Bobby Bacala is enlisted come play Santa Claus.Tony gives Jackie Jr a knee come the groin,and Meadow gives Tony a beat to the gut(with she Christmas gift—a huge Mouth Billy Bass).

You are watching: To save us all from satans power

Episode 36 – initially Aired April 29, 2001Written through Robin Green and also Mitchell BurgessDirected by Jack Bender

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The title, a line from a famous Christmas song, immediately discloses that this hour is Season Three’s Christmas episode. Together in Charles Dickens’ novel A Christmas Carol, this episode features a (sort of) Ghost that Christmas Past: Pussy Bonpensiero. Tony’s trip to Asbury Park to winterize his watercraft precipitates memory of large Pussy. This will be the Soprano crew’s first Christmas there is no Pussy, and their flashbacks, dreams and reminisces that the guy pepper the whole hour.

The inquiry that preoccupies the crew is whether or not Pussy to be an FBI informant as early as 1995. We understand that this is unlikely because Agent Skip Lipari stated last season the the Feds flipped Pussy only in 1998. Yet Tony and also the men convince themselves the Pussy had flipped by ’95. This belief, most likely mistaken, points come the ambiguity and also uncertainty that lives at the heart of the series. The guys see what they desire to see, think what they desire to believe. Skepticism is together a daunting thing to live v that people, both in and also out the SopranoWorld, will do every little thing they have the right to to mitigate it.

It doesn’t assist that David follow revels in ambiguity. The mischievously offers his audience moments like this one the feed our own uncertainties:

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Silvio jokingly refers to Pussy as “Fredo,” the great traitor indigenous The Godfather component II. Is Chase offering us a clue that Pussy to be in truth betraying his friends in ’95? Or is chase teasing united state the means that the cosmos teases us, constantly hinting at answers however never providing the answers outright? The flashback scene raise every sorts of questions, and some of them will more than likely never it is in answered. For example, does Corrado acknowledge the irony of death Brendan Filone because that hijacking trucks as soon as he himself did the exact same thing simply a couple of years earlier? to be justice important served, as the men discuss, in the OJ Simpson trial? and also did we all wear such goofy sweaters earlier in the ’90s? Also, walk members the the new Jersey famiglia, sporting part neat hairstyles, have a group discount come Supercuts in 1995?

TONY together SANTAWhat’s Christmas there is no Santa Claus? The crew enlists Bobby Baccalieri come replace huge Pussy together Santa in ~ Satriale’s annual gift giveaway. Bobby revolts at the idea of play the duty because that his shyness, however he ultimately relents. It turns out they would have been much better off finding someone else because Bobby is somewhat lacking in the ‘people-skills’ department. (He provokes a spirited five-year old into yelling “Fuck you Santa!”) yet let’s placed aside Bobby’s time as Santa, since I’m an ext interested in just how David Chase supplies Tony as a (pseudo) Santa in this episode. Tony is makin’ a list, he’s checkin’ it twice, he’s added Janice’s Russian to it, who’s naughty, no nice:

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When Tony cd driver to the Russian club to fulfill his money launderer, the clip is scored with a high hat and snare drum that sound a bit like sleigh bells, in result making Tony’s red Suburban seem like a sleigh. That same scored beat is heard as soon as Tony, in Santa hat, tracks down the Russian who attacked Janice. When the Russian is discovered badly beaten in ~ a sleigh in a window-display, it’s as though Santa himself ran the man down:

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Chase’s compare of Tony come Santa Claus might merely be in good fun, simply an not authorised bit of holiday good cheer. But Tony is also compared, i believe, to someone a bit more sinister 보다 Santa…

TONY together SATAN i think that Chase renders a subtle criticism that Christianity in this episode, just as he appears to have actually been doing end the last few episodes. Dr. Krakower wryly eviscerated Carmela’s Catholicism three episodes ago. And two episodes ago, we met Aaron Arkaway who dropped asleep ideal in former of criminal Tony while wearing his Christianity over his heart—he slumbered through Thanksgiving dinner v a crucifix and Jesus-fish on his lapel:

