Father and Sons

#1
Fathers (or father figures) and Sons is themain theme, while hell is an underlying current. T has two sons, A..J. and in a way, Christopher. First, Christopher, who angrily describes his relationship with Tony as poisoned after Adrianna. Christopher is damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t., and thaf’s both in the literal/ Catholic context and the figurative. Tony pulled Christopher deeper into “the life” by fingering the cop who supposedly murdered Chris’ father when he was only a baby. Christopher’s reaction to the news was to wait for the newly-retired policeman at his home, and shoot him twice in the head. (ep. 4-1 “For All Debts Public and Private”) . After that, Christopher wore his fate as badge of honor, telling Adrianna, “"I would follow that man into hell." (ep. 4-5 “Pie-O-My”) Christopher may have agonized over that distinction and the choice he made when he told Adrianna, “that's the guy, Adriana. My uncle Tony: the guy I'm going to hell for,” but he didn’t take the way out offered to him by Adrianna. It was only when he offered up Adrianna as a sacrifice to Tony and “the life” did he fully learn what the implication of living in hell means (ep. 5-12 “Long Term Parking”). Adrianna’s memory still haunts him to this day, even though he is married with a young daughter.

Tony lumbers down his steps singing Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb.” The song is told from the point of view of a rock star who needs an injection to be able to perform at his peak on stage. By contrast, Christopher has been staying away from the crew because of the temptations it brings, as he is still struggling staying on the wagon. However, by staying away from the crew hurts Christopher in the business sense and he know it has cost him both money and responsibility. He glares at Tony talking to Bobby Bacala, feeling he has once again fallen down the chain of command. He opens up to Tony looking for sympathy “You know you of all people should understand how hard it is to for me to be around [the Bing].” “Because you‘re in therapy; you understand the human condition at least.” “It’s a disease, I inherited it. Christopher has no allusions about his real father either, “between the coke, the vodka, whatever the f--- else he was squirting up his arm, let’s be honest about the great Dickie Moltisanti , My dad, your hero wasn’t much more than a f’n junkie.” This was as much of an indictment of Dickie as it was of Tony for idolizing him. It also strips away all meaning behind his murder of the cop. Tony has no sympathy to give, “I gotta be honest, this whole disease concept I think is bullshit” I know a crutch when I see it. .

However when it comes to his own son, A.J.’s depression, Tony does believe it was inherited, and he blames himself as the cause of it. “Obviously, I’m prone to depression, a certain bleak attitude about the world, but I know I can handle it.” It’s in his blood, this miserable f’n existence. My rotten f’n putrid genes have infected my kid’s soul. That’s my gift to my son.” Tony resents all the years he has put into therapy and lashes out at Melfi, “the truth is this therapy is a jerkoff. You know it, and I know it.” His misdirected anger is really toward himself for going against his own code. To “walk like a man” in Tony’s world, you suffer in silence and blow off steam with women and booze. A few years before, when A.J. was at a different crossroads, Tony thought the “tough love” approach would work, and sought to enroll A.J. in a military school. (ep. 3.13 “Army of One”). “Putrid Soprano genes” were also at work then, A.J. had a panic attack, no more military school. A.J.’s older now, old enough to enlist in the real military, and Tony decides the best approach this time is to steer him in the opposite direction.

Patsy Parisi meets T at the Bing and hands him a stuffed envelope. He’s proudly boasts that his son and Carlos Gervasi’s son run a sports-book gambling operation at Rutgers, showing that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in their families. Their sons follow the code. Tony sees them at the Bing and rationalizes, “this is AJ’s way back and the way back to college. Fraternities, Frat Boys. ” Instead of sitting depressed all day over Blanca ” in a fetus position,” Tony wants him “banging coeds.” Tony tells A.J. he has no choice but to go to a frat party the two Jasons are having at the Bing. While they are having his conversation, John Wayne’s “Hellfighters” film is playing on the big screen TV; the sound of a huge inferno fills the background.

