I found Long-Term Parking, Episode 64 to be deeply disturbing, even more so than the usually disturbing Sopranos episodes. In fact, it reminded me of the great Scorcese mob pictures like Good Fellas in which the evil perpetrated by the characters is presented neutrally with absolutely no moral perspective as most Hollywood movies would provide. It makes for a vertiginous & troubling viewing experience.
With this episode, we saw almost all the characters at some of their worst, most conniving behavior. I was amazed that Tony & Carmela reconciled with so little emotional ‘foreplay.’ Nothing in previous episodes prepared us for the possibility that this was in the cards. Carmela didn’t change; Tony didn’t change. So what caused this?
I was also amazed that their reconciliation revolved not around any emotional confluence of the two characters, but rather around a purely commercial transaction. I guess this is meant to remind us of the idea of some social critics that marriage in a capitalist society is nothing more than a monetary transaction and not (as most people believe) a concept based on love or any other emotional motivation.
Further, Tony’s ‘promise’ to remain faithful drips of insincerity. His promise to not betray her is clearly a betrayal in itself. Of course, he will betray her. What has changed in him that would make him honor this promise? Nothing. But why Carmela seems to believe him is beyond me. I guess maybe she doesn’t believe him and the land purchase is more important to her than the question of whether Tony’s promise is sincere. That’s some pretty cynical (&*! if you ask me.
Adriana’s murder is one of the most disturbing plot developments for me in the history of the entire show. She’s been a pillar of the show for so long that it’s disturbing to see how easily & quickly such an important character can be dispatched. Again, I understand that this is part of the ‘message’ David Chase is trying to give us: that in a society like the Mob, the normal qualities of personal relationships do not apply. All that does apply is whether you remain useful to your fellow mobsters. Once you are not useful, you are expendable. I know this seems like elementary Mob plot development. But it’s still tremendously jarring to see it played out in Adriana’s case.
Christopher’s role in her murder is very profound and will provide much grist for the writers mill in future episodes. I wondered what was the meaning of his gas station ‘epiphany’ before he betrays her. In looking at the immigrant father, his children and dilapidated car stacked to the rafters with household goods–was Christopher imagining that this would be his life with her if he fled the mob? That it would be a sordid mess involving constant running to escape Tony’s clutches? Or was he looking at the family and imagining that their (his and Adriana’s) flight could be as successful as this family’s? I guess the scene was meant to be ambiguous.
BTW, wasn’t her hair & face great?! She looked like a ravaged Medusa. Really Gothic!