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6-16: "Chasing It" 2007.04.29 (recap)


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#91

Chloe1253

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Posted Apr 29, 2007 @ 10:28 PM

I think something's up with Sil. He would've said something in the past.


I think they all - even the obtuse Paulie - realize that Tony is losing control rapidly. No one is going to risk calling down the wrath on himself. They are basically now just puppets and stooges, nodding and agreeing with Tony, no matter how outrageous his behavior becomes.

#92

Eric54

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Posted Apr 29, 2007 @ 10:28 PM

Ugh. I didn't even suspect for a second that Tony could have had her killed, because it's that ridiculous of a premise.

I keep seeing things during these episodes that have me saying "If they keep going down this road, I'm going to be really pissed when it's over."


I did suspect that Tony had her killed, but when he paid back the loan (assuming he paid it all back) I thought it was too illogical to kill her but pay back the money. And I've been really pissed all of this season, (both halves), and I'm now thinking I'm going to hate the end also because there won't be any resolution (and Paulie won't get whacked). For me, the worst season by far.

#93

dartmouthhoop

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Posted Apr 29, 2007 @ 10:29 PM

Agree with multiple posts that both Tony's gambling problem and his spat with Carm came pretty much out of the blue. I know we're supposed to be witnessing Tony's "unravelling" but this episode seemed very ham-fisted by Sopranos standards.

#94

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Posted Apr 29, 2007 @ 10:30 PM

I think Tony is going to eventually try to save himself from jail by helping the FBI with the Arab Terrorists.

I think AJ's girlfriend broke up with him because she was afraid to marry into a mobster's family. The big diamond was just not worth the risk. (Was there significance to the fact that she was with her brother? Perhaps some sort of statement about "families"?)

I think Renata died of natural causes. When the family kills someone they don't usually do it such a secret manner that no one knows it was a murder.

I think Tony paying Hesh back after Renata died but only showing him a minimum of sympathy, was his revenge on Hesh. I also think this is our goodbye to Hesh, which once again makes Tony's world a little smaller. (Was Renata a singer Hesh once worked with when she was younger?)

I think Hesch's fear of Tony is felt by everyone close to him.

I think Tony paid off Hesh from the European accounts he mentioned he needed to wire money from.

I think Carmella deserves what she gets. She made her pact with the devil a long time ago.

And overall I felt frustrated by this episode. Not many episodes left and we keep spending time on new or tertiary characters, like Vito's son. Is it interesting to follow up on what happened to his family? Yes, but not with so few episodes left.

And don't get me started on the gambling problem... Although Marty 118, your theory is really fascinating and does make that plotline a lot more palatable.

#95

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Posted Apr 29, 2007 @ 10:32 PM

Well, I won't go so far as to say I liked it -- that was one intensely uncomfortable episode to watch. I do think it worked, though.

Some random thoughts:

* No, Tony did not sneak into Hesh's house in the middle of the night and murder Hesh's girlfriend with an untraceable poison for absolutely no reason.

* I agree that Tony's gambling problem seems to have come out of left field. Remember that several months have passed since the first part of the season, though -- and we have had hints from the first that Tony was having money problems.

* I agree with missplum that something seems to be really, really wrong with Silvio. A large part of his purpose -- in the family and on the show -- has been to tell Tony the unpleasant truth when he didn't want to hear it. With few exceptions, every time we've seen him this (mini)season he's been sitting silently, avoiding Tony's gaze. Not sure what's up with that.

* After a thousand hammer-to-the-head hints that Blanca was pregnant, is she just going to disappear now? Or (just guessing, here) will A.J. find out later that she was pregnant, and that she had an abortion; and will this precipitate his final act of stupidity?

Nah. Probably just a typical DC red herring.

