"Unetaneh tokef kedushat hayom, ki hu norah v'ayom." "Let us proclaim the sacred power of this day, because it is awesome and full of dread."
David Chase: So, didja miss me?
Aaron: I'm sorry, do I know you?
David Chase: My name is David Chase. I'm a TV show producer.
Aaron: Oh, yeah! So, like, whatever happened to you?
David Chase: Well, see, this radiation wave hit, right? And I got shot through a wormhole.
Aaron: Uh huh.
David Chase: And then I was lost in some distant part of the universe. On a ship, a living ship, actually, full of strange alien life-forms. For a while, I was being hunted by an insane military commander. Then I got cloned.
Aaron: Get out. Now.
David Chase: But then you'll never know the wonders I have seen.
Yeah. So hi. How's everyone been doing? It's been a while, I know. And when you couple the months of unfulfilled anticipation with the fact that I haven't eaten anything in close to twenty-four hours, well, let's just say this should be a very interesting recap. So let's get on with it, shall we?
Previously on The Sopranos: Damn, that's a lot of "previously." For the record, Johnny Sack is in almost every scene. Boon is big. Root causes are discussed, as are esplanades and permanent expulsions. And aww, there's the Little Lord. We miss ya, you dumb poo ass.
We open this year on a tightly cropped shot of Carmela reading a newspaper at her kitchen table. Given the prominence of its logo (which occupies half the frame), I can only assume that the New York Times has at some point recently become the property of AOL Time Warner. The story she's reading deals with the Italian Supreme Court's decision that "influence peddling" is an acceptable business practice that reflects the Italian version of the "Protestant work ethic." In other words, bribery is a cultural norm. She further points out that the case before the court concerned a clerk who took a gift in exchange for speeding up someone's trial. His price? "Eighty-eight pounds of fish." Yes, but were they plastic singing fish?
Meanwhile, Tony is outside returning us to the cool, calm comfort of the familiar, as he once again opens the season by fetching the paper in his robe. StR = 37. That's going to be tough to beat for the rest of the season, but if anyone can do it, it's Tony. I have faith in the robe. On the other hand, what's truly frightening about this scene is the thought that he might actually be reading this. I'm not sure which scares me more: the thought of Tony knowing where I live, or the thought of TWoP readers knowing where I live. ["You don't live in the Newark Star-Ledger's sphere of influence, so I wouldn't worry about it overly." -- Sars] Anyway, the soundtrack blasts Time Zone's 1983 song "World Destruction," which actually serves to bookend the episode with lyrics that prove to be frighteningly accurate in predicting the future. A quick check determines that the song was written by former Sex Pistol Johnny Lyndon and "Godfather of Hip-Hop" Afrika Bambaataa, and not, as one might expect, Quasimodo.