Mob Scene: The Sopranos

Even the godfather of mob series offers us a mob scene…

And not just any scene featuring a rambunctious rabble, but one including vintage angry villagers. I refer to episode 5.11 of The Sopranos, “The Test Dream.” Worried that his AWOL cousin Tony Blundetto is going to whack Phil Leotardo and set off a war between the New York and New Jersey families, Tony Soprano has one epic nightmare. In the middle of this midnight mind movie, Tony fails to prevent Blundetto’s mob hit, and is challenged by a huge crowd of disapproving onlookers with questions of “Why didn’t you stop him?” The scene then cuts to Tony being chased down a dark alley by the crowd, who suddenly turn into Europeans in lederhosen, with flaming torches and the leashes of barking hounds in their hands. This quick and terrifically surreal reference perfectly captures Tony’s fear of persecution, while also highlighting his deep awareness of classic films.

I’ll admit, I was never especially fond of this late-season episode of The Sopranos. I felt the dream sequence was too long (stalling the show’s narrative drive) and just too damned weird. Nevertheless, I have to give all due respect to David Chase’s wise-guy drama for its knowing nod to Universal’s Frankenstein movies.


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