Irregular Around the Margins (5.05)

Gossip spreads like wildfire after Tony and
Adriana get into a car accident, causing
Christopher to fly off the handle.

Episode 57 – Originally aired April 4, 2004
Written by Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess
Directed by Allen Coulter

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“Irregular Around the Margins” is one of the most loved episodes of the series, it’s a high-octane hour that burns with intensity.  Most viewers, including myself, admire it despite the fact that it should not work, at least not on paper: at first blush, it seems strange that a mutual attraction between Tony and Adriana could pop up so suddenly, and that events could so quickly spiral out of control that Tony and Chris almost kill each other.  And yet, the episode not only works, it sings.  Part of the reason why this is such a fine episode is because writers Green and Burgess excel (as always) in expressing the complicated, dynamic relationships between characters in a way that is, above all else, believable.  Part of the reason is also that all the actors are in top form, I don’t think anyone hits a sour note at any point in the hour.

The sudden attraction between Tony and Ade may also feel believable because we see it sprout within the context of the larger story.  Tony has been separated from his wife for over a year, and perhaps it is his desire for a Carmela-replacement that drives him toward Adriana, just as it drove him toward Dr. Melfi earlier in the season.  (Valentina La Paz could never replace Carmela.  Valentina appeared for a moment in the Season Opener but hasn’t been seen since; she is just a fling for Tony, not someone that he believes he can rebuild his life with.)  Adriana may be drawn to protective, fatherly Tony because she is in a precarious, vulnerable spot between the FBI and the mob—and Christopher is not exactly the most sensitive or supportive boyfriend.  (Maybe we should also take into consideration James Gandolfini’s natural charisma which he was able to draw upon here.  He was, after all, voted Class Flirt at Park Ridge High School in 1979.)

Chase also employs subtle techniques to get us to buy into the seemingly unlikely storyline.  Within the first minute of the hour, Adriana is compared to daughter Meadow through a matching gesture:

Tony Sopranos' kisses

Tony kisses Ade just as he kissed his daughter moments earlier.  This reminds us that there is a significant bond between the two, Tony does not think of Adriana simply as some distant relation that he sees only at Thanksgiving.  The two are also connected though their physical ailments: Tony has a cancerous growth on his forehead while Adriana is suffering from IBS.  Chase places their visits to their respective doctors in adjacent scenes:

Doctors offices Sopranos Autopsy

Chase’s camera catches each character on their backs while their doctors attend to them.  Both doctors’ offices share a color palette of light blues and greys, making an additional subtle link between Tony and Adriana.  Although Tony does not tell Carmela about his squamous-cell carcinoma, he does not hesitate to tell Adriana.  He is sympathetic towards Adriana when she shares her medical condition with him, embarrassing as it is.  Christopher, on the other hand, is dismissive and sarcastic when she updates him on her ailments.

Chris cannot understand why the doctor wants to prescribe Prozac for her diarrhea.  Of course, Adriana cannot tell him the real reason why her stomach and her soul are so upset: she’s an FBI informant.  The mirror in the bathroom reflects Adriana’s doubled, split persona as she tries to express her anguish to Chris without revealing too much:

mirrored Adriana - Irregular Around The Margins

Chris’ insensitivity probably pushes Adriana towards Tony.  At the Crazy Horse, a game of darts leads Tony and Ade toward a romantic moment, but the arrival of Phil Leotardo and Joey Peeps interrupts them.

Tony visits Melfi for the first time this season as a patient—he probably recognizes that he can’t get make his way through his newfound attraction to Adriana without some help.  He tells Dr. Melfi that it was his self-control that prevented him from acting on his desire, but we know that Phil and Joey’s inopportune arrival had a lot to do with it.  Tony understands that pursuing a relationship with Adriana would be taboo and disastrous for everyone around them (and themselves).  He seems ready to take the good advice that Melfi gives him: be worthy of the respect that Adriana has for him.

Back at the Crazy Horse, Ade is looking insanely hot in a short tube skirt.  We don’t know exactly what Tony’s intentions are when he offers her a ride, or exactly what she is thinking when she suggests a cocaine-run.  Perhaps Tony really was ready to exercise some self-restraint, but we know one of the side effects—or main effect—of coke is to loosen inhibitions.  We’ll never know what would have happened if they did score the coke, because Tony flips his Escalade trying to avoid a raccoon in the road before they ever get to the dealer.

