Another episode of The Sopranos, another week of what one poster on Television Without Pity effectively summarized as "an hour of concentrated nihilism." This week, the two characters dissolving in David Chase's brand of narrative sulfuric acid were Chris and AJ, Tony's metaphorical and biological sons — the former relapsing his way out of the mob, the latter medicating his way in. As befits Tony's boomerish, masculinity-addled, self-centered yet sentimental parenting style, each man has become a psychological wreck, with Chris utterly self-aware in a totally useless way and AJ a mute depressive shocked back into life by a little violence. AJ's tingly initiation into mob violence was perhaps the natural outcome of his father's patented cure for heartbreak: befriend frat boys who are also mini-mobsters, a combination that marks a terrifying low point for male development.
In other news: RIP JT Dolan, recovering addict, bad-luck freelancer, and cautionary tale for all writers not to open the door when they're on deadline.
So who is left to be destroyed? Sil has been missing lately, as has Artie Bucco. Meadow's hanging around gabbing about Rachael Ray, but she's been at the fringes of the plot so far. There's Carmela: Is it sadistic that we want her to be shown clear evidence of one of her husband's murders? But it's Tony Soprano who is the real puzzler: We know he's going down, but will he sing? —Emily Nussbaum