Why Boca is One of My Favorite Episodes on The Sopranos
"F-- This, I'm Going to Boca."
The Sopranos has many phenomenal episodes, and I haven’t made up my mind on my number one favorite. Actually, I don’t really think I could have just one. With that said, Boca is definitely somewhere in the top five. It’s true. “Boca” has all the right ingredients for the quintessential Sopranos episode. Start by preheating the ego oven to 666 degrees F°. Mix your battered moral boundaries with a sprinkle of irony, a tablespoon of hypocrisy, and an extra scoop of family dysfunction. I’m not much of a cook, so you’ll have to let me know how that goes. Here’s what I have: A few notes on why Boca is a phenomenal Sopranos episode.
In Boca, You Don't Always Know What's Going on Behind The Scenes
First, nearly everything that happens on The Sopranos has multiple layers. At some point in (most of) our lives, we begin to understand there’s more to people than what meets the eye. If you’re looking for examples, we have an abundance of riches in Boca:
- Tony’s panic attacks and therapy visits are still a “secret.”
- The beloved Coach Hauser is having sex (statutory rape, really) with Meadow’s soccer teammate, Ally.
- Meadow doesn’t know something’s seriously wrong with Ally until it hits her literally in the face.
- Vin being on the verge of suicide.
- Junior’s trips “South of the Border.”
Boca Shows That Hindsight is, In Fact, 2020
In a nutshell–forgive me for the cliche–Dr. Melfi’s statement that “the judicial system has gotten much better” didn’t age too well. I’ll get to that later in a post on the criminal justice system in The Sopranos. For now, here we are, with Tony voicing frustration over the Coach Hauser dilemma. You see, this one’s a bit delicate. Our alleged offender also happens to be the coach of Meadow’s soccer team. And have you heard the news? The team just qualified for the sectionals!
Simply put, if Coach Hauser was your average Joe Schmo, it probably would’ve been lights out fairly quickly. People don’t usually take too kindly to sexual predators, even if they’re otherwise amenable to illegal activity. Coach Hauser was an asset, though. A possible soccer scholarship, a team championship, AND you’re an awesome soccer dad?! Even so, fortunately, there are some boundaries the families won’t cross. Unfortunately, we can’t say the same for Coach Hauser.
Boca Showed Us Their Priorities
In fact, prior to knowing about Ally and Coach Hauser’s encounters, Tony had made light of Ally’s mental health issues in favor of marching on in the tournament. What’s important here, though, is soccer is just the vessel for the overall concepts at hand: Money. Power. Dominance. A note here on Silvio: I’ve always been intrigued by Sil’s behavior and how he carried himself in Boca. To be sure, Sil always does a great job at being Sil. It’s just interesting how seemingly family-oriented he was here, as opposed to in other seasons. Perhaps that was more of a season one experiment. Or I could be greatly overthinking this. Doesn’t David Chase do a great job at that?
It Always Comes Down to The Ego.
Speaking of ego and power, Boca’s a beautiful illustration of toxic masculinity combined with oversized egos. Carmela learns a detail about Junior’s sex life and passes it onto Tony very shortly thereafter. Tony finds this information hilarious and proceeds to poke fun at Junior during their next golf outing. One could argue that this was the last straw for Junior. I mean, he taught Tony how to play baseball, for crying out loud!
Unfortunately, it’s Bobbie who gets the short end of the stick when Junior assumes Bobbie was actively spreading around the news. The irony is that it was actually Bobbie who had just told her salon lady to NOT discuss their sex lives in public anymore. Talk about bad timing, and of course it’s a woman who ends up having to deal with the consequences.
"Just Kidding, I'm An Animal Lover."
Finally, before he got arrested, the Family was trying to intimidate Coach Hauser into not leaving to coach in Rhode Island. When a flat screen T.V. didn’t do the trick, Tony’s crew decided to pretend kidnap Hauser’s dog. They didn’t harm the dog, but that wasn’t the point. Their point was to show Hauser he’d never know what’s coming to him and there’s no running away from it.