Small spoilers for the first two episodes of Part 2

I found this article on foxnews, some interesting stuff..

'The Sopranos' Returns With Arresting Developments
Wednesday, March 21, 2007

By Roger Friedman

'The Sopranos' | Anna Nicole Smith

'The Sopranos' Returns With Arresting Developments

Good news: "The Sopranos" is back. Last night I had a chance to see the first episodes of the final season.

Bad news: It's the final season. There are only nine episodes, and the first two, while terrific in every sense, only foreshadow a little of what may come before the last shot is heard.

Next Tuesday night, about 2,500 people will jam into Radio City Music Hall to see these first two shows. But last night, HBO hosted a smallish affair at the Museum of Modern Art for movers and shakers to get the buzz going.

None of the show's cast members were there, but Glenn Close, Sam Rockwell, Charlie Rose, New York Times editor Bill Keller, Time Inc. editorial director John Huey, Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes, Hearst Publications' Ellen Levine, writer Stanley Crouch, talk show host Donny Deutsch, Danny Bennett (who manages Dad, Tony) all were, along with show creator David Chase, executive producer Ilene Landress and writers Terry Winter and Matthew Weiner.

So is it good? That's all anyone wants to know. The answer is: It's great. You can't do any better than "The Sopranos" on TV and often in film. And this time around, Chase and co. -- knowing the end is near -- do not disappoint.

The first episode, as someone described it, is like "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" Tony and Carmela drive to sister Janice and brother-in-law Bobby's lake house in upstate New York for Tony's birthday weekend.

The four characters are pretty much it for the show, but what transpires and what's revealed are major points that recall the past and should help write the future.

And here's one little spoiler: Tony is arrested for something that seems minor. That's all I can say. Oh yes, and there's a bloody beating and a hit.

The second episode brings in just about the entire cast as Christopher's horror movie, made with Tony's money, is finally unveiled. The premiere of "Cleaver" includes a rare moment when most of the ensemble (save Dr. Melfi) shows up for the premiere.

Writer Winter described it last night as "like the cover of Sgt. Pepper" as the camera pans the "Cleaver" audience and we see people we haven't seen in a long time.

The second part of Episode 2 concerns the tragic death of a main character. I won't say who it is, but it's not Uncle Junior.

The surprise is that director-writer-producer-actor Sydney Pollack turns up in a decent-sized cameo and nearly steals the show in the process. Look out for another cameo by actor Christopher McDonald as Christopher's AA sponsor.

In the end, though, what steals "The Sopranos" are the Sopranos. The writing is impeccable with lots of little gems, including malapropisms from Ray Abruzzo as Carmine (he calls a beautiful box "mellifluous"), non-sequitur quotes from Blood, Sweat & Tears by "poet" Paulie Walnuts (Tony Sirico) and the earnest assertion from Carmela that "Tony is not a vindictive man."

The acting in the show is also beyond anything else on TV. Obviously, the three main leads -- James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco and Edie Falco -- are a pleasure. But Episode 1 allows Aida Turturro and Steve Schirrippa to really shine.

And Episode 2 is full of revelations, including stunning work by Vince Curatola and Frank Vincent. The latter gets a speech about his character's family name (Leotardo) that is simply priceless. And Curatola has some magnificent elegant stuff as exiting New York boss Johnny Sack.

So, stay tuned. The end of "The Sopranos" could turn out to be a bloody mess, particularly if hints of trouble between Tony and Christopher are played out.

Personally, I would like to see the final scene of the show be between Tony and Dr. Melfi, having yet another unfulfilling session in her office. But all the show's players are tight-lipped, even as the final episode is still being filmed, written and directed by Chase.

Whatever the end brings, rest assured, that with syndication and DVDs, "The Sopranos" will never really be over.


Re: Small spoilers for the first two episodes

From this article and the trailers I think it's pretty safe to say Johnny Sac is the one to die in the second episode.

First, the new trailer has Tony telling Little Carmine "it's time to step up." Looks like a split between Carmine and Phil. The Rusty whacking is starting to make a whole lot of sense now.

Second, every other major character is accounted for in future episodes by being spotted on location later on in production, episode descriptions , and the HBO buzz reels. The only one that isn't clearly mentioned is Janice, but I doubt that.

I'm 99% it's gonna be John.

Re: Small spoilers for the first two episodes

In this case the first 3 episodes. A weekly local newspaper for the Garfield, Lodi and adjacent towns here in the heart of Soprano territory had an article about a local Doctor and part-time actor, a Dr. Conte and his part in the first 3 episodes. Apparently his part in those episodes is as the temporary boss of Johnny Sack's branch of the mob during Sack's time in jail and working closely with Phil Latardo. He must be playing a older mobster that perhaps was semi-retired, as Phil, others were not ready to take over from Sack. If I am correct, often when a mob boss goes to jail, someone will be an temporary boss to be in charge until they get out.
This doctor is well respected in Garfield and a part of that town all of his life. He also owns a resturant "Goodfellows" on Midland Ave in Garfield/Saddle Brook, NJ, has appeared in that movie and a number of other mob and related movies made in the NYC area for years. He got into acting via Joe Pesci, a good friend of his.

Re: Small spoilers for the first two episodes

Episode 1 must have the rumored fight between Tony and Bobby.

this is in the April 2nd issue of "TV Guide" with the Sopranos cover:

"The season begins with Tony and Carmella taking a Soprano family holiday at Bobby and Janice's lake house that goes dramatically (and pretty comically) awry. (The moral: Don''t drink and play monopoly.)"

There's a photo caption (of the four, with Bobby looking rather upset) that reads: "Tony plays by his own rules in life - and Monopoly."

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