Pax Soprana (1.06)

Tony has a dream about Dr. Melfi.  Carmela feels some jealousy.  Corrado settles into his position as
top dog, and immediately upsets his captains—and Hesh.

Episode 6 – Originally aired Feb 14, 1999
Written by Frank “Crash” Renzulli
Directed by Alan Taylor


Detective Vin Makazian didn’t appear in the previous episode “College” (which was a standalone episode with a very narrow focus), so “Pax Soprana” reaches back to the earlier episode “Meadowlands” to pick up Vin Makazian’s story: the Detective has been spying on Dr. Melfi for Tony.  In the first scene of this episode, Vin updates Tony on Dr. Melfi’s personal life and habits.  I noted in my “Meadowlands” entry that Makazian was often presented to us against grungy and industrial backdrops.  That practice continues here.  In the opening shot,  we see Vin sitting on his dusty car at a lumberyard and we hear the mechanical noises of building materials being moved and processed.  This scene ends with Vin foregrounded against a trio of aging iron bridges.

Industrial Makazian

Another bridge makes an important appearance in this episode: the Paterson Falls bridge from which drug dealer Rusty Irish is tossed to his death.  This bridge had made an earlier appearance on the series—Mahaffey’s life was threatened here in that memorable scene from the Pilot episode:

Paterson Falls Bridge

The Sopranos is very good at clustering related or repeated images (and music) in such a way that they accumulate—almost subliminally—around certain ideas or notions inside our heads.  We’re often not even consciously aware that it is occurring.  For example, the cluster of “bridge” imagery from this hour and “Meadowlands” seems to accumulate around our idea of “Det. Makazian.”  (Makazian ↔ bridges.)  I think an argument can be made that “bridges” are also becoming associated with “death.”  (Mahaffey life is threatened on a bridge, Rusty Irish is thrown off a bridge, the song “Look on Down from the Bridge” scored Jackie’s funeral scene two episodes back, etc.  So: bridges ↔ death.)  These two clusters will become joined (Makazian ↔ bridges ↔ death) when Vin Makazian leaps to his death from a bridge in “Nobody Knows Anything” (1.11).

Dreams are also a recurring element of the series, adding crucial material to the Sopranos fabric.  Like most of the dreams that appear in the series, this episode’s dream-sequence initially causes confusion in the viewer—we think Tony is having sex with his goomar Irina, but then we realize he is dreaming of sex with Dr. Melfi.  Tony believes he’s falling in love with his therapist, confessing as much to her during a session.  Savvy Carmela is able to intuit that Tony’s feelings for his doctor are not strictly professional.  In the previous episode, Carmela unreasonably assumed that Tony was involved in a romantic relationship with his therapist when she inadvertently discovered that Dr. Melfi is a woman.  But now we see that Carmela’s mistaken assumption was not all that unreasonable.  Although Tony doesn’t have a physical relationship with his doctor, he does have very strong sexual feelings for her.  Carmela cries through their anniversary dinner and cuts the night short to go home.  But it is not exactly “home sweet home” that they return to.  I want to take a closer look at this scene as an example of how Chase utilizes sound editing.  Immediately after Carmela says the word “home,” we hear a harsh clanging sound; the unidentified noise perplexes us for a moment, until the image “catches up” with the sound—the scene cuts to the Soprano house and we understand that the noise is the clatter of the garage door.

Just as the mechanical noises of the lumberyard in the opening scene help characterize Vin Makazian as a rough and unpolished man, the justaposition of the word “home” with the abrasive rattle of the garage door helps characterize the Soprano home as a place of tension and hostility.  We’ve known since the Pilot episode that Carmela harbors some anger over the existence of Tony’s mistress(es), and her suspicions over Dr. Melfi now are making her truly bitter.  But instead of putting her house in order by engaging Tony in a serious conversation about her jealousy, Carmela tries only to put her physical house in order:

roche bobois

She goes on a home shopping spree.  Carmela is the quintessential American housewife, trying to ease her anxieties by buying expensive furnishings.  In the video clip above, Carmela declares that her self-esteem is being destroyed.  One of the primary tenets of American consumerist ideology is that self-esteem and happiness can be bolstered by making purchases.  Who can blame Carmela, at a low point in her life, for being unable to resist the ideology?  Its propaganda is everywhere.  This is a billboard that stands halfway between my house and a local Mercedes dealership:mercedes

