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'Sopranos' chat: 'I did it' and 'I get it'

With only a few episodes left to knock off, the Inquirer's Jonathan Storm and Karen Heller react to the latest show.

Jonathan Storm: Heyyyyyy! There she is. Karen Heller, Inquirer columnist and huge Sopranos fan. Hoyoudoin?

Karen Heller: Excellent episode, didn't you think? So, Chris-tu-pha has gone to meet Adrianna in the Pine Barrens in the sky. Were you shocked?

Jonathan Storm: Shocked! Positively shocked. Much more so than that policeman in Casablanca. But, as the ep wound out, not so shocked that Tony killed him.

Karen Heller: No, it was like he was looking for an excuse. The entire episode, entitled "Kennedy and Heidi" after the two girls in the car that cause Chris and Tony to swerve, was about Tony's relief at ridding himself of Chris.

Ron Bauman: shocked at how it happened, at least

Ron Bauman: Yes. Tony is so relieved, it almost seemed as if he were ready to quit the whole enterprise.

Karen Heller: True. Tony seemed to enjoy it, and then he was furious that he had mourn like Carm. He called Chris "the biggest blunder of his career" and "a tremendous drag on my emotions," and yet he had loved Chris "as a son," much more so than the perpetual screwup AJ.

Jonathan Storm: Well, a couple of days at Caesars, a hot college girl and some peyote is enough to make anybody enjoy anything.

Joey: Hey Everyone! Loved the episode last night. Two questions: Did anyone think that when Tony was sick in the bathroom, looking up at the ceiling light that this alluded to the dream sequence last season when he was looking towards the "lighthouse" yet it was really the light in his hospital room? Second, the ending with "I get it now!" and the flash of the sun, your respective takes?

Karen Heller: Good points, Joey. Tony was sort of going toward the light. I have this whole theory, possibly for a dissertation thesis, about the Nature vs. Murder theme running through the series. Tony and company always go to the woods, the water, the desert to cleanse their bloody hands, but somehow get dragged back because they can't escape.

Jonathan Storm: I don't know that the bathroom light was particularly significant, except as an indication that the peyote was working. The "I get it" at the end, coming after the "He's dead," when Tony seemed to realize that his luck had completely changed because Christopher was no more -- I think it might mean that Tony is going to eliminate, in one way or another, all the drags on his life that his job entails.

Karen Heller: What did people think about "I get it"? Initially, I thought Tony had said "I did it," as a response to his dreamed confession to Melfi. (In real life, he would never have a session that cleared so much blood and deep-sixed memories.) Only peyote, a hot woman who had slept with Chris, winning at roulette (loved his comment "it mirrors the solar system") would get him to do it.

Jason Kirk: Did anyone get the impression before the accident that Christopher was trying to get Tony to talk about the business (hence turning down the radio). Was he wearing a wire in the hat?

Jonathan Storm: I think Chris turned the radio up, not down, to listen to the soundtrack from The Departed, which has a million hooks. Chris was too blasted to be doing a lot of undercover work.

Karen Heller: Yes, it was Van Morrison doing the Pink Floyd song "Comfortably Numb." The lyrics were: "I cannot put my finger on it now / The child is grown / The dream is gone." Chris is talking about "stopping to smell the roses," and then that evil genius David Chase -- who co-wrote the episode -- has Tony stopping Chris from smelling anything.

Jonathan Storm: And that's one big schnozz to put out of commission.

Phil: So, from the hints in the show thus far, can we expect AJ and his sister to die as well?

Karen Heller: No, Tony would die before killing Meadow, the only good thing he thinks he's every produced. And he's done harm to Carm and AJ but wouldn't kill them. You only whack people directly related to the Bidness. By the way, last night. By the way, last night's Tony malaprop had him "prostate with grief"

Jonathan Storm: It looks to me like AJ is simply following in his father's footsteps, with those putrid genes. I can't imagine him dying.

Karen Heller: Except he's half the man, literally, that his father is. There are only three episodes to go. (The show is on hiatus for Memorial Day.) ... There's all this foreshadowing and foreboding but it's hard to know how it will end. Almost every episode throws us something. Last night it was asbestos and dumping it in the swamp. He's incurring the wrath of Phil plus playing with garbage.

Jonathan Storm: "Nobody takes even one second to think about what's really going on," says AJ, who, unfortunately, seems to have inherited a little of his dad's debilitating complexity.

Jonathan Storm: Did you hear the ducks quacking as the Russian guy dumped the asbestos?

