"I don't care how close you are, in the end your friends are gonna let you down. Family. They're the only ones you can depend on."
When Phil Leotardo visits Johnny Sack in jail he assures him he's playing nice, but complains that Tony wants the same split on the Office Park deal as the Esplanade. Phil tells him to hold firm---"But don't turn it into World War III."
Eugene Pontecorvo has inherited $2 million from his aunt, and he and his wife Deanne see his inheritance as a way out. Gene goes to Tony with a gift and a request for a favor: permission to retire to Florida. Tony's not thrilled, but when he agrees to think about it, Gene gives Deanne the green light to make an offer on their Florida dream house.
Hanging out at the Pork Store, Vito boasts that the only problem with losing weight is that he may have to join Clothing Anonymous, "You shoulda called your sponsor before you bought that jacket," says Ray Curto.
Agent Harris shows up with his new partner, Goddard. "Where you been," Tony asks. "I got some new federale in my rearview the last six months." Harris, it turns out, was transferred to Terrorism and just got back from Pakistan where the only thing he caught was a parasite.
After dinner at a Chinese restaurant, Hesh and his son-in-law, Eli, are jumped. Hesh escapes, but running away, Eli is hit and dragged by a taxi. He survives, barely. Seems one of Phil's guys- Gerry Torciano - thinks Eli is freelancing in Brooklyn, when in fact he was just collecting for Hesh.
Hesh calls in Tony to straighten things out, but Phil seems in no hurry to accommodate. When Phil is slow to return a call, Tony complains to his crew that he needs to use Ginny's brother as a back channel to Johnny Sack. T blows up: "What the f$#% is it? I can't catch a f*%$#*' break?"
He catches one-though he doesn't even know it-- when Ray Curto keels over just as he's about to tell Agent Robyn Sanseverino what he's got on Tony. The Feds have lost another informant. Meanwhile Tony visits Ginny's brother, optometrist Anthony Infante, to ask him to pass along a message to his brother-in-law Johnny Sack. When Anthony next accompanies his sister Ginny on visiting day, he passes it along: "The guy from Jersey asked me to talk to you." Johnny tells Anthony to have Phil deal with it.
Junior's mind is playing tricks again-he's convinced that Pussy Malanga is stalking him, and that he stole 40 Gs from a job back in the '70s. Tony can't take it. But when he complains to Melfi and she suggests assisted living, Tony cites family loyalty. Melfi hammers at Tony about his mother and his denial about her, and he turns on her: "What was your mother like?" But Melfi's not fazed: "She was controlling and manipulative at times. She also never tried to kill me."
After much delay, Phil shows up for a meeting at the Bada Bing offering 50k for Eli's troubles. That settled, they move on to the Office Park. When Tony agrees to a 65/35 split, Christopher balks. "I'm not caving, it's a strategy," Tony explains. "Johnny's in jail. You keep him happy, he'll keep a lid on Phil."
Christopher orders Gene to take care of a bad debtor, promising to put in a good word to Tony "on that Florida thing" in exchange. But after Gene shoots Teddy Spirodakis in a fast food chicken joint, Silvio breaks the news that Florida's out. Deanne is devastated- "Tony, Tony! Why don't you kill him?....You think I don't know you've done it before?" she screams. It only gets worse when the Feds call in Gene, who we learn has been a cooperator, and tell him he's got to replace Curto as their man on the inside. Feeling as if he has no choice, Gene hangs himself.
Called off a cruise on the Stugots II to babysit Junior, T bust in on Janice and Bacala, but she's too busy with her new baby to help out. "F$#@ it! You want something done, do it yourself."
Tony makes dinner while Junior goes to look for his teeth. But the aging wiseguy finds a gun instead, and in a fit of paranoia, shoots Tony in the stomach. Junior hides in the closet while Tony struggles to make it to a phone to call 911.
I'm 46 years old. I mean who am I? Where am I going?
Tony wakes up in an anonymous business hotel room and heads to the bar for a drink. He calls home and gets the answering machine with...a young boy and girl: "Hi, you've reached the Sopranos." He smiles and leaves a message.
The next morning signing in for a conference, Tony realizes he has the wrong wallet and briefcase when the picture ID he presents belongs to "Kevin Finnerty", a solar heating systems salesman from Arizona. Tony calls home-but the woman offering consolation is not Carmela.
He heads back to the bar to see if he can find his belongings-or Finnerty, since he can't get on a plane or check back into his room without his own ID. A group of business travelers overhear his dilemma and invite him to join them for dinner. After dinner, outside the hotel, Tony makes a pass at a woman from the group-she reciprocates briefly but cuts him off. "This isn't going to happen...I saw your face when you got off the phone with your wife."
A helicopter hovers overhead. Tony looks up into its searchlight...and suddenly he is in a hospital intensive care unit, with doctors working on him. Carmela and Meadow are at his side.
Christopher, Silvio, Vito and Paulie wait for news, camped out in the hospital waiting room. It's not good. Tony's on a ventilator; Junior's gun shot damaged his internal organs. "Does he know he's dying?" asks Carmela. "We don't know," the doctor replies.
Meanwhile, business traveler Tony checks into another hotel using Kevin Finnerty's credit card. A couple of Buddhist monks overhear him checking in and thinking he is Finnerty, accost him: "We had a horrible winter at the monastery because of your heating system." They scuffle but flee before Tony can find out more about Finnerty.
After another restless night, Tony takes the stairs when the hotel elevator is out of order. When he trips and falls down a flight, we flash back to the hospital room where his family is camped out. Dr. Plepler warns Carmela about possible brain damage and urges them to talk to Tony, maybe play him some favorite music. Janice breaks down when she visits.
In custody, Junior is being questioned by a psychologist to determine if he shot Tony intentionally. But Junior is confused. "If somebody shot my nephew it was him himself. He's a depression case."
At Eugene's funeral, Silvio briefs the crew on how he'll run things in Tony's absence. Vito stirs things up asking for Eugene's "sports book in Roseville," bringing up Junior and asking why Bobby wasn't babysitting instead of Tony. "He's gotta make an issue out of everything," Christopher complains to Silvio.
Carmela plays CDs for Tony and reminisces, urging him to keep fighting. "I know that you're really strong, as strong as a bull."
Christopher stops by the Pork Store and sees Agents Harris and Goddard, who test the waters with him as an informant on Harris's new terrorism beat. "If you ever heard of anything going down-Middle-Easterners, Pakistanis-you'd be helping a lot if you picked up the phone."
Anthony Jr., who has been avoiding taking his turn at the hospital, finally sits with his father into the night. He promises to get Uncle Junior for this. "I'm gonna put a bullet in his f&%$in' mummy head. I promise."
Carmela praises Anthony for helping his family and he takes the opportunity to confide that he flunked out of school. Her mood changes: "My God. With your father in a coma."
At a hospital, business traveler Tony is diagnosed with Alzheimer's after falling down the stairs. When he returns to his hotel room, he stares at the phone, but can't bring himself to call home.
Like they say, 'With great power comes great responsibility.'
Vito pulls alongside Paulie's car on a deserted street and hands off a tip "Colombian's knock off at noon." But when Paulie and Cary De Bartolo show up, the place isn't empty. After a fight and a bloodbath, Paulie and Cary ransack the place and find a dishwasher full of cash.
At the hospital where the family is still sitting vigil while Tony fights for his life, Chris and Bobby confront AJ about trying to buy a gun. They are sympathetic to his anger but warn: "you can't go there," and tell him to channel his anger elsewhere.
Back in Costa Mesa, Tony finds a summons for Kevin Finnerty from the Crystal Monastery. He goes to the Monastery looking for help finding Finnerty but they don't believe he's not their man. Tony returns to the hotel bar and confides to the bartender he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and asks if it's possible he is Kevin Finnerty.
Carmela runs into Dr. Melfi in the grocery store. The shrink offers her help but Carmela puts her off: "I have plenty of people around to talk to."
Silvio confides to his wife Gabrielle that he's a reluctant acting boss-he was quasi-offered the job before T but has never seen himself that way. "I'm more behind the scenes-advice, strategy."
But Silvio has to step up. Bobby and Vito are still fighting over who's taking over the Roseville .Silvio gives it to Bobby-kicking up 20 percent to Vito for "the time being." Next, Silvio rules from the throne as Paulie and Vito argue in the men's room over how to split the million dollars from the Colombian take down. "It breaks half and half and you both kick Carmela's share to me to deal with."
As the recovering addict and degenerate gambler/screenwriter JT gives a talk at the Writer's Guild, Benny and Murmur walk in, slam him in the head and whisk him off to a back-seat meeting with Christopher. A deal if offered: If JT pens Christopher's movie idea - "it's Saw meets Godfather 2" - he'll wipe his debt. Christopher gives him until the next day to develop a pitch to present to an investor's group. At the meeting, hosted by Little Carmine, Chris introduces the set up: "It's about a wise guy with a big mouth and bigger dreams." As JT tries to tell the story the skeptical investors interrupt with commentary and critiques.
After dinner with their wives, Vito feels out his cousin Phil Leotardo about shorting Carmela - it's "money down the drain" if Tony dies. "It's temping but you can't think that way," warns Phil. Paulie is equally uninterested in handing over his piece of pie to Carmela, but as Little Paulie says, "the boss's wife, what can you do?"
In Costa Mesa Tony's calls home but can't bring himself to reveal his Alzheimer's diagnosis. He's found a flyer for the Finnerty family reunion in his briefcase and decides to go and confront his doppelganger.
Carmela blows up at AJ when she sees a news story where AJ's quoted saying "Growing up Soprano? It's just plain weird." After her meltdown, Carmela goes to see Dr. Melfi for help dealing with AJ. But Melfi pushes Carmela to talk about how she's doing, and Carm talks about her guilt over making her kids complicit in how Tony makes his money. Plus -- there's the issue of whether she really loves Tony.
Silvio's feeling the pressure, and Gabrielle pushes him to be getting more compensation. And when Bobby comes by to complain again about having to give 20 percent of Roseville to Vito, the combined stress makes Silvio's asthma kick up and he's rushed to the hospital. With Silvio and Tony both "on the canvas" Vito has his eyes on the boss's job.
At the hospital Finn arrives to be with Meadow just as Paulie's talking makes Tony's blood pressure drop and he goes into cardiac arrest. The doctors rush in with the paddles.
Back in Costa Mesa, Tony arrives at the Finnerty reunion. They've been expecting him. Confused, he hears a little girl calling "Don't go Daddy."
In the ICU Meadow calls out to her father. Tony surprises everyone by not only coming back to life, but waking up. He's back.
Paulie hands over the cash to Vito and tells him they have to get their cuts to Carmela now. "Tony's conscious, do you capice?" When they hand it over, Carmela sees through the timing of their generosity.
Sometimes I go about in pity for myself and all the while a great wind carries me across the sky.Tony's on the mend, due for his final surgery to close up his wound. He complains to his nurse that he's not feeling like himself. "My thoughts keep running away from me." She assures him that's normal for patients in his condition.Religious evangelicals Aaron Aarkaway and Bob Brewster barge in on Tony the night before his surgery to pray with him. Tony accepts their prayer, but questions whether their stance on birth control could be a slippery slope to banning Viagra-which he imagines he'll be needing in his post-operative state. "What are you, a wiseass," asks Carmela after shooing them away.When Jason Barone's father dies, Jason suddenly has to decide what to do with Barone Sanitation, but he's been kept in the dark about the true nature of the family business. He doesn't understand why Tony is the second highest paid employee on the books, and Paulie brings him in for a hospital visit. Jason is planning to sell Barone to Chucky Cinelli, but Tony insists he let him take care of it. "This carting business," he says, "It's a different corporate culture."Paulie is summoned to his Aunt Dottie's death bed at the convent, and she's got a bombshell: Dottie, a nun, is Paulie's real mother. "I was a bad girl." The news sends Paulie into a tailspin. He boycotts Dottie's funeral and disowns Nucci, the mother/aunt who raised him.At the hospital, it turns out the rap artist Da Lux is on Tony's floor. Apparently his own shooting is helping his CD sales. "Yeah but it really hurts," moans Da Lux. Bobby overhears one of Da Lux's posse, Marvin, writing a rap. Marvin complains that Da Lux is now too busy to produce his album this year. Bobby suggests it might make Marvin more popular if he got shot too and offers to help him out. Marvin eventually agrees, paying Bobby to make a surprise hit.Tony meets with Phil outside the hospital, his IV pole in one hand, a cigar in the other. "You go around me...and try and poach my company," he accuses Phil, suggesting that he and Johnny Sack tried to take over Barone Sanitation. Tony needs the W-2, not to mention the health insurance, and insists he stay on payroll and get 25 percent of the sale price. Phil says he'll take the message to Johnny.Da Lux invites Tony and Schwinn (a fellow patient) to watch a boxing match on the flat screen in his hospital room. When Paulie moans about how alone we all are, Schwinn counters that we are all connected. "Everythang is Everthang," says Da Lux. "I'm down with that."Johnny Sack offers Tony two years on payroll and five percent of the sale price and a new car. Tony vomits at the news, ordering Paulie to intervene. Paulie and Patsy make a threatening visit to Jason, warning him that Tony's take will come out of Jason's profits. But when Jason tries to back out of the Cinelli sale, he finds he can't. Tony calls Jason to his bedside and lets him have it. When Jason's mother comes to beg for mercy for her son, Paulie is overwhelmed, seeing the mother's love he felt never had.Bob Brewster makes one last visit to try and save Tony, but the boss resists his message. Still, Tony confides to Schwinn he's starting to believe we're all part of something bigger.Back home, Phil comes to Tony with Johnny Sack's final offer: T keeps his paycheck and W-2 for 10 years and 12 percent of the sale price-but no skim. Tony agrees. "Truth be told, there's enough garbage for everybody." But Paulie can't let it go of his problem. He takes a pipe to Jason's kneecap, insisting Jason kick up $4000 a month to him-and not a word to Tony.