Tony is not pleased with her furniture spree but he does not demand that the goods be returned.  Like Mikey Palmice, who buys the silence of the young men that witnessed him pitching Rusty Irish off the bridge, Tony is (in essence) buying Carmela’s complacence.  Before the episode is over, however, Tony gives Carmela some of the emotional security that she craves (and which a French side-table cannot supply): “You’re not just in my life, you are my life,” he assures her.  Carmela softens, finally recognizing that her jealousy over Melfi was not rationally justified.  Of course, the viewer knows—and one gets a sense that Carmela also grasps—the hypocrisy of Tony’s assurance: the only reason Tony and Melfi did not get physical was because she rejected his advances.  Besides, Tony’s affair with Irina continues unabated.


Livia is not happy at Green Grove.  I suppose she wouldn’t be happy anywhere, but she is particularly miserable at the nursing home—ahem, retirement community.  She is angry at Tony for installing her there, even taking her anger out on his friend Herman “Hesh” Rabkin; in another display of her influence on her brother-in-law, she gets Corrado to tax Hesh.  Tony and Hesh feel trapped by Corrado’s commands, and the imagery expresses their frustrations.  The walls seem to compress Tony and Hesh as they discuss Corrado.  Filmmaker Elia Kazan was a master of blocking, and he blocked his sets very dramatically in order to express the claustrophobic, frustrating nature of the familial relationships in his film East of Eden.  This example from The Sopranos is just as dramatic, and is done to convey the same mood:

east of eden - Sopranos Autopsy

Tony is no pushover.  He schemes with Hesh to outwit Corrado.  In a sidewalk negotiation in front of Satriale’s, Corrado acquiesces to Hesh’s requests—but we get the sense that Corrado knows that Tony and Hesh have been maneuvering behind his back.  There may be a parallel between Corrado and Carmela in this episode—they both reconcile with Tony, but we suspect that they do so despite seeing through Tony’s ploys.  (Since both Corrado and Carmela reconcile with Tony, the episode title “Pax Soprana” refers to the peace that has been made on both the famiglia and family fronts.)

Tony needs to reconcile Corrado to the other captains as well.  The capos believe that their new Boss is being too tight-fisted and severe.  Ray Curto says that Corrado is, idiomatically, eating alone:

eating alone

Tony tries to advise his uncle of this problem, couching his advice in an historical reference to the Pax Romana, the period in which the entire known world enjoyed years of peace under the relatively benevolent (and unchallenged) rule of Rome.  The reference goes completely over Corrado’s head.  Tony redelivers his point, this time making a coarser analogy—he tells the story of an old bull and his male offspring that saunter down the mountain to fuck all the cows.  This analogy Corrado can understand.  The newfound peace between Corrado and the capos results in good-feeling and cheerfulness at the dinner that is held for him, celebrating his new position as Boss of the famiglia.  Corrado (literally) does not “eat alone” now.

Unbeknownst to the mobsters, the FBI has infiltrated this dinner.  As an FBI agent’s hidden camera clicks away, rapper Xhibit’s “Paparazzi” begins to play.  This particular song was chosen, obviously, to play off the idea that the FBI is taking pictures of these men without their approval, much like a paparazzo would do.  But digging deeper, we find that the song has an even stronger relevance to the scene.  The melody of the song is taken from Gabriel Faure’s 1887 composition Pavane in F-Sharp Minor (Opus 50).  Professor Thomas Fahy explains the significance of this in his essay “‘You don’t have to eat every dish of rigatoni’: Food, Music and Identity in the Works of David Chase”:

Faure’s original composition has been corrupted by this synthesized, pop-rap version.  This modern incarnation is not the real thing—just as this dinner celebrating Uncle Junior is a farce: he is “de facto” Boss only.  Tony is really running the mob…

