How To Save Us All from Satan’s Power Showed a Human Side of The Sopranos
To Save Us All From Satan’s Power begins with Tony standing at the shore and thinking about his friend who met his demise there the previous year. There was something much deeper when it came to Sal “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero. It hurt.
To be sure, Big Pussy’s cooperation with the government didn’t just hurt Ton’, Sil, and Paulie because of the potential business implications. It also hurt to be deceived by someone who actually meant something to them, and they surely felt nostalgic over the holidays. Friendship, deception, and comic relief fill this episode, and “How To Save Us All From Satan’s Power” showed a human side of The Sopranos in a manner unlike many others.
"To MS from JA: I Will Always Be True."
First, appearances can be deceiving. From the outside looking in, it’s a beautiful Christmas morning at the Soprano residence, complete with Christmas jammies, shiny gifts, and good cheer. Wait, you mean it’s all superficial?
Truthfully, I think we all know those families—perhaps your own—that go overboard with holidays. Beneath the wrapping paper, there’s a ball of resentment collecting the dust of family dysfunction that’s accumulated over many years. In this case, we have parallel tracks of dishonesty: Tony’s ongoing, chronic affairs, and Jackie Jr.’s more immediate lies. In this case, it’s packaged in jewelry boxes, with one even personally engraved!
"That's the difference. Him you loved."
Notably, I found “To Save Us All From Satan’s Power” displayed Sil’s human side more so than in other episodes. We know Sil as the cool, calm, collected consigliere. Okay…calm and collected as long as he’s not in the middle of a poker game or watching his daughter play soccer. Thus, I was thrown off in the beginning of the episode when Sil was (in his dream) at the Bada Bing and found Puss on the floor of the dressing room. I’m so used to dream sequences being limited to Tony, so it was kind of refreshing to get a glimpse of a deeper part of Silvio Dante’s mind.
"When they flip somebody, they try to get him back on the street right away. That very day." -T
"The boss of this family told you you're going to be Santa Claus."
Additionally, this episode masterfully blended comic relief with the family’s human side. When the guys asked Bobby Baccalieri to play Santa Claus for the neighborhood Christmas party, he was adamant about being too shy to do so. On one hand, it sounds ridiculous. He’s too shy to play Santa Claus for some school children, but not afraid to go whack someone? On the other hand, I think we can all relate a bit.
In other words, we all have an Achille’s Heel and certain things we find unbearable that may be completely insignificant to someone else. Speaking of ridiculous, I was surprised by Charmaine’s sass in To Save Us All From Satan’s Power. For whatever reason, she thought it was a good time to joke that FBI agents was sitting a few tables away from Tony, Sil, and Paulie. Although, she was going through a divorce with Artie, so perhaps she was at her wit’s end at that point.
But He Did Play a Good Santa Claus...
Furthermore, it’s during this episode that Tony realizes Puss was wearing a wire at the Christmas party a couple years back. More specifically, he was wearing a wire while dressed up as Santa Claus handing out presents to the neighborhood children. How’s that for an ironic Sopranos twist?
Indeed, hindsight is 2020, with Tony realizing that Puss was so fussy with people touching him because he was wired for sound. Not only was he fussy with anyone touching him, but he also lost his cool when Christopher interrupted him while he was trying to get Tony to talk about business. Remember “Hey, watch the suit!”
Conclusion-To Save Us All From Satan's Power
Finally, as we arrive at the conclusion of “To Save Us All From Satan’s Power,” the scene closes out to the ocean waves. This scene reminds me of the end of “Fun House,” where Tony looks like he’s nearly at death’s door himself between getting food poisoning and having to kill one of his best friends. I guess Puss got that house by the water, after all.