7 - A solid episode. Not the best, but not the worst either. My main complaint is Carm's insistance on Jean Cusimano's twin to write Meadow a reference letter. To me, that does come off as a bit one-dimensional. It seems like Chase and writers thought of the way a mob-wife might bully others into getting what she wants. Carmella is certainly capable of such an act, just the way it was presented seemed to be a bit out of character. Not by much, mind you. I do wonder why Chase and co. decided to do the "twin sister" business, it is distracting with the numerous camera changes and really pulls the viewer out of the story. I wonder if it has to do somewhat with the re-occuring theme of duality on the Sopranos.
I do enjoy the idea of Tony giving the housekeeper's husband the coat. It is funny, and still puts more distance and friction between him and Richie. The whole issue with Matt and Sean, the young newcomers. While they are great as far as plot goes and fun characters to watch interact, the viewer simply does not relate to them, as they are too dumb and incompetent to last in the organized crime. Their decision to hit Chris epitomizes their ignorance. So, like I said, while they are good for the story, they also seem one-dimensional.
Finally, a point that has always annoyed me is Tony's reaction to Chris being shot. He sits at Chris's bed stating, "How could this happen." While initially, this is incredibly powerful. A lack of music and silence, save for medical "beeps" are used to a great degree. However, is Tony REALLY that detached that he thinks any member of his crew is untouchable? Tony is many things but he isn't stupid. And the fact that he would ask, "how could this happen?", just grates on me. He is in organized crime. The number of people who would take a shot at Chris are probably in the triple digits. Being sad, worried, angry, and grieving? I can understand that, but wondering how it could happen? Sorry, just doesn't ring true to me. But as is always true in the Soprano-verse, what individuals say, rarely tells what they really intend.