Re: Blockbuster fight & sympathy for AJ

If AJ had any brains at all, he wouldn't have attacked Junior like that.He would have come up with a plan that had some possibility of success, not that idiotic "plan" that he tried pull off.

One thing he could have done was to act friendly to Junior when he first saw him, and then gone back to his room with him. Then when they were alone, he could smother the old guy with a pillow. Make sure he's dead, then call security and report that "my uncle's passed out, he's not breathing, help, help, blah blah blah." At least that way, he'd have some shot at getting away with it-- no witnesses, no weapon, plausible alibi, etc.

Now that's certainly not a foolproof plan. There would probably be too much noise, and someone would come running and catch him in the act. Even if he succeeded, they could probably investigate and conclude that Junior was smothered or strangled.

But then again, why would they even bother? He's basically a crazy old evil mafia guy that no one cares about or visits, and now he's dead, by what could be natural causes, so why even investigate?

Bringing a huge butcher knife and trying to kill him in the public dining room is just moronic, where no matter what happens you are going to jail. The best thing that could have happened to AJ is wussing out like that, because if he had gone through with attacking him, he'd be in prison for decades.

So the way he failed not only shows that he doesn't have the toughness to be a made man, he has nowhere near the kind of craftiness or planning skills necessary either.

If AJ ends up in any sort of organized crime life and he lasts more than one day, it's not going to be believable, unless they show him getting some serious training from a criminal expert like one of his "uncles." If he got that, he might last a month or two. <img src= ALT=":lol">

What I think might happen is that he will end up with a share of a nightclub, because his parents just won't have any idea of what else to do with him. And if he does get a club, it's not going to be believable that he could run it successfully. So maybe he'll lose money in bunches and get desperate and get involved with crime that way.

But for it to be believable, I don't see how it can end well for this kid. Stay in college? Doesn't seem like that's going to happen. Join the military? I can't see that happening. Any job he can get isn't going to pay him the money he wants, and that will lead him to crime. Which he is ill-equipped to handle.


Re: Blockbuster fight & sympathy for AJ

One overarching theme I've learned from years of studying the LCN - the successful members are extremely motivated to succeed. They "work" incredibly hard, and always are crafting and scheming to come up with their next score. It's one thing that the show used to detail somewhat in early seasons, but have gotten away from since the huge espanade contract. All they have been basically been showing (as far as the "business" is concerned) is simple protection pick ups, or muscling in on businesses. The bread and butter of a gangster's life is swag - stolen goods like jewelry, cigarettes, clothing, liquor, etc. This is on top of their regular scemes like gambling and prostitution that are "steady" paychecks.

So OC members may not be the sharpest knives in the drawer, they are always hustling their next job, their next buck. They tend to be cunning - they have to be - and always looking for some angle to make a buck. Crew members have obligations on top of their own lifestyle, they have to kick up money to their captains, and have quotas they have to meet. Since the vast majority of made guys lead fairly extravagant lifestyles, that means that cash flow is always a problem - thus - they are always "on the job".

Finally, OC members typically have zero guilt over anything they do. They have almost no morality to hold them back. If they would be cops, they would be the ones writing speeding tickets to their own mothers. They have no real friendships, even within their own crews - they would stab each other in the back if they thought they could get away with it.

AJ fits the morality side, yet his lack of a work ethic, street smarts, toughness, or cunning makes him ill suited for LCN.

In addition, from season one, Chris has been groomed to take over, be the heir apparent. Whether it's because Tony doesn't WANT AJ to become a member, or knows AJ would never be able to do it isn't really clear - probably a bit of both.


Re: Blockbuster fight & sympathy for AJ

One thing I don't think people have adequately acknowledged is the extent to which AJ's failed murder attempt could be construed as more of a "cry for help," more along the lines of a failed suicide attempt than a botched assassination.

Yes, AJ is stupid and cowardly, and he certainly didn't plan the murder well, nor would I have expected him to -- but it takes more than stupidity to do what he did. In my opinion, it took an utter sense of hopelessness, purposelessness, despair, self-loathing -- the full-fledged emergence of the same demons that haunt Tony, and which Tony has successfully suppressed. AJ is more than stupid and spoiled and weak -- he is deeply troubled, angry and depressed in the same way his father was. Like Tony with Zellman or Ralph or Janice or anyone else to whom he's exhibited his murderous, hateful side, AJ lashed out, with far more pitiful results.

Fundamentally, they are the SAME person with the same weakness, despite Tony's hardened facade and years of experience. In that way, this scene was as heartbreaking and universal as anything this series has ever shown us -- your kids mirror your own failings, despite your best efforts.


Re: Blockbuster fight & sympathy for AJ

Excellent post, De Novo.

I agree with you in that I do not see AJ's failed plot as a manifestation of simple stupidity. At the risk of redundancy from my earlier posts, the plot only seemed stupid because it was never intended, at the subconscious level, to succeed. It was, to me, nakedly the act of someone deeply conflicted, uncommitted to the act ostensibly undertaken, and influenced by incompatible and contradictory motivations.

You make an excellent analogy to half-assed suicide attempts, the kind that are doomed to fail because the real, unconscious object of the actors are not their own deaths but creating the impression in others of a desire or willingness to commit suicide.

The bottom line was AJ didn't really want to kill Junior nor did he want to avoid apprehension. He liked the idea of killing him, of being the "honorable" gangster son that would exact retribution for his father, liked the thought of being that important and consequential to other people. But at his core he didn't want to succeed in the killing and most certainly wanted to be caught.

AJ is of solid average intelligence. Don't forget that the IQ tests administered to him as an 8th grader supported this fact. IIRC there was even one area (spatial reasoning?) where his scores were above average.

As he has grown into adulthood, I can easily see that he speaks with more intelligence and command of language than, for example, Paulie, Chris, or Bobby, and I think it's safe to say that he didn't put any more effort into developing language skills than they did. Chris sounds next to illiterate when he tries to read, and his reasoning skills and social intelligence aren't much better ("I tried to be his friend. I sent him the muffin basket and everything"?!). And I can't imagine AJ at 40 plus years of age going off into a nonsensical sililoquy about half backs and hunch backs of "NotreDamous".

So if we're talking about native intelligence, I'd say he has more on the ball than a good percentage of Tony's crew. There's no reason -- other than sheer ruthlessness and moral depravity -- that he shouldn't be just as capable of plotting a successful murder as they were on their first time out. If his real, resolved intent was to kill Junior and escape apprehension, I've no doubt he could have authored and executed a plan that had a much, much greater chance of accomplishing one, the other, or both than the blatantly doomed plan he actually employed.


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