As soon as you feel sympathy for Chris, he blows J.T. Dolan's head off. He seems to hate almost everything about the life at this point, and is ready to flip. And Tony gave the FBI the cell number of the Arab's from the Bing. The Arab's who bought illegal weapons with stolen credit card numbers they got from Chris. Chris is going to flip or die by Tony in the last four episodes.
A.J. seemed to enjoy the beating of whoever that was. Could be his first steps towards the mob and he will probably end with just as disasterous results as Chris is headed for.
And continuing the theme of this half of the season, Tony had another father figure destroyed. Dickie Moltisanti, who Tony idolized according to Chris, was nothing more than a junkie.
Great episode. The final four are going to be tough to sit through. I get an overwhelming sense of dread watching this show. 9/10
It strikes me that a key theme of this final season is Tony alienating the members of his inner circle one by one. First it was his brother-in-law, Bobby, with the two literally coming to blows in week one; then Paulie in week three, Hesh in week four (with a side swipe at Carlo for not being the earner that Vito had been) and Christopher in week six. It's never a good idea for a leader to turn his key people, those he depends on most, against him; in Tony Soprano's line of work, it could prove fatal.
Meanwhile trouble from without is looming on the horizon in the form of Phil Leotardo. With the death of Johnny Sack, and Phil's resulting promotion to boss, there's nothing to restrain him from extracting his revenge against Tony for Billy Leotardo's death at the hands of Tony's cousin Tony Bludetto. An alienated member of Tony Soprano's inner circle would be a key ally to Phil in any attempt to take out Tony. Meanwhile both Bobby and Chris have committed easily traceable murders of civilians (Bobby's perhaps more so, his victim having torn a piece of Bobby's shirt before dying, in an episode where DNA evidence had been discussed). Neither Bobby nor Chris would be adverse at this stage to flipping Tony Soprano, especially if it meant beating a murder rap.
So how does it end? Does Tony get whacked? Does he get indicted? Or does he end up turning state's evidence to save himself? I don't know, but I do know that I'm enjoying this season more than any other since the first two.
A few friends of mine and I watched it a couple weeks ago, and I was in the same boat as you, having missed a few episodes - most of them due to them being aired out of nowhere and not knowing about them until it was too late.