Episode Reviews (2)
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Carmela falls for Mr. Wexler (A.J.'s guidance counselor) and has wild with him, I Hope Tony Doesn't Find Out! Tony B. finds some mysterious money and decides to use it to help him with his massage parlor. He partners up with his Korean laundry boss, a
The worst episode of the season so far. The problem with this episode is it feels more like a soap opera about a lonely soon-to-be divorcee and her love affair with her son’s guidance counselor, then an episode of my favorite show. The only shocking moment is when Carmela has with him, which probably marks the only man she’s had with besides “Mr. Mob Boss” to quote Meadow Soprano in response to her father. The only pay off we get from this wannabe episode of “Days of Our Lives”, is detailed information on Tony B. and the fact he is going to be a part of the Mafia now. Also, that scene with Tony B. beating up that old Korean man was exhilarating. A well choreographed fight sequence by veteran director, Peter Bogdanovich. In the end the episode isn't poorly written, it's just so out of character for The Sopranos. They have these episodes every once in a blue moon, and I think it's just a bad choice in plot points. Oh, well, I hope next week's is much better.
Overall Grade: B+
Ranking in season: # 13 / 13
Ranking in series: # 61 / 65
A mini-masterpiece of characterization
I don't know if I could disagree with the previous review more. As always, The Sopranos forces us as viewers to get away from our complacency in thinking the show is all violence and bravado. This is a show that's always, at heart, been about the full bewildering humanity of its characters. This season seems to be about the way Tony's mentality manifests itself in the people he influences, and in that, "Sentimental Education" is pivotal for the season, and arguably the most revealing episode ever about who Carmela really is. In her smoldering affair with AJ's principal, there's an unconscious need to manipulate him - she blames his perceptions, but really, she's very much to blame for seizing an opportunity before her and forcing the principal's hand in adjusting AJ's grades. In truth, that's the essence of what draws her to Tony - she can go round after round over her guilt on what Tony's done, but beneath her protesting, she understands and upholds his opportunistic logic. That goes double for Tony B., who barely needs the whiff of the good life to switch teams. His moment of violence against Kim is such a shock because it's completely irrational, a violent outburst of temper from an apple that clearly didn't fall too far from the Soprano family tree.
And just to be thorough here, Bogdanovich may be a "veteran director" in the sense that he's made his share of movies, but he has also only made one good one (The Last Picture Show). If you ask me, it's not that he makes the episode more engaging through his insight into the fight scenes, it's that this show allowed him to make the second best piece of work in his career - his sentimental lens finds its perfect subject in Edie Falco's quietly captivating performance.moreless