The complete fifth season of the popular drama series. In 'Two Tonys', Tony, now separated from Carmela, takes a romantic interest in Dr. Melfi. Carmela is forced to call Tony for help when a wild bear keeps visiting their home. Johnny Sack sees an opportunity for advancement when Carmine suffers a stroke, while new parolees readjust to life on the outside and Janice adjusts to married life with Bobby. In 'Rat Pack', Tony throws a welcome-home party for his cousin, Tony Blundetto, who is released from prison on parole. The FBI continues to pressure Adriana for information and she nearly confesses at Carmela's film club. Carmine's passing leaves the field wide open for Johnny Sack, but Little Carmine has ideas of his own. In 'Where's Johnny?', Feech begins to overstep when he moves in on Paulie's landscaping deals. Tony worries about Junior's mind when Junior wanders around his old neighborhood searching for long-dead friends. As the hostility in New York intensifies, Johnny Sack dispatches the Leotardo brothers to send Little Carmine a clear message. In 'All Happy Families', Tony and Carmela quarrel after A.J. spends a wild night in the Big Apple. Tony is forced to make a decision about Feech when he continues to overstep his bounds.
Facing an indeterminate sentence of weeks/months/years until new episodes, Sopranos
fans are advised to take the fifth; season, that is. At this point, superlatives don't do The Sopranos
justice, but justice was at last served to this benchmark series. For the first time, The Sopranos
rubbed out The West Wing
to take home its first Emmy for Outstanding Dramatic Series. Michael Imperioli and Drea de Matteo also earned Best Supporting Actor and Actress honors for some of their finest hours as Christopher and Adriana. From the moment a wayward bear lumbers into the Sopranos' yard in the season opener, it is clear that The Sopranos
is in anything but a "stagmire." The series benefits from an infusion of new blood, the so-called "Class of 2004," imprisoned "family" members freshly released from jail. Most notable among these is Tony's cousin, Tony Blundetto (Steve Buscemi, who directed the pivotal season 3 episode "Pine Barrens"), who initially wants to go straight, but proves himself to be something of a "free agent," setting up a climactic stand-off between Tony and New York boss Johnny Sack.
These 13 mostly riveting episodes unfold with a page-turning intensity with many rich subplots. Estranged couple Tony and Carmela (the incomparable James Gandolfini and Edie Falco) work toward a reconciliation (greased by Tony's purchase of a $600,000 piece of property for Carmela to develop). The Feds lean harder on an increasingly stressed-out and distraught Adriana to "snitch" with inevitable results. This season's hot-button episode is "The Test Dream," in which Tony is visited by some of the series' dear, and not-so-dearly, departed in a harrowing nightmare. With this set, fans can enjoy marathon viewings of an especially satisfying season, but considering the long wait ahead for season 6, best to take Tony's advice to his son, who, at one point, gulps down a champagne toast. "Slow down," Tony says. "You're supposed to savor it." --Donald Liebenson, Amazon.com