#96

joeyguse

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Posted Apr 29, 2007 @ 10:31 PM

Marty,
Nice post, I think Tony's "I'm up" comment is classic gambler's rationalization, and you're on to something about Tony's decline in a historical sense. Much time here has been spent wondering why tony can't simply retire with his millions, but the fact is he is exactly like a greedy, powerful general who "crossed the Rubicon" and now can't turn back. Gamblers aren't done until they lose. Like Melfi said it's the "juice" they crave, that overwhelming feeling of something being at stake. Tony would have been like Steve Martin's character in "My Blue Heaven" if he tried to retire, and instead he is destined to play out his story like Icarus having flown to close to the sun.

#97

Cosmocrush

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Posted Apr 29, 2007 @ 10:31 PM

When Carmela said she made "6" after expenses on the spec house was that $60K or $600K? Tony said they could have turned it into a million if they had bet half the amount as he suggested, so I thought $600K (half would be $300K for the bet) but I'm not sure.

Edited by Cosmocrush, Apr 29, 2007 @ 10:33 PM.


#98

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Posted Apr 29, 2007 @ 10:35 PM

I just loved when they were toasting Carm's big accomplishment at the table. Oh please! Tony should have added, "She did all with MY money that came from murder, extortion, prostitution, gambling, robbery and drugs!"


Yes, she used his seed money, but she actually carried off a profit-making enterprise, when the only way that Tony can make money is through crime. She found a good piece of land, built a high-end house on it, and sold it for a $600k profit. That's no mean accomplishment -- lots of people lose their shirts in the home building business. Sure, the wood was sub-standard, but that was her father's screw-up. The point is that she has shown a way for them to make a legitimate living, a way out of the 80 percent jail/dead scenario. Tony should want her to keep it going, rather than piss it away.

Some people say she was selfish in not sharing with Tony, and she didn't seem to think her father, who did all the work, deserved any of the profits, but I take her side on this because Tony was displaying the characteristics of his old friend the Ramsey Outdoor classic degenerate gambler, who when was down just kept betting more in the hope of getting even, until he ended up losing everything. Tony can't see it, but it's obvious to Carm, who doesn't want him to drag her down with him.

And again with the Muslims. With all of these final character studies, it is one of the few continuing plot points. Just reinforces my theory that Tony is going to pull a Lucky Luciano retirement deal with the Feds.

#99

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Posted Apr 29, 2007 @ 10:35 PM

I thought, at first, that some aspects of this episode felt poorly fleshed out--primarily the gambling aspect. Although, as others have mentioned, this gambling is, in a sense, not indicative of a long-held gambling problem but merely the self-destructive actions of a deluded man. But it makes sense when you consider the rest of the season. Tony Soprano is turning into his mother and he doesn't see it yet. He doesn't realize that he lacks the capacity to feel joy---indeed, it seems like he lacks the capacity to feel anything except anger and frustration.

This episode showed several things to me:

1) Tony is unwilling to change and has no real attachment to most of the people around him
2) Most of the people around Tony have no real attachment to him either---and are, for the most part, either beholden to him, benefit from him, or are terrified of him
3) The wives and children of the mob never escape unscathed.
4) Phil and the New York family are completely prepared to put Jersey in its place--because the Jersey mob really IS small potatoes.

#100

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Posted Apr 29, 2007 @ 10:35 PM

And I know Tony is a vicious murderer and is only out for himself most of the time. But T does have a softer, more decent side. Thatís been the basis and conflict of the whole series. Tonight he seemed more cold and with absolutely no soul.

Yes - that's the difference. Usually there's a little redeeming quality or he's at least more conflicted.

Tony mentioned that Vito's widow wanted to move away. Sil: "That never works. You should get 'em a dog." Tony: "I don't think that's a good idea."

Heh. I'd forgotten about that one. The one I remember (and I'm like Uncle Jun so I'll probably forget the actual punchline) was when after being so consoling and seemingly empathetic with Marie Tony came in and sat down and said, "Vito's son is a whack job."