You make your own luck in life.
Johnny Sack's daughter Allegra is getting married and Johnny petitions for temporary release from custody to attend the ceremony and reception. He's granted six hours under the supervision of the U.S. Marshals and ordered to pay the costs for the extra security measures.
The hotheaded - and muscle-bound - Perry Annunziata takes over as Tony's bodyguard and driver. Seems everyone around Tony is in better shape than he is these days.
Tony goes for his first visit back to Dr. Melfi since the shooting. "So let me ask you right off, is there any chance at all for a mercy fuck?" She presses him on his reactions to being shot by Junior. "Gloom is your business and business is good," he retorts. He insists on focusing his session on AJ.
Tony heads to the Pork Store back room to see everyone, comparing scars with Christopher and bemoaning his physical state. Phil Leotardo comes by to ask Tony for a favor from Johnny Sack. "Our friend, the Mayor of Munchkinland. John wants him gone." But Tony refuses to off Rusty Milio: "Time and again I've done his dirty work. Time I set some limits."
After hours at the Bing, Muhammed and Ahmed pay Christopher for 120 credit card numbers and security codes. They inquire about getting some semi -automatics: "Protection. It's a family problem." Christopher has to take a call before he can respond.
Lawyers argue over Junior's mental state. When Carmela sees the morning paper headline touting Junior's "cushy psych lockup" she tosses it before Tony can see. At the psych facility Junior insists he's innocent - it was a gun malfunction - and begs to go home.
On the day of Allegra's wedding, Tony pressures Meadow about when she's getting married and giving him grandkids. At the Church, security checks at the church door make for a long line to get in. When Tony sets off the metal detector, he collapses trying to take off his shoes for a search as the other guests look on.
At the wedding Vito pulls Tony aside to give him a taste of a Weehawken strip mall job and report that the guy from the planning commission overseeing the municipal swimming pool bids is willing to play ball - "He's f%$#in' Joe DiMaggio."
Johnny Sack pressures Tony to take care of Rusty. Surrounded by Marshals, Tony and Johnny join Johnny's father and elderly relatives and discuss the situation in code. Tony gives in. When he talks to Christopher about farming it out (somebody from Naples), Christopher argues that he doesn't think it's a good idea.
When his time is up, Johnny is hauled away by the Marshals, sobbing in front of Allegra and the guests who have gathered for her departure. Ginny faints at the scene. Phil Leotardo loses all respect for Johnny but Tony sticks up for him: "I've seen tougher guys than John cry at weddings. Comes to daughters, all bets are off."
After the wedding, Tony and Carmela count their blessings, while Johnny returns to jail. Vito heads out to "make some collections"- but heads to a gay bar instead. At the bar, he's spotted by a fellow wise guy and panics. He sneaks back home and gets a gun and heads to a Motel. At 3 a.m. he calls Silvio "just to check in" but Silvio just wants to go back to sleep.
Back at Melfi's, Tony complains about people questioning his judgment since he's out of the hospital. "People sense you're weak, they see an opportunity." She suggests he take on the affect of a decisive leader.
Tony sizes up the group at the Pork Store and picks a fight with Perry Annunziata, the most fit - and impressive - person to reassert his authority with. Victorious, he heads to the bathroom to wash up...and vomits from the exertion.
You can talk about each day's a gift and smelling roses, but regular life has a way of picking away at it.
News breaks about Vito's secret life. At an AA meeting, an acquaintance from Yonkers spots Christopher and tells him someone saw Vito at a gay bar. When Christopher announces this to Tony and the others, no one can believe it. Tony and Silvio try to track Vito down to get to the bottom of it. "Enough with the rush to judgment," warns Tony.
At the law clinic, Meadow helps a Muslim family whose son was arrested by the Feds and is being held with no explanation. When she voices her outrage to her family, she doesn't find any allies. Tony tells her "You oughta chill out about some of this."
Benny and Terry Doria track Vito down at the shore where he's laying low with his goomar (who hasn't been serviced in over a year and is sexually frustrated). When they try to bring him in for a talk, Vito screeches off in his car. He stops by his house to pick up some cash and kiss his kids goodbye-then takes off in a rain storm. When Phil calls his cell, Vito tosses it out the window. His car breaks down in the storm, and Vito checks into an inn in New Hampshire, slipping his gun under his pillow.
Meanwhile, Tony and Christopher have lined up the Italians to take care of Rusty for Johnny Sack. Christopher enlists heroin addict Corky Caporale, who speaks Italian, to relay the necessary information on the hit on "the little guy in Ozone Park." Corky's already heard the rumors about Vito.
Carmela's spec house has been ransacked. She confronts her father about it but he blames her for not taking care of the permits. She reminds Tony again about talking to the building inspector, but he keeps forgetting.
With Vito gone AWOL, Silvio goes to see Vito's wife to suss out how things are "in the romance department." She refuses to talk about it. "Vito is a good father and a loving husband." Silvio leaves, and tells Tony. "My business, I'm around a lot of women. That one ain't getting laid."
Carmela, Rosalie and Gabriella have a lunch meeting at Artie's to discuss the Silent Auction they're planning for charity. Angie arrives late, takes charge, and then has to get back to work, irritating Carmela. Later, Carmela walks in on Angie having a suspicious business meeting with Patsy and Benny at the body shop. Rosalie tells her that Angie's putting money on the street: "She's one of us; now it's like she's one of them."
At Melfi's, Tony vents about Vito being gay-and the pressure of his top earner losing everyone's respect. Melfi points out that many in his circle have done jail time and can't be strangers to "male-male contact." "They get a pass for that," says Tony. Tony ultimately admits Vito may deserve a second chance, like he's gotten. "Part of your new outlook," notes Melfi.
As Angie and Carmela gossip about Vito, Meadow walks in and spills her own secret about Vito: "Finn saw him giving a guy a blow job." Tony drags Finn in to the Pork Store back room to tell what he saw. Paulie, who'd been defending Vito against the "slander," now wants his head. Tony still wants to think about it.
Phil goes to see Marie to console her about Vito and to fish for where he might have disappeared to.
Tony gives Carlo a promotion-replacing Vito in all construction business. Carlo confides that the guys in Vito's crew won't work with him if he returns. Other captains want him found and "put down" for the honor of the family. Tony argues Vito's his best earner: "Let's be honest with ourselves here. We all know Vito's not the first." Silvio counsels Tony not to cut Vito any slack.
Meadow and Finn argue about her disgust over the injustice of Johnny Sack's humiliation by the Feds at his daughter's wedding, vs. the white collar criminals she's investigating at her internship. Finn, still shook up from his own interrogation about Vito points out that her family will likely impose a stiff penalty for being gay. "This is untenable," says Meadow, leaving.
With all the discord over Vito, Tony can't turn the other cheek. "He's gotta go. Tell everybody I said so."
Meanwhile in New Hampshire, Vito tries to track down cousins who live somewhere in the state but can't find any listings. Taking in the small town ambience, he finds himself at home with the peace and quiet and friendly interactions-not to mention the antique shops.
"In business, shit happens-playing field changes, whatever. You gotta do what it takes to somehow keep your dick up."
Corky instructs the Italians on their job. They take care of Rusty and his driver. When Phil passes along a thanks from Johnny Sack to Tony, T denies he had anything to do with it. "Madon' are you a cautious man," says Phil.
Tony hosts a banquet at Vesuvio's to celebrate "new blood" (Gerry Turciano and Burt Gervasi) in Jersey and New York. There are grumblings that Artie's game is off as they wait for their meal-and rumors about the incredible food at a new place: Da Giovanni's.
Vito's still missing but Tony wants to take a break from the search, which is good news for Chris who wants to take time off for a trip to LA with Little Carmine-they want to attach Ben Kingsley to "Cleaver." Tony balks, but lets him go.
Phil holds his grandson's confirmation lunch at Da Giovanni's and though the food has everyone raving, Tony feels like he's betraying Artie: "I feel like some kind a traitor."
Meanwhile, Vesuvio's is nearly empty-except for Benny making moves on the new hostess Martina. Artie, jealous, calls her aside and tells her he can't help her with green card after all.
At the Bada Bing, Artie laments that the most he can get from the strippers is a lap dance--and chides Tony for having lunched at Da Giovanni's. "It was a business obligation for Christ's sake," says Tony.
Charmaine and Artie, back together, discuss the foundering business. Charmaine suggests Artie shouldn't talk to the customers so much and Artie blows up. "You know better than NJ Zagat: 'Arthur Bucco, warm and convivial host'?"
Tony tries to offer some business suggestions to Artie-two-for-one specials-and Artie hits the roof. "I'll give it back to the bank before I turn it into a f%$#ing IHOP."
In LA, Chris falls off the wagon waiting for the Ben Kingsley meeting- with lines of coke and a prostitute.
At their poolside meeting the next day, Ben Kingsley tells Little Carmine and Chris his interest is "script dependent." Growing wary of their director choices ("We could go A list down the horror janra with Ridley or Tobe Hooper or try and find that next James Wan-he did 'Saw,'") Sir Ben jumps at the chance to say hi to Lauren Bacall. "Bettyâ€ÂÂÂÂÂ says she's in town to present at an awards show: "Sho-west. Some bullshit." Sir Ben suddenly recalls he's supposed to stop by the Luxury Lounge before his next meeting and Christopher and Little Carmine tag along.
At the Luxury Lounge, Chris is dumbstruck by the free shopping spree available to celebs. Sir Ben begs off their meeting, vowing to finish it in New York.
Artie gets a visit from American Express fraud investigators. Someone's been stealing the customer credit card numbers. Artie can't use Amex until it's cleared up and has to resort to two-fers after all. Martina calls Benny, who's dining at Da Giovanni's with his pregnant wife, to alert him.
Meanwhile, Artie and Charmaine have a staff meeting to talk about the fraud and Artie has a meltdown, accusing his staff of stealing from him. Later, the coat girl tells Artie that Martina's been sporting $600 sandals, raising suspicion. Artie confronts Martine, firing her. In a rage, he heads to Benny's house and beats the crap out of him
When Chris, strung out on coke, champagne and hookers calls to see if Sir Ben's publicist can get him into the Luxury Lounge, he demurs. "I don't know how my publicist could help you." Mumur arrives just in time to snap Chris out of his downward spiral. Little Carmine calls Christopher to report the bad news: Kingsley passed on the script.
On the Stugots II, with Tony, Carm, Artie and Charmaine, Tony lectures Artie about taking on Benny. "Life's not fair," says Artie "But somehow I believed my dad about honest work." Tony feels for Artie. "I don't like seein' you like this, you know that."
Tony has a talk to Benny, forcing him to have his parent's anniversary at Vesuvio's-and not kill Artie. When Benny shows up with his wife and parents at Vesuvio's Artie offers him a "Martina...apparently they go down real easy." Benny excuses himself and busts in on Artie in the kitchen and shoves his hand in boiling spaghetti sauce.
Lauren Bacall, heading to her limo with her gift basket, is jumped by a masked thug. Flying home, Chris and Murmur smile at the Variety headline on the swag grab. Sir Ben is uncomfortable to see he is sharing their first-class cabin to New York.
Tony and Carm dine at Vesuvio's, offering sympathy to Artie for his injured hand. T heads to the kitchen to talk to his friend, offering him Melfi's number: "You go about in pity for yourself." Tony finally tells him no one wants to hear him talk: "Just stay in the kitchen, that'd be a start."
When Chris brings Tony some swag, T suggests maybe Benny and Artie wouldn't have gotten into it if he hadn't been in LA. Chris argues not many have had to sacrifice what he has. "How many times you gonna play the Adriana card?" demands Tony.
Artie cooks rabbit for late arriving customers-enjoying the aromas of his grandfather's recipe. Meanwhile the Italians, heading home, compare the gifts they've purchased for their families back home.
Sometimes you tell a lie so long, you don't know when to stop.
AJ sells his drum set to supplement his Blockbuster job. When Tony and Carmela suggest a better job or community college he snaps: "Jesus, I'm doing what you want. Don't I deserve some kind of life?"
Vito, still lying low in New Hampshire as "Vince," watches a fire rescue as Jim, the local diner owner, rescues a boy.
While enjoying an afternoon on the Stugots II, AJ asks Tony about Uncle Junior and "What are we gonna do about him?" Tony dismisses any implication for revenge. "He's incarcerated for the rest of his unnatural life."
Patsy and Burt visit Caputo's poultry store for their take, along with some eggs. Next stop: welcoming the neighborhood's new Starbucks-like coffee store, offering "protection" from the marginal types. But when the manager explains that "corporate" won't care about any vandalism, Patsy and Burt retreat. "It's over for the little guy."
Tony, Silvio and Chris check out a woman near the Pork store, and Tony brags his sex life is back on track: "I got a baguette in my pants 24/7." The woman is Real Estate agent Julianna Skiff, who approaches Tony with an offer to buy the nearby poultry store for Jamba Juice. Tony's interested-but not at the offered price.
Vito has his usual - Johnny Cakes - at Jim's diner, complimenting his heroism at the fire. Jim asks how the writing is going on his book.
AJ is more into hanging out with a former high school friend, Hernan, at the clubs in New York than serving customers at Blockbuster. Hernan brags to everyone that AJ's father is "capo di tutti capi"-and then sticks AJ with the drink bill. AJ brags to one of the girls, who grills him about payback for Junior. "I'll probably have to do something," he says.
Tony complains about AJ to Melfi, who urges him to empathize, but Tony's not having it. Melfi tells her therapist, Elliott, it's just a matter of time before Tony decompensates over his being shot. "This isn't omerta. It's something else."
Phil wants to know what's being done about Vito but Tony insists he'll handle it. Meanwhile, Vito calls Marie who begs him to come home and get help: "They can cure you of this" He refuses, but tells her where to find some cash.
