Sopranos is absolutely magnificent at the moment, it really is. I was concerned that the whole supernatural/philosophical theme they were looking at with the coma episode would peter out once Tony was back in the real world, but thankfully that has turned out not to be the case.
Fortunately for me, this first episode of Full Tony Consciousness saw the introduction of a John Schwinn, who blew Tony’s mind with his deep talk about how we are all one consciousness, and duality like good-evil, and even one boxer vs. another, cannot really exist due to the universe being one big random gloop of molecules reassigning their form seemingly at random.
Between that, the mysterious Ojibwe saying, and anti-Evolutionist stance proffered by the Christians, it seems the central core of the show has been redefined, and more central to the show than ever before.
That ‘core’ is, of course, Tony Soprano, not as some ‘Analyze This!’ extended punch line, but more like the Silver Surfer of HBO drama. He goes about his business (fighting super-crime, maintaining organised crime – two sides of the same coin) with a level of professional detachment, but with various pauses for philosophical pondering.
I love how the emphasis has shifted from ‘he’s got issues!’ to a genuinely pretty deep look at the nature of existence, why we’re all here etc. While some may hate its being valued over the gangstery, I loved Tony’s look at the world after leaving hospital with fresh eyes, and remarking that every day would be a gift. Especially as it presumably foreshadows some hardcore action to come…
I caught the last half of what seemed to be a really bloody good hour-long episode of Emmerdale last week, too. Emmerdale. I’ve not really watched the programme too much since leaving there (as some of you are aware, I was in the story office for a while in 2005), and usually with good reason.
Occasionally, though, there is a really good story. More often than not, it involves Cain Dingle. Over Christmas, for example, we had the storyline where his daughter, Debbie, gave away her baby and he obviously went crazy when he found out. As maligned as the Dingles are for Chuckle Brothers-esque comedy, they routinely have the most emotionally affecting storylines on the show.
So I caught this most recent episode with Cain holding Sadie (Patsy Kensit) King and Tom King hostage, asking for two million quid. It was all a big swerve, as he made off with the money, I cahoots with Sadie, after convincing the King family that she’d got killed.
In a great villain move (and one of those few moments where he really lives up to his evil potential), Cain flies off on a seaplane with the money, leaving Sadie on her tod, after giving her a speech about how he’d end up killing her if they stayed together. Excellent.
To ramp up the emotional impact, though, there was a touching scene where Debbie caught up with Cain, as she turned up at the ransom drop and begged him not to leave her. As she has consistently been his weak spot, he was reduced to tears as he told her ‘I have always loved you – I’m just not good at it’.
Sentimental and schmaltzy as hell, but this was easily the most affecting moment in television drama in quite a while for me.