“Everything In Its Right Place”
By Colin Hart
8.7 / 10
Despite being full of gritty violence and gratuitous profanity, The Sopranos has always carried a good-humored and convivial attitude. However, two episodes into season four, the mood has clearly soured. Nowadays, all the characters seem to hate each other, which causes us to hate all the characters in turn.
Of course, this is all intentional on the part of series creator David Chase. From the very beginning, he’s chastised us for loving these characters, and now he’s finally showing us how immoral they truly are. By the end of “No Show,” the only person we feel any sympathy for is Adriana La Cerva.
As was the case in the season premiere, the economic downturn causes animosity between almost everyone. Chris Moltisanti feels unappreciated by Tony, which causes him to lash out against Adriana and sink further into addiction; Patsy Parisi confronts Chris after being passed over for promotion; Silvio openly defies Tony’s orders when he suspects Chris is taking his place; and Paulie hates the entire organization for not taking care of him while he’s in jail.
The feuds go on and on, and the animosity spills over from work to home. Much of the episode deals with Meadow’s arguments with Carmela over her desire to take a year off from college and travel to Europe. Meadow continues to use the “Jackie Jr. is dead” excuse at every available opportunity, confirming that she learned absolutely nothing from the season three finale, and that she’s actually the biggest hypocrite on the entire show.
Elsewhere, Adriana’s burgeoning friendship with Danielle Ciccolella (a.k.a. Deborah Ciccerone, an undercover FBI agent) comes to an end when Chris tries to coerce the two of them into a threesome. It results in the FBI expediting their operation much quicker than initially expected — Adriana is brought into custody, told she must now become an informant, and then literally vomits all over everyone.
The aforementioned puke scene, by the way, is the only victorious moment in the entire episode, which says a lot about season four’s extremely cynical aesthetic.
By the end of the hour, nothing has been solved. The feuds between characters are only growing, and the distance between Tony and his family is endlessly expanding. Just look at the final scene, in which director John Patterson’s camera reveals that a casual conversation between Tony and Carmela is actually taking place at opposite ends of a vast bathroom.
The gulf will continue to widen as the season goes on, and for viewers wondering if we’ll ever return to the carefree “good times” of seasons one and two, that ship sailed long ago. Radiohead’s “Kid A” plays over the end credits — a perfect song to signify The Sopranos’ uncertain future.
- The FBI’s plan to infiltrate the mafia via Adriana was introduced in the season three finale, and it only took two episodes to let Adriana in on the secret. Typical of The Sopranos, however, this storyline will now take on the role of a slow burn. Throughout the next two seasons, Adriana will improbably become one of the series’ best characters.
- I love how David Chase doesn’t portray the FBI as the “good guys” that they believe themselves to be. Agent Deborah Ciccerone is a stone-cold bitch, while the Bureau’s treatment of Adriana — an innocent bystander in the mafia world — is particularly cruel. They deserved to be covered in all that puke.
- Meadow has gone from fan favorite (circa “College”) to one of The Sopranos‘ most annoying characters. At least she manages to get her act together by the end of the episode, finally choosing to abandon her gap year in Europe and enroll in fall classes at Columbia, although she’s probably the last person you’d want to see in “Morality, Self and Society.”
- Dr. Melfi recommends Meadow go see a therapist to discuss her depression about Jackie Jr. The therapist ends up pushing Meadow to follow through on her plans to run off to Europe. Once again, David Chase doesn’t believe psychiatry — or psychiatrists — are particularly helpful.
- Meadow’s change of heart is similar to the ending of “Toodle-Fucking-Oo,” in which she takes it upon herself to clean Livia’s house after trashing the place.
- Notice the subtle flirting between Carmela and Furio Giunta: she quickly brushes her hair every time he comes to pick up Tony.
- I’d forgotten that Will Arnett plays a bit part (he’s Agent Deborah’s husband), meaning that GOB Bluth and Omar Little both tangentially exist in the world of The Sopranos.
- The scene in which Ralph Cifaretto and Vito Spatafore play a game of pickup basketball is one of the most random moments of the series.
- “No Show” was written by Terence Winter and David Chase, and directed by John Patterson.
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
- “I hear Ginny Sack’s getting a 95-pound mole taken off her ass!”
- “You’re a bartender. You’re supposed to be listening to my problems.”
- “You’re a miserable fuck, you know that?”