Juliana tracks Tony down at the Bada Bing with another Jamba Juice offer. Tony passes but asks her out to talk business. She also passes: "For once in my life I will exercise some self control."
Carl beckons Vito over at the Roadhouse to join the local guys for a beer. When Jim finally makes a pass at Vito, he balks. "What are you, some kinda fag?" Vito throws the first punch but Jim gets the best of him.
AJ asks his parents for money for nice clothes. But they don't approve of his choice of friends, or after-hours activities. He challenges them to stake him in something he's interested in: running a club. Given, among other reasons, he's not old enough to drink, they refuse.
"It's like a bad smell in the house, it's always hanging there," Tony complains about AJ. He tells Melfi that it's not a good aphrodisiac and that he couldn't be blamed for seeking an extracurricular outlet-not that he's considering that. He asks for practical advice. She suggests they lay down some rules: "The most important thing is that you and Carmela are in agreement."
AJ pays a visit to Junior at the psych hospital. The knife he's brought clatters to the floor and the orderlies tackle him. When Tony picks AJ up from the police station, AJ sobs that he wasn't able to do the job. But Tony assures him he's grateful AJ's not a killer. Still: "you gotta grow up." At AJ's next night clubbing, one of Hernan's crew hounds AJ to get his father to lean on his landlord, and AJ has a panic attack.
A beaten Vito heads back for more Johnny Cakes - and to apologize. Jim and Vito head off on motorcycles for a romantic picnic.
Julianna calls with another Jamba Juice offer. Sold. They agree Tony will come by her apartment that night to sign the papers. When he gets there, he signs the papers, but feeling guilty about Carmela, he can't close the deal with Julianna. He heads home to Carmela-in a rage over his sexual frustration.
Patsy and Burt visit Caputo's poultry store to collect the weekly take. Caputo informs them that Tony has sold the building to Jamba Juice. Patsy exits angrily. Outside, he "What the f$#% is happening to this neighborhood?"
One second you're sitting there enjoying a ride with your family, the next your entire world comes crashing down.
Christopher's new girlfriend Kelli announces she's pregnant. "I'll take care of it", she offers, but Christopher proposes marriage instead.
Paulie's in charge of running the annual Feast of St. Elzear. When he and Patsy stop by the church to arrange things, new priest Father Jose tries to negotiate a higher fee for the parish. When Paulie balks, Father Jose refuses to let them use the Saint's gold hat, a traditional part of the statue's garb. "F$#% the hat," Paulie decides.
Christopher shows up at the Bing sporting a wedding band and springs his news on the guys. Silvio orders champagne all around. "Just water for me. My son'll be my strength," says Christopher.
On the way home from a business trip to Pennsylvania, Tony and Christopher get lost. Stopping to pee in what he thinks is a deserted parking lot, Tony spots some Bikers stealing crates of wine from a liquor store. Alerting Christopher, the two wait until the Bikers head back inside, then start robbing the robbers. While they're loading Tony's Escalade with wine, the Bikers reappear and a shootout ensues.
Tony and Christopher escape, stopping at a steakhouse to celebrate their caper - and enjoy some stolen wine. Over dinner, Tony talks Christopher into having a glass. "Discipline, that's all," Christopher rationalizes. But the pair get drunk and outside in the parking lot discuss their enduring bond. As they reminisce, Christopher flashes back to the day he showed up at Tony's house to tell him Adriana was ratting to the Feds
The next day, Christopher and Kelli buy a house
With the Feast of St. Elzear in full swing, Tony talks to Phil about an opportunity to unload a stolen semi-trailer full of multivitamins. He'll split it 50/50-but it has to happen that night. Phil agrees, but wants to "spare John the stress of having to hear about this."
While at the feast, Carmela spots Ade's mother Liz LaCerva working at a booth. Depressed and unkempt, Liz tells Carmela her theory that Christopher killed her daughter. Meanwhile, Christopher meets up with heroin addict Corky to give him the other half of his payment for setting up the Rusty Millio killing. Watching Corky shoot up, Christopher succumbs to temptation and indulges also. High on smack, Christopher enjoys the lights of the feast.
Next day, as the procession begins, several parishioners remark on the absence of St. Elzear's traditional gold hat. Back at the Soprano house, Carmela tells Tony that Liz thinks Christopher killed Adriana. Tony says that's insane. "Let me school you on domestic violence," he says. "First and foremost, there is always a body."
At the feast, Paulie gets word from his urologist that he needs a biopsy for prostate cancer, news that he doesn't take well. Later, Janice takes baby Nica on the tea cup ride, which malfunctions, giving another child a bloody nose. Home that night, Paulie hears of the accident, but decides to let Little Paulie handle it.
During Sunday dinner at the Soprano house, Janice chides Bacala, accusing him of inaction in dealing with the ride's owner. But when Bobby confronts the guy, he learns that Paulie refused to spring for a repair crew or rent out the newer, safer rides.
Bobby confronts Paulie at the feast's cannoli eating contest: As the guys hold them apart, Bacala screams that his baby girl was on that ride. "Everybody wants to get rich, but you don't scrimp on safety!"
In Melfi's office, Tony muses about all the people lining up for rides. "They pay money to almost puke." She asks if he's bored. He claims he still feels every day is a gift, but "Does it have to be a pair of socks?"
At the feast, Paulie calls in for the results of his biopsy, but they're not in yet. When he runs into Nucci, she chastises him for skimping on the safety of the rides, pointing out that it was also a sin to let St. Elzear go without his gold hat.
At Christopher's post-wedding bachelor party, tensions run high between Paulie and Bobby, who excuses himself early. In the men's room, Tony corners Paulie, tells him to settle things with Bobby. Paulie agrees, but confides he's worried about his biopsy results. "It could be cancer." Tony is sympathetic, but warns him: "Don't go workin' yourself into a state like you do."
In the Soprano house basement, Christopher shows up as Tony uncrates some stolen wine. They try to bond, recounting their adventure with the Bikers, but their attempt at camaraderie falls flat.
At home, Paulie tosses and turns, then calls his urologist's answering service in the middle of the night. Frustrated and panicky, he is informed his doctor is out of town.
Early next morning, Paulie shows up at the Bing for a meeting - and has a vision of the Virgin Mary hovering over the stage. Shaken, he retreats to the back room.
At the feast, baby Nica cries, clamoring to go on the tea cup ride again. Uncle Tony placates her, picking her up into his arms, swinging her around as she giggles and laughs.
At Green Grove, Nucci gets a visitor - it's Paulie. She lets him in, but tells him she doesn't want to argue. He doesn't either-together, they sit, reconciled as they watch Lawrence Welk.
Unfortunately, I have only myself to blame.
Johnny Sack's getting ready to go to trial and the feds have tallied his net worth for asset forfeiture, finding every last hidden mutual fund to up the pressure. His lawyer asks if he wants to make a deal but Johnny refuses to flip.
Janice appeals to Tony to make Bobby a captain. "He works so hard for you and what does he get? Merciless ridicule about his weight, his model railroading." Tony denies that he punishes Bobby to get at Janice but confesses to Melfi that it's actually true.
Meanwhile, Jim calls Vito on his sports writer bluff. Vito confesses he left his wife and kids and a "contracting business" in Jersey. "You can't tell anybody. Ever." Vito pleads. Jim relents and they move their relationship to the next level-Vito moves, in and Jim gets him a handyman job.
Carmela, Rosalie, Janice, Angie and Gabriella surprise Ginny at her house for her birthday. Janice openly covets Ginny's house ("reminds me of those Palladian villas"), while Ginny bemoans her plight.
Carmela loses her patience with Tony and his promises to take care of the building inspector for her spec house. Tony puts Silvio on it.
Ginny Sack's brother Anthony Infante pays a visit to Tony to relay a message from Johnny about potential business in New Orleans-a heavy equipment leasing company that Johnny's a "silent partner" in. He wants Tony to contact the Cajun brothers and force a sale to free up some cash for Johnny. And he wants to keep Phil Leotardo out of it.
Carm's interviewing new contractors for her spec, but Tony suggests she not write her father off so quickly. "Why do you suddenly care so much about my dad?" she asks. He complains to Melfi that Carmela's a million miles away-even in bed. He's not happy with Janice either. He dredges up a traumatic memory of when he was a kid and Janice tape recorded a fight between Tony and Barbara. "Held that cassette over my head for a month! Fuckin' extortion...got me to make her bed, get her shit." Tape recording is a major betrayal in the Soprano family.
Vito tags along with Jim to a volunteer fire department call and plays hero, cutting off the main power to save the Pastor from being electrocuted by a flood in the church basement. But Jim is pissed, "Trying to be a big man?" Vito tries to get the gang to play some poker over beer afterwards, but everyone turns in early.
Bacala makes a pick up at the Bookie's and is held up by kids outside. Bobby gets shot in the eye. He still manages to have Carlo deliver his week's take to Tony. But Tony has no sympathy for Bobby. "...his own fuckin' fault."
Tony meets with the Cajuns to talk about the New Orleans deal. But one of them doesn't want to miss out on the potential post-Katrina profits. He won't sell. The deal seems like too much trouble to Tony.
Melfi pushes Tony to delve deeper into his past with Janice. "What happened, between then and now?" Tony works himself up about how she took off, leaving him with their mother, and now she's back, wanting her piece. "She gets nothing. Cuz I got the scars. So it's mine!"
Vito tries to make a go of being a handyman but he's not cut out for the tedium of an honest day's work. He makes a nice Italian dinner for Jim and tells him he loves him. But it turns out to be a farewell dinner. The next morning, Vito's hit the road. Lost on a country road, he rams an old Jeep. When the owner insists on calling the cops, Vito shoots him and takes off.
Meadow confides to Tony that things aren't great with Finn. Uncomfortable, Tony tells her she should be talking to her mother. Wanting to keep Carmela more focused on her family and less on her business, he nixes Silvio's talk to the building inspector and tells Carm the inspector wouldn't budge. He urges her to sell the spec house. "You give up? I don't think I've ever heard that before," she rages.
Tony has a change of heart about Janice and presents Johnny Sack (via Anthony) with another deal - Ginny sells her house for half price to Janice once things cool off, and he'll make the New Orleans deal happen.
Vito drives by the Pork store tentatively.
Then the news hits: "Johnny Sack pleaded guilty. It was just on the radio," reports Carmela. "He got 15 years." As the news spreads, so does the shock and rage. Phil Leotardo says all bets are off: "...the favored nations shit with Jersey is over." "I hope he dies in there," say Tony. Christopher's Maserati is confiscated as a John Sacramoni asset.
Janice gives Tony a tearful thank you for the house. But Tony is uncomfortable as Janice is overcome with emotion.
Directed by: Tim Van Patten
Written by: Diane Frolov & Andrew Schneider
We worry so much. Sometimes it seems that's all we do. But in the end, it all gets washed away. Everything gets washed away.
Carmela and Tony learn that AJ was fired three weeks ago from Blockbuster for selling promotional movie items. Carmela can't sleep for worry. "He's got his dead, nihilistic streak. It chills me to the bone," she tells Tony. Then Meadow knocks on their door to announce she's going to California to be with Finn at dental school.
Tony makes Phil come to Jersey for a meeting. "I gotta draw lines," he tells Silvio. Phil tells Tony he can't make five no-show jobs work anymore on the Tidelands project. "I, me, my." I'm hearin' a lotta that from you lately," notes Tony. Phil tells him that as long as Johnny's "folding laundry in Danbury" Phil's in charge and he's made his decision.
Carmela reminds Tony about the trip to Paris she won at the silent auction at the Feast. Tony can't get away, so Carmela suggests she take Rosalie Aprile. With Meadow leaving, the spec house disaster and AJ's antics, she needs a break. Tony acquiesces. "You should go, you deserve it."
Vito tracks Tony down while he's alone and begs to be let back in. He wants to set himself up in Atlantic City - "meth, running girls--much more tolerant atmosphere." He tells T he's not gay, it was blood pressure meds messing with his head. T says he'll think about it, but when he defends the proposal to Chris, Silvio and Paulie, they're all dubious.
Carmela gets cold feet before her flight but Tony sends her off to Paris with a billfold full of cash.
Vito meets Marie and the kids in the city. He tells his kids that they can't tell anyone that he's back because he's working deep cover for the CIA.
In Paris, Carmela and Rosalie are awestruck by the food, the language, the Paris skies, and the sights. "Who built that?" Carmela wonders over a statue.
Phil confronts Tony. "You said you were gonna take care of that fuckin' finook." Tony decides that Vito has to go, otherwise it will be war with Phil. "It's the right decision," says Silvio. They decide Carlo should handle it.
As Vice President of Concerned Catholic Mothers, Patty Leotardo confides her shame to Phil over having Vito in the family. "Vito has to be made to face his problems squarely," she tells Phil.
Lori from the Bing gives Tony a blow job while he drives her home. As he's leaving, Vito calls and Tony sets up a meet. But Phil Gerry and Fat Dom get to Vito before T's people can.
Bobby busts into the Pork store with news that Vito was found beaten to death at a motel in Fort Lee. Tony acts like it's no big deal...he saved them the trouble. But to Silvio he confides that this is Phil disrespecting Tony, showing him he can do whatever he wants to Tony's captains. Silvio suggests an eye for an eye but Tony doesn't want to start a blood bath. He wants to hit him where it will hurt instead. "All Phil cares about is fuckin' money."
Carmela is moved by the sense of history in Paris, and the freedom of feeling inconsequential. "When you actually die, life goes on without you. Like it does in Paris, when we're not here." She tries to talk to Rosalie about Jackie Jr's death and Rosalie gets mad "Why can't we just have a good time." Rosalie announces she's going out with a young Frenchman she met. Carmela urges her to have fun.
