Episode Report Card
Aaron: B | 4 USERS: B
It's The End Of The Season As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

Cut to a scenic riverside locale under a highway overpass. Chris waits alone until the black guys show up in their SUV, at which point he hands over a bag of cash, and also manages to resist their overtures to buy some more heroin. Then he gets in his car and drives away. As the hired hit men climb back into their own car, they debate whether Christopher has really quit, or if he's just "freshening up." Then, out of nowhere, Vinnie Delpino and an unknown thug appear and start emptying their guns into the black guys' car. One is killed instantly, but the other manages to stagger a few feet out of the car, thus enabling us to get a low-angle money shot of Vinnie standing over the body, firing his pistol. If you look closely, you can totally tell he's fantasizing about doing the exact same thing to Doogie. Vinnie grabs the bag of cash, and he and the unknown thug race back to their car. Meanwhile Christopher, who's been watching the whole thing from a few hundred feet away, smiles and drives off in his own car, which provides a clever little glimpse into the class differences between capos and soldiers (Chris drives what I think is a brand new Audi. Vinnie has a beat-up Honda Accord). Either way, the hit men are dead, and Chris no longer has a heroin connection.

Joss Whedon: Damn! It's about time you finally whacked someone. I'm falling asleep over here.
David Chase: Yeah, well, speaking of getting whacked
Joss Whedon: I know! Can you believe those fuckers cancelled us?
David Chase: Hey, you mess with the Fox, you get the…I don't know, sharp, pointy little teeth or something. Maybe next time you should pick a real network.
Joss Whedon: Yeah, well at least I know how to limit myself to NINE major characters per show.
David Chase: Yeah, and at least I'VE been NOMINATED for an Emmy!
Joss Whedon: Asshole.
David Chase: Cancellation monkey.
Joss Whedon: Cable snob.
David Chase: Space hooker.

A spiraling shot of the sun fades into an overhead shot of Tony, floating on a lime green raft in the middle of their pool. Oy. I'm not sure which is worse, the sight of Tony in a bathing suit, or trying to figure out why he's in the pool when AJ was just bitching about how cold it was outside like three episodes ago. ["That looked like an homage to The Graduate to me, for what it's worth." -- Sars] Whatever. Carmela comes outside to stand silently by the pool, and when Tony finally prompts her, she complains that the theater chairs are hurting the lawn. "Bad for the grass! Bad for the grass!" mocks Tony, in a high-pitched reference to Chinatown. Then he wonders if that's really the reason she came outside to talk to him. "Why do you have to make even this little thing so difficult?" she asks, symbolizing her anger at the course of most of their interactions. "What possible reason do you have for coming out here to talk me about theater seats except to bust my balls?" he answers, symbolizing his own anger at the course of most of their interactions. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think even Mike Binder has a healthier marriage than this. Carmela uses the F-word at this point, and Tony mocks her by saying it'll cost her three dollars as he climbs out of the pool. Seemingly resigned to their fate, Carmela sighs, and says, "What's done is done. We are where we are, and it's for the best. But just for the record, or it might even interest you to know that I might actually have gone on with your cheating and your bullshit if your attitude around here had been even the least bit loving." "Whose idea was Whitecaps?" he wonders, but Carmela believes that's just "a bigger version of an emerald ring," and a way for him to keep on with his "other life." What's interesting is that they're both right. Tony really did buy the house because he loves her, but Carmela still wants more than just possessions to prove his affections. "You don't know me at all," claims Tony, but Carmela has a snappy answer for that one, too: "I know you better than anybody, Tony. Even your friends. Which is probably why you hate me." Ooh, burn. Score one for the armchair psychiatrist. "Hate you?" smirks Tony. "Well, don't worry. I'm going to hell when I die. Nice thing to say to a person going into an MRI." And with that, he turns to walk inside.

Carmela follows him, looking apologetic as she explains that she's always regretted saying that. "You were my guy," she reminisces. "You were so sweet. Nobody could make me laugh like you." Now Tony is the one who's angry, and he wants to know where Carmela gets off pretending that she didn't know there were going to be women on the side. "Who the fuck did you think I was when you married me?" he asks. "You knew the deal…and you and I both know that the other boyfriend you were debating marrying was Jerry Tufi, with his father's snowplow business. And we now know that wouldn't have suited you at all." Carmela protests that she doesn't care about the material possessions (except, of course, for the Lladro. How could she not love the Lladro?), to which Tony sneers, "No, no, no, I forced all this shit on you. What you really crave is a little Hyundai and a simple gold heart on a chain." Angered by his coldness, or perhaps wounded by how close he is to the truth, Carmela decides to pull out the big guns. "For the last year," she confesses, "I have been dreaming, and fantasizing, and in love with Furio." Now that gets Tony's attention. But Carmela isn't finished: "Every morning when he'd come to pick you up, I would look forward to it all night long in bed, next to you. Those nights when you were actually in the bed." And boy, I'll tell you, that zoom guy is getting a lot of action out of all this, because now we're closing in on Tony. And to think all Furio had to do to land his dream girl was just pull focus. Wuss. And as she keeps talking and talking, Tony gets angrier and angrier until he races across the room, his fist poised to strike. Carmela flinches in anticipation of the blow, but instead Tony punches a pretty big hole in the drywall as she dodges out of the way. "He'd talk to you?" he shouts. "Aw, poor you." And again with the parroting. Hmm. Now Tony takes his turn at explaining the extra-marital allure, as he finally gets around to answering Carmela's question about what Svetlana has that she doesn't. "She's sexy enough, even with the one pin gone," he explains, "but that's not it. I could converse with her because she had something to say!" "I am here!" responds Carmela. "I have things to say!" "Besides bring the fucking chairs down, and 'Did you sign the living trust?'!" Tony screams back, as they're now standing mere inches apart. He accuses her of doing nothing but sitting back for the last twenty years, fiddling with the air conditioning and bitching about everything to him and her priest. She in turn claims that he's the one who didn't want her to work, and acts surprised that all this time he wanted "Tracy and Hepburn." "But what about the thousand other fucking pigs you've had your dick in over the years?" she asks. "The strippers, the cocktail waitresses, the psychopathic Mercedes dealers? Were you best friends with them, too?" He doesn't answer, so she just calls him a "fucking hypocrite," and finally walks out of the scene.

Whew! Now, we could sit here all day and argue over who's right and who's wrong, and who's an asshole and who's a bitch, and I suppose it's that rich layer of texture that makes this such a great show, but let's face facts: there's still twenty minutes to go. So I'm gonna go soak my hands in Epsom salts for a while and leave you to discuss this amongst yourselves. Enjoy.

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