In the closing scene of the hour, a Federal agent raises a picture of Corrado above the rest of the capos to replace Jackie’s picture on the FBI corkboard, and then in the final shot of the hour, the camera pans up from a photo of Tony to the photo of Corrado, underscoring that Tony has been overtaken by his uncle within the mob’s ranks.  But we know that the famiglia‘s power structure is not as cut-and-dry as the Feds would believe.  The corkboard is too schematic to accurately document the intricacies and ambiguities that characterize this crime family, and it completely leaves out other important, influential power players (like Livia).  The Feds are, understandably, concerned with figuring out the hierarchy of power.  But “hierarchy” is no longer the steady and stable thing that it once was.  The Sopranos has been reiterating this idea since Christopher told Brendan in “46 Long” (1.02) that nobody knows who’s kicking up to who anymore.

This points to a postmodern phenomenon: the destabilization of hierarchy.  In previous eras, societies were made up of strong institutional and social hierarchies.  This is not as true in contemporary times, and contemporary art often reflects this situation.  The Sopranos, like many postmodern works, subverts traditional notions of hierarchy.  The use of Xhibit’s song is one example.  Professor Fahy continues: “…as the Xhibit/Faure example suggests, the high class and elitist associations with classical music tend to be leveled in The Sopranos…”  In other words, classical music is not given a privileged position over rap.  Tony’s coarse story about the bulls is another example.  One might have expected an historical story about ancient Rome to take prominence in this episode (especially considering that the hour’s title is derived from it), but the historical anecdote is ultimately cast aside, effectively trumped by a joke about a pair of horny bulls.

(The story about the pair of bulls also comments on the changing dynamic between Corrado and Tony when we consider how the story was used in Dennis Hopper’s 1988 film Colors.  In this movie, the young rookie cop McGavin is told the story by his veteran partner.  By the end of the movie, the veteran has been killed and McGavin tells the story to another rookie, signaling McGavin’s growing power and experience.  In this episode, we learn that Corrado told the story to Tony when he was younger; his repeating it back to his uncle now marks that he is growing in power and experience.  Tony is not a rookie anymore.)

When Rusty Irish is flung off the bridge at Paterson Falls, it becomes the second time in Season 1 that David Chase gives us a dramatic scene at this particular location.  In his essay, “From Troy to 95 Lincoln Place, Irvington, NJ: A Virgilian Reading of The Sopranos Underworld,” Dr. Michael Calabrese writes that these falls are the…

…the locus of the great modern, neo-Virgilian epic poem Paterson, the greatest achievement of New Jersey’s greatest poet, William Carlos Williams…the falls at Paterson are the literal and metaphorical center of that story of empire, emotion, work, nature and pollution…

Paterson won the first-ever National Book Award for Poetry (in 1950).  The Sopranos is an epic poem in its own right, a contemporary, televised story of “empire, emotion, work, nature and pollution…”

Of course, not everyone buys into American consumerist ideology.  Some people understand that you can drive something other than a German luxury car and still be happy.  They know that to yield to the constant propaganda is just bananas:

Banana Car



  • Funny poker line: Pussy says, “I’ve eaten more Queens than Lancelot.”
  • Funny cut: Corrado sarcastically says, “I’m playing shortstop for the Mets.”  CUT TO Tony warning frisky Irina, “All right, watch the balls!”  (This is exactly what a shortstop must do.)
  • Funny cut: Corrado says, “Hold on to your cock when you negotiate with these desert people.”  CUT TO Tony holding himself at a men’s toilet.
  • More toilet humor: Livia refers to her toilet-flushing neighbor at Green Grove as “Gunga Din,” Kipling’s water-carrier.
  • Tony and Hesh enjoy a friendship that lasts the run of the series.  Here, Hesh calls Tony tatelah, an endearment meaning “little man.”  Tony returns the endearing term to Hesh in “Remember When” (6.15).  Actor Jerry Adler worked for Chase previously in Northern Exposure, in which his character “Rabbi Schulman” acted as an advisor to that series’ main character.
  • John Sacrimoni makes his first appearance here, as Tony enlists his help in smoothing things over in the famiglia.  Tony and John will have a fruitful—but complicated—friendship over the years.
  • Initially, it seems quite strange that Tony’s sex-with-Melfi dream would be scored to The Jive Five’s “What Time Is It?”  The joke only snaps into place later when Dr. Melfi asks him whether he gets nightly erections and he responds, “You could set a clock to it.”
  • The website uses a frame from North by Northwest as an example of the “Traitor Shot”—a shot that purposely makes the viewer suspect a particular character to be the eventual betrayer of the story’s hero/main character.  In this episode, Corrado reconciles with Tony and the other capos, but the final image of the hour functions as a Traitor Shot.  We can guess that things are going to get a little hairy between Tony and his uncle before the season is over.
    North by Northwest - Sopranos Autopsy

