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Having a bit of a problem understanding some viewers who have recoiled about Episode 67 of THE SOPRANOS, “JOIN THE CLUB,” written by series creator David Chase.

JOIN THE CLUB (second Episode of this current and last Season Six of the Series) is a stupendously rich, abundantly layered, remarkably written and acted accomplishment, such as this Series has only produced a few times in it’s otherwise remarkably great history — which is saying a lot, given that it takes flight to reach higher than a mountain top. This Series is the mountain top and Episode 67 is one of those Episodes that flies up and away (WHITECAPS, LONG TERM PARKING, and WHOEVER DID THIS are the others, although PINE BARRENS is favored by many — I favor that Episode, too but it is diminished in comparison with these other Episodes I’ve listed, to my view).

There is but one David Chase, one James Gandolfini and one Edie Falco and, Heaven knows, they are surely in a superior stratosphere of creative abilities and accomplishment. I’ve spent a few days wondering at wakeup and sleepfall moments if Gandolfini’s Tony Soprano is going to recover from his two comas — by gunshot wound trauma or by “medically induced” drugs, whichever (see the Episode) — and the soulful gesture of this Episode in all it’s aspects has, literally, crossed over into something beyond theatre because of those lingering sentimental, evocative touches.

Aside from all that, the literary accomplishment here, this Series, is remarkable, it’s “literally” remarkable literature.

If there is any handicap to JOIN THE CLUB, it is that it requires several viewings to reap the full benefit of content. And about that, it’s great that HBO has now made these SOPRANOS Episodes available on HBO ON DEMAND in the very week of original broadcast (up to this last week, Episodes have only appeared later by a Season).

My thanks to David Chase and the whole crew and cast of this remarkable Series, THE SOPRANOS. I can’t imagine HBO without it, and I sure cannot imagine THE SOPRANOS without James Gandolfini’s Tony Soprano. My only angst is as to what will be available after the Series is over, and, as to my suspense, what will the talent from THE SOPRANOS do next? Whatever it is, I’m watching it.

C O M M E N T S : now closed