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(Sort of gives new an interpretation to the phrase “sleeps through the fishes,” doesn’t it?) ns think Chase may be making use of the Aaron-character to represent the impotence the Christianity in the face of evil. In the existing episode, Aaron falls asleep in ~ Livia’s home just moments prior to Tony beginning the place. He also sleeps if the story of Tony’s criminal vengeance against Janice’s Russian is transfer over the news. Evaluate by His sleepy and sluggish emissary Aaron, we could be in some real trouble if Christ is The guy that’s claimed to conserve us from Satan. Christ appears unable to protect us in modern times. He has actually seemed almost totally absent indigenous SopranoWorld, and also His absence is highlighted transparent this hour. Dr. Melfi has actually literally bring away Christ out of “Christmas”—she has actually replaced that with the word stress to come up v “Stressmas.” Janice tries to break into Christian modern Music not because it expresses Christ’s blog post but because of that potential financial profits. Christopher is far an ext impressed by The Grinch’s enormous box office income than the is through the film’s holiday article of love and brotherhood. Jesus doesn’t even show up in the illustration title: He has actually been replaced by an ellipsis. The lyrics of “God remainder Ye funny Gentlemen,” wherein the title comes from, go like this:

God rest you merry gentlemen allow nothing girlfriend dismay for Jesus Christ our savior was born top top Christmas job To conserve us all from Satan’s power once we to be gone astray O tidings the comfort and also joy Comfort and joy O tidings of comfort and also joy

By substituting an ellipsis for Jesus, follow raises an important question: through Jesus absent, who specifically is the that will come and save us from Satan’s power? One answer might be found in a quick scene in ~ the Bada Bing:

A stripper descends native above, upside down and also arms to she side—almost favor an upside-down crucifix—while the Virgos Merlot song exclaims “I wait because that no one, nobody comes.” If we’re waiting for Jesus come come and also save us, we may be waiting in vain. No one comes.

The idea of Tony Soprano as a Satanic number is do at one more strip club:

A sultry version of “Little Drummer Boy” plays at the nudie bar. The camera cuts to Tony simply as us hear the line, “A child King to see.” The lyric “So to respect him” is heard just as Tony notices Jackie dishonoring him (and his daughter) v a lap dance. Jackie will pay for his transgression versus this new, angry King—he it s okay a knee to the groin from Tony here, and he payment a dearer price by the end of the season.

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(I’m do a little of a leap comparing Tony come Satan here. The idea that Tony together an Anti-Christ figure is much more deeply explored later in the series, an especially in Season Six’s “The 2nd Coming.”)

In the closing moment of the episode, Tony receive a big Mouth Billy base from Meadow. We identify that Tony’s is struggling to save his composure as he accepts this gift because he has long-associated Billy bass with Big Pussy, the Ghost that has actually haunted this whole hour. Chase cut from Billy bass to a shot of big Pussy’s final resting place:

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Todd VanDerWerff wonders in his write-up because that this episode, “Has any type of show obtained as lot weirdly catastrophic mileage the end of a little bit of cultural ephemera so instantly disposable as The Sopranos acquired out that Billy Bass?” i think it’s possible to get even more mileage the end of Billy Bass. Tony has clearly associated fish with huge Pussy, however fish have likewise historically been connected with Jesus Christ (which is why Aaron Arkaway attract a fish-pendant top top his lapel). This illustration which basically asks the concern “Who will conserve us native Satan’s power?” closes with an answer that is i m so sad inadequate: Billy Bass, much from gift a representation of Christ, is little much more than a bit of disposable pop culture. Together the tide rolls in come the desolate coast of Asbury Park and the illustration fades out, Kate Jackson and also the Campbell brother sing, “Jesus told me everything is gonna be alright.” your repeating lyric may be a tiding of comfort and also joy, but—at least in SopranoWorld—it to represent a grasp at hope whereby none might actually exist.