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35 responses to “Pax Soprana (1.06)

  1. If you listen to the ( excellent) xhibit song paparazzi its interesting to think about what the song choice means and why it was chosen.

    Lyrically, the song refers to two main themes, the distinction between good and bad motivations for making music, the wise and old school rappers ( as xhibit styles himself) are motivated by love of the game, they find intrinsic motivation and pleasure in making music and are contrasted unfavourably with thise who seek only money and fame. This could be referring to juniors obsessive chase for power and that he myopically lusts after cash to the detriment of others ( and himself?) ” junior eats alone”, this foreshadows greater problems his attitude will cause got tony and others. We also are reminded of another soprano character when x raps ” either you are a soldier from the start or an actor with a record deal trying to play a part”, this line could have been written specifically for Christopher literally a soldier, literally trying to pursue a career in acting and seemingly ” playing the part” of a mafia man to gain the status and power he feels entitled to.

    The other ( connected) theme of the song relates to reality versus deception and obviously ties in with juniors very public leadership but secret denasculation at the hands of tony. We see that xhibit calls the bluff on those who pretend to be something they are not

    ” you can tell as a child growing up/ the n that were real and the n that were scared as fuck/you ain’t really real I can tell when I look at you/ so ease off the killing talk you ain’t killing shit”

    ” how many n did you know growing up/ that claimed they were riding but they really riding bitch”

    I guess the tragedy is that junior isn’t pretending to be riding shotgun, he actually thinks he’s in charge but he’s really riding ” bitch” to tony soprano.

    That’s I think the overriding tragedy of the song, that uncle junior and tony have given up a genuine relationship ” it’s a shame” for this false harmony and that junior will never see tony as a real Mafia man, worthy of respect equal to him and his father and so ends up eliminating the prophetic and eloquent tough street voice from the antiquated soundtrack of his out of touch rule ( like an orchestral version of a classic rap). But if this song proves anything, it’s that the Young and the old can be more than the sum of their parts if they just work together.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, the song does seem to highlight some of the complications that you point out. Xhibit’s song itself, because it samples Barbera Streisand’s “Pavane”—which is itself a version of the 1887 classical composition—complicates these issues between “Young vs. Old” and “authentic vs. fake”…


  2. Very well said!


  3. Pingback: The Sopranos – “Pax Soprana” Review (Part II) | A Pair of Tools

  4. Therapy scene at 25:16

    1. Tony and Jennifer are wearing the same color outfit
    2. Angry, Irina told Tony to “go jerk off (SELF-pleasure)” in the scene prior, the events of which are discussed here
    3. Irina asked if Tony meant that she should dress “like a man,” how Melfi is dressed most times, but perhaps particularly, here
    4. Earlier, Jennifer and Tony suspect she is liked because:
    *4a. She is a woman, like the women who bother him in the rest of his life
    *4b. She is Italian, like himself.
    5. Tony says Melfi “plays it down,” like how Tony is playing down his leadership role to Junior, his sexual infidelity to Carmela, and to Jennifer. That she has a “killer body underneath all of that.” These things are true about himself. Next,
    6. He says she is “gentle, not loud… sweet sounding, like a mandolin.” Definitely not true about Tony, but how he would like to be.
    7. Tony kisses Jennifer, and is sexually rejected, as he has been for this entire episode.

    I haven’t put all of the pieces together here, and I haven’t drawn all conclusions, but I feel like themes of psychological projection, “reversal into the opposite,” sexual self-stimulation and self-love are being explored here.