#101

Terps54424

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Posted Apr 29, 2007 @ 10:38 PM

I think Tony is going to eventually try to save himself from jail by helping the FBI with the Arab Terrorists.


Others have said something similar, and I just don't get it.

In a span of 5 episodes, you need to have Tony get in some sort of trouble that would have him dishing out info quickly. Despite the warnings about Meadow and the tunnels, he's not just going to do it out of the kindness of his heart. And he won't effectively "retire" and throw the FBI a bone as he exits gracefully to Scottsdale, AZ.

Not to mention, to the best of our knowledge (and maybe I missed something), aren't those guys just Arab criminals? Where does the terrorist angle come from? Just because they're Arabs? I just remember them being involved in some gun dealings.

#102

summerwind74

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Posted Apr 29, 2007 @ 10:39 PM

You know, I'm beginning to wonder if there's gonna be payoffs from these things that Chase is showing us---or whether we're just supposed to come to this grand realization and move on as the show ends without too much movement beyond some obligatory killings---Chris, Paulie, maybe Phil. Sometimes, as an audience member, I feel a little like Melfi---I'm giving you one more chance, you need to make some progress, yadda yadda, while it just goes on and on...

#103

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Posted Apr 29, 2007 @ 10:38 PM

Not to mention, to the best of our knowledge (and maybe I missed something), aren't those guys just Arab criminals? Where does the terrorist angle come from? Just because they're Arabs? I just remember them being involved in some gun dealings.


My thought was that he's going to tell the FBI about the Arabs and give them his "suspicions" that they might have some terrorist ties. It would take a long time for the FBI to find out that they don't, and meanwhile Tony has gotten something he wants out of the FBI in exchange for the info. Since it was at the end of an episode about money, I'm thinking they'd pay him for what he tells them.

Well, I won't go so far as to say I liked it -- that was one intensely uncomfortable episode to watch. I do think it worked, though.


I agree. It's sort of like Ten Little Indians. One by one the various people that he's relied on or loved are disappearing or disappointing him, and he's getting more and more desperate to find some meaning to replace them.

Edited by chitowngirl, Apr 29, 2007 @ 10:43 PM.


#104

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Posted Apr 29, 2007 @ 10:42 PM

Not to mention, to the best of our knowledge (and maybe I missed something), aren't those guys just Arab criminals? Where does the terrorist angle come from? Just because they're Arabs? I just remember them being involved in some gun dealings.


Supposedly quite a bit of terrorist activity is funded by illegal activities. For example, here in NYC there were a slew of news stories telling people not to buy the bootleg designer purses etc that are sold on Canal Street because some of that money evetually goes into the pockets of terrorists. For years they were pretty accessible, but post 9/11 there was a strong crackdown on their sales and now its much harder to find that bootleg merchandise.

So, I think that the fact that these guys are getting involved with Tony and co' makes them suspect....

#105

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Posted Apr 29, 2007 @ 10:48 PM

I thought at first that Nancy Sinatra was a female impersonator -- there could have been all kinds of justice there for Phil.

#106

Terps54424

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Posted Apr 29, 2007 @ 10:50 PM

Supposedly quite a bit of terrorist activity is funded by illegal activities. For example, here in NYC there were a slew of news stories telling people not to buy the bootleg designer purses etc that are sold on Canal Street because some of that money evetually goes into the pockets of terrorists. For years they were pretty accessible, but post 9/11 there was a strong crackdown on their sales and now its much harder to find that bootleg merchandise.


I actually work for the government and do quite a bit of anti-money laundering and terrorist financing, and you're 100% right about the money trail.

In the context of the show though, I think it's a bit of a stretch (and would be a major disappointment) if our big payoff is Tony bringing down a terrorist cell because he's seen the guys (who are merely the foot soldiers) hanging around the Bing.

It just seems way too "after school special" and "ripped from the headlines" for a great show like this.

#107

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Posted Apr 29, 2007 @ 10:54 PM

"there could have been all kinds of justice there for Phil. "

Funny, funny---great.

