The Second Coming (The Sopranos)
|"The Second Coming"|
|The Sopranos episode|
Tony, A.J. and Carmela in group therapy.
|Episode no.||Season 6|
|Directed by||Tim Van Patten|
|Written by||Terence Winter|
|Cinematography by||Alik Sakharov|
|Original air date||May 20, 2007|
|Running time||53 minutes|
"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.
- James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano
- Lorraine Bracco as Dr. Jennifer Melfi
- Edie Falco as Carmela Soprano
- Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti**
- Dominic Chianese as Corrado Soprano, Jr.*
- Steven Van Zandt as Silvio Dante
- Tony Sirico as Paulie Gualtieri
- Robert Iler as Anthony Soprano, Jr.
- Jamie-Lynn Sigler as Meadow Soprano
- Aida Turturro as Janice Soprano Baccalieri*
- Steven R. Schirripa as Bobby Baccalieri
- Frank Vincent as Phil Leotardo
- Ray Abruzzo as Little Carmine Lupertazzi
- Dan Grimaldi as Patsy Parisi
- Arthur Nascarella as Carlo Gervasi
* = credit only ** = photo only
- Peter Bogdanovich as Dr. Elliot Kupferberg
- Gregory Antonacci as Butch DeConcini
- Matt Servitto as Agent Dwight Harris
- Cara Buono as Kelli Lombardo Moltisanti
- Armen Garo as Salvatore "Coco" Cogliano
- Michael Countryman as Dr. Richard Vogel
- Daniel Sauli as Patrick Parisi
- Frank John Hughes as Walden Belfiore
- John "Cha Cha" Ciarcia as Albie Cianflone
- John Cenatiempo as Anthony Maffei
- Felix Solis as Edgar Ramirez
- Michael Kelly as Agent Ron Goddard
- Lindsay Campbell as Professor Kline
- Dominic Chianese, Jr. as Dominic
- Joey Perillo as John Stefano
- Edward Furs as Driver
- Taleb Adlah as Ahmed (photo only)
- Donnie Keshawarz as Muhammad (photo only)
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 other than his original position. Tony tries appealing to his emotions 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 Phil's men Coco and Butchie off the payroll from another construction project. Butchie and Coco viciously beat up the foreman and steal his wallet when he gives them the bad news.
A drunken Coco notices Meadow in a restaurant. He lightly touches her cheek and makes some lewd comments. She tells her mother and, reluctantly, her father. Enraged, Tony finds Coco and pistol-whips and curb stomps him. This assault opens a deep rift between the Soprano and Lupertazzi families. Little Carmine tells Tony that he will once again broker a truce meeting with Phil, who has shut down one of their joint construction projects. Tony does not want to make concessions but admits, "I lost it, bad timing." But, even though Little Carmine has just spoken with him, Phil refuses to meet with them when they show up at his home in Brooklyn offering concessions. After Butchie closes the door on them, 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.
When Dr. 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. She stays silent.
A.J. remains depressed, thinking not just about the assault on the Somali student, but about all the misery, cruelty, and complacency in the world. He is moved by W. B. Yeats' apocalyptic poem The Second Coming,. He prepares to kill himself. He sits on the edge of the swimming-pool with a cinder-block tied by a rope to one leg. He pulls a plastic bag over his head and jumps in. But the rope is too long to keep him submerged. He struggles: he cannot drown, or save himself. Tony happens to come home. Hearing shouts, he goes out. When he sees the danger, he runs and jumps, wearing suit and tie, into the pool. He saves AJ and hauls up the cinder-block. At first he is shocked and furious, but AJ is sobbing; he cradles his son in his lap, saying "Come on, baby, you're all right, baby."
AJ is put on Valium and admitted to a psychiatric ward. At a group session with his therapist and his parents, AJ speaks of resentments going back to 2nd grade, and quotes his grandmother, Livia, at the end of her life: "It's all a big nothing." This session occurs just after Tony's assault on Coco; as he listens, he notices one of Coco's bloody teeth in the cuff of his pant leg.
Tony and Carmela both feel guilty about the attempted suicide, and each blames the other. She speaks of the "Soprano curse".
Tony scornfully rejects Dr. Melfi's suggestion that AJ was calling for help and, at some level, knew the rope was too long. "He could just be a fucking idiot. Historically, that's been the case." He tells her about his insight on peyote: "I saw … that this and everything we experience is not all there is – there's something else."
- Arthur Nascarella (Carlo Gervasi) is promoted to the main cast and billed in the opening credits but only for this episode.
References to prior episodes
- 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. It is notable that in the season finale of Season 2, Tony, after waking up from the dream that he burns himself alive, says "It's all a big nothing... Life." to Carmela.
- 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
- 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.
- Dr. Vogel mentions the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. A.J. says he watches CNN and is later seen reading the Al Jazeera website; he also mentions Indonesian mujahideen.
- Meadow mentions to A.J. how funny Borat is.
- As one reason to explain his constant interest in Dr. 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, so both Dr. Kupferberg and Dr. Melfi would likely have heard of it before this episode.
- Describing his peyote trip, Tony refers to "Roger Corman shit". Roger Corman directed the film "The Trip" (1967).
- 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 "Caravan", by The Brian Setzer Orchestra, plays when Tony beats and curb-stomps Coco following Coco's comments to Meadow.
- The song "Ninna Ninna – Lullaby", that plays over the closing credits, is a traditional Calabrian song from the Smithsonian Folkways album Italian Folk Songs and Dances (1955). Its original, traditional title was "Sa corsicana".
- This episode was nominated for and won Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series at the WGA Awards.