    Strangely, Tony had a therapy session with Melifi after being burned by Irina, but only brings it up now.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Therapy scene at the very end… again, same outfit: Tony wearing “vertically split” “black and white” shirt with khaki sides; Jennifer wearing black outfit, white buttons/pearls, and khaki slacks. So strange.

    I think Tony in these scenes is talking to himself a lot. Jennifer asks Tony, “what else have you done…? Answer me.” He does not engage the question at all.

    Tony says “I love you… simply as that.” Melfi here breaks down that she has intentionally made herself the object of Tony’s projections, and that his feelings for her are mere bi-products of progress. I think Tony here is dialoguing with himself, as a true sociopath, addressing his personal flaws but not wanting to address them personally. Tony is unhappy and doesn’t like himself.

    “I want to make sure WE understand each other.”

    “Yeah… you don’t love me.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Very detailed analysis, Ron. There is a lot to like about this episode, and surely a lot “happened.” For some reason, I always loved the Vin scenes. Perhaps is the deliberate way he is shown to us. Very interesting scenes even if sometimes quite boring. I’ve always said the Vin character could / should have been around much longer. After reading your autopsies thus far, I definitely take notice to more things that were intentionally done, such as many of Vin’s and Tony’s meeting places. The addition of Hesh and Johnny Sack add to the cast, as these are major characters in many episodes to come. Both parts played brilliantly. Again, the writing and acting and music and every other fucking thing make this episode stand out to me for some reason. The power Olivia has over Corrado is very interesting and shows how indecisive Corrado actually can be. (The fact you brought up the FBI overlooks this is interesting, at least until they wire Green Grove, which has devastating consequences in its own right). So Livia manipulated Corrado, Hesh gets fucked and goes to Tony who goes to Johnny Sack. When it’s all said and done its Corrado who looks bad, and isn’t respected by the crew. Later in the season the hard reality sets in for Uncle Junior of how he was played by Tony. I have always thought one of the main reasons he “agreed” with Livia to put out a hit on Tony is he somehow knew Tony was playing him, not the sole fact he was seeing Melfi. Corrado’s pride was hurt. He is also very savy and selfish; he survived the mob for quite some time.

    Highlights for me were the Patterson Falls scene- that Mikey is a fuckin’ prick. Imagine being those guys there seeing that incident…

    One of the best lines of the series (with the camera angle) “What’s this motherless fuck’s name?”

    Thanks Ron!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Enjoying these, Ron. Quick note: They are playing Hearts, not Poker. Not a big deal, of course, but this results in the queens/Lancelot joke making a lot more sense. Looking forward to the rest!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This episode confuses me. Can someone please explain what is going on? Hesh has apparently been working tax free since Johnny-Boys days. Now Jun wants to tax him 2 points plus back taxes. That’s clear.
    Tony then says that 10 cents of every dollar kicked up to Jun is directly related to Hesh’s shy business. Isn’t this a contradiction? Does this not imply that Hesh is already taxed in time form?
    Another confusion: These “two points” in tax, what does it mean. Is “points” straight percent or percentage points? Is it:
    (Let’s assume the principal is $1,000,000 and the vig is 5%)
    A: 2% of the $50,000 dollar weekly vig should be paid to junior. Ie Hesh pays $1000 to Jun per week?
    B: 2 percentage points out of the 5% should be paid, so Hesh has to pay $20,000 per week?
    As interesting as the symbolism and character stories in th Sopranos are, I am often frustrated that not more time is spent explaining the technicalities/mechanics/mathematics of mob life. Chase throws us tidbits here and there but it is hard to get a solid understanding of these matters.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A lot of people share your frustration. But I’m kind of glad that Chase didn’t focus on the inner working and mechanics of the mob too much…