On another note, clarification please: I've forgotten what a "vig" is, is it referring to (obviously very high) interest on a loan?

In the meantime, I'm off to rewatch the episode...alot to think about.

#108

Abunai

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Posted Apr 29, 2007 @ 10:56 PM

First of all, Tony in this episode didn't really seem out of character. This is a mob boss who has killed and maimed plenty of people personally, and ordered countless more. His rage problems and unreasonable irritation with other people have been there since season one. It didn't take him screaming at Carmella in this episode or being pissy with Hesh to tell me he's a vicious bastard.

Excellent point. I'm always taken aback when people act surprised when Tony does something bad. He's a murderous thug. He's no different than Phil or Paulie.

#109

joeyguse

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Posted Apr 29, 2007 @ 10:56 PM

Vig is the "juice" on a debt, the interest. A point and a half would be 1500 a week on 100,000, therefore , on 200,000 it would be 3,000.

Edited by joeyguse, Apr 29, 2007 @ 10:57 PM.


#110

bj222

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Posted Apr 29, 2007 @ 10:59 PM

I think many people expect for there to be saga-like grand resolutions with intense dramatic revelations from week to week. Of course that would be very unlike what has made us like/love the show to this point. Instead we see on-the-ground, moment-to-moment scenes, each which reveal something important. Yes, it takes something, some inference, etc - but it's what I love.

I liked this episode a lot - many are talking about the gambling coming out of left field - yes, on some level this is true, but I think - that's part of the point. We are seeing Tony's self-destructive nature (just as we were seeing Little Vito self-destruct - once again, the parallel themes). Finally things are good, as he told Beansie, but yet, something within Tony is driving him to take tremendous risks.

Also, I think a lot of people mentioned the camera-work in this episode - very cool. I enjoyed it.

Btw, I predict AJ self-destructing next week - maybe with heroin (Members Only may end up being a microcosm for Tony's eventual arc - AJ getting hooked on drugs, Tony wanting to retire). We'll see.

A major point in this episode was the unwillingness of Tony's circle to tell him to stop...thought that was interesting...Sil thinks every bet is a great idea.

Also was Bobby acting strange at points?

#111

Marshall91

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Posted Apr 29, 2007 @ 11:00 PM

I think they all - even the obtuse Paulie - realize that Tony is losing control rapidly. No one is going to risk calling down the wrath on himself. They are basically now just puppets and stooges, nodding and agreeing with Tony, no matter how outrageous his behavior becomes.


Absolutely. Any comment on his gambling behavior would have been an insult to Tony, and he was in a particularly vicious mood this episode, as others have noted. They're all trying to keep quiet and out of the way of the shitstorm.

#112

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Posted Apr 29, 2007 @ 10:57 PM

I'm sure that young Vito taking a dump in the shower is a metaphor for something, but I'm damned if I know what.


If nothing else, it was a nice little callback to Phil's oh-so-charming version of "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

#113

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Posted Apr 29, 2007 @ 11:00 PM

I don't think so much of what happened in tonight's episode was out of the blue (if you want an example of left field plotting, look no further than the Carmella/Furio flirtation way back).

Something very specific is happening to Tony and his world. Made guys are turning rat, aging, and dying off left and right. Money is getting harder and harder to come by, and doing business is not as easy as it once was.

Tony was faced with his own mortality after he was shot. There is a lot of grumbling about old age in this season, and it seems logical that Tony would suddenly latch on to gambling as a way to sieze control of his life. The fact that he is losing all the time is fairly symbolic of the big picture.

Tony's short fuse with Pauly, Hesh, Carmella, Chris, Janice, Bobby et al this season all stems from the realization that he is aging, and does not have any real people in his life that he feels he can trust. Even Melfi is rejecting him now.