Christopher returns from his business trip in North Carolina suspicious of his fiancée.  He yells at her as he drives her home from the hospital: “You know how this looks?!  Don’t talk to me, you shut your mouth!”  Chase cuts from Chris’ question to a shot of the Leg Show poster at the Bing:

Legshow Sopranos Autopsy

Chris has good reason to worry about “how this looks”—everyone will sexualize the story of Tony and Adriana’s late-night ride just as surely as Leg Show magazine sexualizes the women on its pages.  Tony tries to convince Chris that nothing happened but Chris ain’t buying it.  And neither is anyone else.  An efficient and hilarious sequence of “telephone-gossip” segues into a scene of the guys sitting around a table at Satriale’s, playing cards and joking about Adriana.  Chris walks into the room, gets enraged by their laughter and then throws a sandwich at Vito.  (This is a big no-no, because not only is Vito a captain now, but because food is religion in SopranoWorld—making a projectile out of a hoagie is tantamount to sacrilege.)

Christopher is losing control of himself.  He returns home and smacks Adriana around and physically drags her out of the apartment.  Chase cuts from this brutal scene to a brutal UFC fight that AJ watches at his dad’s place:

Two fights - Sopranos Autopsy

Blundetto comes to Tony’s place to warn him that Chris has gone over the edge, he’s become a threat to Tony.  (After delivering this warning, Blundetto steps away to use the bathroom; even amidst the heightening drama and danger, the fuckin’ regularness of life is ever-present on The Sopranos.  I can’t think of another TV show in which characters having to take a piss is so routinely depicted.)

Chris comes to the Bing and empties his clip into Tony’s Suburban.  He storms into the strip joint, looking to do more damage but gets restrained by Super Bowl champ (and New Jerseyite) Tony Siragusa.  The previous episode featured a bevy of famous faces, including another NFL guy, Lawrence Taylor.  Now we can add “Goose” to the list:

Tony Siragusa - Sopranos Autopsy

Siragusa is obviously not playing himself, he is playing soldier “Frankie Cortese.”  While Frankie restrains Chris, club manager Silvio gets control of the situation, reassuring the Bing patrons that everything is okay.  Thank God he had his trusty bullhorn nearby.

Silvio with bullhorn

(Seeing Silvio now makes me realize that I could include Stevie Van Zandt into the list of famous faces.  Van Zandt is no acting genius, but he inhabits the role of Silvio so naturally that we almost forget that he was primarily known for being a musician before The Sopranos came along.  Chase gives us clever reminders of Van Zandt’s musical accomplishments, however, lest we completely forget: earlier in the episode, at the Crazy Horse office, Tony hears the song “Come For Me” and asks Adriana which band is playing on stage and she replies, “It’s called The Lost Boys.  Sil’s been raggin’ on me all week for me to play them here.  Their manager or somebody owes him money.”  In case you missed the joke, the Lost Boys is Steven Van Zandt’s garage band.)

Tony and his guys take Christopher to a dark, isolated field, perhaps out in the Meadowlands.  Chris is unrepentant and Tony feels he has no choice but to put a bullet in his head.  It is a scene of great power, but also of great ambiguity.  An ambiguous comment by Paulie can be read as an attempt to defend Chris, but it can also be read as an attempt to get Chris into more trouble with the Boss.  It is also unsure whether Tony would actually have pulled the trigger if Blundetto didn’t intervene.  Some viewers have suggested that the whole thing was a set-up to try to scare Chris straight, similar to how Corrado’s henchmen gave Chris a scare in episode 1.03:

Gun to Moltisanti's head

I personally think that Tony would have killed Moltisanti—his instinct for self-preservation is too strong to allow Chris to harbor a murderous grudge against him.  Lucky for Chris, Blundetto was there to diffuse the situation.  We’re really beginning to see Blundetto’s intelligence.  With the just the right amount of menace (“Any gunshot wounds or broken kneecaps?”), Blundetto is able to get the hesitant doctor to meet with them, and then Blundetto is able to elicit information from the doctor that points to Tony and Adriana’s innocence.  But the truth about that night doesn’t satisfy Chris, because he knows that gossip this juicy takes on a life of its own (which can overshadow the actual truth).

Tony tries to convince Carmela that nothing happened with Adriana.  As Tony makes his case, Edie Falco is able to convey (primarily with just her facial expressions) an array of Carmela’s emotions: astonishment, amusement, outrage and finally the bitterness of having to accept that this man who she is so eager to despise is actually telling the truth here.