Tony tells Melfi he hates AJ. "We have to deal with this," she says. Tony seethes that his son might have grown up with some balls, if Carmela had let Tony kick AJ's ass growing up. But Melfi points out that Carmela protecting her son from his father, "is the very thing you had often wished you mother had done for you."
When Dom stops by the Pork store and makes one too many jokes about Vito, Silvio and Carlo lose their tempers. Carlo pulls a knife, and Dom ends up dead. T shows up and Silvio hustles him out. "You don't want to come in here."
Upset, Tony heads home, interrupting AJ's video gaming with Hernan. He calls AJ to the garage for a talk and tells him he's to report for a construction job at 7 am. When his son doesn't take him seriously, Tony smashes the window of AJ's car in. "Don't put me to the test,' he warns.
Carmela dreams that she sees Adrianna in Paris, but a gendarme tells her Adrianna is dead.
Tony welcomes Carmela back.
Vito's son and daughter read about his death in the newspaper. Vito Jr. realizes the CIA story was a sham and that his father left town because he was a homosexual and wanted to live an open lifestyle.
Back at home, AJ heads off to his new job and Carmela does laundry.
A photographer notices Vito's obituary in the paper and makes the connection that he knew him. He flips through his portfolio and shows his assistant the Thin Club ad he photographed featuring Vito.
"Sometimes we gotta be reminded, you know, what's important."
Carlo dumps Dom's severed head down a sewer drain and calls Silvio to report: "I just got rid of the last." He asks if the "barbeque" in Sheepshead Bay is still a go. Silvio's not sure, but as Phil and his blonde housekeeper head towards "Sheepshead Hair Design" for an assignation - the building explodes-Tony's blown up the wire room.
Tony closes the deal to sell to Jamba Juice and apologizes to Julianna for not mixing business with pleasure when they met last, but admits he can't get her out of his head. He asks her to dinner but she declines.
Carmela learns Liz LaCerva tried to commit suicide. Now Carmela can't get Adriana out of her head-the Paris dream, now this. Between these thoughts, Anthony Jr., the holidays looming and her spec house "I feel like an utter failure," she tells Tony.
On Thanksgiving, Tony quizzes Christopher on why he's been hiding his new goomar; Christopher tells him that she's black and he doesn't want to hear Paulie's racist comments. But when he pays her a surprise visit, it turns out she's not black-she's Julianna. They met at AA.
While picking up garbage at his new construction job, Anthony Jr. meets Blanca Selgado, the Hispanic secretary processing his paperwork; he's instantly smitten. Blanca gives AJ the first six numbers of her telephone number: "I left the last one off. If you want to find me, you gotta work for it."
Little Carmine calls "a meeting of minds" to clear the air between Phil and Tony. Tony's mad about Vito and Phil reports that Fat Dom is missing and was last seen in Jersey. Little Carmine says the infighting's costing money. They are about to agree to a truce, wipe the slate clean, but then Carmine brings up the murder of Phil's brother Billy; Phil storms out.
Chris shows Julianna his movie script and she asks if Tony Soprano is like the boss in "Cleaver." Chris is worried about infringing on Tony's territory, but she promises nothing happened between them.
Prompted by Liz's suicide attempt, Carmela tells Tony she wants to hire a PI to track down Adriana. So Tony orders Silvio to lean on the building inspector for Carmela's spec house after all: "For all our sakes, my wife needs a career."
Phil and Gerry hold a war conference about the Vito fallout. If Dom was payback for Vito, why'd they blow up the wire room in Sheepshead Bay, Gerry wonders. "He's testing you all the time, and you keep indulging him," Butch DeConcini warns Phil. Phil agrees, but he won't whack a boss. "Pick somebody over there," asks Butch.
Blanca and AJ are hanging out when some punks start making noise waking up her son. "My ex used to kick their asses," she tells AJ. Reluctantly, he heads outside to take charge, but when he sees what he's up against, he changes tactics and tells him if they leave, he'll give them his bike.
Christopher confides to Murmur about his affair with Julianna after an NA meeting. Between Tony's interest and her being in recovery for junk, Murmur thinks it's dangerous. "Two of you together could be enabling. Bad habits shared." But Christopher swears he's different with her.
Bacala visits Junior to return the envelope of cash he sent over as a Christmas present, telling him he shouldn't even be visiting after what happened with Tony. "Still up on his cross?" asks Junior.
Julianna is doubled over with a hacking cough and Christopher insists on getting her some cold medicine. They settle on valerian tea. When she recovers from the cold, they take up smack again.
AJ and Tony are putting up the Christmas tree when Carmela opens a letter informing her that construction can proceed on her spec house. "This is the best Christmas present I could get!" she hugs Tony.
Patty Leotardo takes Phil to the doctor for his chest pains and he's given a clean bill of health-it's probably just gas. But a few days later, he collapses with a coronary. It'll be 5-6 months recovery.
Tony spies Christopher talking to Julianna but Christopher covers, saying he was getting advice on what to buy his black goomar Kaisha for her birthday. But Christopher decides that as between using again and banging Julianna, he'd rather confess to Tony about the sex. Tony takes the news in stride but is bitter when he tells Melfi "This is my reward." He has a breakthrough though, realizing that he's got a type-and it includes Melfi. "Dark complexion, smart, they smell a little bit, of money...That's probably why I still come here."
Agent Harris stops by the Pork store for a sandwich and warns Tony that someone close to him may be in danger, but he doesn't know the specifics. Tony thanks him. 'It's Christmas," he shrugs. Tony pays a visit to Phil in the hospital and tells him about his near-death epiphany and urges that they stop the madness. Phil tears up and seems to agree.
Carmela is busy with her spec house as they prepare Christmas Eve dinner. AJ brings Blanca and Hector to meet the family. She's sporting an expensive necklace-a gift from AJ. Carmela's not thrilled that she's ten years older than AJ and also Puerto Rican. "Least she's a Catholic," Tony counters.
Meadow calls from California as everyone gathers in a perfect family tableau.
"My estimate? Historically? Eighty percent of the time it ends in the can like Johnny Sack. Either that or the loading dock at Cozarelli's."
Flashback to 2004: Tony is outside Johnny Sack's and takes off through the woods as the Feds approach. He tosses his gun in the snow. From a neighbor's upstairs window, a teenaged boy watches. Later that night, the kid digs through the snow to find the gun and fires it - a new toy.
Six AM on a 2007 morning, the Soprano family is roused from bed by the cops banging on the door. "Is this it?" Carmela asks. It's the Essex county cops with a warrant for Tony's arrest on a weapons charge: an illegal firearm containing hollow point ammunition.
Tony is arraigned and bail is posted. Turns out a punk kid, pulled over by the cops, was found with drugs and the weapon - and "to beat the rap" as Tony's lawyer points out, said that it was Tony Soprano he saw toss the gun three years ago.
Meanwhile, Phil Leotardo is celebrating his own homecoming from the hospital. He hears the news: "Porkchop out in Jersey, got pinched on a weapons charge."
Family and friends greet Tony at home later that day - with the notable exception of Christopher. Bobby talks Tony into coming up to the lake house for his birthday to spend the weekend with him and Janice. On the car ride up he gets an early birthday present in the form of a call from his lawyer Neil Mink: the charges have been dropped. What he doesn't know is the Feds leaned on the local prosecutor: "Can you really not be aware we've been building a RICO case against Tony Soprano for 5 f**king years? And then you blow this popcorn fart?"
Up at the lake house, Carmela and Tony greet their favorite niece, Nica. Bobby takes T out to the woods for some target practice against a tree and gives him his birthday gift: an AR-10 automatic machine gun. "I wouldn't use a firearm like this on a deer, it's unsportsmanlike," Bobby explains. Lately, he's been using a bow and arrow exclusively: "It levels the playing field."
Relaxing by the lake, Janice waxes poetic about her new life and her new peace with Tony. "You've really changed," she notes. "So I had to change?" he bristles. Watching Nica play with the nanny, Tony nudges Carm to tell the story she heard about the unattended child nearly drowning in a pool with the adults all around - now brain dead. "I can't get that story outta my mind. I don't know why," he says.
Tony gets a birthday blow job from Carm before taking a motor boat ride on the lake. While back at the Soprano's house AJ is skipping work to hang out in the master bedroom suite with Blanca and host a pool party.
Janice expounds on the lessons she's learned in psychotherapy (that her mom was a "splitter," pitting her kids against each other) reviewing her epiphanies about her childhood as Carmela patiently listens. Out on the lake, Tony, feeling his age, talks about the business and notes that notes that Bobby never "popped his cherry" with taking somebody out. Tony confides his disappointment with "the guy" he's been grooming should anything happen to him and hints Bobby might be next in line.
Over multiple toasts, T salutes his family and enjoys his gifts. As the evening progresses, ("We're out of grappa, how about some Remy?" Bobby asks) they go from conversation to karaoke to a vicious game of monopoly. As Janice continues to tell embarrassing family stories, Tony gets furious when she surprises Carmela with a story of their father shooting a gun at their mother's head coming home from the Copa, and just grazing her beehive hair-do. When Carm asks why he's never told that story T snaps, "Cuz it makes us look like a f**king dysfunctional family. Jesus Christ!"
Tony taunts Janice when she draws the "second prize in a beauty contest," card and Bobby defends his wife's honor. T apologizes, but when he hums "Under the boardwalk, with your schlong in Jan's mouth," Bobby explodes and attacks his brother-in-law. Janice and Carm struggle to pull the men apart and Carm gets knocked over. Bobby finally takes Tony down.
Carmela gets Tony up to bed but then can't budge him and passes out in a bunkbed next door. Awaking at 4 am, T stumbles into Janice and Bobby's room, and mumbles; "You beat me fair and square."
The next morning, Carm, uncomfortable with the night before, is packed and ready to get on the road. But Janice, not wanting things to be tense with Bobby and the boss, urges them to stay. Bobby reminds Tony they have that "thing later, with the "Canucks" and Janice urges: "It's a sin to waste food," offering up a frittata.
As Tony broods down by the lake, Carmela berates him for still sulking but he's feeling his mortality as he recalls the days when he could have taken Bobby, no problem. Tony complains how he had to sacrifice his friendship with Johnny Sack to get Janice and Bobby their house. When Christopher calls to wish him a belated happy birthday, Tony hangs up on him.
Tony and Bobby head out to "play golf" leaving Carm and Janice alone. As Janice continues to make digs about her brother's temper, Carmela finally defends him. "Tony is not a vindictive man," she tells her sister-in-law as she storms off.
The Canadians offer a deal on pharmaceuticals that's priced a little high for Tony. Then one of them mentions a problem he has to take care of - the deadbeat father of his sister's child trying to get custody of the kid. Tony offers: "We can make sure your sister's custody problems go away," in exchange for lowering their price. They agree.
As they're leaving, Tony tells Bobby, "You'll take care of this, right?" A surprised Bobby agrees. "No bows and arrows now," Tony nudges.
They return to the girls who greet them eagerly, and Tony says they should hit the road for the drive back. Carmela happily agrees.
Against Janice's protests, Bobby heads out for a few days to take care of his assignment. He tracks down the young father at a laundromat and shoots him dead once in the chest and a shot through the head, as the guy grabs a piece of Bobby's shirt. Bobby drops the gun in the hallway as he staggers off.
Back home, Tony watches the old home movies Janice gave him as a birthday gift, their childhood selves vying for attention and power of the garden hose. He gets a call from his lawyer, Mink. The Feds have taken up the gun charge, it hasn't gone away after all. "The good news is, if they had what they needed, we'd be having this conversation through glass."
Returning home to Janice and their guests, Bobby hugs his little girl tight as he looks out at the lake.
"Bein' a boss is a young man's game."
Open on: the boss Sally Boy discovers Frankie's bloody corpse hanging in a chop shop, he inches around to discover Michael crawling out from the trunk of a car. Pull back to reveal: the editing monitors this scene is being viewed on. Christopher, Little Carmine, their fellow investors and the director watch as Michael takes out Sally Boy in the final scene of 'Cleaver.' "F**k Ben Kingsley. Danny Baldwin took him to f**kin' acting school," Christopher declares.
Meanwhile, Johnny Sack, accompanied by Federal Marshals, gets the prognosis from the oncology specialist he's been flown in to see: It's stage 4 lung cancer. "And there's no Stage 5," notes Johnny. Rosen gives him 3 months. Back at the prisoner's medical center, he breaks the news to Ginny and his daughter Allegra, who are devastated.
Things are tense between AJ and Blanca at a Sopranos' family dinner, as they discuss the upcoming screening party for 'Cleaver.' "You two have a fight?" asks Carmela when Blanca goes to the bathroom. "I don't know," he responds, confused.
At the medical center, Johnny Sack is befriended by orderly/inmate Warren Feldman - a former oncologist doing time for murder. Feldman examines Johnny's chart and tells him he thinks he's got more like years than months to live.
Tony is jarred when he goes for the morning paper and finds Agents Harris and Goddard at the end of his driveway, soliciting him as an informant for their Joint Terror Task Force. "I think there's a word for that," Tony says, beating a hasty retreat inside.
At the 'Cleaver' screening, Carmela points out to Tony: "That's you," as Daniel Baldwin (playing Sally Boy) hurls a jar of nails at a wall onscreen. But when Sally Boy seduces the Cleaver's fiancee, Rosalie Aprile shoots Carmela an ominous look. At the party afterwards, T congratulates Christopher and chats with Phil Leotardo, urging him to shape up his family now that he's on the mend, but Phil doesn't want to be boss.
On his talk show, Geraldo interviews various mob experts on their predictions for who will succeed John Sacrimoni: Phil Leotardo (the logical choice), Gerry Torciano (feared but not well-liked), Doc Santoro (old school frontrunner) or eminence gris Carmine Lupertazzi Jr.
