On HBO, they don’t waste any time. After a quick recap of season two of the hit drama “The Sopranos,” last Sunday the station decided to air back-to-back new episodes of the Emmy-winning show. Just as the late Livia Soprano didn’t mince words, the show wasted no time in moving on and establishing new story lines for its junior season.
In the season premiere, the feds wiretap the Sopranos’ basement, hoping to catch Tony (James Gandolfini) discussing some business on tape. For the operation, the FBI alludes to the Bada Bing, the strip club Tony and his crew frequent. Tony is “Der Bingle,” daughter Meadow (Jamie-Lynn Sigler), now at Columbia University, is “Princess Bing,” etc. Anthony Jr., AKA “Baby Bing,” is a high school slacker, smoking and skateboarding, struggling to learn Robert Frost.
The next show focused on Meadow’s new boyfriend and the death of Tony’s mother. Tony is quite unhappy with Meadow’s selection, a half-Jewish, half-black son of Hollywood big shots. Needless to say, Meadow reacts harshly to Tony’s bigotry. Meanwhile, the biggest bane of Tony’s existence is no longer alive. Livia Soprano (Nancy Marchand), brought to life via creepy computer graphics and old footage, passes away. As she was planning to testify against her son, this comes as somewhat of a pleasant surprise for Tony.
This week, among other subplots, Christopher (Michael Imperioli) becomes a made man, an official party of the Mafia family. Also, Dr. Melfi (the wonderful Lorraine Bracco) gets more involved as Tony explores a childhood trauma and starts demanding tangible results from his psychotherapy.
It is pleasant to see that writer/creator David Chase is as sharp as ever. Although the parts with Livia were creepy, the rest of the show remains strong, reminding viewers why it is undoubtedly the finest show on cable, if not all of TV. If, as Chase proposed, the show lasts only four seasons, he must make each and every episode count. The show will go out on top, but won’t last for long. Make sure to catch a well-written show before it disappears like a stool pigeon at a Mafia picnic.