SWALLOW
Ever the intelligent manager, Tony understands that the best way to manage the gossip swirling around them is by pulling the family together.  When Tony, Carmela, Chris and Adriana (along with Blundetto and his mother) come together for dinner at Vesuvio, they take the wind out of the sails of all the rumor-mongers around them.  Vito strolls over to greet the party, and offers his hand to Christopher.  (Food is often at the center of events on the series; a hurled sandwich almost led to violence between the two men, now they make their peace at a restaurant.)  Things are beginning to return to normal.  In the closing shot of the hour, Tony looks admiringly at his wife who was able to put her anger aside and do what was best for the family.  An aria from Puccini’s opera La Rondine starts up and continues through the credits.  Soprano Luba Organasova’s powerful voice ends the episode with grace and beauty.  As is often the case with the tracks that close out an episode, this aria might be making multiple comments.  La Rondine, the opera in which the aria appears, translates to The Swallow.  The opera tells the story of a woman who, like a swallow, flies home to Paris after having a passionate fling on the French Riviera—something like  how Adriana returns to Chris after developing feelings for Tony.  But Chase may also be having a bit of fun with the song selection.  He may have chosen a piece from The Swallow because Chris, Ade, Tony and Carmela have all had to “swallow” their anger and embarrassment to make this public appearance together.  Or perhaps, a bit more crassly, The Swallow may be a punning reference to The Blowjob that precipitated the high drama of the hour (despite the fact that it never actually occurred).

The sexual pun is classic Sopranos.  After giving us an hour that powerfully investigates how loneliness, vulnerability, jealousy and outrage can cause complicated shifts in personal relationships, all within the context of larger societal perceptions and taboos, Chase closes the episode with a dick joke.  We’ve seen Chase get playful about oral sex before.  Season One’s “Boca” contained multiple subtle and not-so-subtle references to cunnilingus (including that ingenious episode title).  “Irregular Around the Margins” has multiple references to fellatio, including one that I think most viewers have missed: a painting of a mouth hangs behind Tony and Adriana at the Crazy Horse as their attraction to each other begins to heat up.  It’s not the first time that a painting of a body part has remarked upon the events at the Crazy Horse—in 4.02, Adriana and undercover agent Danielle talked in front of two paintings of eyes which underscored how the FBI has their “eyes” on the mob:

2 Crazy Horse Paintings - Sopranos Autopsy

IRREGULAR AROUND THE MARGINS
The episode title obviously refers to the irregular growth that Tony has on his forehead, but it can also be read in other ways.  A romantic relationship between Tony and Adriana would be seen as highly irregular, it would exist in the margins of decency and propriety.  Also, it may be valid to say that Tony and Adriana are each currently in the margins of their normal lives right now: Tony finds himself in an uncertain stage between being married and being divorced; Adriana is in an unsettling space between the FBI and the mob.

The title may also be calling attention to a defining characteristic of The Sopranos.  The series is characterized by how often it navigates away from its “main” plots to go poke around in the stories that are in the margin.  “Irregular Around the Margins” is an almost textbook example of this tendency.  Todd VanDerWerff is correct to say that “though it features a bunch of recurring plotlines,” this hour is basically a stand-alone episode.  The main thrust of “Irregular”—Adriana and Tony’s flirtation, and its immediate aftermath—is not connected to anything that came before it, and it will not be an issue going forward.  (Although, for the sake of accuracy, I must note that the issue is revisited in Season 6, when Christopher produces a film that features an affair between a mobster’s girlfriend and his boss.)  David Chase has long understood that we shouldn’t only focus on what is at the center of the canvas; there are a lot of interesting things happening along the margins as well.

Chase redirects our focus from the main storylines of Season 5 to the peripheral story of this episode simply by making a small tweak to the relationship between Tony and Adriana.  Basically, that’s it.  That’s all it takes.  Dana Polan, in his standout book The Sopranos, makes note of how this episode maximizes…

…the potential for stories to be generated from new and unexpected interactions among the set of basic characters…there can always be new ways for them to interrelate…The episode shakes up a set of fixed connections, generates new story and suspense from that, and then basically terminates the new plot line to return to business as usual…

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THREE IRONIES
“Irregular” may indeed be seen as a stand-alone episode, but that doesn’t mean it actually stands alone—it exists within the larger context of the series.  Some of the events of this hour strike us as ironic when we see them in the context of previous episodes:

  1. Christopher is outraged to think that Tony, his relative, could have a relationship with Adriana, his fiancée, but Chris himself screwed his cousin Greg’s fiancée in “D-Girl” (2.07).
  2. Tony tries to deflect Carmela’s anger by criticizing her relationship with Furio, but her non-romance with Furio was arguably even more chaste than Tony’s non-romance with Adriana.
  3. Tony is in no position to demean Furio.  Furio exercised true self-control, choosing to vacate the country rather than have an affair with Carmela.  Tony, on the other hand, probably might not have exercised such self-control; he most probably didn’t kiss Adriana only because they were interrupted by a knock on the door.