    • Hesh was an adviser and friend to Johnny, and then Tony, Soprano. He did not work for them. However, Hesh was a loan shark on his own. And the more money he got out on the street in the way of loans to gamblers, the more money those gamblers have to make illegal bets with Sopranos/DiMeo associates.
      It’s no wonder these gamblers can never pay their debts. When they lose a bet they owe the mob but they also owe their loan shark, Hesh.
      So, “10 cents of every dollar kicked up to Jun is directly related to Hesh’s shylock business” is different from a tax. Hesh never paid a tax but he indirectly contributed to the Soprano/DiMeo wealth by getting his money on the street through the gamblers taking out loans from him and then those gamblers placing bets with the mob.
      Now, Junior wants to tax Hesh on his entire loan shark business. Junior wants to double dip. He already gets money through their own illegal gambling efforts from the gamblers, money the gamblers borrowed from Hesh. Now he wants a percentage of Hesh’s business, and decades of back taxes.
      This is how I understand it, anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Glenn MacDougall

        Everyone kicks up if you’re making money and are in a crew or an associate of the mob. Tax is what they do to civilian business owners. So Hash has no problem kicking up. That’s normal. Being taxed is an insult if you’ve been given the privilege of not doing so for all these years. So now he has to kick up and be taxed on top of that.

        Liked by 1 person

    • And yes, points are a straight percentage. When someone takes out a loan or owes money, say $100,000. 2 points a week is $2,000 interest every week. There’s no APR in the mob.
      Hesh says “two points monthly on my shy.” Whatever he brings in every month from loan sharking, say $500,000 one month, $750,000 the next – Hesh would owe Junior $10,000 and $15,000, respectively.
      Again – that’s how I understand it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • A typical vig is 2 points, or 2%. So yes, 2 points of $50K = $1K.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. “Tony is (essentially) buying Carmela’s complacence.”
    Ron – I think the word should probably be “complaisance”.
    – – – –
    “We get the sense that Corrado knows that Tony and Hesh have been maneuvering behind his back. “
    I don’t get this sense myself. Rather, I feel that Corrado is smugly pleased with his cleverness and his magnanimity, and is being manipulated. Similarly, in the previous episode: Tony tells Corrado that he accepts him as the Boss, and then whispers his conditions in a way that Corrado can hardly refuse.
    However, if he does know, the scene becomes even more interesting. Tony, Hesh, and Johnny Sack are at least as shrewd as Corrado, so they probably know that he knows; so all four of them are consciously taking part in a performance.
    – – – –
    The song ‘What Time Is It?’ by the Jive Five immediately follows the scene in which Tony teases Hesh about his assigning himself co-authorship of songs he did not write. Hesh doesn’t contradict him, just smiles. ‘What Time Is It?’, a doowop song by black musicians, is exactly the kind of song that might have ‘Rabkin’ as co-author.
    – – – –
    Arvid above raises a question about what Ron has called “mobster math”. Anyone interested in the matter can find a little more discussion in the comments to “Everybody Hurts” (4, 6). But I’m afraid it’s mainly questions, not answers.
    – – – –
    One of Tony’s set phrases is “degenerate gambler”. He uses it about Mahaffey in the Pilot episode and will use it about Makazian. But in this episode it is used by Livia to condemn a fellow-resident who is keen on bingo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right, “complacence” means something else 👍🏼


    • The way Junior says, “Something tells me you already have a suggestion,” or something like that makes me believe that he does suspect the others of making deals behind his back. Great observation about the song! I completely forgot about it in the dream sequence on this re-watch.
      Ron, I’m attempting another re-watch/read of the blog since it looks like you are getting near the end. I’m not sure of the legality of YouTube videos and HBO clips, but you should turn your blog into a series of video essays, you could really reach even more people and possibly get film snobs to watch the show who’ve never given it a chance before (if such people still exist). Anyway, great work! You could teach multiple semesters of this material, it is so vast.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks. I’ve had videos blocked by a network on youtube even though the way I used the clips—for analysis and criticism—is probably permitted. I’m not looking to open up a legal can of worms…