Ginny's brother Anthony Infante visits with Johnny Sack to discuss how he wants to arrange his estate for Ginny and the girls, and Johnny asks him how he will be remembered on the street. Anthony confides that some found him hot-headed when he took over from Carmine.
The morning after the premiere, Carmela is short with Tony, telling him that Ro pointed out the parallel between Sally Boy's relationship with Michael in the movie and Tony's with Christopher. "The thing with Adriana? I told you it never f**king happened!" Tony yells. "It's a revenge fantasy, Tony. Which ends with the boss's head split open by a meat cleaver."
Meanwhile, Chris talks to his sponsor about how hard it is to steer clear of the old people and places that make him use: "They already misinterpret I don't want to hang around so much. Paulie especially," he worries. When he and Kelli pick up the baby from Carm, who was babysitting, Carmela gives him a piece of her mind about his film and its message. Shaken, Chris heads to the screenwriter JT Dolan's and orders him to tell Tony that the fucking-the-fiancee storyline was his idea.
Silvio is at dinner with Gerry Torciano when a shooter working for Doc Santoro takes Gerry out. Sil gets out unscathed. The next day, Tony lunches with Little Carmine at the country club, asking him to step up and take leadership of his family. "You never thought you'd mutter those words, did you?" Carmine asks. But he's not interested.
Meanwhile, Johnny Sack's taken a turn for the worse. Ginny and girls are at his bedside as he takes his last breath. Anthony breaks the news later to Tony and the guys.
JT shows up at the Bing, saying he's supposed to meet Christopher. Knowing Chris doesn't come by these days, Tony is skeptical as JT strikes up a conversation about his inspiration for the Sally Boy storyline: "I stole that from Broderick Crawford in 'Born Yesterday.'"
In his therapy session, Tony vents about his frustration that Christopher seems to hate him so much, after all he's done for him. "You're hurt," Melfi notes.
At Phil Leotardo's social club, Phil hosts a celebration of what would have been his brother Billy's 47th birthday. He places the urn holding Billy's ashes back up above the bar - so he'll be able to see his friends when they visit. Working himself up over the story of how his family's name was changed from Leonardo to Leotardo ("a ballet costume"), Phil tells Butchie he's had enough. He shouldn't have stayed quiet in jail and he should have avenged Billy's murder. "No more Butchie. No more of this," he vows.
Meanwhile, Tony and Carmela, as Godparents, witness the christening of Christopher and Kelli's baby. At the end of the ceremony, Tony and Christopher embrace tightly.
"Things are going great. Finally. Maybe I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop."
Paulie shows up early at Tony and Carmela's to alert T to some disturbing news: the Feds are digging over near Branford Ave. He has to jog Tony's memory; "Willie Overall, the bookie? Labor Day, 1982?" It's the guy T made his bones with. Staking out the site, Paulie tells Tony he hears it's Larry Barese who's talking. "We're gonna pack our toothbrushes," Tony says.
Packing for a roadtrip south, Tony assures Carmela it's just a "little gambling charge." "It's just, this is what life is still like, at our age?" Carmela laments.
Meanwhile, Uncle Jr. is getting antsy at the Wycoff Therapeutic Center. More alert on his meds, he urges his friends to find a way to spring him, but isn't all that interested when they offer up a plan. After hours, he hosts a poker game with the help of his new friend Carter Chong, a Chinese-American patient, and the orderly, Jameel, who supplies him with the forbidden candy and soda he sells to the players. Telling a string of off-color jokes, Jr. is flying high.
Paulie and T drive through the night rain reminiscing about the old days. When Paulie mentions Ralphie, Tony brings up Ralphie's off-color joke about Ginny that got him knocked off when someone told Johnny Sack . "Who the f**k would tell Johnny about that joke?" Tony asks. "How should I know?" Paulie replies defensively.
Jr. and Carter debrief after the poker game and swap stories about their fathers. Carter works himself up over his father's reaction to a '96' on a 3rd grade spelling test: " 'What happened to the other four points,' he say... F**k you! F**k you!" When Mrs. Chong comes on visiting day, she meets Corrado and is none to happy with the influence he's having on her son. "You're becoming a bully," she tells Carter, blaming "that gangster."
Dozing off on the road, Tony recalls the dive motel they stayed in back in the day in Culpepper, Va. They head off to find the Havenaire motel, but in its place is a corporate Marriott. No steaks, no bottle of scotch available from room service. They have to settle for nachos at Buckingham's pub where Paulie reminisces about similar trips he made with Tony's father, Johnny Boy. The next morning, T chastises Paulie for being too chatty with the hotel patrons: "We're supposed to be layin' low."
Silvio calls T with the update: they've found a body. Tony, not happy with the news, confides that Paulie is talking non-stop.
Carter helps Jr. draft a letter of appeal to Dick Cheney: "Like yourself, I was involved in an unfortunate incident when a gun I was handling misfired..."
In Miami, Tony and Paulie dine with Beansie, who shows them some old photos of Johnny Boy and Paulie, getting them started on more tales from the past. The conversation continues in mixed company (with some hookers) and Tony gets more uncomfortable with Paulie's loose lips when he mentions a kid at a party who "mysteriously drowned." When they ask him what's wrong he replies: " 'Remember When' is the lowest form of conversation."
Phil Leotardo is dining with Doc Santoro when Doc asks to take food from his plate, Phil coolly acquiesces.
In the common room, Jr. gets into it with Professor Lynch, fighting dirty, throwing kicks and punches. The doctors decide to up Jr.'s meds. When he gets so tired he can barely stay awake, Carter tells him it's the new meds - they're trying to numb him out. He provides a distraction outside Jr's door the next time they make the rounds so Jr. can ditch his meds. But when Jr. pees his pants in the common room while telling a joke, the doctors figure out what he's been up to - the meds he was on are supposed to cure incontinence. Jr. gets an ultimatum: he takes his meds, or they transfer him to another facility.
During some pillow talk with one of the hookers, Tony discovers that Paulie's told her he used to work for Johnny Boy. When he and Paulie go to meet with some Cubans that Beansie's put them in touch with, Paulie's fearlessness impresses Tony, but he tells Beansie later that he's concerned about his verbal diarrhea. Beansie chalks it up to loneliness. "People live alone they get like that. It's sad."
Silvio calls with good news: Larry told the Feds that it was Jackie Aprile who killed Willie. Tony suggests he and Paulie charter a fishing boat to celebrate before they go home. Paulie agrees but is skittish on the boat, as he flashes back to Big Pussy's murder. Sitting on the deck, T pushed Paulie again on whether it was him who told Johnny Sac about Ralphie's joke but Paulie swears it wasn't. As he goes to get Paulie a drink, Tony considers an ax and fishing knives, struggling with what to do. "Think fast," he calls out, as Paulie is hit hard with a bottle of Stewarts.
When Jr. starts taking his meds again, Carter is disappointed. Disgusted with Jr's acquiescence, Carter attacks him in the common room and has to be restrained.
Paulie has a dream that Big Pussy is in his kitchen waiting for him when he returns home, "When my time comes, tell me, will I stand up?" he asks, just before he jerks awake.
Getting into his car, Doc Santoro is shot dead on the street. Back at the Bing, Paulie is talking Christopher's ear off with old stories, while the news blares in the background of Santoro's shooting. "Looks like Phil's the main guinea over there now," Silvio notes to Tony.
"What are you chasing? Money? Or a high from winning?"
At the Borgata Casino, Tony decides to let it ride after winning at roulette. Bobby, Christopher, Silvio and Paulie watch nervously as the croupier spins the wheel - and T loses everything he'd won, and then some, on 23.
Meanwhile, Vito Jr. is going through a rebellious phase, knocking over tombstones at night, wearing eyeliner and black lipstick and making his mother Marie miserable. Marie comes to Tony in tears, begging for $100,000 so she can relocate her family to Maine, where no one will know them or what happened to Vito. Already feeling strapped due to the loss of Vito as one of his big earners, Tony is reluctant to shell out more. He feels Phil Leotardo should step up - as Marie's relative, and the one who clipped Vito to begin with.
At a dinner in Queens celebrating Phil's promotion to boss, Tony excuses himself before the festivities have ended and pulls Phil aside to ask him to talk to Vito Jr. Phil grudgingly agrees. Tony stops by Hesh's on his way home for a visit and shares some of his concerns about Phil and his own team. "Lonely at the top, boychik?" asks Phil. When Tony presents him with a Cleaver cap, Hesh admits he was hoping for some of the 200k he loaned him instead. Bristling, T hands over $3000: "Don't want you eatin' catfood."
At a session with Melfi, complains about Jews and money, referring to Hesh being on him about the loan. He talks about his losing streak and when Melfi asks why he doesn't just stop, Tony says it's for the thrill when things go right. Before the session ends, Melfi calls him on all of the appointments he's missed. "Decide if you want to keep coming," she tells him, "but know there are protocols that have to be followed or I won't be able to continue."
Carmela's spec house has an offer and she and her father show up for inspection day. When it pours down rain one night, she can't sleep for fear of what might happen with the sub-code construction materials they used in the house. But her father tells her to relax.
Phil has his talk with Little Vito, urging him to stop his rebel ways and be a man for his mother, but it doesn't seem to take as the kid continues to act out. Tony pays his own visit, ordering the kid: "Your dad's gone, OK? You're the man of the house now. Start f**kin' acting like it."
Hesh stops by the back room at the Bing for a visit and Tony hands over another 3k, making Shylock jokes. Later at home, Hesh's blood pressure has spiked and he confides to his son Eli that he's nervous about Tony's attitude: "At what point is it cheaper for him to settle in another way?"
AJ proposes to Blanca over a nice dinner, promising her that he will rise from pizzeria night manager to restaurant chain owner in no time, and coaxes a "yes" out of her.
After the closing for Carmela's house, she's still skittish about celebrating but calculates she's cleared "about six." Tony tries to talk her into putting half on the Jets - it's a sure thing. She refuses but he keeps pushing and she gets pissed, "I thought this was my money." He backs off, but later when the Jets win, he's pissed about the profit they lost out on. "We coulda turned your bullshit into a f**king million dollars!" She blows up - that's her investment in her future - she doesn't want to end up like Ginny Sacrimoni. Tony is furious that she thinks he hasn't provided for her. Their fight gets physical, he grabs her, she hurls a statue at him and both storm off.
When Hesh spies Tony and Bobby drive up, he orders his girlfriend Renata to go to the bedroom and lock the door. They're there to invite Hesh to tag along to the boat show. But Hesh begs off. T hands over that week's 3k. Hesh insist's Tony stop with the weekly interest payments and just give him the 200k when he says it, but T insists. Leaving Hesh, T vents in the car to Bobby and Carlo about Hesh's pissy attitude. But when Carlo suggests he not repay the loan, Tony rejects the idea: "Not pay my debts? Head of the family? How's that gonna look?"
When news hits that Little Vito took a shit in the gym shower, Tony decides to give Marie the 100k. But after liquidating some assets, he puts it all on a football game and his losing streak continues. To economize, Tony tells Marie he's found a tough love camp in Idaho, assuring her: "There's no geographical solution to an emotional problem." The camp counselors drag the protesting Little V from his bed in the middle of the night while his mother and sister cling to each other in despair.
At the Puerto Rican day parade, Blanca meets up with AJ and returns his engagement ring, telling him she just doesn't feel it.
Driving, Tony is unsettled when he spots Ahmed, who used to hang out at the Bing, fraternizing with an assortment of Muslims in religious garb.
Tony apologizes to Carmela, admitting he's been on a losing streak. "So this is about money? Because it didn't feel like it," she counters. She can't bear the feeling that there's a giant piano hanging by a rope over his head. Tony insists he's provided for her - she's not going to end up like Ginny, and he resents the implication. Plus, by his calculation, having survived a shooting, he's already beaten the odds.
When Hesh goes to rouse Renata for breakfast, he finds her dead in bed - a stroke. Tony stops by to pay his respects - as well as the balance of the 200k loan. "I'm sorry for your loss," he says as he leaves the devastated and broken Hesh.
"I know human nature. And I know a crutch when I see it."
AJ is in a funk over his break-up with Blanca and nothing Carmela or Tony do or say seems to help. "It's better to have love and lost AJ," says Carmela, but AJ just takes out his despair on his parents.
Having set his father-in-law up with a regular supply of stolen power tools for his hardware store, Christopher divvies up his take with Paulie. But when Paulie sends Little Paulie and Jason Molinaro over to lift some equipment without going through Christopher, Christopher goes to Tony in a rage. Tony brushes him off, blaming Christopher's lack of face time at the Bing and Satriale's for Paulie's disrespecting behavior.
Tony goes to Agents Harris and Goddard with the names of the Arabs who used to hang around the Bing, getting the cell phone number of one of the guys, Ahmed al Najafi, from Christopher. "Can I bank the result in good will?" he asks. But all Agent Harris can promise is a letter to his file--should he ever get arrested it will be considered at sentencing.
Falling apart when Blanca agrees to meet him for coffee, AJ sinks deeper into a depression. Having quit his job, AJ spends his days curled up in bed, staring at the TV, and talking about the futility of "it all" - Meadow tells her parents she's concerned he may be suicidal.
Tony is prepared to quit therapy at his next session with Dr. Melfi, but as he tells her, "Guess what? My son is talking suicide so now I'm trapped here forever." He gets emotional, admitting how painful it is to think that his son inherited his depressive tendencies from Tony.
Christopher makes an effort to be social, hosting a large Sunday barbecue and dinner at his house with Kelli but Tony still rides him about not being around enough. When Christopher tries to explain how hard it is for him because of his addiction, T dismisses the "disease concept" as bulls***. But Christopher insists he inherited it from his parents. "Let's be honest about the great Dickie Moltisanti--my dad, your hero--wasn't much more than a f**king junkie."
After Patsy Parisi brags about all the action his son is getting at Rutgers, Tony runs into Jason Parisi and his friend Jason Gervase at the Bing and urges them to call AJ up to go to a party. Tony orders AJ to go.
