As I binge watch The Sopranos there have been many episodes in the series that have made me dabble with the idea of writing some kind of review or article. For the most part my lazy bone has won and I decide to just enjoy the ride… Yeah, that all changed several hours ago when I arrived on Season 5 Episode 12, “Long Term Parking.”
By the end of it there was no doubt in my mind that what I had just witnessed was likely one of the most iconic of the series, and probably one of the most iconic television reveals during the shows run. As I filled with all kinds of emotions one thing was clear- I had to write something.
She was one of my favorite characters in the series! From the moment the FBI latched onto her I knew the possibility of her death was very real (I mean how can we ever forget what happened to Big P***Y). Yet it’s the delivery and sequence of events that make it haunting perfection.
Where to begin?
A.She Betrayed(?): A facetious response I received as I texted everyone the moment I found out her fate was, “that’s what happens when you flip!” The thing is, she never really did. At least she never truly betrayed the person she was looking out for which was Chris.
Yes, she was complicit in that life, but so is Carmella and all those women! What makes her death difficult is that she was a character who never really wanted anyone to get hurt.
Everything she did or didn’t do was in the pursuit of keeping him (Chris) safe, trying to protect the life she wanted with him, and the freedom she wanted for him. Her mistake was not in “betraying” the mob, but that she never embraced the fact that life wasn’t what Chris wanted nor was ever going to want.
B. Chris, you POS: While on the subject of Chris…Five seasons into this show one thing that is a clear take away from him, and Tony as well, is that they are complete narcissists. Chris is not capable of truly loving someone else. He is, and always has been, consumed by his lust for position, power, and control. Happiness, true happiness, is the most blissfully boring thing on the planet and it requires sincerity and surrender; two things Chris could never do. There may have been a moment after he nearly killed Ade that he would have packed his bags and run away with her. I truly believe he considered it. However, then he saw that man with his three children and pregnant wife looking miserable.
What life was there outside the one he branded himself into? The power and influence he craves comes from that life of crime. Any attempt to go straight might work for a time, juiced by romantic devotion, but just like cousin Tony (Steve Buscemi) the smoke and mirrors of it would fade and the monster would return. Seeing that family spared Chris of attempting that illusion, but it was also the reality-slap that solidified Ade’s fate.
C: The Take Away: Adriana is not the first inner circle character to get whacked and will certainly not be the last before I make it to the end of the series. However, I suspect her death will be the most impacting and tragic. The reason being that she’s the one character that wanted the best for everyone and saw the best in everyone no matter how true or false that goodness may have been. She just, whether naive in her pursuit or not, wanted to be happy and wanted the man she loved to be happy with her.
It’s the very innocence of her nature that made her death the thing that revealed the monstrosity of these people in its entirety. Adriana told Chris that she didn’t tell the feds anything. Rather than sit down and listen, rather than speak with her, rather than any kind of benefit of the doubt, the decision to kill her was immediate and cold.
These men really don’t value anything but their power and gains. Even as Tony and Chris reflect on her for a moment in a motel room Chris tells Tony, “she would have rather snitched on me than gone to jail for five years; I thought she loved me.”
There lies the entire truth of Chris as a character; he doesn’t take responsibility for how he participates, and it is always about the sacrifices that others have to do for him but never what he has to do for others; not even the woman he “loved.”
D: The Land: The episode ends with feet walking upon dead leaves. You think for a second that we’re going to see a body or Silvio leaving the scene. However it’s Tony and Carmella looking at their future.
Tony is a monster and where Adriana was complicit Carmella is VERY much tainted in innocent blood-which is the other realization this episode forced me to swallow.
It’s the moment for me that I finally held Carmella completely accountable; where she wants to build her dream castle is metaphorically over the shallow graves of innocents including the tragic Adriana La Cerva.
I have one season left to go before the end of the masterpiece but thanks to episode twelve of season five I’m going in with a different view of these people. All of these people. Where once I rooted for Melfi to give Tony a chance I now know that her judgement and choice is right. He can be charming, he can be a family man, he can do right by his children, but he is still a man-child hellbent on getting his way no matter what.
Chris can be an addict, he can be an inner broken child begging for his cousin’s love, but he is still a self-obsessed fool who will never know true human decency because he hasn’t the foggiest clue of how to give it.
Carmella can be a scorned housewife, a woman regretting choices of her past, and a woman desperate to get back the happier days of her marriage, but she does so at the willing ignorance of the devil she lays with for the sake of restoring and keeping a fantasy.
The outcomes of our lives are determined by our choices not our hopes. An uncompromising truth highlighted by Adriana’s death. With twenty-one episodes left will it ring true for those that remain?