Tuesday, 3 May 2016
The Sopranos, Season 2 (2000)
One of the core threads in season one of The Sopranos was Tony Soprano's often adversarial relationship with his mother and uncle. This second season backgrounds both those other characters to a large degree, but not the struggle itself. Instead, their rivalry shifts to be fought out through proxies. It's a pretty smart way to continue the basic plot-line while changing it up enough to keep it fresh. And bear in mind these are no ordinary family squabbles: they're the kind where the use of lethal force is a very real possibility.
Of course, his family are far from the only thing making Tony's life complicated. The FBI continue to be an ongoing threat, for one thing. They're determined to infiltrate his operations if at all possible, and make multiple attempts to do so in the course of the season.
Compound all this with the usual stresses of raising a pair of increasingly independent teenagers (one of whom is in the midst of applying to college), and it's probably no surprise that Tony's mental health is not the best. He is therefore keen to continue the sessions he's been having with his psychiatrist, Dr Melfi. On the other hand, the Doctor herself has good reason to be reluctant to oblige him. Being so involved in the life of a notorious mob boss - especially one whose formidable temper she has witnessed first hand - is definitely having an adverse effect on her own mental well-being.
The Sopranos remains a solidly-plotted crime show with a strong cast of characters. My only real complaint would be that the writers are a little too fond of dream sequences as a narrative tool.