At an AA meeting, Christopher complains that his not being able to socialize is taking food from his daughter's mouth. He admits to an AA friend about the affair he had, and though he ended it, he suspected this woman was the thing that poisoned his relationship with his uncle/boss.
AJ goes to see his own therapist who quizzes him on his mood, and AJ admits to feeling suicidal. The therapist prescribes an anti-depressant. When AJ gets home drunk from his night out, Carmela is furious at Tony for sending their under-age son out to a strip club when he's such an emotional wreck. But Tony is convinced that this is the road back to college for AJ - frats and partying.
When Christopher finds out Little Paulie and Jason Molinaro have lifted more tools from Al's, he goes ballistic, busting in on a poker game and throwing Little Paulie out a window. Christopher goes to Tony to apologize for his rash actions and still doesn't get much sympathy, though Tony admits he needs to have a talk with Paulie. Meanwhile, Paulie is retaliating by doing donuts on Christopher's lawn, tearing his landscaping to shreds. Christopher calls Tony after their meeting to report how his wife and daughter were terrorized by Paulie but promises he will "sit tight."
At another party, the two Jasons invoke "Tony Soprano, Jr." to threaten a kid who hasn't paid his betting debts. They drag the kid off into the woods to torture him. AJ goes along, both excited and repelled by his participation.
Christopher shows up at the VIP room at the Bing to make peace. He and Paulie apologize to each other and Christopher, in a show of fraternity, orders up "whatever he's having" at the bar. Many drinks later, a drunk Christopher waxes on about fatherhood and when Paulie gets everyone laughing at his expense, he stumbles out angrily. Christopher shows up at J.T.'s, trying to spill mob secrets but J.T. doesn't want to hear it. He tries to make coffee and get Christopher to call his sponsor but Christopher keeps talking. When JT refuses to listen, Christopher shoots him dead.
Tony and AJ arrive home at the same time from their nights out to find Carmela and Meadow having a late night snack. The family sits at the table, sharing conversation, wine and pasta, seemingly back to normal. Meanwhile Christopher returns home, propping up a toppled sapling as he stumbles into his house.
"People just walk around like this is all something."
Phil discovers Tony has been dumping asbestos at the Barone garbage transfer station. Phil wants 25% of the action-or no more dumping. As Tony and Christopher are driving home from their meeting with Phil, they debate what to do. Christopher thinks they should meet his price. "Regarding Phil-I gotta ask-what ever happened to 'stop and smell the roses?'" he asks Tony. Tony agrees, "Each day's a gift,"-but he's not sure Phil is on the same page.
Driving through the night, Tony grows suspicious of Christopher's behavior-cranking the music, fidgety. Suddenly Christopher drifts into the other lane and has to swerve sharply to miss an oncoming car. Their car flips and rolls off the side of the highway. As Tony struggles to get out Christopher appeals to him: "You gotta help me, I'll never pass a drug test." Tony looks at the destroyed children's car seat in the backseat with rage. Christopher is coughing blood and Tony makes a decision: he pinches Christopher's nose shut, and the two lock eyes as Tony suffocates him. Then Tony calls 911 for an ambulance.
From his hospital gurney, Tony calls Carmela to break the news of Christopher's death. Over the next few days, as the mourning begins, news spreads that Christopher tested positive for cocaine and wasn't wearing his seat belt.
Tony admits in a session with Melfi what he hasn't been able to tell anyone: that he's relieved. "The biggest blunder of my career is now gone and I don't have to be confronted by that fact no more," he says. But in fact, this session with Melfi is a dream.
Tony grows more frustrated and distant, not able to feel the same pain and grief that everyone around him is going through. He quizzes Carmela on whether he detected a note of relief in her voice when he phoned her from the hospital. Devastated by his implication, she insists the only relief was "that it was him and not you." Trying to make her feel better, he tells her about the tree branch that went through the windshield and impaled the baby car seat-it would have mangled the baby. But Carmela just gets more upset. "In retrospect -maybe not the best approach," notes Melfi, when Tony reports the exchange later. "Right. I'm the asshole. Again," Tony replies. He continues to vent his anger at having to take up Christopher's slack for so long. 'Guess what pity produces in the recipient?" he reports. "They sh*t on your pity."
At Christopher's wake, Tony introduces Carmela to real estate agent Julianna Skiff, who tells her she's a recovering addict and owes a lot to Christopher. Kelli Moltisanti shows up in sunglasses, and all of the men are taken with her dignified beauty. "Jackie Kennedy," notes Tony. AJ is comforted by the two Jasons who urge him not to let his cousin's death linger in his head too long.
Meanwhile, Paulie's mother Nucci Gualtieri has died of a stroke and her wake is scheduled for the same day as Christopher's. When Carmela pulls Tony away to pay respects to Nucci, they find a disgruntled Paulie, upset that no one is coming to collect the 500 prayer cards he ordered and that everyone is at Christopher's wake instead.
At his therapist's, AJ says he's not obsessing about Christopher's death, or Blanca anymore. "Perhaps the meds are working," notes the therapist. Back at school, AJ and a girl compare the benefits of Lexipro and Wellbutrin. When the bet-welching Victor hobbles by, the girl reports that he had to have his toes amputated because of car battery acid seeping through his shoes-a story that triggers AJ's and Jason's laughter.
Needing to get away, Tony calls his Vegas connection, Alan, who sends a private plane to whisk him away for some peace and quiet. Melancholy, he looks up Sonya, a local friend of Christopher's who's working her way through college by stripping. The news of Christopher's death shocks her. Tony leaves, and fields a call from John Stefano, who reports that the asbestos is backing up. Phil gets back to Tony but refuses to budge on his 25% demand.
AJ is hanging out at the frat house when Jason G. pulls up with dinner. As he opens his car door a bicyclist crashes into the front door and they get into an argument. Jason calls him a n**ger and the fight escalates until a group of guys are beating the hell out of the bicyclist as AJ watches, growing more disturbed. At his next therapy session he is back in a funk, angry and disgusted with the world. "Everything is so f**ked up," he says. "Why can't we all just get along?"
Tony escapes his problems with Sonya, having sex and trying peyote. They wander the casino stoned and Tony plays roulette, winning round after round. His losing streak is over. Tony drops to the ground, convulsing with laughter
One of Stefano's trucks pulls up to a marsh and dumps a load of asbestos. Meanwhile, Tony and Sonya have driven out to park overlooking a stunning desert canyon. Standing at the edge of the world Tony shouts out: "I get it!"
"They are the bus. They're the vehicle that gets you here. They drop you off, then they go their own way, continue on their own journey. The problem is, we keep tryin' to get back on the bus when we should just be lettin' it go."
A stiff wind blows clouds of asbestos from a pile of construction debris, unceremoniously dumped in the New Jersey Meadowlands...
At breakfast after a fitful night, Tony watches Carmela opens a gift, a diamond watch, and Tony apologizes for having to go to Vegas to "settle Christopher's affairs."
AJ, who also had a bad night, has been sleeping a lot, and though Tony jokes that he's "his father's son," it's clear that his son is still in a bad way. In a session with his shrink, Dr. Vogel, AJ can't seem to shake the despair he feels over the beating of the kid from Somalia. Everything, from school to world affairs, seems to depress him. "I know kids on Lexapro who say it's great, but I still feel like shit," he complains. "Why can't I catch a break?"
At the Pork Store, Tony regales the crew with tales of drugs and sex in the desert, but the boys quickly glaze over when the boss gets philosophical. Handing over money from Stefano on the asbestos job, Silvio informs Tony that there has been no breakthrough in the negotiations with Phil, and suggests a meeting, "as unappealing as it is."
Later, Tony gets visit from Agents Harris and Goddard, and he identifies a couple of men in pictures as Ahmed and Mohammed.
Awash in depression, AJ finally finds something in school that interests him, the morbidly apocalyptic poem "The Second Coming" by Yeats. In bed at night, he reads it again: "What rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?"
Later, Meadow tries talking to him, and learns that he has dropped out. Her brother seems to be further and further out there, obsessing about world violence and watching Al Jazeera online. AJ rejects her suggestion that he find a job. He tells her, "In my condition? I can't hold a job. I'm ill, Meadow, I'm on medication."
At Phil Leotardo's social club, Tony's meeting doesn't go well. Phil won't budge, and coolly dismisses Tony's reference to their heart-to-heart talk after Phil's heart attack. Mentioning Phil's dead brother, Tony suggests that there is a limit to how much amends he can make, and asks for some compromise. But Leotardo feels he has compromised enough after 20 years in prison. He wants 25 percent of the asbestos abatement money, retroactive.
Phil's men Butch and Coco pay visit to collect from Edgar Ramirez, the foreman on their no-show jobs in New Jersey, but Ramirez tells them Silvio has cancelled the jobs. Coco beats Ramirez savagely and takes all of his money, saying "Tony Soprano owes you $320."
Outside his house in the cold, AJ sits on the diving board of his pool, with a plastic bag on his head and a cinderblock tied around his ankle. Crying, he pulls the bag over his face and dives in. But he soon realizes that the suicide is a bad idea and struggles to the surface. The rope on the block was too long to hold him under, but now he is treading water. Desperately cold and clinging to the diving board, he calls for help as his father arrives home. Tony jumps in and pulls him out, shouting at his son. "What's wrong with you," he yells, but seeing AJ sobbing and gasping hysterically, he cradles his head. "Come on baby," Tony says rocking him. "You're all right..."
With Anthony Jr. in an institution, Tony has trouble shaking his own depression. But Carmela is worn down and fed up with the Soprano family illness. "He didn't get it from my family, that's all I'm going to say," she says, and accuses Tony of "playing the depression card. And now you've got our son doing it." A nasty argument ensues and she ends up flinging her new watch at him.
Dr. Melfi suggests that AJ's attempt may have been a cry for help. Tony laments his family history and doesn't want to take the blame for AJ's problems. Suicide, people say, is a coward's way out. "I think whoever said that didn't understand depression," Melfi says. "But you do, don't you?"
On a date in the city with her new boyfriend, Patrick Parisi, Meadow is confronted by a drunk Coco, who makes a series of slightly threatening and vulgar remarks to her, before Albie finally pulls him away. Later, Carmela has a reluctant Meadow tell her father about the incident; Tony tries to play it cool to his wife and daughter, but he is clearly livid.
The episode has also blown the cover on Meadow's budding relationship with Patrick; while she's admitting it, she tells Carmela that she's decided not to go to med school.
At Coco's restaurant in Brooklyn, a seething Tony strides to the back and proceeds to pistol whip Coco. "My f**kin' daughter, huh," he says to the nearly unconscious man as he shoves the gun in his mouth. Butch tries to stop him, telling him he's making "a big f**king mistake," but Tony holds him off with the gun as he deliberately stomps on Coco's head, spraying teeth on the floor.
Melfi is in session with Kupferberg when he mentions a study suggesting that talk therapy actually validates sociopaths. Melfi is stunned: "What are you saying," she asks. "My whole work with Tony Soprano, all these years, it's all been a waste of time?"
In a session of their own with AJ and his doctor, Carmela and Tony listen to a laundry list of injustices their son feels they've committed, going back to a raincoat in the second grade. "It's all your mother's fault, isn't it," Tony says disgusted. "You're a momma's boy."
But AJ's memories of visiting grandmother Livia do resonate. "Grandma said it's all a big nothing," he remembers. "She said in the end, your friends and family let you down. That you die in your own arms."
Later at Satriale's, Patsy Parisi chats up a slightly strained Tony about their two kids ("I hear wedding bells are in the air"), when Little Carmine pays a visit. Coco's beating has angered Phil to the point where he's put a halt to the Hackensack mall project, jeopardizing all of their earnings. Carmine warns Tony that he's "at the precipice" and implores Tony to go to Phil, hat in hand. Tony eventually agrees that he made a mistake in the timing of his retribution.
At a session with Melfi Tony bemoans his failings as a father, but also defends himself, saying that for all the bad he has done, there is a balance. He also reveals that during his peyote trip out West, he saw things. "All I can say is... this? Is not all there is," he tells her. He realizes, too, that his mother had her own journey to contend with.
When Carmine and Tony arrive at Leotardo's house for the agree-upon meeting, Butch informs them that the sit-down is off. As a confused Carmine and angry Tony leave, Phil's voice drifts out from upstairs, "That's right, c**ksucker, go back to New Jersey!"
That night, a heavily medicated AJ watches TV at the Mountainside Hospital Psych Ward, and Tony arrives with a pizza. Told he can't bring food in, he leaves it and walks down the white hall to the locked doors. He's buzzed in, the doors open, and he walks inside, to his son.
"I just want to make sure somebody knows there could be a line at Cozarelli's a mile long."
Early on a Sunday morning, Silvio surprises Burt Gervasi alone at home. "Some things you don't get into over the phone," he explains as he follows Burt inside. Once in the front door, Silvio pulls out a length of wire and strangles Burt, cutting his own hand in the process. As he reports to Tony later, Burt was "playin' both sides of the fence." And not only that, but guys were getting squeezed to sway them towards new management. "And he thought you'd be part of it?" asks Tony. "And he got an answer," replies Silvio, as Tony notes his bandaged hand.
Phil Leotardo gathers his crew and gives the order: "Plain and simple, it's over. We decapitate and we do business with whatever's left." He's had it with Anthony Soprano and his crew; in his view, he doesn't respect the business.
At the Mountainside Hospital psych ward, AJ spots Rhiannon, a friend of Hernan's. She's in for "food issues" and depression, on a break from her modeling jobs.
At Satriale's Tony spots Agent Harris and tries to get information about the Arabs but Harris shuts him out. Instead, he offers a warning - he's heard that "wheels have been set in motion" for movement against Tony and his crew.
