9 - After a couple of episodes which just weren't as great as I once remembered them. An episode which never stood out to me blew me out of the water. This episode essentially was about inner feelings and the expression of those feelings. All the characters essentially struggle with their feelings in this episode. Tony is growing angrier and more violent without the help of Melfi. The scenes with Tony and Hesh do a great job of baiting the viewer into thinking Tony might have a new confidant, only to find he is just as self-centered as the rest of Tony's crew.
I particularly love Melfi's scenes with Elliot. These scenes ALWAYS seem to flesh out Melfi considerably and make her an amazingly rounded character. I really love Bracco's performances in these scenes. Specifically in this episode we see a very vulnerable Melfi in the throws of denial. Amazing stuff! One thing that I think should be mentioned is Melfi's dream which was shown to completion two episodes ago in "Toodle-Fucking-Oo". The importance of this I think comes when comparing Melfi's dreams to Tony's. Tony's dreams typically are very complex, multi-layered mazes of logic, symbolism, and feelings. To decode Tony's dreams it really takes some serious analysis (as this board has proven). Melfi's dream, on the other hand is fairly straight-forward. She knew Tony was in a minor car accident, in part due to her lack of help. This really is the ending of the meaning for the dream. Sure there is quite a bit more to be ascertained, but we have already learned the importance of the dream. She is feeling guilt at having not helped Tony, and feels guilt over this. I find this interesting because it really shows how far Chase thinks about his characters. Tony is more out of touch with his true feelings, so his dreams are more complex, as his conscious can only handle so much at a time, before it shuts down and rage or depression takes over. Melfi, on the other hand is more in-touch with her feelings and can handle the guilt which her dreams dish out. Just very interesting to me.
The rebound of Tony and Melfi at the end is quite simply, AMAZING! These two actors are SO good! In every second a complete story is told. Tony's face through this scene speaks complete volumes about how he is feeling and what is going through his head. We get to see Melfi, in a completely vulnerable, different position then we have in the past and the results are jaw-dropping.
We get to view Chris's script-writing make the next logical step forward. What really comes through here though is storytelling which deepens Christopher as a character. We learn that while he certainly has his fallacies, he is a character who is not single-faceted. The ending, while not memorable, shows Chris throwing away all traces of his script (which is where I would have left Chris's movie-hunting plot threads, if I had my choice, but no such luck).