I woke up this morning having seen the season premiere of the Soprano's on HBO last night. It's been a long time since Tony and the crew have popped up fresh out of the oven and I was looking forward to catching up with the gang. I love the Soprano's to the point where I actually did quite a bit of clock watching yesterday, mentally counting down until the new episode aired.
I don't think it was great but I liked it quite a bit.
First of all, I like the way that the same amount of time passes in the Sopranos' Universe as does in ours. It's been a couple of years since the last season ended and that same amount of time has passed in the context of the show. I thought the show did a great job of very quickly and nimbly bringing the viewer up to speed on the major developments in the character's lives. Tony and Carmella are back together, having a pretty good time. Janice and Bobby have a fifteen month old baby. A.J. is in college. Meadow has abs now. The Feds are still closing in on Tony and it almost seems like every other mobster is now wearing a wire.
The main narrative thread of the episode was a mobster (Was his name Gino?) inheriting a couple of million dollars from his aunt and wanting to retire from the 'life' and move his wife and family down to Florida. Tony, who doesn't even care enough to tell the guy directly, passes on through Silvio that his request is denied and he isn't going anywhere.
The mobster, who is also an informant for the feds (and they won't let him leave either), being caught between a rock, a hard place, and his shrew of a wife, hangs himself to death in the garage.
Then the increasingly mentally diminished Uncle Junior mistakes Tony for a burglar and shoots him in the gut. Tony spends a few minutes trying to crawl across the floor to a phone, manages to call 911, then seemingly...dies. Pretty unexpected twist ending there, I liked it.
Of course, I don't think Tony is really dead. Maybe he'll be in a coma or something but I've already seen clips of him flirting with Julianna Margulies in a later episode so I'm sure he'll wake up eventually.
The show spent quite a bit of time on Gino and his desire to get out and start fresh. My suspicion is that when Tony gets out of the hospital, his brush with death will do the same for him. And even though the rules (Gino took a blood oath) prevented Gino from leaving, I wonder if those same rules will apply to Tony. Normally, Tony seems to hold himself to a different standard than everyone else so it would be an interesting avenue to explore.
Also, Janice totally has no love for her new baby. She's the reincarnation of she and Tony's mother, who didn't love her own kids. The cycle of abuse continues in the Soprano family.
I'm looking forward to watching this season unfold. It's off to a good start.