked Michael if Walt had ever appeared somewhere he wasn't supposed to be. Was this phenomenon the island's work or Walt's? During the first season, John Locke took a special interest in Walt, and Michael's relationship with his son though strained at first, became more stable with Locke's help. Brian, Walt's stepfather, claimed there was something "different" about him, but what? If there has always been this special element to Walt, the island seems to have intensified it. It makes sense to assume that the others take all children that come to the island (Rousseau's daughter Alex, Emma and Zach from the tail section, Aaron, in attempting to induce his birth, and now Walt) but did they know about Walt's specialness or was it discovered during the tests they made him do? As far as we know, Walt is the only child that has this magical quality about him. 

Live Together, Die Alone, part 2

Live Together, Die Alone, part 1

Three Minutes


Two for the Road




The Whole Truth

Maternity Leave

One of Them

The Long Con

Fire + Water

The Hunting Party

The Twenty-Third Psalm

What Kate Did


The Other 48 Days


. . . and Found

Everybody Hates Hugo



Man of Science, Man of Faith