  10. I watched the series for the first time last year, and re-watched it again two more times back to back. Fell in love, like so many other people.
    This autopsy has revealed so many new and fascinating ideas to me that I’d never thought about, and I’m really thankful to you Ron for all the work you put into it!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. “De facto” boss is Tony. Junior is “de jure” boss.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Maybe you mentioned this and I didn’t see it but when Junior is talking to Mikey Palmice and says “these guys today they want to be buried in their jogging outfit” was definitely some foreshadowing lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I know you likely cover this in season 2, but i liked how you point out the way Chase uses sound editing to foreshadow or highlight an ulterior meaning to what is happening. The first one that jumps out to me is Albert Barese “shooting down” Richie’s attempt to form a mutiny against Tony. We hear what sounds like a Thompson (Tommy) machine gun like in the old-time gangster movie flicks, but we quickly learn it’s actually just a can of paint being shaken at a hardware store. The sound however indicates that not only has Albert “shot down” Richie’s proposal, but that Richie may soon meet his fate by being shot to death.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. It’s scary how much influence Livia has, not only on Tony, but on Junior as well. How this horrid woman has become so overtly – and covertly – powerful is a portend of bad things to come. Junior uses her advice to gain power (and money), but Tony (for some reason) is too intimidated to cut the apron strings and see his mother as she really is – a vicious, conniving and miserable bitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Please "Bear" With Us

    Nice article, Ron.
    In my quest to find miniscule items of interest that are less important than the big picture, I noted that there’s something going on about water. A motif here that is repeated in images and language, perhaps just for… some kind of flavor?
    Check this out and prepare to be uh, thrilled or… something… by my micro-itemizing: The tailor’s grandson jumps into the Falls as does Rusty (well, Rusy is helped in)–Mikey describes the current wrecking the kid’s body; first card game starts with someone saying “jump in, water’s warm”; second card game also starts with “water’s warm”; Livia rants about Gunga Din next door with her “water, water, water” all day. And Tony’s shirt early on looks like a water surface–like the surface of the pool at the end. And Tony pees. And the shower. Okay, I’m sorry, this is a very silly post but I’m actually being serious this time!
    Humor me for one more paragraph: there’s a little fire to counteract the water, with the candles that decorate Irina’s apartment and Tony and Carmela’s anniversary cake. Tony gets burned physically by Irina and otherwise by Carmela.
    Okay, I admit all of the above is really silly but… anyway.
    To conclude this brilliant dissertation, I don’t really know that the fire/water stuff connotes anything here, but it does seem like they’re having fun with these little motifs. Do you know if they (Chase, writers, directors) ever SAID that they tried to place things into the script or… uh… mise-en-scene (I still am not confident using that word) that might work on the audience unconsciously? It seems abundantly clear that they did (see your description of bridges and death above). I think Chase himself definitely had that in mind, but I don’t know if he ever talked about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chase and Matt Weiner have talked about subconscious elements in the episodes, and I guess in the mise-en-scene too LOL, but they’ve said that they may be placing it subconsciously themselves. (“It’s not schematic,” Chase said when Peter Bogdanovich asked him a similar question.)

      Anyway, keep these dissertations coming. I’m enjoying them a lot..


  16. Please "Bear" With Us

    Wow, that is interesting… not schematic, okay. That makes sense. Yeah I remember Michael Imperioli talking about stuff being meaningful even if it wasn’t conscious, and it’s fascinating that it works so well regardless of the creation process.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Dr. Melfi always asks Tony why he has to ‘make things right’, why he has to take responsibility for everything. (Of course, he never answers her questions.) It looks like Corrado actually ‘makes’ things right; on his own, he has Mikey dispose of Rusty and and demand a cut of the card game. After being provoked by Livia, he demands that Hesh pay tax and vigs. Corrado’s arrogance will continue to negatively affect/impact la famiglia for a long time to come. And what’s up with Carmela? She sits in an expensive restaurant, bedecked with very expensive jewelry and clothing, and complains about everything. Poor Tony! He can’t even ‘get it up’ anymore, LOL.

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  18. Pingback: The Soprano Onceover: #21. “Pax Soprana” (S1E6) | janiojala

  19. Father Phil trying to keep Tony in the church obviously to get more money… Christ on a cracker. And cut to “She’s outta control. She’s spending money like we’re the Sopranos of Park Avenue.” Father Phil’s God racket and how the Catholic church supports the Mafia structure really gets lacerated every time it pops up.

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