Karen Heller: Yes, violence depressed him but he's impotent to stop it. Notice how Dad and son were drugged last night? Also, Chris had become garbage to Tony, something that could potentially drag him him down. Things keep turning up. Still, I don't think the show will end with a bang but more a quiet, slow sense of dying, the undoing of the Jersey mob. What do you think, Jon?

Jonathan Storm: I think Tony might just drop out of sight, fade away from all his earthly cares. Maybe even kill himself.

Karen Heller: No, that would be too neat. He's also got a problem with all these inferior mooks. He has no heir now. He's eliminated Chris. Interesting that Chase and Co. keep killing off all the true actors on the show, with the exception of Tony and Carmella. Paulie and Sil have about two moves left, though I think Paulie was hysterical about his mother/aunt's wake and printing up 500 prayer cards only to see everyone go off to Chris' A list wake. He can be jealous of a stiff.

Anonymous: I thought "I get it" meant that Tony was fantasizing that he was never meant to live in a NJ "family" and should have been a dentist in Tulsa (like his grandmother used to say).

Karen Heller: By the way, I think the hat -- a promotional item for his movie "Cleaver" -- was to remind people of how much Tony hated the movie and Chris' dabbling in movies and drugs. He tells Melfi that Chris was a "weak, lying drug addict who fantasized about my downfall and put filthy thoughts up on the screen." Humiliation is the ultimate crime in this family.

Jeff: Excellent episode? All of the characters are acting so... out of character! Tony gambling away his fortune? And for Christophuuh to die after buildup by such weak dialogue? Last night's episode was appalling!

Karen Heller: The gambling is all about loss of control. Tony's lost control of his Mob family and is playing with risk. Last season was all about his physical mortality after Junior shot him. This is all about how fragile our happiness and wellbeing can be. Gee, AJ is feeling depressed after he watches friends beat up a Somalian for no reason. They're clueless about how their minds and emotions work. Drugs help blot it out.

Jonathan Storm: I'll have Scotch, Tony tells Meadow. Seriously? Yeah get one for yourself, too.

Jordan: Chase & co are normally not as literal as last nights show. In the bathroom last night, Tony "saw the light" - As well as the "I get it" He sees a new path. I just don't know what that path might be.

Karen Heller: I first thought Tony said "I did it" like a confession, finally owing up to his actions. I get it might be about lifting the weight, the burden of Christopher and being freed by air and nature and light, the opposite of the darkness and moody interiors of the Jersey scenes, plus all the wakes. Did anyone notice that Tony's crew crowded around his bed like he was in a casket?

Jeff: I heard this theory about the end of the show from a friend over the weekend, apparently secondhand from a radio program: Tony gets wind of a terrorist plot, warns the FBI, becomes a national hero. Meanwhile, Carm's spec house caves in killing the family inside. The final scene of the series: Tony visits Carmella in lockup, then walks out of the building into the sunshine, lauded by citizens for stopping the next 9/11.

Jonathan Storm: I think actually it turns out that AJ is autistic and Tony wakes up next to Suzanne Pleshette.

Karen Heller: Touche. Isn't it telling that Tony didn't know why he was in Vegas, yet went there to take drugs and sleep with one of Christopher's conquests? This was after he came on to Adrianna and Julianna, but wasn't ultimately successful with either. Once he briefly imitates Chris' playboy lifestyle, his luck changes.

Jonathan Storm: That's right. He's been too responsible all his life, which is how he got to be the boss over all the clowns who surround him (except Sylvio who hasn't the ambition to be the boss).

Karen Heller: Earlier in the season, I thought it was going to play out as a rivalry between Bobby (who has grown up and shown some muscle) and Chris-tah-phah, but obviously that is over. Still, Chase has thrown us so many issues: the spec house that might cave on Carm's cousin, the gun and corpse resurfacing, a possible RICO case, now the asbestos. Everything surfaces eventually. So, seriously, do you have any sense of how this whole business might play out?

Jonathan Storm: No. I don't think anybody does, and that's one reason why the show is so great. Though I have seen naysayers opine that the thing will just fade to black and all the critics will ooh and ahh, but the ending will have really been a copout.

Karen Heller: Chase never does anything simply. That's part of his brilliance. I, for one, never saw Christ-tah-phuh's demise, though he did seem to be clean and sober in earlier episodes before he sputtered out of control last week and shot Tim Daly so he could go on the Gray's Anatomy spinoff. I haven't seen any of this coming, except Tony beginning to search for something else while becoming a thoroughly horrible yet real monster.

Jonathan Storm: You and me both, kiddo. But we'll keep tuning in. And thanks to all you readers for tuning in to us. We'll be back next week, from the desert outside of Vegas, at the same time.

Karen Heller: Adios. It's been a pleasure.