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ADDITIONAL POINTS:

  • The Sopranos began making topical political commentary in Season 5.  The previous episode made references to the Bush administration’s bunk propaganda during the run-up to the Iraq War.  Now, we see that Chris has bought into George Bush’s bluster: “We’re gonna mop the floor with the whole fuckin’ world, the whole world is gonna be under our control.”
  • Maurice Yacowar notes that when Adriana tells her doctor, “I’m so scared I’m gonna have an accident” regarding her loose bowels, it actually foreshadows the car accident she has with Tony.  I think that when Tony ribs Meadow in the opening scene about all the dings she has put on her car, this also ironically presages the major dings he will later put on his Escalade.  (We might remember that we saw Meadow’s dinged-up Mustang in the first minutes of Season 5, as she drove over the Star-Ledger laying in the driveway.)
  • Yacowar also notes the way “#2” threads its way through the hour: clutching her stomach in the car, Adriana insists that agent Robin pull over because she has to go “number two”; Tony tells Melfi that he’s grooming Chris to be his “number two”; Tony starts off his meeting with Chris at the Bada Bing by asking him to throw away a stick that he’s used to scrape dog shit (AKA doggie #2) off the bottom of his shoe.  Additionally, we might remember that when Corrado’s goons scared Chris in episode 1.03, an incident that gets recalled here (see picture above), Chris shits his pants and Adriana later asks him if he went “number two.” 


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49 responses to “Irregular Around the Margins (5.05)

  1. This is phenomenal, insightful analysis. I wish I had something potentially insightful to add, but you really did one of the series’ best episodes justice.

    I hope you get back to writing these. Just know you have an eager reader.

    Like

  2. I’m dying for a whitecaps review! But I know these take time. Loving them by the way.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Now, we see that Chris has bought into George Bush’s bluster: “We’re gonna mop the floor with the whole fuckin’ world, the whole world is gonna be under our control.”

    ……

    Gangsters knew the real meaning behind all of Bush’s “spreading democracy” crap.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Do you know who the other guy is that is holding Christopher up, along with Siragusa, in that photo?

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  5. I actually held off reading this one until you got 5.04 up… which was tough to do, because it’s one of the Season Five episodes (along with Marco Polo and The Test Dream) that I was most excited to read your thoughts on. And you did not disappoint… good eye picking up a lot of the details and nuances in this one.

    A couple of thoughts:
    – After Tony totals his Escalade, we see that he’s once again driving the Chevy Suburban he had in Season’s 1-4. That always struck me as odd… as in, where has this SUV been? Tony’s since started driving a different truck… did he just put this into storage somewhere? The way he spends money (as we’d learn more about in Season Six), you’d think he’d have cashed out on it. And, if he wanted to give AJ an SUV, why buy a brand new Nissan instead of just giving him his old Chevy, so long as he apparently had it sitting around collecting dust anyway? This isn’t an important point (to say the least), but something that always bugged me since my first viewing in 2004.
    – About that fateful car ride with Adriana… I always found it interesting that she told Tony that she has a friend who “thinks he’s cute.” I took that exchange as an indicator that she wasn’t planning on doing anything unseemly (well, more so than scoring drugs, anyway) with Tony. In my experience, if a woman is telling you about/selling you on other women, she herself is not interested.
    – Interestingly, that ‘eye’ painting is also present behind Tony in the screenshot with the lips…

    Liked by 3 people

    • Carmela sold her acquaintance in the dentist’s office (I don’t remember her name) to Furio when she was definitely more than interested in him, so your comment above about Adriana not really being interested in Tony is not true.
      Adriana always appears lost and vulnerable (not to mention often clueless and in need of a father) and I believe she definitely would have slept with Tony. And Tony has impulse control issues, so Christopher or no Christopher, he would have slept with her too.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I always interpreted that line a different way, that Adriana was obliquely communicating to Tony that he’s attractive, and that she (Adriana) finds him attractive. Use of ‘a friend’ here, to me, is similar to the way a person uses ‘a friend’ when they’re really talking about themselves, but trying to hide that fact– i.e., “I have a friend who wants to know how to download movies illegally. Do you know how to do that?” I also thought they probably would have gone to bed if it hadn’t been for the car accident. Of course, I could be wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time. I’ve been enjoying your comments, by the way.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hey RR(R)M!

