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
← Previous
"Kennedy and Heidi"
Next →
"The Blue Comet"
List of The Sopranos episodes

"The Second Coming" is the 84th episode of the HBO television series The Sopranos, the seventh episode of the second half of the show's sixth season, and the 19th episode of the season overall. 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]

Plot summary[edit]

Tony is awakened when a sleepless A.J. turns on some rap music. Downstairs, Carmela recalls that Tony said he went to Las Vegas to wrap up some of Christopher's business there and mentions that his widow, Kelli, will need financial support now. When Tony shows up at Satriale's, a framed picture of Chris, taken on the set of Cleaver, has been put up on the wall by his crew. Tony wistfully tells the guys about his sex and 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 and Bobby as he goes to a sitdown with Phil in New York. Tony tries to reach a compromise with Phil about the asbestos removal project, but Phil refuses to consider anything else than his original position. Tony then tries appealing to his senses by publicly reminding him of the talk they had while Phil was in the hospital. Phil rejects Tony's offer out of hand and emphasizes the compromises he was already forced to make in his life, including his prison term. Tony reacts to Phil's stubbornness by taking his men Coco and Butchie 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 visit Satriale's and ask Tony to look at some photos. Tony identifies Ahmed and Muhammad, who Harris says are possibly financing terrorism. Meanwhile, A.J. expresses his despair to his therapist, who asks him to consider a connection between his breakup with Blanca and the assault he witnessed which triggered the return of his depression. After reading W. B. Yeats' poem The Second Coming, A.J. begins expressing a pessimistic worldview. He attempts suicide in the family pool, but is rescued by Tony when he happens to return home. A.J. is put on Valium and admitted to a psychiatric ward.

When Tony talks to his crew about A.J.'s suicide attempt, Silvio, Patsy, and Carlo attempt to comfort him with stories of their own children's tough times. 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. In Dr. Melfi's office, Tony says he is ashamed of his son because of his suicide attempt and dismisses Melfi's suggestion that A.J. subconsciously didn't really want to die. Tony talks about the "Sopranos curse" that Carmela mentioned but refuses to shoulder all the blame. Melfi tells him Tony should understand his son, since he has dealt with depression himself.

While Meadow has another "mystery date" in New York, a drunken Coco comes over to her table and makes several lewd comments. After Meadow tells Carmela what happened, she reluctantly tells Tony. Meadow tells her parents that her boyfriend is Patrick Parisi, Patsy's eldest son. After Tony leaves, Meadow tells Carmela that she has decided to enter law school, inspired by Patrick's passion about the justice system. When Melfi sees Dr. 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.

Tony pistol-whips and curb stomps Coco. At a group session with A.J.'s psychiatrist, 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. As Tony listens, he notices one of Coco's bloody teeth in the cuff of his pant leg. At the office, Patsy talks warmly with Tony about the budding romance between Patrick and Meadow. Little Carmine arrives to tell Tony that he will once again broker a truce meeting with Phil regarding Coco's beating; Phil has shut down one of their joint construction projects. Tony is angry he will have to make concessions to Phil, but agrees he overreacted.

Tony's beating of Coco opens a deep rift between the Soprano and Lupertazzi families. Phil 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 spews profanities at them as they walk away. Tony visits A.J. at the hospital with a large pizza. 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 talk.[1]

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]

  • Tony gives Carmela an engraved Baume et Mercier watch, as a present from his trip to Vegas. The Jeweler FedExed the watch after engraving it.
  • When Agent Harris asks Tony to look at some photos, Tony jokingly asks him if any of them are of Angelina Jolie.
  • The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is mentioned by Dr. Vogel. A.J. says he watches CNN and is later seen reading the Al Jazeera website. He also mentions Indonesian mujahideen.
  • As one reason to explain his constant interest in Melfi's mobster patient, Dr. Kupferberg says his father was a big Untouchables fan.
  • After A.J. makes disparaging remarks about the cattle industry during a family dinner, Tony exclaims, "Twenty years he won't crack a book; all of a sudden he's the world's foremost authority!"—possibly an ironic reference to the comedian (and as of 2014, centenarian) Professor Irwin Corey.
  • The psychiatric study Dr. Kupferberg refers to is The Criminal Personality by Drs. Stanton Samenow and Samuel Yochelson. Although a real study, it was first published in 1977, 30 years before this episode takes place, and either Eliot or Jennifer would likely have heard of it before this episode.

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 plays over the closing credits is from a 1955 Smithsonian Folkways recording of Italian folk songs. The original title is Sa corsicana but it is credited in the liner notes and on the HBO website as "Ninna Ninna", a traditional song that many artists have covered—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]