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This is a men's world

I'm reaching the end of season 5. I've just watched "Long Term Parking", one of the best episodes of the series, despite one scene being quite on the nose, and a faux suspense. I usually dig episodes that surprise me, and this is one is anything but surprising, but when scenes are so powerful despite being so predictable, it's really something.

[Spoiler (click to open)]The scene that gave me chills was the one in which Christopher tries to strangle Adriana, just after she came clean,, and then breaks down in despair and cries, and Adriana who's hardly breathing again and yet tries to comfort him. It was wow. It summed up their whole relationship so well. And it was the series being at its most sadistic, giving Adriana some respite, and the audience a bit of hope, before the inevitable happens.

Because of course Adriana's death was bound to happen, and was kinda foreshadowing by Lorraine's death earlier in season 5.

It has always been obvious that if Christopher had to choose between her and the "family", she would lose, and that as much as Tony liked her and felt connected to her, he wouldn't hesitate to have her kill as proved by the Big Pussy's storyline.

The faux suspense I mentioned above, is showing Tony's phonecall while keeping the audience in the dark about what transpired just before it between Christopher and him. But I want to believe that it wasn't to fool the audience, only to show things only from Adriana's perspective, and I liked the elliptic writing there. Besides, the Christopher scene at the filling station -- the scene that is on the nose with the family representing an unappealing possible future for Chrissy and Ade -- , and the fact that Tony called from a payphone were enough to clue the viewers in what Christopher really did.

My second favourite scene is the car ride to the woods, with Adriana watching the landscape, and obviously realising that she's going to die, and crying more and more while Silvio is making chit-chat and talking about Christopher's future. Drea de Matteo was terrific there. She looked like a lamb being led to the slaughterhouse yet understanding that her fate has been sealed, which doesn't prevent her from panicking when Silvio stopped the car, and trying to escape, because something primal, some survival instinct always kicks in eventually.

It also summed up Adriana's character quite well. From day one she's been both naive and aware of stuff; she was horrified by violent things but she kept breaking the law and playing with fire. She was admittedly less compromised than let's say Carmela, but she still knew this was a crime world she lived in, and her friendly familiars were criminals who did many bad things. The episode recalls that with the drug-related murder that happened at the Crazy Horse. Adriana committed felony, she covered up for a murder...but she explained that she did it because Matush was nice and, although he was a drug dealer, she didn't want him to get into troubles! And as she mentioned him being religious and the school stuff in Pakistan, the FBI didn't seem to believe how dumb she could be. That was Adriana, partly-aware (she was not blind so she coud not not see stuff), partly-naive (usually when it came to men), partly-dumb.

There were things Adriana didn't want to think about, didn't want to hear, but deep down she still understood stuff so when Christopher said he needed to clear his head she begged him to stay. Deep down she new that if he left she was screwed, and yet she called her FBI handler and told her he'd agreed to flip.

She wanted to believe in a happy ending that she knew would not happen, hence her day-dreaming of another car ride, with her driving and her suitcase being on the passenger seat  -- Adriana being alone, which means she finally realised she should have left Christopher a long time ago, or that she was truly on her own and couldn't count on her Chrissy anymore --, while in reality she was at the place of the suitcase -- therefore a disposal thing-- and Silvio was behind the wheel. Adriana was never in the driver's seat, never in control of her own life, something that had been pointed out several time either by the way the FBI treated her or by owning only in name the Crazy Horse club, while it was obvious that Tony was the boss there...to the point that the mobsters often pushed her out of her own office.

Adriana lived in denial, but the same could be said, oddly enough, of her FBI handler who wanted to believe that Adriana was alive and said that she could be in China now, while the men glanced at each other, obviously sure that their informer was dead.

So my reading of the car drive is that Adriana finally understood that Tony lied to her, and therefore that Christopher betrayed her...and that Silvio will take her to her end, but when he leaves the road and turned into the road, she suddenly gets that she's going to die THERE, alone, by Silvio's hand and that's an even a worst scenario. I bet that Adriana would have prefered to be choked to death by Christopher actually.