Bobby joins Tony and Silvio for a talk about how to handle Phil. Tony declares it's over and they have to hit first - taking out Phil. Tony makes the call to Italy and it's decided that Paulie should run the job - contact the guy to contact the guys. Paulie in turn taps Patsy Parisi who taps Corky Caporale to give the Italians their instructions.
Meanwhile, Phil's crew is strategizing who to target in Tony's crew. Butch declares they need to hit the three top guys: Tony, Silvio and Bobby.
At a dinner party, Dr. Melfi sits a few seats away from Eliot Kupferberg. When the hostess brings up the study that indicates "the talking cure" actually helps sociopaths become better criminals, Melfi bristles. She accuses Eliot of putting her up to this and he counters that she should reevaluate her work with "leadbelly." When the guests want to know who that is, Eliot gives them a clue: "The answer is - a female opera singer and gangster." Melfi is furious at the betrayal, but later pours over the study with growing concern.
At Tony's next therapy session, Melfi listens with cool detachment as he complains about Meadow dropping out of med school and AJ's depression, offering rote replies. When Tony finally confronts her on her tone she loses her cool and suggests he needs another type of treatment and offers to give him a referral. Enraged and in disbelief, Tony refuses to believe she's ending things, but Melfi stands strong: "Since you are in a crisis, I don't want to waste your time."
Waiting outside a row of houses in Queens, the Italians spot a white haired man pulling up to their target, and checking their photo of Phil, they make their move. One of the Italians rings the bell with a delivery. The man opens the door and when the Italian opens fire Phil's housekeeper Yaryna comes running from upstairs, shouting. She is shot dead as well. The Italians take off and call Corky to report they've completed the job, noting that the "daughter" got mixed up in things and that she was calling out to her father in Ukrainian. Corky reports the news to Patsy, explaining that Phil's "love interest" must have gotten hit as well. At the Bing, Paulie reports to Silvio that the job is done, Murmur comes up with a NY Post story about the slaying of a Ukrainian father and daughter - "Who's this look like?" he says grinning at the similarity to Phil Leotardo. Silvio and Paulie instantly realize what's gone wrong.
At dinner at Nuovo Vesuvio, Tony and Carmela spin the family update to Charmaine and Artie, claiming they're relieved Meadow's quit pre med and is dating Patrick Parisi and that AJ is doing well.
Janice comes to Tony with news that Uncle Junior's money has run out. She and Bobby are willing to pitch in to keep him from getting transferred to a State facility, but Tony is furious that she would come to him with such a request. Silvio arrives to Tony to report the foul up of mistaken identity on Phil's hit. Turns out Phil disappeared 4-5 days ago so they never even had a shot at him. "Going to ground they call it," he explains. Tony orders their crew to do the same.
At the train shop, Bobby decides to buy the Blue Comet train to add to his collection. As he's waiting for it to be wrapped up, two shooters take him out. Meanwhile, Silvio and Patsy are packing up the back room of the Bing. They finally jump in Patsy's car but are cut off on the road by Petey B. and Ray-Ray who open fire. Silvio is hit before he can get out of the car. Patsy escapes despite Petey B shooting after him.
Tony barges in on Carmela and Rosie Aprile, interrupting their reminiscing over Paris. He pulls her away and blurts out the news: Bobby's dead and Silvio's in the hospital, they have to split up and lay low. He assures a shocked Carmela: "families don't get touched. You know that." He heads upstairs to get AJ to comply, ordering Rhiannon out of the house. As AJ starts to freak out, Tony yanks him out of bed and orders him to pack.
Carmela and Meadow stop to check in on Janice, who sits in shock with her family. Meanwhile, Paulie shows up to fetch Tony and reports that the doctors don't think Silvio will regain consciousness. They head to the safe house at night. Tony trudges upstairs to an empty bedroom and takes out the AR-10 Bobby gave him for his birthday. His finger on the trigger, he lies back on the bed.
"It's like America...I mean this is still where people come to make it. It's a beautiful idea..."
Tony wakes up in the safe house: another day of hiding. That night, he and Paulie sit in the car at the end of a Teterboro airport runway, watching planes take off as they wait. Finally, Agent Harris shows up. Tony runs through the snow flurries to join him in his car. He tells Harris he remembered the name of the bank that the Arabs used. "You just remembered?" Harris asks. Tony counters with a question: if Harris's Brooklyn contact might be able to tell them where Phil is. "You're over-reaching," Harris ends the conversation.
Tony heads over to visit Carmela and the kids at their hideaway - the estate house Carmela bought for her next remodel. Meadow is on her way out and AJ is saying goodbye to Rhiannon. Tony tells AJ that Uncle Bobby's funeral is set and he's expected to attend. When AJ questions how that's possible, given they're all at "Defcon 4," Carmela explains: "There is always a large FBI presence." Indeed, at the burial, the feds are watching the camera feeds from a nearby van.
At the reception after the funeral, AJ blows up at the shallowness of the conversation at his table, complaining about the dire state of the world. Jason jokes they should join up "go kill some f**kin' terrorists," and AJ retorts that would be better than watching the "jack-off fantasies on TV of how we're kicking their ass."
Tony and Benny play cards at the safe house. Anthony Maffei enters with Patsy to deliver an envelope that's "light." When Carlo tells Tony they're going to visit Silvio at the hospital, Tony says he's got things to do: "My daughter," he says cryptically. "Yesterday it was his gout," notes Benny.
In Little Italy, Butch and Ray Ray take a call from Phil who's angry at the failure to locate Tony Soprano. Butch broaches the idea of reaching out, but Phil shuts him down: there's no going back.
Tony visits Janice at her house. He's the only one who understands her dark sense of humor she insists as they discuss her plans. She wants to make a go of it with Bobby's kids. As Tony's leaving, he gets a call from Agent Harris: "Multiple calls traced back to a pay phone in Oyster Bay, Long Island." Tony thanks him for the tip.
Parked in his SUV, AJ and Rhiannon listen to music - and make the move to consummate their friendship. As they are going at it, the car starts smoking - literally - and the two barely escape before it goes up in flames, exploding as they scramble away.
Tony and Carmela read AJ the riot act for parking his SUV in leaves. "The catalytic converter and the dry vegetation!" shouts Tony. "If there was children playing in those leaves you'd have run them over?" Carmela adds. AJ pleads his defense: depression. Still, he manages to see the bright side when told he's not getting a replacement car. "We have to break our dependence on foreign oil."
The Feds, listening in on a wiretap, pick up Tony's call to George, asking him to arrange a sit-down. In an empty warehouse, George brings Tony and Paulie together with Butch and Albie and Little Carmine. Tony asks for a location on Phil; they refuse but tell him to do what he has to do. Promising Tony they'll come to back to him with "a number" to cover Janice's loss, Butchie and Tony shake hands.
The Soprano family returns home and Paulie, Tony and the crew regroup in the back room of the pork store. Paulie is unnerved to see the cat from the safe house has made the trip. He wants to get rid of it, but Tony insists the cat stay. In the meantime, the guys cruise Oyster Bay, searching for Phil.
Janice visits Uncle Junior while Uncle Pat is visiting to report the news of Bobby's death, but Junior doesn't seem to know who she is. Later, Pat reports to Tony that Janice was fishing for Junior's money. But Tony insists Junior can "f**kin' rot."
AJ sits across from with his new female therapist (with legs to rival Melfi's) from the psychiatric hospital. He tells her he's felt "cleansed" since his car blew up.
Concerned, Paulie calls Tony from the Bing early in the morning when Carlo is a no-show for a meeting. He suggests maybe Butch has taken out another ranking guy, but Tony has another theory: Carlo's flipped. When Paulie recalls that Carlo's son Jason was picked up yesterday for selling X, the theory looks even more plausible.
Carmela is pleasantly surprised to see Meadow's friend Hunter - who she hasn't seen since she was kicked out of college. Now, however, Hunter reports, she's in her second year of medical school. Carmela abruptly informs Meadow that Patrick and his parents will be there soon to discuss wedding plans. Over cocktails, Patrick brags that his firm is interested in hiring Meadow out of law school. Tony and Carmela are pleased to hear about the high starting salary, but Carmela is less pleased with the kinds of cases he works on: "bid riggin. It's got bag men, whores...it's fascinating."
When Paulie catches the cat staring at a photo of Christopher, he gets more spooked, but Tony interrupts him with an offer: to take over skippering the Cifaretto crew now that Carlo's MIA. Paulie says he's honored but has to think about it. Tony, "miffled," gives him time to consider.
Driving, Tony spots AJ jogging and picks him up. AJ announces he's decided to join the army. Tony insists he not do anything just yet. He promptly reports the news to Carmela and the two pay a visit to AJ's new therapist. The doctor reports that AJ says he wants to "get past the hate...focus it on the terrorists." Tony quickly starts talking about his own upbringing and his difficult mother, as Carmela rolls her eyes.
Tony takes Meadow out "sake bombing" for a heart to heart about her career. She insists she wants to protect immigrant rights, having been moved by how Italian-Americans were mistreated. "If I hadn't see you dragged away all those time by the FBI then I'd probably be a boring suburban doctor," she says. Tony has no response.
Getting out of Patty's car at the gas station to make a call, Phil waves goodbye to his twin grandchildren. Before he can finish making plans, he is shot in the head. Patty screams and jumps out of the car. Still in drive, the car rolls as she tries to get to the twins but the car runs over Phil's head. When Agent Harris gets the news that Phil was "popped," he bursts out: "Damn, we're gonna win this thing!"
Carmela and Tony sit AJ down for a talk. They don't want him to join the army but have a counter-offer: he can be a development executive on a screenplay Tony got from Danny Baldwin that Little Carmine wants to produce. And after getting some real-world experience, Tony will consider financing his night club. AJ agrees, and also gives in to a new BMW so he can drive to his new job.
Over burgers, Tony's lawyer, Mink, breaks the news that someone's giving grand jury testimony. "So Carlo has flipped," Tony says. Mink puts his chances of being indicted at 80-90% but assures him "trials are there to be won."
Tony visits Silvio in the hospital, sitting with his comatose consigliere into the night.
At Satriale's Paulie declines Tony's offer to take over from Carlo, saying everyone who's had that gig has died prematurely. Tony ridicules his superstition - and finally sways him when he says he'll have to give the job to Patsy. "Prick. You always know what to say to me don't you?" says Paulie as he accepts the job.
Tony goes to visit Junior, watching him from afar before going over to talk to him. He tells Junior that if he remembers where his money is, he should tell Pat so Tony can hold it in trust for Bobby's kids; it's not fair that Janice should get it. But Junior doesn't know him. Tony tries to jog his memory: "This thing of ours..." he says, reminding him that he and Tony's father ran North Jersey. "We did?" he perks up. "That's nice." But then Junior stares into space again and Tony retreats.
Tony is the first to arrive at Holsten's for a family dinner. He sits in a booth and plays a song on the jukebox, watching the door. Carmela enters and joins him, asking about his meeting with Mink. He tells her Carlo's gonna testify and she takes the news with a sigh. AJ arrives next, complaining about the more mundane tasks of his job but quotes old advice from his father: "Try to remember the times that were good." Meanwhile, Meadow struggles to parallel park outside. Customers come and go - a shady looking guy who's been sitting at the counter enters the restroom. Finally parking the car, Meadow runs inside to join her family, just in time for dinner.
Tony Soprano is the head of two families and sometimes the pressure is too much to bear. As head of the Sopranos crime family, he deals with conniving underbosses, rival families, and the occasional dead body. As husband to his wife, Carmela, and father to his two children, Meadow and Anthony Jr., he deals with financial difficulties, infidelity, and trying to keep his "professional" life from colliding with his family life.
"All due respect, you got no f**king idea what it's like to be number one. Every decision you make affects every facet of every other f**king thing. It's too much to deal with almost. And in the end you're completely alone with it."
The pressures of running 'the family' have taken their toll on Tony. As the acting boss of the DiMeo family, Anthony Soprano heads the most powerful criminal organization in New Jersey. A second-generation wise guy, he's the son of the late Johnny Boy Soprano, a DiMeo capo who brought his boy into his profession and showed him the ropes. After Johnny's death, Tony was mentored by his old man's closest associates, Hesh Rabkin, Jackie Aprile, and Pussy Bonpensiero, as well as Johnny's older brother, Corrado "Junior" Soprano.
Tony was born in 1959 and grew up in Newark and West Orange, New Jersey. Violence was a staple of his childhood: he once witnessed his dad and uncle viciously beating a guy for being late with a numbers payment. Another time he watched Johnny Boy amputate a debtor's finger with a meat cleaver. And though he never struck his two daughters, when Tony transgressed his father sent him flying. Tony's mother, Livia, was busy doling out emotional beatings. Depressive and paranoid, Livia was incapable of affection--she once threatened to plunge a fork into her son's eye--and constantly told Tony he'd never amount to anything. But the coup de grace came years later: when Tony put Livia into a nursing home, she conspired with Junior to have him killed.
These days Tony has his hands full, to put it mildly. The perks of being the boss come at an increasingly high price. He's already had to take out some of his closest associates: Pussy, whom he loved like a brother, when he was recruited as government informant; and Jackie Aprile's son, when he ran afoul of the organization. More recently, when his cousin Tony B. 'went into business for himself,' Tony had to make an agonizing decision: take him out or face an all out war with the New York organization.
If these pressures weren't enough, his personal life is not exactly a suburban idyll. He's had his battles with his Columbia grad daughter Meadow, and routinely clashes with his son, Anthony, Jr., a lackluster student who seems to be having trouble finding his place in life. At least his marriage to Carmela, strained almost to divorce by years of infidelity, appears to have settled into a somewhat peaceful understanding.
It should come as no surprise then that Tony ended up in therapy. He first went to see Dr. Jennifer Melfi for his debilitating anxiety attacks, which were similar to the ones suffered by his late father and now his son. Despite the raised eyebrows of his associates, Tony has mostly stayed in therapy, albeit his own variety (which included trying to start a romantic relationship with his therapist.)