The only person I thought was acting out of character was Carmella, when she so quickly turned around and forgave Tony after the awful things he said to her. Maybe it's just that she too feels like she is getting old (just last episode she complained about the Tony/Paulie trip as something that shouldn't be happening anymore at their age), and no longer felt the energy or nerve to carry on a grudge.

It's interesting to note, though, that the whole spec house thing was encouraged by Tony to keep Carm's mind off Adriana's disappearance. It is probably unwise of him to make an enemy of her now. I can't shake the feeling that no matter how cynical Chase and the writers might be, Adriana was truly the only innocent person to get killed in the show, and her death has to come at some sort of price when all is said and done.

Oh, and Tony did NOT kill Renata. That would've made absolutely no sense. Tony does not authorize the killing women (except Adrianna, of course), and if he would've killed anyone to relieve himself of his debt to Hesh, it would've been Hesh. Plus, he paid him at the end. Nope, Tony's a dick, but he did not murder that woman. She just died of natural causes, or perhaps she had an illness.

As for the Arabs at the end-- I did not understand why Tony made long eye contact with the one guy, other than the fact that he had a young son and somewhat resembled Tony's dad. But more importantly, seeing the two Arab gunrunners that were hanging around the Bing reminded Tony of the FBI's offer/threat, and perhaps he's beginning to consider that playing a rat for the feds in regards to the "terrorists" might prove some sort of easy out from the lifestyle...

#114

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Posted Apr 29, 2007 @ 10:59 PM

5 episodes left and all we get is a lump of shit. There were funny moments. But the drama with Tony and the gambling didn't fit. Those bets were the bets of someone who has had a gambling problem for a long time.

#115

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Posted Apr 29, 2007 @ 11:02 PM

But more importantly, seeing the two Arab gunrunners that were hanging around the Bing reminded Tony of the FBI's offer/threat, and perhaps he's beginning to consider that playing a rat for the feds in regards to the "terrorists" might prove some sort of easy out from the lifestyle...


That's what I'm hoping.

I don't want to see Tony and the ones close to him die after so many years, although if they make him more and more unlikeable that might be a better fate. Of all the sociopaths I know and like, I like Tony the best. ;-)

#116

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Posted Apr 29, 2007 @ 11:05 PM

In a lot of ways, this episode felt like an exact sequel to "The Ride." Tony's so unhappy with life that he has to do something, anything, to just feel again. He's in a similar place where he was at the end of the first season, when the only thing that could bring him out of his funk was getting shot.

Hm...

Sounds mean, but I have to agree with the terrible things Tony said to Carm. It was all true. The house was built and financed with Tony's blood money, but all the profits are hers? Blah....


Disagree. Tony didn't make an investment; he made a payment so that he could move back into his house. I doubt that Tony getting a cut was at any time a part of the deal.

Way off topic, but, whatever happened to Albert?


I was hoping that was him at the beginning of the episode, watching the game. But once they went in for the close-up, it obviously wasn't.

He's been unreal this season and in a bad way. He has picked on everybody close to him minus Silvio but I'm sure that's coming.


Eh, I feel that the Sil v. Tony storyline was stretched out in Seasons 4 and 5, which culminated in that scene the two had in "All Due Respect." At this point, Sil probably just realizes Tony's a lost cause.

* No, Tony did not sneak into Hesh's house in the middle of the night and murder Hesh's girlfriend with an untraceable poison for absolutely no reason.


Well said. I felt the ending becomes the whole money/family thing. The point to me was that Tony could've paid back Hesh any time he wanted to, or put as much money on the Jets, but freeing up that money meant in some way admitting to himself that he was losing. But then, somehow, where he realized that 'he's up' universe-wise, he decided that he should do the right and honorable thing and settle his debts. I think he would've paid Hesh anyway, it just unfortunately coincided with his partner's death.

Incidentally, that's the beat in this episode that I felt was missing...at what point to Tony decide that he's 'up?' We see that he's losing, and then he gives Carm this speech, but how does he internally come to that conclusion? I don't know, maybe it'll be clearer on the rewatch.