    You know, I hadn’t thought of it that way, but you make a good argument. Honestly, I like your interpretation, and I’m going to consider that the correct narrative going forward.

    Thanks for the kind words, by the way! I enjoy your comments as well! So happy I found this site… intelligent Sopranos discussions aren’t always so easy to come by online.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Thanks, Sonic. Appreciate it. Agreed, this is one of the very best sites for Sopranos analysis. I’m always impressed by the amount of nuance and detail Ron brings to each review. Looking forward to all of us one day sharing our thoughts on the finale. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I think it’s also interesting that the beautiful “Swallow” Aria “Chi il bel sogno di Doretta” is the same played in the pilot during Tony’s first panic attack. I wonder if Chase was making a comment on the ducks and Tony’s fear of losing his family, while we see his fractured family coming together here. Adriana also makes the comment about Tony’s ducks earlier in the episode to her handler (as if she gave a shit), so there were at least a couple connections to the pilot.

    Liked by 4 people

    • For me, the Swallow aria evokes one of the most beautiful and sensual scenes in film: In “A Room with a View” (1985, James Ivory) the film’s protagonist (a virginal Victorian English girl, played by a very young Helena Bonham-Carter) is embraced and kissed off-guard by a young man (Julian Sands) she meets on a trip to Italy, whilst in a picturesque field in the Italian countryside, and out of site of her chaperone. Although she is engaged to another (Daniel Day-Lewis,) this is the most erotic moment of her life that not only haunts her, but drives the ensuing plot. Chi il bel sogno di doretta (sung by Kiri Te Kanawa) prominently sounds over this scene.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. One thing that I thought was interesting about this episode was the juxtaposition of impending death for Christopher. The last time we saw him with a gun in his face in such a dramatic fashion was “Denial, Anger, Acceptance” where he pleads for his life. This episode really shows his evolution as a character. Whereas before he cried profusely and sh*t his pants at the thought of dying, here when offered an “out” by Tony, his only response is an icy glare daring Tony to murder him. While I’m sure this was in part fueled by his anger and stubbornness over the situation, I think it also speaks to his evolution from a wannabe gangster hanging with Brendan Filone to a full-fledged mafioso.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I’m rewatching the series and your guide is essential in opening my eyes to a ceaseless stream of hidden complexity that I never noticed in my first viewing. Now it honestly feels like a completely new show, much deeper and smarter than the one I saw the first time.

    I’ve reached this episode now and I see you haven’t done the rest of season 5 and 6. I can’t go on without these posts. Please finish the rest soon.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I’ve been enjoying your analysis and I’m eagerly waiting for the rest of.
    Just a quick observation, in the scene Tony waits in the Melfi’s office you see him sitting in a different spot and beneath a painting of a tree. Since the trees are already connected to mortality, I think Tony sitting literally beneath the ‘shadow’ of a tree reflects the mortal dangers to him in this episode, namely cancer, car accident and a drunk Christopher.

    Liked by 3 people

    • It’s interesting, a lot of people consider standalone hours to be “minor” in comparison to other episodes, and yet Tony has some major brushes with death here, as you point out…

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I just stumbled on this site. Some of the best, most insightful analysis of my all time favorite show that I’ve read anywhere. Usually watch the whole series twice a year or so. I’m definitely going to return to this site and read each of these after I finish each episode when I watch the show again later this year.

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    • Wow twice a year, that is some serious devotion!

      Like

      • You ever notice that in the movie Heat, the guy from Vegas that is having an affair with Ashley Judd is being threatened by Pacino that he will be extradited back to New Jersey on a warrant for smuggling cigarettes from North Carolina to New Jersey? Coincidence that Chris is doing the same?

        Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m not sure how you meant that the Vesuvio dinner takes the wind out of the gossips’ sails. I always felt this was Tony’s way of putting a lid on the subject – at least for public discussion, and getting back to where they can all work together again. I expect that everyone in the gang – surely Carmella and maybe even Christopher – still believes something was either going on or about to. Probably all the gangsters would have taken advantage if they’d had a shot at Adriana since she and Chris weren’t married.

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  15. There is also one highly irregular thing that we see for the first time in this episode – Tony doing drugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I don’t know what the connection is, but Chris and Adriana driving from the hospital harkens back to season 1 when Ade is driving Chris home from the hospital, after Junior’s hit men make him shit his pants. It almost feels like the same scene. Maybe it’s Chris being humiliated and emasculated in both instances, even cuckolded in the latter.
    “we know one of the side effects—or main effect—of coke is to loosen inhibitions”
    We do?
    …Just kidding, Ron.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Something I noticed in this episode is that, just like Adriana had pictures of eyes being displayed behind her when she talked to Danielle, now Tony has pictures of eyes behind himself when he’s talking to Adriana (meaning that he’s being watched by the FBI through Adriana), and Adriana has pictures of mouths behind her (meaning that she’s the one telling everything to the FBI).

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Love the blog but i think the interpretation of the aria is wrong. It is sung by a kept woman who is reading a poet’s story about a young woman who is awakened to love by a kiss, but then sings Ah my love, my dream! What are riches if such a love could flower. The woman does run off with a younger, sincere lover, but eventually returns to the older man who keeps her, knowing that in her era, she could never be accepted as a wife and mother. So she does go back after the idyll on the Riviera, but back to her old life as a kept woman, and away from true love. 🧐

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  19. great analysis as always…but this episode is one of the more contrived in the series. tony and adriana’s dialogue is cringeworthy; phil’s body language when he ‘catches’ them; the whole rumor line thing when all are talking about it; theres a lot of amateur hour in this…hour.

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  20. Is there also a reference to the Monica Lewinsky scandal? Bill Clinton: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” Tony: “You think I’d have sexual relations with her?” Also, the “irregular” behavior in both cases involved oral sex. And like Carmela, Hillary stood by her man (did the Clintons go on TV?)

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  21. Adriana walks into her office and Tony, now paranoid about melanoma, has his shirt up and is examining his skin in the mirror. Speaking to Adriana’s reflection as she stands behind him, Tony explains, “This mole back there looked irregular around the margins.” Tony has no idea that his words are as true of Adriana (standing “back there” behind Tony) as any abnormality on his skin. Adrianna is literally “irregular” because of her ibs. She has become a reluctant mole, informing for the fbi. Her role as an informant is somewhat unusual or “irregular” as she exists only in the margins of the mob and doesn’t possess a lot of inside information. As the FBI has ensnared her, she has isolated or “marginalized” herself even further from her loved ones, which may look strange or “irregular” to Tony, Carmela and the rest of the family. I could go on and on. I love how the writers of “The Sopranos” mimic Shakespeare at times by (a) pouring layers of meaning into a single line of dialog to be delivered by the actor as throw-away chatter, and by (b) playing with a knowledge shared between author and audience yet still kept hidden from all or some of the characters (in this case that, unbeknownst to Tony, his words about the “irregular mole” describe Adriana).

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  22. but somehow…all that because of a raccoon just doesnt work

    Liked by 1 person

  23. This episode established the theme of a Cat staring down at sellouts
    Cat looks at Adrianna ( who flipped to the feds) in this episode right before the crash
    Cat looks at picture of Christopher ( who likely sold out to the feds) after his death
    Cat looks at Paulie ( who likely sold out to New York) in the series finale
    Finally at Holsten’s we see a Cat facing the camera itself.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. As a guy that works in opera (and who has played a production of “La Rondine”), I tend more toward Allyson’s viewpoint above, although I happen to think the key is in the text of the aria itself. Sung by the courtesan Magda, the aria’s story foreshadows the events that play out in the rest of the opera, and here Magda can easily be seen as a stand-in for Adriana: she sings about a woman who passes on the love and protection of a king in order to wait for true love, which comes in the form of a lowly student.
    Like much of the opera world, I’m one to zero in on a dick joke faster than… well, pretty much anyone else. But here, I just don’t think it’s there. Yes, the title “La Rondine” translates as “The Swallow”, but a) it is virtually never referred to by the English translation of the title, only “La Rondine”, and b) although Italian is not my best language, my slang is pretty good and, as far as I know, “rondine” does not have any slang sexual connotation at all. Of course I can’t say for sure that no one would take that cross-language double meaning, but it seems highly unlikely–mostly, I suppose, because I hadn’t already done so myself!
    How lucky that an aria so rich with allegorical implications makes such perfect Italian restaurant background music–an inspired choice.

