The Second Coming (The Sopranos)

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"The Second Coming"
The Sopranos episode
Thesecondcomingsopranos.jpg
Tony, A.J. and Carmela in group therapy.
Episode no. Season 6
Episode 19
Directed by Tim Van Patten
Written by Terence Winter
Cinematography by Alik Sakharov
Production code 619
Original air date May 20, 2007 (2007-05-20)
Running time 53 minutes
Episode chronology
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"Kennedy and Heidi"
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"The Blue Comet"
List of The Sopranos episodes

"The Second Coming" is the eighty-fourth episode of the HBO television series The Sopranos. It is the seventh episode of the second half of the show's sixth season, the nineteenth episode of the season overall. It was written by Terence Winter and directed by Tim Van Patten. It originally aired in the United States on May 20, 2007.

Starring[edit]

* = credit only ** = photo only

Guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

The episode begins with abandoned construction material and asbestos dust rising into the air in an area of scrubland near the New Jersey Meadowlands.

As Tony Soprano sleeps in his bedroom, a sleepless A.J. turns on some rap music, waking his father up. When Tony goes downstairs later, he finds that the gift he bought for Carmela in Las Vegas, an engraved watch, has arrived by courier. Carmela recalls that Tony said he went to Vegas to wrap up some of Christopher Moltisanti's business there and mentions that Christopher's widow, Kelli, will need financial support now. When Tony shows up at the office at Satriale's, a framed picture of Christopher, taken on the set of Cleaver, has been put up on the wall by the other mobsters. Tony wistfully tells the guys about the sex and the peyote experience in Vegas, but, when they do not seem to be that captivated by it, he changes the subject.

Tony is accompanied by Silvio Dante and Bobby Baccalieri as he goes to a sitdown with Phil Leotardo in New York. Tony tries to reach a compromise with Phil about the asbestos removal project, this time offering him a bigger percentage of the profits. Phil remains firm and refuses to consider anything else than his original position, 25%. Tony then tries appealing to his senses by publically reminding him of the talk they had while Phil was recovering in hospital. Phil coldly rejects Tony's offer out of hand and ostentatiously emphasizes the compromises he was already forced to make in his life the 20 years he spent in prison living in difficult conditions. No deal is reached yet again and a frustrated Tony leaves the meeting with his men. Tony retaliates to Phil's stubbornness by taking Phil's men "Coco" and Butch DeConcini off the payroll from another construction project. Butchie and "Coco" viciously beat the foreman and steal his wallet when he gives them the bad news.

FBI agents Harris and Goddard again visit Tony at Satriale's and ask him to look at some photos. Tony identifies Ahmed and Muhammad, and Harris says they may be financing terrorism, but that they are not sure.

A.J. despairs about the world and his future to his therapist, Dr. Richard Vogel. Vogel asks him to consider a connection between his breakup with Blanca, who he described as a poor immigrant, and the young black foreign man who was beaten up, which triggered the return of his depression. A.J. becomes interested in W. B. Yeats' poem The Second Coming and reads it in bed. He feels deeply disillusioned with the political and materialist status quo and talks pessimistically while Kelli is over for dinner. When Meadow comes to see her brother in his bedroom, he dismisses her cheeriness about the film Borat, telling her "it wasn't fair to the people involved" and dejectedly claims that "Bush will bomb Iran." He also tells her he has dropped out of college again. Meadow attempts to console him and, when he suggests their parents are fonder of her than him, reminds her brother that, since he is the son in an Italian family, "you'll always be more important." After Carmela leaves for a lunch date, A.J. attempts suicide in the family pool, jumping off the springboard with a plastic bag around his head and one foot tied by rope to a cinder block. He soon regrets the decision and manages to struggle back up to the surface since the rope is too long, but is not able to swim to safety. Tony comes home at that moment and hears his son's cry for help. When he realizes what is happening, he immediately jumps into the pool, still wearing his suit, and saves him from drowning. Tony tries shouting at and berating A.J., but when his son cannot stop crying hysterically, Tony consoles A.J., getting emotional himself. A.J. is put on Valium and admitted to a psychiatric ward in a local hospital. His family is in disbelief and great distress.

When Tony talks to his crime family about A.J.'s suicide attempt, he laments, "Where did I lose this kid?" Patsy, Silvio, and Carlo attempt to comfort him with stories of their own children's tough times, although, when pressed, they all have to admit none of them were serious enough for them to attempt suicide. When Tony tells Carmela he feels depressed, an argument between them erupts. Carmela blames A.J.'s condition on Tony's family's genetic predisposition towards depression, tells Tony he plays the "depression card," and throws the watch he bought for her in his face. In Dr. Melfi's office, Tony says he is ashamed of his son for attempting to commit suicide. In response to her suggestion that the long rope suggests A.J. subconsciously didn't really want to die, Tony responds that his son could have just been too stupid to even kill himself properly. Tony talks about the "Sopranos curse" that Carmela mentioned but refuses to shoulder all the blame. "His mother," he says, "she coddled him." Melfi tells him Tony should understand his son for he suffered/suffers from depression himself.

