8.5/10 After a slow start in season one, a phenomenal season two and a slight slump in season three, season four takes the show back on the upswing, delivering what is so far the best season yet. It appears that the even numbered seasons are the best and the odd numbered seasons miss the mark by some varying degree. We will see if this trend keeps up with the final two seasons or bucks the established pattern. As for this season, David Chase and the cast and crew are firing on all cylinders as we get a lot of forward momentum in terms of the plot. There were many plot points that stayed consistent in the first three seasons (Tony cheats with yet another woman and his wife just takes it or buys into his apology, for example) that have a wrench thrown into them this season. It was refreshing to see characters and plot threads that have been going down the same road finally take some detours to more exciting results. The show’s cast continues to be perfect and this might be Edie Falco’s best acting on the show to date. The show retains its humor (a subplot with Paulie and his mother’s “friends” was hysterical and an intervention for a drug addict had me laughing harder than in most comedy sitcoms) and perfectly balances the show’s themes. This season we get action, the feds, love, divorce, violence, infighting, character deaths, courtroom trials, etc. The show remains entertaining while constantly pushing the plot forward with essentially no filler episodes this season. Having the balls to kill off certain characters and having past sins come back to haunt characters was great to watch. The music continues to be inspired (they used Billy Joel’s best song this season) and the Soprano family themselves are still the heart and soul of the show. I initially thought I would grow bored with the family drama as I longed for the mobster violence but the family drama is handled so well that I’ve had the opposite reaction. The sex and violence is used sparingly so when we get a burst of bloodshed, it stands out even more so, something HBO would return to in the future with “Game of Thrones”. As for some mild complaints, I had a couple. The biggest was involving Tony’s daughter Meadow. Every love interest she has had on the show has been introduced with how they met, the initial dating phase, falling in love, sometimes having sex, the breakup, etc. For the first time in the show we are just told she has a boyfriend that she seems to have had for a while but we have no idea who this guy is and get none of the backstory that the show usually gives us. Anthony Jr., Tony’s son, also had a girlfriend but that subplot seems to have disappeared. So the kids’ love lives were not handled nearly as well as they could have been this season, which sticks out even more considering how well every other plot and subplot are developed. The feds are also using one of the characters who is giving them zero useful information, yet the feds never up the pressure and seem content in getting nothing out of them, which felt weird. With a big character shakeup in the season finale, I’m hoping Tony has some slight changes in his character arc moving forward and makes some changes. I love how every character from young to old, supporting to main, get their due screen time and character development. I’m hoping we don’t get another slump in the coming fifth season but that the last two seasons go out with a literal bang as we are now less than a month from “The Many Saints of Newark”.

#HUDIsADud / #ADarkCharredHorse / #BustAWhiteCap / #ThePastAndTheFurio / #TheyTriedToMakeMeGoToRehabButISaidTonTonTon / #DieOMy

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