Wednesday, June 02, 2004

NY Post's Bruckman: Chris-tuh-fuh Will Sleep with the Fishes

The New York Post's Andy Bruckman has an interesting theory about the last episode of The Sopranos, one that involves The our favorite Associate-wannabe-screenwriter Chris-tuh-fuh Moltisanti, and some concrete footwear, capeesh?

"HERE'S some advice for Christopher Moltisanti:

"* Take a long vacation.

"* Don't accept any rides upstate.

"* Watch your back."

That ominous beginning wrought with impending doom slithers, like the grimy, shower inducing Soprano's opening theme-song, directly into:

"'The Sopranos' ends its fifth season Sunday night at 9 on HBO. The one-hour episode - No. 65 - is titled 'All Due Respect.'

"Here's the tantalizing description that was posted on last week: 'Tony's [James Gandolfini] crew circles the wagons as Johnny Sack [Vincent Curatola] turns up the heat; Carmela [Edie Falco] counts her blessings; Christopher [Michael Imperioli] is freaked out by an unexpected visitor; Benny's [Max Casella] connection to the plumbers union comes in handy; A.J. [Robert Iler] demonstrates his business acumen; and Tony ponders whether to execute a 'sacrifice bunt.'"

And what can one glean from that (elaborate hand gesture)? The Carmela angle is pretty straight forward (The Corsair pecks at Veal Piccata), her character has achieved some equilibrium over the past season. Last season, at the end, she had made an abrupt departure; now, at the end of this season, one year later, she has realized things about herself: who she is; and she has accepted the things she cannot change and, in the bargain, got some land. Carm's fine (The Corsair breaks off a magnanimous chunk garlic bread)

AJ probably shakes down some smaller kids (The Corsair munches Marinated Asparagus Wrapped with Prosciutto). He is Tony's past repeating itself. In the picture on the HBO site AJ is on the phone, so I'm guessing, his "business acumen" involves sports betting of some kind. Maybe he becomes an amateur bookie? He's got that thug lite thing going (in real life as well, but let's not go there), and a little loan sharking with a hefty vig for the private school set might be up his alley. I can see season six high comedy as AJ collects his vig from some luckless Preppy, ninja-style.

The Johnny Sacks thing is more difficult to decipher and is probably tied to the "sacrifice bunt." Will Tony sacrifice an associate to win the game, or, at least, gain a stalemate? My guess is that Tony will sacrifice the other Tony, that gavone (munches from a plate of ziti and calzone), in a heartfelt ending, one where Gandolfini can really emote, and show off his acting chops.

But Adam Bruckman of the Post has an intriguing idea:

"Christopher's a screw-up. In the latest example, Tony had to step in and place Paulie Walnuts in charge of a cigarette hijacking operation that Christopher apparently botched.

"Christopher's an out-of-control hothead. He's already threatened Tony at least twice this season - once, when he showed up at the Bada Bing brandishing a pistol, and again just in the last episode, when he raved to Adriana that he ought to kill Tony for favoring the other Tony, Tony Blundetto (Steve Buscemi).

"And what if Christopher begins to question Tony's decision to murder Adriana? How mad might he get then?

"If Tony is contemplating a 'sacrifice bunt,' it's doubtful he's thinking about baseball. Does it mean he has to offer someone up to the New York mob? Might he offer his hotheaded, screwup of a nephew, who's not really his nephew anyway?

"And who's the 'unexpected visitor' who shows up at Christopher's door? That doesn't sound too promising for Christopher's future.

"That's the case so far. And even if Michael Imperioli has made no plans to appear in a network sitcom this fall, I'm sticking to it."

Interesting. There would have to be "h" involved. Perhaps the visitor is the ghost of Adriana? There are as many ghosts undistinguished from the living in The Sopranos as in any Ingmar Bergman film. If Adriana comes back from the dead to psychologically haunt Chris-tuh-fuh, he is more likely to get in the witness protection program, but Bruckman's theory is interesting.

And what about the FBI? What are the odds that at the end everyone gets arrested by the boys in blue? (The Corsair sips some Grappa, then points the glass out, towards you, the readers)


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