Compared to Big Pussy's death, Adriana's seems more tragic and also more touching because she was so naive and a dumb, and perhaps because she was lied to until the very end, as if she were a child or an animal. She did not get to explain herself to her executioners. Silvio only dropped the act when it was time to got her out of the car and shoot her. Women are just not treated the same way as the men are.

Adriana's death called back to Nazis calming down newly-arrived prisoners with music in extermination camps, in order to make it easier...

Her death also made me think of Pie-O-My and how Tony comforted the ailing horse one night, reassuring her ("everything will be all right")...and yet the horse ended up dead in a criminal fire, probably by Ralphie. BTW in a previous review, I mentioned the parallel between the horse and Adriana, whose club was named Crazy Horse. Like the horse, Adriana got sick, and in this episode Tony seemed again concerned about her health.

Adriana's fate points out that as much as he'd like to be a good man, as much as he's touched by innocent creatures (usually animals) and feels connection to them, Tony is a criminal  who causes harm and brings doom. A few episodes back, he was telling Melfi his connection to Adriana and was even fantasising about having a new family with her, but he still orders her death.

My third favourite scene is the last one, in the woodland setting that is going to become Carmela's estate, something she traded in exchange for taking Tony back into her house and her life -- but he never really left them! The big bear was always lurking around and trespassing to fool around beside the swimming pool--, which reminds us of how much the Carmela/Tony pairing is venal (and he came back with a Hermes scarf, aka a very expensive gift that called back the huge ring from season one).

That woodland place could be the very same place in which Adriana was killed. I am sure it is not but it looked very similar so it seems that Carmela's new future is built on Adriana's tomb, built on a kill...a kill that metaphorically stands for all the blood Tony has spilled over the years, the blood his money is made on.

Also that scene seems to suggest a certain parallel between the couples and might link Carmela's fate to Adriana's.

Of course Carmela is much smarter and less naive than Adriana was, but she's still a woman, and women in Tony's life either end up being beaten to death (the young whore killed by Ralphie), or committing suicide (Gloria), or they are burnt while cooking him a snack (Valentina) or they are killed...with the exception of Melfi who was wise enough to keep their relationship professional, Charmaine who kept her distance, and the tough one-legged Russian girl who fucked him but dumped him afterwards.

Even Meadow might be doomed in one way or another now.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
11th Jan, 2014 22:26 (UTC)
The faux suspense I mentioned above, is showing Tony's phonecall while keeping the audience in the dark about what transpired just before it between Christopher and him. But I want to believe that it wasn't to fool the audience, only to show things only from Adriana's perspective

There was a scene in the original script showing the moment when Chris tells Tony that Adriana is working with the feds. However they removed it for the exact reason you said; that they wanted to keep the viewers in Adriana's perspective. But the missing scene with Chris and Tony was shot! It's an incredible scene and you will see it as a flashback at some point.

'Long Term Parking' is a perfectly devastating TV episode. Drea and Michael both deservedly won Emmys for their work in it. I agree that the scene where Ade confides in Chrissy and he almost kills her and she comforts him, sums up their relationship so horribly well. And you're right. Ade would have rather Chris strangled her to death. How tragic is that?

Edited at 2014-01-11 22:27 (UTC)
12th Jan, 2014 10:15 (UTC)
But the missing scene with Chris and Tony was shot! It's an incredible scene and you will see it as a flashback at some point.

I look forward to seeing that scene! I was wondering what Christopher exactly told Tony because from the next episode, that is the finale of season 5, I got the impression that it wasn't quite the truth, and that Christopher only said that Adriana would be willing to rat HIM out in order to avoid 5 years in jail (so Tony called her "cunt" in the Chris/Tony scene from "All Due Respect"), not that she had been an informant for a year, and that she finally talked him into flipping, to betray Tony.

Portraying Adriana as someone who would have rather betrayed her lover than do years in jail is interesting, given the parallel with Tony B, who went to prison and never betrayed his cousin...and still was killed by Tony in that episode!

I didn't know they won Emmys for their work, but you're right, they deserved it, if only for that scene on the infamous couch (where Christopher killed another innocent, little Cosette!).
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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