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?