Tony mentioned before how he had poisoned his son’s soul, but his “solution” could possibly make that situation even worse. A.J. quits his pizzeria job and does go to the frat party at the Bing, gets a lap dance, sits like a zombie. Later, AJ is the wheel man as he goes with the Jasons on a collection from a deadbeat gambler friend of theirs. A.J. clearly gets an adrenalin rush when the collection gets rough and “Dr. Parisi” breaks out the sulphuric acid to torture the deadbeat gambler.

Tony’s still looking over his shoulder. He hears someone racing up the driveway reaches for shotgun in car, puts it back when he sees it’s A.J. back from his wild night with the Jasons. They go inside and sit att the table and have a late night bite to eat with Carmella and Meadow. Tony and Carmella think that A.J.s on the road to recovery, when in reality if he stays on the path he is on, it'll lead to his destruction, lead him to hell. Like father, like son? That doesn't stop Tony from smiling and giving Carmella an "I told you so" look at the table and Carmella nodding in agreement while A.J. was joking with Meadow.

At one time, Paulie was a mentor to Christopher, now they are both peers, captains in the crew. Some of the hijacked goods that Paulie and Tony are getting from the Cubans in Florida (ep. 6-15, “Remember When”) are being moved out of a store owned by Christopher’s father-in-law; even local police are lined up at store, taking advantage of the cut-rate deals. Even though they are now equals, that doesn’t stop Paulie from trying to circumvent Christopher. Twice, Paulie sends his nephew little Paulie Germani to brazenly boost some of the goods, first power saws, next drills from the hardware store. After the first time, Chris goes to Paulie, then runs to Tony to intervene, but he gets nowhere with either one. Chris’ response after the second time is to take matters into his own hands. He escalates the situation, and sends a message to Paulie by beating up little Paulie at a poker party, and throwing him out of three-story window onto pavement, resulting in six broken vertebrates. Paulie is out of control as he races his Caddy up onto Chris’ lawn, tears it up, doing donuts, destroying $40,000 in landscaping, terrorizing Chris’ wife and daughter. Tony lays into Christopher, putting more of the blame on him. .“We’re supposed to leave phone calls about interstate hijacking, now?. How about faxes, e-mails, make it even easier for the cops. This is a face-to-face business Christopher.” The situation comes to a halt when Tony works out a financial arrangement between Chris and Paulie. Paulie and Christopher apologize and make up over drinks. Chris gets drunk, and starts rambling sentimental and philosophical talking about his daughter. Paulie, the loner can’t relate, so he busts balls big time, insulting Chris about his daughter. The camera goes to slo-motion, panning around the crew as they’re all laughing at Christopher’s expense. Tony’s smile, with the cigar smoke around his face, was reminiscent of Al Pacino playing the devil himself in “The Devil’s Advocate.”

Tony sees familiar FBI agent Harris at Satriale’s. “If I was to know something possibly terror related and I help you out could I bank the resultin’ good will?” Tony gets their names and contact information from Christopher and passes this to FBI as a pre-emptive move. Ultimately, this deal (5K letter) could possibly spare Tony at the expense of Christopher. Ironically, instead of saving himself, by talking to the Feds, Tony could end up getting his "castle brought down." That is because in response, Christopher would make his own deal, go into witness protection, and bring down Tony.

Looking for help and support, Christopher visits J.T. “T.J. Hooker” Dolan and intimates that he should spill all he knows about the crew, the stuff he’s seen, and what he has done, personally. He may be thinking revenge for being “ostified” (ostracized) by his friends and rationalizes he could go into witness protection. “(Sammy “the Bull”) Gravano’s livin’ large down in Arizona, all on the government.” Dolan doesn’t want to hear any of this because knowing this could end up getting him killed. Either way, he was screwed. He deflects Chris' problems back at him, "you're in the Mafia." For the third time in the episode, Christopher is rebuffed, and this time, after not getting the sympathy/ empathy he wants, Chris kills J.T. with one shot in the head.

Re: Father and Sons

#2
Sopranology, you always give such thorough episode summaries. Someday I should recruit you to do that for all the eps to help make this site a full-service resource. Great work.:smile:
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"

Re: Father and Sons

#3
Considering the source, I'm very flattered. Even though I've followed the show from the very beginning, I started writing these summaries as a hobby at the beginning of season 6, part 1. I thought of writing a book along these lines, but at this point in the game, maybe, like Tony Soprano, I'm coming in at the end of something.

