Season One, Episode Two — “46 Long”

© Copyright 2016, Home Box Office. All Rights Reserved.

© Copyright 2016, Home Box Office. All Rights Reserved.

By Brandy Dykhuizen. In a rare pre-credits scene, almost a play within a play, we see Tony and his wise guys counting money around a table in the back of the Bada Bing. The conversation is scattered and ridiculous: while they all keep one eye fixed on the TV, where a Mafioso-turned-rat is in the middle of an interview preaching about the end of the Golden Age of the mob, they do all they can to talk about anything else. There will always be organized crime, the stoolie admits, but increased drug running and a myriad other modern factors have pushed out the old regime, whittling the mafia down into a mere shadow of itself. Pussy, the realist, is tucked into the paper, marveling over cloning; Chrissy, the utter n00b, misunderstands what the big boys are on about, as per usual; Silvio is theatrically quoting The Godfather III, receiving high-fives from Tony for his performance. It’s true: the sun is setting over an empire, and this episode focuses on the changing of the guard.

Tony isn’t just struggling with the ranks within work, although his hands are fairly full between Uncle Jun and Chris. The biggest thorn in his side, once again, is his change-resistant mother, who refuses to move to a nursing home and also refuses to accept any sort of help. Yet Livia sets her kitchen on fire and runs over her best friend. After much drama and a little bullying from Tony, Ma ends up in a retirement community after all, leaving Tony to struggle with the reality of packing up the family home and tucking away all those nice little relics of the past before they overwhelm him and he passes out again.

But time marches on, and the generations struggle to define themselves. They each have something to prove, these generations; they’re all shouting to be heard by the one that precedes them, but never has the gap been larger between those that stand today and those whose time has gone. David Chase uses this age-gap disparity to comment on the state of our country as a whole, calling a little bit of nostalgic bullshit on the “Greatest Generation” while casting a skeptical side-eye at Gen X along the way. The family and the business need to get their shit together and put some effort into understanding each other. All Tony can do is prepare himself to shoulder these burdens for the sake of everyone involved.

WHAT WORKED: We venture even further into the strong-arm, beat-em-up wise guy action. Dumb-dumbs (i.e. Brenden) are getting thrown across meat lockers for speaking out of turn, and bullshitters (i.e. Arnez) are eating silencers for questioning Pussy’s and Paulie’s protocol. It won’t be long now before the action is revved up and Chase finds his balance between the cerebral and the unmistakably tangible.

WHAT DIDN’T: Pussy’s and Paulie’s prowl across town to find the guys that jacked Mr. Miller’s Saturn provides ample opportunity to establish their personalities and for them to toss some witty banter back and forth. But there’s very little to make it interesting beyond the congenial nature of criminality — and the sheer irony that a guy named Big Pussy would push around a homosexual couple and not blink once.


Chrissy: “Like you were ever in Paris, Paulie.” Paulie: “I went over for a blow job.

Dr. Melfi: “What are some of the loving, warm experiences you remember involving your mother?” Tony: “One time we were down at the shore, and my father fell down the stairs. We were all laughing. My mother was laughing.” Dr. Melfi: “…any other good experiences?

Tony: “What are you saying? That unconsciously she was trying to whack her best friend?” Dr. Melfi: “It’s interesting that you would even take that from what I said.”

Not only does he shit on our heads, but we’re supposed to say ‘thanks for the hat.’” – Brenden.

Chrissy: (to Scorsese) “‘Kundun’! I liked it!

BEST MOMENT: When Paulie stuffs the drip coffee maker into his jacket because he’s mad as a hornet about these American chumps stealing Italian culture (never mind that coffee didn’t reach the boot on its own). Or basically any part in which Paulie speaks – we got our first gleeful “Did you hear what I said?” out of Paulie in this episode. Enter my favorite long-running Sopranos gag.

EPISODE’S MVP: Chrissy finally shows some maturity after his series of temper tantrums regarding not yet being a made man. He wisely chooses to sit out jacking the truck full of Italian suits, because “what’s the use of being a gangster if you’re not on a team?” Probably the smartest thing he has done so far, however it’s still not quite enough in Tony’s eyes. Chris made the right choice but he missed out on a big opportunity to be a true leader and keep Brenden from doing anything stupid, which ended up costing the life of the driver. Regardless, as slow as it may be, Chris is the only character exhibiting growth and transformation thus far (yeah, I realize it’s just the second episode).

© Copyright 2016, Home Box Office. All Rights Reserved.

© Copyright 2016, Home Box Office. All Rights Reserved.


– Paulie’s angst over what Pussy calls “the rape of the culture” is palpable. It’s not just anger at seeing Italian food and coffee everywhere, it’s pride, and you can bet he won’t just sit idly by and not be a part of something so lucrative that he feels is his birthright. God love ya, Paulie.

– Chrissy’s track suits are amazing, even by 1999’s golden standard.

– No, that wasn’t actually Martin Scorsese at the club. (In fact, he reportedly hated The Sopranos.)

– Jukebox Hero: “This Time” by Richard Blandon & The Dubs, “Bop Hop”, by Brooklyn Funk Essentials.

7 out of 10

Next: “Denial, Anger, Acceptance”, soon.

Before: “The Sopranos”, here.