Tony and Carm spend the night together
Putting the lie to the notion that you need a whacking to make ''The Sopranos'' interesting, this episode saw the (brief) recoupling of Carmela and Tony, key maneuvers in the brewing war between Johnny Sack and Little Carmine Lupertazzi, and a whacking. And you know what? It still wasn't interesting.
Perhaps the episode (written by Michael Imperioli) failed to live up to usual ''Sopranos'' greatness because it was so small. Nearly everyone dished out petty behaviors -- from Uncle Junior so casually and thoughtlessly ruining the surprise of Carmela's father's party, to Phil Leotardo's pissiness over his car repairs, to Dr. Fegoli's dismissing Tony's Beretta as a fake. Even the kids got into it with Tony's B.'s son stealing Olympic medals from AJ.
It's occasionally frustrating that this is not a show that checkmates in six moves. Content to be patient, laying out the terrain of the board, reestablishing the players and setting up their strategy, ''The Sopranos'' takes such liberties because it usually delivers in a major way. So let's assume there are two great battles coming our way.
One is this thing with Sack. Tony's in over his head here. Sack is even more ruthless than Tony, and Little Carmine's just too much of a tyro. If Tony can manage to stand back long enough for them to kill each other, great. But he can't seem to keep his crew from getting in the mix. Earlier, Christopher had to put his two cents in on the negotiations for splitting up cuts between Sack and the capos, and now Tony B. is whacking on Little Carmine's behalf. While Tony Soprano may not think he's volunteering for this war, he's most certainly being enlisted.
The other is the D-I-V-O-R-C-E. A little sex with his ex notwithstanding, based on previews Tony would seem to have a helluva brawl coming his way. But we have to question this whole story line. Where does Carmela think alimony or settlement money is going to come from? It's not like Tony keeps financial statements. You've got to forgive our befuddlement. We've just never seen a standing Mob boss in divorce court.
If nothing else, these open questions keep us hanging on. We want to know: Will Johnny Sack kill Carmine or vice versa? Will Tony put the fear of God into Carmela's divorce attorneys? Will Adriana survive the season? We'll stay faithful until Chase and company get to the point. But they need to step on it. We've only got five episodes left.