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  25. One of the things I have noticed (and remember – this is the first time I am watching the series) is that Tony will often swear upon God and his family to lies he invents to protect himself. This is one of the most disturbing things I find about him and is indicative to me that he is a true sociopath, and not a good guy deep down who really loves his family. I don’t think he is capable of genuine love.

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  26. Just want to say thanks for these. I appreciate you taking the time to write these and point things out for people like me who always miss the subtle details and broader connections. Found out about this site a little late (towards the end of Season 4), so I gotta go back and do some reading once I finish my first run of the show. Thanks again!

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  27. Just want to say thanks for these. I appreciate you taking the time to write these and point things out for people like me who always miss the subtle details and broader connections. Found out about this site a little late (towards the end of Season 4), so I gotta go back and do some reading once I finish my first run of the show. Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. An interesting thing about that Lost Boys song – it uses the distinctive ‘Bo Diddley Beat’, first used by Bo Diddley in his song ‘Bo Diddley’. Since then, it’s been used in many songs, but perhaps the most famous is ‘I Want Candy’… and it plays as Tony and Ade indulge themselves in a little nose candy.

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  29. Great write up, Ron, thank you. Such a delight to read.
    So weird seeing Sil coming down the stairs like that, when he’s dressed/ looks like the Joker. I have always loved his character’s clothing in the show. His panache and foppishness set him aside. I guess though in a way he’s supposed to represent an old school pimp of sorts, which he pretty much is, really.
    On another note, I kind of cracked up about Tony asking Ade about Danielle because he “picked up on something” between them – this whole thing about Tony’s radar being completely off about others’ motivations lately and not having a clue they’re wearing a wire or FED involved or whatever, it feels like so much of it is tied to his failed marriage. His instincts are “off” because his sense of comfort and security with family are clearly lacking especially lately. He’s not able to make good judgments, with flattery and ego fluffing go a long way with him since he is essentially much more vulnerable than usual. Ade’s flat “She’s dead” comment was kind of amazing. She’s dead to me. Screw that betraying bitch, she wasn’t really my friend. Tony’s “What?” Immediately following just about is that raccoon in the road, and Tony swerving to avoid it. His reaction is more to Ade’s reaction and not that he’s going to kill a “beautiful, innocent creature”, but a sneaky dumpster diver (which I personally associate with Danielle)…the way the FBI raided the Sopranos home a few seasons ago going through their stuff just reminded me of some raccoon type action, with raccoon’s thief like eye masks to go incognito. Ade’s still sore about Danielle obviously and that fake show of friendship while she was trying to dumpster dive through the Sopranos life.
    In another way I also sensed Tony’s percolating thoughts about intrusion into Chris’s personal life… he later obviously hooks up with Sonya and “goes there”, but here still there’s a part of him which seems to maybe derive pleasure in the possibly raiding and looting Chris’s life (lol I associate this with raccoons again). You can kind of see him toying and flirting with the concept of Ade as a replacement – not sure if it’s said to get at Chris or if he’s really that eager to have that kind of admiration again which he hasn’t gotten from his wife in some time especially with their separation. And while I don’t think he’s so serious about it, I think he does harbor some absolute jealousy or animosity toward Chris. He’s like, You scored so far over your head when you got her, what do you expect? She’s a knockout. A ten. And look at you. You’re average so you have to reconcile that about yourself, otherwise you’re going to be paranoid your whole life.
    It’s partially a threat of “I might want that, and if I want it, you can’t say no to me”, mixed in with just general insecurity of not having that kind of security of his own anymore. Tony reads as punitive and jealous in this episode, even though “nothing happens” with he and Ade. We still do manage to see his internal state and the wheels starting to turn, I think 🙂

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  30. Chris does try in his way to reassure Adriana that things will be alright. I just think he has no people skills, and the fact that she loves him so much fits in with our knowledge of her. I think she see’s the hurt boy that is underneath his bravado, and even though he’s abusive, she gives him a pass. Maybe because shes used to that type of behavior or maybe because she thinks she understands him. I had a friend who was so gorgeous, prettier than Adriana. and just as sweet, and she had a boyfriend who beat her regularly…they are still still married 35 years later!! So there you go.

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