AJ blowing up frogs

Half way through the episode, AJ's schoolmate comments on AJ blowing up frogs with M80s. AJ replies "Oh yeah, that was pretty cool". Cruelty to animals in childhood has been seen as an indicator toward sociopathy. Is this perhaps intended as an early sign toward sociopathy in AJ following in the footsteps of his father Tony?

Re: AJ blowing up frogs

Been so long since I saw the episode, I forgot this incident. But my lingering impression is that there were a couple of references in the first 2-3 seasons of things AJ did with animals as a child that suggested the kind of emotional detachment that would enable him to inflict suffering on others with no remorse and, in that way, make him a good candidate to follow a mob "career" path. I think technically there is a distinction between sociopathy, as it is defined in psychology, and the characteristics of many mob members. For one thing, sociopaths do not do well in groups of any kind and tend very much to be loners and nonconformists whereas mob culture is predicated upon grouping and conforming to a set of principles, as counter as those principles may be to mainstream, more evolved values and cultures. But certainly a subset of mob folks are as devoid of the capacity for compassion as are genuine sociopaths, and we saw a number of those on the Sopranos through the years.
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"

Re: AJ blowing up frogs

On a re-watch the establishment of A.J. as being someone who could fit into the mob way of life is apparent. He bullies the other kid by sending messages to his pager, including insulting his mother, and gets amusement out of it. Apparently this kid was a friend and they had spent a lot of time together on camp and the kid's mother had been good to A.J. as well. Then he starts a physical fight with the kid and later demands the kid pay for his shirt getting ripped. Finally, the kid does pay up and walks off without a fight in a parallel to the extortion the mobsters do day to day (in an immediately preceding scene Christopher goes to collect money from his "corner", beats the guy for not giving it to him, then afterwards takes the money from him).
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