|Index||2 reviews in total|
After the emotionally loaded Employee of the Month, the series calms
down a little, with a simple, lean episode that contains nothing really
exceptional, apart from the birth of two new subplots. However, the
show is so great even the "irrelevant" moments are unmissable.
The overall darkness of the previous chapter is graciously compensated by the opening sequence, with Tony and Carmela trying a therapy session together and the whole thing ending in the least friendly of ways. To top everything, Tony receives a speeding ticket from a rigorous cop (Charles S. Dutton) and discovers Uncle Junior has stomach cancer. Meanwhile, Artie Bucco is heartbroken after learning Adriana is quitting her job at his restaurant, and makes a few bad decisions that result in his wife filing for divorce.
Normally, a show like this would be sub-par compared to the rest of the season, given the really important stuff occupies less than half of the running time. But hey, this is The Sopranos, which means the writers know how to exploit every plot thread, no matter how thin, to the best possible effect. So while Dominic Chianese's swearing is as show-stealing as ever, and John Ventimiglia gets a chance to bring back the dramatic stamina he showed in the Season One finale, efficiently backed up by on-screen spouse Kathrine Narducci, the best scenes in Another Toothpick belong to the conflict between Tony and the policeman, all thanks to the great chemistry that Gandolfini shares with Dutton. HBO aficionados might recognize him from Oz (he was Emmy-nominated for his appearance in the Season Two premiere) and therefore expect more of the same, only this time the actor tones down the anger, adding a layer of subtlety to the already high tension. His work qualifies as a superior guest spot: the one where it's the character that matters, not the guy playing him (although a famous face can help occasionally).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Tony and Carmela try to have a session together but it doesn't work out
when Carmela feels she is being accused. Chris wants Adriana to quit
her job and this upsets Artie who is in love with her as he says and
him getting into business with Tony makes his wife want to leave him.
Tony deals with a speeding ticket.
Less of a great episode as most of the stories concern characters we didn't even see before or care about. In Artie's case his sudden love for Adriana was a bit absurd. The highlight was the therapy session at the very beginning of the episode as well as finding out that Junior has cancer and Tony sitting with Janice talking about it. And looks like now FBI needs to find a new way to spy on Tony.
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