As to this episode, perhaps I should've said father (figures) and sons

Tony and Dickie Moltisanti
Christopher and Dickie Moltisanti
Tony and Christopher
Paulie and Christopher
Paulie Walnuts and little Paulie Germani
Tony and A.J.
Patsy Parisi, Carlos Gervasi and their two Jasons

Re: Father and Sons

#4
Great job again, sopranology. You should do this for past episodes as well.

In sticking with the theme of the thread, I remembered a piece of Tony's conversation when he was having the man-to-man talk with AJ in his room that especially stood out to me. It was when he was talking about the music industry and how they were making money off songs that dealt with the concept of blues. The ones he referenced, "Tears on my Pillow" and "Mona Lisa", were an interesting choice he used to illustrate his point.

Of course when Tony listens to the radio or hums to himself, he sticks with his genre of choice, classic rock. Makes sense, he's a white male who grew up in the '70s. Hell, I like that stuff myself and I didn't even grow up in the "70s. My point though is that he used these pre-rock, poetically cuddly songs of the '50s. It was almost like he put his perspective in this talk to a different time and era... politics, values, America itself...the music in the '50s was as different to the music in the '70s, as the music in the '70s is different to today's music.

Not sure if Johnny-Boy would have ever given Tony this talk before, but in any case it would make sense if he were to have referenced these particular songs to illustrate his point as well.

Re: Father and Sons

#6
The thing that bothers me about Chris blaming Tony is that he pushes the blame to Tony, yet he is the one that gave her up for his own greed.
He was sitting at the gas station looking at the poor people at the gas pump and realized he would not be able to drive his fancy cars and live large.
I think it is a common thread that many of the central characters do not step up and accept responsibility for their own actions and choices.
Paulie: "You’re not gonna believe this. The guy killed 16 Czechoslovakians. He was an interior decorator."

Christopher:" His house looked like shit. "

Re: Father and Sons

#7
HagensBing1977 wrote: The ones he referenced, "Tears on my Pillow" and "Mona Lisa", were an interesting choice he used to illustrate his point.





Had to quote myself on that one because I just thought of the actual song "Walk Like A Man" by Frankie Valli. It also falls into the same genre as the other two songs that Tony used to make his point. Some of those lyrics are below:

Walk like a man, talk like a man
Walk like a man my son
No woman's worth crawlin' on the earth
So walk like a man, my son


Seems like the song fits well for this sorta father-sons type of episode.

Re: Father and Sons

#8
The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti wrote:The thing that bothers me about Chris blaming Tony is that he pushes the blame to Tony, yet he is the one that gave her up for his own greed.
He was sitting at the gas station looking at the poor people at the gas pump and realized he would not be able to drive his fancy cars and live large.
I think it is a common thread that many of the central characters do not step up and accept responsibility for their own actions and choices.

Great point. And Chase himself has admitted that quite often (if not always) what these characters are saying does match what they really think and/or they are lying to themselves. I think we can see that with both Tony and Chris from this episode.
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Re: Father and Sons

#9
Hagens, Springsteen also recorded a song called, "Walk Like a Man," which is a thank you from a son to his father. However, the Frank Valli lyrics you cite lead me to believe that song was the real inspiration for the title, especially since Winter already borrowed another Four Seasons hit, "Big Girls Don't Cry" for another episode.

Re: Father and Sons

#10
sopranology wrote:Hagens, Springsteen also recorded a song called, "Walk Like a Man," which is a thank you from a son to his father. However, the Frank Valli lyrics you cite lead me to believe that song was the real inspiration for the title, especially since Winter already borrowed another Four Seasons hit, "Big Girls Don't Cry" for another episode.




Yeah, he seems to be a fan of the sort of pin-point symbolism with every episode that he creates. Plus, Frankie Valli is Italian.



This episode reminded me of GF I with the "son and his coming of age" theme.
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