SPOILERS, they be lying ahead so tread beyond here only with care.
"Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!"
This, of course, is the famous line growled by an aging Michael Corleone in the otherwise forgettable third installment of the filmic Godfather saga. It's also a favorite refrain of Silvio Dante, proprietor of the Bada Bing and all around high level henchman of Tony Soprano on The Sopranos.
As The Sopranos so often does – blissfully and masterfully well – it takes life and art and family and the mafia and our own skewed and biased perception of all of these things, and blends them into a cocktail served cold and sweet and rushing with the torrent of beating life itself.
The Sopranos returned tonight, beginning its sixth season after a nearly two-year hiatus.
Tony (played by the mesmerizingly great James Gandolfini) has maintained his ham-handed grip on the northern New Jersey mob family. With Johnny Sack in jail and acting New York boss Tony Leotardo pacified for the time being over the Tony Blundetto affair ("Tony S."'s cousin Tony B., played by Steve Buchemi, dominated much of Season Five and ended with a not-so-pleasant cousin-to-cousin shotgun handshake on an upstate New York farm), the House of Soprano looks to be stronger than ever. Indeed, Tony's domestic life, usually a source of concern if not outright agita, is downright cozy. Carmela (Edie Falco, an actress who literally can't be overpraised), now reconciled with Tony after a brief Season Five separation, is busy with her $600,000 spec house property and even enjoys spiriting away with her chubby mob boss hubby for frequent visits to a local sushi joint.
Meanwhile, the FBI is no closer to putting Tony behind bars – it seems their best chance was a bugged lamp in the Soprano home's basement circa Season Three. The brutal murder of Adriana (remember, these wise guys ain't such nice guys, no matter how many times we're exquisitely lulled into forgetting) near the end of Season Five is presage to more death that puts the feds further away.