Tony is interviewed by the FBI who play him a recording from a wiretap in Livia's room at her elder care residence. It confirms that Junior was behind the hit. He plays it cool however, not only refusing to accept the offer of immunity from the Feds but not letting on to Uncle Junior what he knows. Junior does give him the okay to eliminate the rat who's been wearing a wire but Tony starts to get his revenge as well. Tony takes a major step when he decides to tell his crew about seeing a psychiatrist. At home, Carmella has it out with Father Phil, who is flirting with Rosalie Aprile much the same way he does with her. Livia meanwhile - who may or may not be suffering from Alzheimer's - tells Artie Bucco that it was Tony who burned down his restaurant.Written by
This final episode of Season 1 was part of a pattern throughout the series that would find creator David Chase as either the sole writer or one of a two or more writers credited for every opening and closing episode of each season (except for one such episode written by a fellow staffer). See more »
FBI agents have Tony listen to conversations between Uncle Junior and his mother (Livia) at Green Grove Retirement Home. However, Livia comments to Uncle Junior about her cousin Kiki's lobotomy occurred outside a movie theater, not at Green Grove. See more »
Season 1: Great opening season that doesn't put a foot wrong
After watching a lot of rubbish on television recently, I decided that I would watch back over some television shows that are known as being high quality. I watched The Sopranos when it screened originally so for some of the episodes it has been years since I had seen some of the episodes, making it a place that I was keen to start in terms of putting some quality back into my viewing habits. Watching it though, I was surprised how much of it from a decade ago has stuck in my mind – even the little moments, which I guess speaks to the quality of the show and how it engaged me when I first watched it.
Time and the repeat viewing has not diminished the impact of the show though and season 1 had me hooked through all the episodes. We hit the ground running with the theme of family built up in Tony's life. Whether it be his biological family or his business family, Tony's conflicts and challenges make for engaging drama, with well-written and well played out events. The strength of the show is that the events do not just "happen" but happen "to" characters and we get to see this not only in the moment but also beyond the moment – because these are "real" people who are not at the whim of whatever scene they are in at that moment. This is the heart of the season – Tony's attempt to keep his family close and effective while his business does nothing but threaten him and his family, introducing fractions between characters. The children in the family are not that well developed but the rest are, driving the drama forward and making it as engaging as it is. They also manage to come over as unreal and a little absurd in their colourfulness but not to the point that they become clichés with nothing else to them.
Season 1 sums up the show perfectly, with stresses of all types all playing a part within a tapestry of drama that engages whether it be related to Tony's psyche or related to internal mafia politics. The arch of this season sees the dangers from within Tony's crew and family along with minor little things that I only really appreciate now having seen the series through to the end already. Some seeds are sown that will grow into things of significance later, while there are some great links between dialogue and scenes now and later (most noticeably of course being the conclusion of this season and the conclusion of the final episode).
The cast take the material and deliver upon really well. Gandolfini makes the part his own, using his face as much as his presence, managing to convince both as a man to be feared but also someone who has panic attacks and bottled up issues inside him. Falco is not as good but is still very strong; Carmela has less time here but the development is fast and effective. Both Sigler and Iler are good, although Iler doesn't have a lot to do. Sirico and Zandt are great characters and deliver plenty of character, while Imperioli does well with his character even if it feels like he is being "developed" faster than I would have liked. Bracco allows Gandolini to do his thing and her performance is subtle for the most part. Not so with Marchand, who plays the manipulative mother to a tee – wonderfully overwrought and powerful. Chianese is good here as Junior, he captures the character well and makes his "semi-puppet" leadership role work within the narrative. Below this level the characters are not as well developed perhaps but they are still effective within the story – whether it be as a comic figure or as part of something else. I can't really think of anyone I thought gave a bad performance in the season.
Season 1 hits the ground running then. Shorter than I remember, it has lost none of its impact or ability to engage. The absurdity of Tony's life is well portrayed but not to the point where it loses realism. The struggle between the two sides of his life and the dramas within each of them are really well written and the development of the characters and delivery of the engaging narrative only serve to make it better. A great season all round with no real weaknesses to be found.
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