The Sopranos: Season 6, Episode 2

Join the Club (19 Mar. 2006)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama
8.7
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The family tries to cope with Tony's hospitalization and possibly impending death, while Tony begins to hallucinate a new life parallel to his own.

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Dr. Jennifer Melfi (credit only)
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Bobby 'Bacala' Baccalieri (as Steven R. Schirripa)
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Storyline

Tony is in a coma in hospital after being shot by Uncle Junior who, with his deteriorating dementia, thought he was an intruder. Doctors are pessimistic and have told Carmela to prepare for the worse. Syl takes temporary charge of the family and with Tony's poor prognosis, sees himself as his natural heir. Carmela, Meadow, a somewhat reluctant AJ and several captains maintain a 24 hour vigil. As for Tony, he dreams he is a businessman on a trip to California. Unfortunately, he seems to have taken someones briefcase and wallet by mistake. He has no identification and only a small amount of cash on him. As a result of the mix-up everyone thinks he someone by the name of Finnerty, including two Tibetan monks who are dissatisfied with the heating and cooling system he sold them. Written by garykmcd

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gangster

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Crime | Drama

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19 March 2006 (USA)  »

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Christopher Moltisanti: [to Agent Harris] What about that disease you picked up over there in Diarrhea-stan or wherever the fuck you were?
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References Van Helsing (2004) See more »

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Spitfire
(uncredited)
Written by Liam Howlett
Performed by The Prodigy
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User Reviews

not a dream...it's purgartory"
21 March 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Alan Sepinwall NJ Star Ledger

IT'S NOT a dream. It's Purgatory.

When I had my annual summit with "Sopranos" creator David Chase a few weeks ago, I complimented him on having the onions to put a major dream sequence like this so early in the season, considering how many fans complain about the dreams.

"I, frankly, would not call those (episode two scenes) dreams," he said, which sent me scurrying back to watch my DVD over and over again, until (with some help from my wife) I got it.

Here Tony's stuck in Orange County, quite possibly the most personality-free corner of the world, with no way to leave (a k a Purgatory). On one end of town is a shining beacon (Heaven), on the other, a raging forest fire (Hell). Over and over, he stops to assess the worth of his own life, asking, "Who am I? Where am I going?" Then he steals the identity (sin) of Kevin Finnerty -- a heating salesman who lives in one of the hottest states of the union (Arizona) -- checks into another hotel, and falls down a red staircase, at which point he learns he has Alzheimer's (eternal damnation). And while Carmela's busy in the real world telling him he's not going to Hell, Tony's in Purgatory debating whether to tell his wife this is exactly the fate he has in store.

It may be hair-splitting to call this something other than a dream, but Tony's misadventures in Costa Mesa were much more linear and coherent than his regular dreams have ever been. There were important details scribbled in the margins (the bartender joking, "Around here, it's dead," or the "Are sin, disease and death real?" commercial on the TV), but there was an actual story here instead of Tony bouncing from one surreal tableau to another.

Still, Chase followed last week's water-cooler cliffhanger with an 11-minute opening sequence set in a world that's not our own, with a Tony who wasn't quite right (it's startling to hear James Gandolfini's natural speaking voice), and only one split-second nod to the shooting (the brief flash of the doctor shining a light in Tony's eye mixed in with the chopper spotlight).

For years, most of "Sopranos" fandom has been divided into two intersecting sets: those who watch for the whacking and crude humor, and those who watch for the psychiatry and art-house storytelling. By putting the shooting right next to Tony's afterlife business trip, Chase is pushing his chips to the center of the table and telling the audience they had better go all in -- murder and therapy, flatulence jokes and metaphysics -- if they intend to stay at the table for this final season.

So will Tony ever get to check out of this hotel, and, if so, where will he end up? Again, I can't say, but if this season is going to be about a moral accounting for all of Tony's sins, then there's no better place to start.

Back in the physical world, give Edie Falco the Emmy right now. Just give it to her. Seriously. Do not pass Go, do not collect other nominations, just ship the statuette to her apartment today. There is no way any other actress on television is going to have two better scenes this year than Carmela's hallway breakdown and her monologue to Tony, scored perfectly to Tom Petty's "American Girl." And is there an Emmy category for Best Silent Hug? Because Michael Imperioli was pretty great when he put his arm around Carmela in the hallway. I know scenes where characters sob or give long speeches are stock award-show bait, but these performances went so far past showing off that I actually had to look away a few times out of a feeling I was spying on a private moment between real people.

Some other random notes: The song played at the end was Moby's "When It's Cold I'd Like To Die," with vocals by Mimi Goese.

The voice of Purgatory Tony's wife wasn't played by Annabella Sciorra, or any other actress who's been on the show before; she's just a generic non-Carmela female voice.

Boy, Janice's gift for making every moment of every day be all about her survives even her brother's shooting, huh? She shows up at the hospital, pretending she's there to help comfort Carmela, then immediately spazzes out so she's the center of attention. If I didn't know Janice so well from the last four seasons, I might have found her freak-out genuine, but this is Livia Soprano's daughter, people. And speaking of which...


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