While Meadow has another "mystery date" with her new boyfriend at a cafe in New York City, a drunken "Coco" comes over to their table and makes several lewd comments. After Meadow tells Carmela what happened, she also reluctantly tells it to her father, and Tony manages to hide his rage. Meadow tells Carmela and Tony that her boyfriend is Patrick Parisi, Patsy's eldest son, who she met back at The Cleaver premiere. After Tony leaves, Meadow tells Carmela that she will not be going to medical school but instead to law school, inspired by Patrick's passion about the justice system.

When Dr. Melfi sees Dr. Elliot Kupferberg, he shares with her the results of a recent study which has shown that sociopaths are not helped by talk therapy but rather only further enabled by it, perhaps even "sharpening their skills as con-men" in the process. Melfi stays silent.

Meanwhile, Tony tracks down "Coco" and Butchie to a cafe in NYC. Tony then viciously pistol-whips "Coco" several times with a snubnosed revolver and warns a protesting Butchie at gunpoint to remain seated at his table. After stomping "Coco"'s face into the stone step below the bar, knocking out his teeth, Tony leaves. At a group session with A.J.'s psychiatrist later that day with Tony and Carmela attending, A.J. recalls times when he felt humiliated by his mother and depressed by his visits to his grandmother Livia at her nursing-home. As Tony listens, he notices one of Coco's bloody teeth in the cuff of his pant leg. Carmela, for her part, is angry that the Yeats poem was on her son's curriculum.

At the office, Patsy talks warmly with Tony about the budding romance between Patrick and Meadow and hopes there will be a wedding one day. Little Carmine arrives to meet Tony and tells him he will once again broker a truce meeting with Phil regarding the beating Tony gave "Coco." Little Carmine also informs him Phil shut down one of their joint construction projects altogether and everyone is losing money now. Tony is angry he will have to make concessions to Phil, but agrees he overreacted, even if defending the honor of his daughter.

Tony is back at Dr. Melfi's office and discusses A.J.'s suicide attempt. Tony exclaims "Why me, huh?" Dr. Melfi proclaims, "Why not you?" Soon after, Tony gets philosophical and spiritual when retelling of his experience in Las Vegas with peyote.

Tony's beating of "Coco" has opened a deep rift between the DiMeo family and the Lupertazzis: to Phil, this latest incident in a string of perceived affronts to him makes him lose his temper dealing with the Jersey family and he refuses to even meet with Tony and Little Carmine when they show up at his home in Brooklyn offering concessions. After Butchie closes the door on Tony and Carmine, Phil yells from behind a second-floor window that there is "nothing left to discuss" between the families and only spews profanities down at them as they walk away from the house.

In the final scene, Tony goes to visit A.J. at the hospital, carrying a large pizza for him, his traditional offering to his son. The pizza is confiscated, and, with the glass doors to the mental-health ward sliding shut behind him, Tony walks down the hall to his son. He places his hand on his shoulder as they begin to walk and talk.[1]

Title reference[edit]

  • The Second Coming is a poem by W.B. Yeats, which A.J. is studying for college. Its bleak perspective seems to further A.J.'s depression which culminates in his suicide attempt. Parts of the poem's final lines ("what rough beast . . . Slouching towards Bethlehem") could be interpreted as being echoed in the final shot. A slouching, downcast Tony is seen walking down the halls of the mental hospital, or "Bethlehem", which was famously the name of the world's first psychiatric hospital.

Production[edit]

References to prior episodes[edit]

  • During their fight, Carmela angrily mentions the incident when Tony's father accidentally shot his mother through her beehive hairdo, as told to her by Janice in "Soprano Home Movies"; Tony hates the anecdote because it makes the Soprano family look "dysfunctional."
  • A.J. recalls being deeply affected by Livia's comments that life is a "big nothing" and, "in the end . . . you die in your own arms" when he visited her in the Season 2 episode "D-Girl." A.J. also recalls Carmela calling him an "animal" for smoking marijuana at his confirmation, which occurred in the same episode.
  • Tony appeals to Phil to negotiate and work together, in front of all the mobsters referring to the peace-making conversation they had in the hospital after he had suffered a heart attack, which happened in "Kaisha."
  • Dr. Melfi had previously quoted from Yeats' The Second Coming in "Cold Cuts", reciting two lines of the poem not heard in this episode: "The centre cannot hold" and "The falcon cannot hear the falconer".

Other cultural and historical references[edit]

Music[edit]

  • The song "Ridin'", by Chamillionaire, is played by A.J. when he wakes up in the morning at the beginning of the episode.
  • The song "Please Mr. Postman", by The Marvelettes, is playing when Tony, Silvio, Paulie, Carlo, Walden, and Bobby discuss Tony's trip to Vegas and their respective drug experiences.
  • The song "Suspicious Minds", by Elvis Presley, is playing in the back room of Satriale's while Tony meets with Patsy and (later) Little Carmine.
  • The song "Into the Ocean", by Blue October, is playing during A.J. and Meadow's conversation in his room.
  • The song that is played over the closing credits is from a 1955 Smithsonian Folkways recording of Italian folk songs. It is credited in the liner notes and on the HBO website as "Ninna Ninna," a traditional song that has been covered by many different artists, though in this case, the names of the performers are unknown.

Awards[edit]

  • This episode was nominated for and won Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series at the WGA Awards.

References[edit]

External links[edit]