As an eleventh-hour newbie, I really wish I had found this website earlier, but do have some thoughts that don't seem to have been discussed much yet, beginning with the question of why the title "The Second Coming" was chosen for this episode -- what meaning was it intended to convey? For Christians, it's the return of the Savior, Jesus Christ, "the resurrection of the dead", "the Last Judgment" when evil-doers are punished and the good are rewarded. It means "the end of the world" as we know it and the establishment of God's Kingdom on Earth, a world to be founded on justice.
Yeats used this term in a much darker context but also with the understanding that evil ultimately evokes consequences. He wrote his poem in 1919 just at the end of World War I, whose unprecedented horrors produced a generation completely disillusioned with the values of the Victorian societies that had sent them off with romanticized visions of "dying for their country". If not "the end of the world", this was certainly the end of an era, when people turned their backs on the old patriotic ideals and social codes and went on the extended Spring Break that became "The Roaring Twenties". Written at a time of reckless abandon and despairing reluctance to face what new horrors the future might bring (the root causes of the even more horrendous WWII were already in place), Yeats' poem puts a distinctly sinister spin on the expectation of a "second coming": "what rough beast, its hour come round again, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"
The NJ and NY branches of LCN seem to be in a similar state of rebellion and disarray. Both Ralph and Phil returned from their stints in prison with a degree of resentment and sense of entitlement that made it impossible for them to simply pick up the lives they had lived before. The traditions which the families inherited by way of "rules of conduct" also seem to be crumbling more all the time because of outraged personal feelings. Johnny Sac took his fury over the cruel joke about his wife's mole almost to the point of murder. Tony had no traditional "right" to avenge the death of the young dancer Ralph killed, but his desire to see some degree of "justice" for the brutalizing of this "innocent" was more compelling to him than tradition. Phil still can't forgive the killing of his brother, even after Tony killed the shooter, favorite cousin Tony B, to even the score, and it seems clear that Phil remains viciously determined to take his revenge to another level.
Coco's insulting behavior towards Meadow is a clear infraction of "the code" and Tony's outrage over this assault on his daughter's innocence drove him to react with a degree of violence that dangerously escalated existing tensions. Tony tries to convince Phil that "there's a limit" to how much emotions can be allowed to interfere with "business", but neither one of them really seems willing or able to heed this warning. The "centre" of the family business code isn't holding and the whole profit structure is threatened by the "passionate intensity" of "the worst." In a world where the cold-bloodedly impersonal collusion of criminal multinational corporations and treasonous politicians has become a stunningly successful mainstream con, the "business" ventures of Tony's crew, as destructive as they are, seem almost quaint by comparison. The sense of the impending "end of an era" for "this thing of ours" is unmistakable.
In this episode we see AJ obsessing over what he has learned so far of the irrational suffering and injustices of the world and the dangers of trusting in love, and Yeats' dark poem only confirms his worst fears. What does life hold for him? He can't be his father -- even his father doesn't want that for him. And, as Lawguy pointed out, when Meadow reminds AJ that as the male child of an Italian family, he will always be more important than she is, though she clearly intended to reassure him, this would only have reinforced his awareness that the pressure is on him to perform in a way that he feels he's just not up to. He can't even really escape by partying since all his friends seem to be ingrained with the same capacity for violence that their fathers live by, a violence which AJ just can't accept. Is it any wonder that he can't imagine a future where he could possibly fit in?
Meadow seems to have taken her own advice to AJ to heart and learned to "tune out" anything that would otherwise surely depress her. Engaged to the son of another mob family and now determined to pursue a legal career, like AJ, she feels for the under-dog and is inspired by the idea of working for justice, but seems oddly oblivious to what the triumph of justice would mean to the members of her own family.
Tony is as ruthless and violent as ever, but seems to be trying to walk some kind of self-defined line between fulfilling the requirements of his family-and-Earth-destroying "business" and honoring his guilt-driven determination to be a "protector of innocents", particularly his own children.
And Carmella seems genuinely at the end of her rope, desperately trying to hold Tony solely responsible for AJ's depression and portraying Tony's own depression as a "card" which he quite deliberately plays as a way of shirking his responsibilities as husband and father -- as if nothing else about their lives could possibly stand in the way of his choosing to be the perfect spouse if he just wasn't so self-indulgent and lazy.
So how can "justice" be done for characters like these? Is there a role here for any kind of "savior" and who (if anyone) deserves to be saved? Does the outcome involve some form of "resurrection" of a dead character? Will the FBI as the official dispensers of "justice" step in? Or will the spirit of Yeats' "rough beast" exact its own dark version of "justice" through the vengeful actions of these increasingly out-of-control "family men" and if so, when the smoke clears, will anyone (even family) be left standing? If David Chase is really going to wrap this saga up as a legitimate morality tale, I think maybe the continuation of "business" as usual is the only option that really can't remain on the table.