That last scene, I feel, boils down to this...Hesh and Tony got so caught up in this "gimme gimme gimme" and money and debts and material possessions, that Hesh missed out on his last few days/weeks with his girlfriend. So yes, at the end, he gets his phone book, but what's the cost? He's alone now, and he got exactly what he wanted, but it wasn't what he needed. Brilliant, in my opinion.

Not to mention, to the best of our knowledge (and maybe I missed something), aren't those guys just Arab criminals? Where does the terrorist angle come from? Just because they're Arabs? I just remember them being involved in some gun dealings.


Well, we saw them involved with more 'traditional' Muslims for the first time today, and they were all congregating in a building with an armed guard. It's obviously not conclusive, but it's certainly interesting.

#117

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Posted Apr 29, 2007 @ 11:04 PM

Money is getting harder and harder to come by, and doing business is not as easy as it once was.


Kinda hard to make money when your "best earners" -- first Ralphie, then Vito -- keep getting killed.

#118

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Posted Apr 29, 2007 @ 11:04 PM

And overall I felt frustrated by this episode. Not many episodes left and we keep spending time on new or tertiary characters, like Vito's son. Is it interesting to follow up on what happened to his family? Yes, but not with so few episodes left.


I thought Vito's son was an important character as it brings to another level just how clueless and despicable these people are. They killed Vito and in effect, caused the awful behavioral problems that plague Vito Jr. They spent all this time with Marie when they needed to find Vito, but now they can barely spend 5 minutes around his kid? Heck, they threaten the kid verbally and physically in those 5 minutes? Instead of helping the family, Tony is destroying it further by getting the kid sent to Idaho/Utah. What happened to the code they lived by? Where's the honor? THERE IS NONE. This entire "family" is a sham... at least it's modern day version is. Guys rat each other out, kill each other over silly things like homosexuality, keep each other alive over money. The whole thing is a house of cards, sort of like Tony's persona now.

I just hate how the gambling has become a sudden problem when we've seen problems like Chris' drug addiction and Tony's psyche fleshed out fully over the course of the show.

#119

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Posted Apr 29, 2007 @ 11:10 PM

Incidentally, that's the beat in this episode that I felt was missing...at what point to Tony decide that he's 'up?' We see that he's losing, and then he gives Carm this speech, but how does he internally come to that conclusion? I don't know, maybe it'll be clearer on the rewatch.


I don' think he truly believes that he's "up," but rather--like he and every other character in the show has been doing all along--is just lying to himself. He knows he "down," but can't accept it, or at least doesn't want Carmella to know.

#120

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Posted Apr 29, 2007 @ 11:08 PM

Well, only 5 episodes left.... and in my opinion all 4 so far in season 6B are good as stand alone pieces. But in the context of the final season with only 5 left to go, I see nothing moving to any clue as to how this will all go down in a finale.
After surgery, the changes in Tony's character were evident and subtle. But now he has reverted to his old ways.
And, what I do not see is this. Since Season 1, the FBI has been building a major case against Tony. They bugged Green Grove, they put a bug in a lamp in his basement, Big Pussy was feeding them information, so was Ray Curto. Adriana ran around with Nicole, and Nicole must have had material for their case. The nurse in Uncle Jun's doctor's office was an FBI agent. So all of this leads to nothing? That is the momentum that I do not see building. They discovered a body, but it was pinned on Jackie Aprile by Karen's sister who works for a government agency. Am I right on that?
Think of all the murders on the show: Adriana, Richie, the stripper Ralphie killed, Tony has murdered 6 people: Febby Petrullio, Ralphie, Big Pussy, the Bevilaqua kid, Tony Blundetto, and Chucky Signore... and the series will end with no conclusion in terms of that FBI RICO case? Tony Soprano gets away with murder? After all that work, the FBI could not build any case? For me, that will be a major disappointment... sorry.