The treatment - and a near-fatal gunshot wound courtesy of the now senile Uncle Junior - have led to an awareness in Tony that life is fragile. In his family life, and his sometimes tenuous relationship with his New York colleagues, he's enjoying a newfound perspective. Despite the aggravations of everyday life, he's making an effort to see every day as a gift, even if some days, the gift seems to be a pair of socks.
"Maybe you pass out because you're guilty over something. Maybe the fact you stick your d**k in anything with a pulse."
Carmela DeAngelis first laid eyes on her future husband in high school, where she and Tony Soprano appeared to be worlds apart from each other. Whereas Tony was an uninspired student and outsider, Carmela was studious and popular. Carmela had her sights set on college; Tony seemed destined for a life in the New Jersey rackets. That these two opposites would attract -let alone marry and build a life together - might, at first, seem surprising. But on closer examination, they almost seem made for each other.
Carmela was acquainted with gangster life long before she took her first ride in Tony's Trans Am. One of her cousins was a mob tough who was gunned down in front of his own house. All things considered, it's not so surprising that Carmela quit her studies in Business Administration at Montclair State University and became Mrs. Anthony Soprano.
Being the First Lady of the New Jersey mob has its advantages, like a beautiful house, furs, expensive jewelry - and power. When an acquaintance declined to write a letter of recommendation for Meadow's college application, Carmela brought her a ricotta pie and not-so-subtly convinced her to reconsider. But there are drawbacks to the life, too, and they are considerable. Carmela has spent the better part of her marriage contending with goomars, G-men and the strong possibility she'll be widowed in a bloody and violent fashion. She has also found it increasingly difficult to reconcile the brutal nature of Tony's profession with her religious faith.
Despite all that, and despite a mutual infatuation with crew member Furio Giunta -- and even a separation from Tony -- Carmela has concluded that she is better off with her husband than without him. Almost losing Tony to Junior's errant bullet has made her even more certain.
"Two years ago I thought RICO was a relative of his."
Dr. Jennifer Melfi is probably the last person anyone would expect to be associated with organized crime. Her private life is unassuming; she's divorced with a son who attends Bard College. Professionally, she is a respected psychiatrist in private practice. One day, however, she opened the door to her waiting room and came face to face with la cosa nostra personified: Tony Soprano. Referred by his neighbor, the notorious capo was seeking treatment for anxiety attacks. That meeting was a seminal event in Melfi's life - one that she often wishes had never happened.
But when Dr. Melfi took on the task of helping Tony with his problems, she unwittingly let herself in for some monumental woes of her own. Helping a killer to feel better about himself is stressful work - there have been times when Melfi thought Tony was going to physically hurt her - and drove Dr. Melfi to self-medicate, with increasing amounts of vodka. Her own therapist, Dr. Elliot Kupferberg, once prescribed Ativan (a sedative) and Luvox (a drug to treat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) for her. In addition to the work-related stressors, Dr. Melfi was attacked in the stairwell of a parking garage one night and brutally raped. When the rapist was freed on a legal technicality, Melfi confessed to Kupferberg that it made her feel better knowing that Tony would "squash" her attacker "like a bug" if she wanted it.
Dr. Kupferberg has repeatedly advised Melfi that for her own sake she must terminate her treatment of Tony - and she did, once, but ended up taking him back.
Their relationship grew even more complicated when Tony, separated from Carmela, asked her out, an offer she refused. Though Tony has quit treatment more than once, Melfi has helped him avoid some destructive impulses -- such as hitting on Adriana - as well as his tendency to go into "high sentimentality mode." More recently, she helped him see that his feelings for his cousin, Tony B., were rooted in guilt and shame, ultimately freeing him to make a difficult decision about how far he had to go to protect the guy.
Though she's frustrated with his inability to tell her things, in the end, Dr. Melfi maybe the only person who truly knows Tony Soprano.
"Tony was right, he set me straight...No more distractions. Focus. Eye on the prize."
Christopher Moltisanti is Tony's nephew and Carmela's first cousin. His father Dickie Moltisanti was something of a mentor to the youthful Tony. So when the senior Moltisanti was shot to death, Tony, in turn, took Christopher under his wing. As Christopher remembers very little of his father - he was still in diapers when Dickie was killed - Tony's the closest thing he's ever had to a paternal figure.
Under Tony's tutelage Christopher became a cugine and eventually a made man - but his ascent wasn't smooth. For one thing, Christopher is impulsive, and his impulses are often violent: he once "handled" a negotiation with a rival garbage concern by turning their representative into refuse and hauling him to Staten Island - without permission. For another, Christopher wasn't always one hundred percent certain that this thing of ours was the thing for him. He has more than once explored the possibility of a film career, going so far as to befriend some Hollywood types and write a screenplay entitled, "You Bark, I Bite." But when Tony got wind of it, he barked an ultimatum: if you're with the Soprano crew it's "every fucking second of every fucking day." Christopher's been a devoted "family man" ever since. When his fianc√©e Adriana tried to convince him to turn for the Feds, he had to face the ultimate decision: rat out Tony and enter witness protection, or rat out Adriana to Tony and get her killed. In the end, Christopher couldn't imagine leaving the only life he's ever known.
Christopher's "recreational" heroin use is another ongoing struggle; when it became a full-blown addiction, he became a serious potential liability to Tony and the rest of the organization. Rather than "put him out of misery" as Junior advised, Tony sent him to rehab.
He still struggles with urges and dips in every now and then - including a drug-fueled secret relationship with Julianna Skiff, the real estate agent who had been a romantic interest of Tony's -- but for the most part Christopher tries to walk a straight line. Learning that his girlfriend Kelli Lombardo was pregnant, he surprised everyone by announcing their marriage, and soon made an offer on a house for their new family
"You choose this life, it comes with responsibilities...Teddy Roosevelt gave an entire speech once with a bullet lodged in his chest. Some things are a matter of duty."
Corrado Soprano, Jr., AKA Uncle Junior, is the son of Corrado and Mariangela D'Agostino Soprano, Italian immigrants who came over from the town of Ariano in 1911. Junior had two younger brothers: Giovanni (AKA Johnny Boy), who was Tony's father and Ercoli (AKA Eckley), who was mentally retarded and spent most of his life in an institution. The senior Corrado was a stonemason, but Junior and Johnny Boy had no intention of following in his footsteps; they dropped out of high school, quickly affiliating themselves with the DiMeo crime family.
Though Junior was highly competitive with his little brother, he always had a deep affection for his nephew. Junior has no children of his own - he's never been married - and he spent a lot of quality time with Tony while he was growing up.
After Dominic DiMeo was sent to prison for life and Johnny Boy and Jackie Aprile succumbed to cancer, Junior took over as head of the New Jersey organization. But he was perceived as high-handed and selfish -- in mob parlance "he ate alone" -- causing serious dissension in the ranks. Tony eventually stepped in and took charge, leaving Junior as a figurehead -- and a target for the Feds. Once again upstaged by a younger relative, Junior was hurt and angry, and vulnerable to manipulation by Tony's mother, Livia. Nursing her own grudges against Tony, Livia convinced Junior to order a hit on her son. But the hit attempt failed, and Tony punished his uncle by severely curtailing his earning power and effectively cutting him out of his life. Not long after that Junior was placed under house arrest on federal racketeering charges and diagnosed with his own case of the "big casino" -- cancer.
But Junior's a tough old bird. He's outlasted haler, heartier enemies and despite his situation, he never sang for the feds. His case was eventually ruled a mistrial, thanks to a hung (and tampered with) jury. Junior even made amends, to some extent, with Tony. Then he suffered a series of small strokes, and though he seemed fine afterwards, something wasn't right. He started insulting Tony in public and losing track of his train of thought. Under house arrest awaiting his re-trial, Junior mistook Tony for an old acquaintance and shot him, almost killing him.
Now in a mental health facility, Junior lives in confusion between two worlds, wondering why he can't just "go home."
"Last year I made bail so fast, my soup was still warm when I got home."
Silvio Dante didn't always want to be a mobster. His dream as a youth was to make it big as a singer. But while the spirit was willing, the pipes were weak; Silvio ended up managing topless dancers instead. He's operated several clubs in Asbury Park and currently owns the Bada Bing, where he regularly regales his associates with a legendary impression of Al Pacino. Silvio's a family man in the literal sense as well: he and his wife, Gabriella have a teenage daughter, Heather, a soccer star her father refers to as "the principessa."
Silvio's function in the Soprano crew is as consigliere to Tony, a task to which he's well suited. Like the other members of Tony's inner circle, he's been around the business his entire life. Unlike Tony's other confidantes, however, Silvio is not a slave to his impulses. He's an even-tempered, reasonable man; capable of seeing a situation from all angles and giving Tony a solid read of it. Case in point: when Tony got himself into political hot water by striking another made man - thereby breaking one of the mob's cardinal rules - it was Silvio who eventually talked him into resolving the situation nonviolently.
All that is not to say that Silvio is incapable of violence. When a Bing dancer once failed to show up for work, Silvio retrieved her by her hair. At times he's advised Tony to eliminate rivals by having them killed, and he personally participated in the murder of Pussy Bonpensiero. But, outside of a poker game - he's infamous for becoming abusive when he's losing - Silvio rarely loses control of himself.
It was Silvio who handled family business during Tony's coma, and during that time he revealed to his wife that he had been considered for "the big chair" when the job went to Tony. But the pressures of the role soon take their toll on Silvio; he ends up in the hospital from the stress.
"...I was born, grew up, spent a few years in the army, a few more in the can and here I am, a half o' wise guy."
Peter Paul Gualtieri, arguably the most meticulously coiffed and manicured capo in the Soprano crew, was something of a child prodigy. He first displayed the skills he'd utilize in his chosen profession at the tender age of nine: while other kids were dreaming of wielding a bat like the Mick, Paulie was deploying one on a schoolmate's skull. In and out of juvenile correctional facilities for the next several years, Paulie eventually dropped out of school altogether; at seventeen, he became an enforcer for Johnny Boy Soprano. Thereafter his movement up the ranks was steady, albeit punctuated by the occasional prison stretch and an army hitch abbreviated by a Section 8.
Is Paulie mentally unstable? He's highly superstitious and has a violent - at times literally murderous - temper, as well as a distrust of others that borders on the paranoid. But those qualities don't particularly distinguish him from his associates. He's openly admitted to seeking professional counseling, although he disapproves of Tony's therapy. That Tony's shrink is a woman "don't compute" for Paulie, whose "issues" with the opposite sex are common knowledge. Though he's had his fair share of goomars, the only Mrs. Gualtieri has been Nucci, Paulie's mother - on whom he dotes with the reverence of a true son of Italy.
Paulie's philosophy of life is simple: as long as everybody who's supposed to kick points to him does, so that he can in turn kick his points to Tony, all's right with the world. But recent decisions by Tony - that resulted in a considerable drop in Paulie's earnings - have made Paulie less sanguine about the way of the world. He went so far as to tell his sorrows to Johnny Sack and even paid a visit to Carmine Lupertazzi, considering a switch his allegiance to the New York organization. But when the old don didn't know who he was, a chagrined Paulie quickly hightailed it back to Tony, rekindling their relationship with an envelope full of cash.
Paulie's general disillusionment became even more profound when he learned that Nucci, the woman he believed was his mother, was actually his aunt, and that his real mother was his dying Aunt Dotty, a nun. With his world upside down, he also learned that he has early-stage prostate cancer.
"Did (other) kids ever find fifty thousand dollars in Krugerrands and a .45 automatic while they were hunting for Easter eggs?"
Tony and Carmela's firstborn, Meadow Mariangela Soprano is, in many ways, a typical suburban ingenue: pretty, bright and talented, she was a high school honors student. But, being a Soprano, some of Meadow's life experiences differ significantly from her peers'. Not many young women have a father who garroted a business associate while accompanying her on a tour of college campuses.
But Meadow is tough and clear-eyed about her father's profession. She figured out at an early age that Tony wasn't really in the non-putrescable waste business; when he finally admitted to her that "some" of his income came from illegal sources, she appreciated his candor. Meadow's opinion had always been that her father is no worse than the "solid citizens" who work as lawyers for tobacco companies. A high school classmate - whose father went bankrupt because of gambling debts he owed to Tony - once told Meadow that her father was a "gangster asshole." She responded that his father's predicament was his own fault.
Over the years, Meadow's relationship with Tony and Carmela has been severely strained. When she dated a fellow student of mixed race, her parents vehemently disapproved - especially Tony. They didn't like her next boyfriend, Jackie Aprile, Junior - the son of Tony's deceased close friend and boss - much better. A cugine wannabe, Jackie flunked out of Rutgers and cheated on Meadow. But when Jackie was found shot to death, Meadow was inconsolable, placing the blame on Tony and the "family life."
As she matured, however, Meadow showed herself to be smart and resilient, excelling in her classes at Columbia and volunteering at the South Bronx Law Center. Seemingly free of the DiMeo family life, she is engaged to her boyfriend Finn DeTriolio -- of whom her parents approve -- and is living in California.
"You know what really pisses me off about my dad? He did all these really great things, then, before he was my dad...now he's just an asshole."
Tony's second born and namesake, Anthony Soprano, Jr. is capable of causing his father more agita than the FBI's entire New Jersey Field Office. Anthony Jr. is an uninspired (read "lousy") high school student, a Nintendo cultist whose greatest talent is pushing his parents' buttons. Some highlights: he crashed Carmela's car while driving without a license; got caught smoking pot at his confirmation party; skimmed Nietzsche and Camus and declared life meaningless; went to gym class drunk on stolen Communion wine; broke into the school and vandalized the swimming pool; and, finally, was expelled for cheating on a geometry test.
Following the gym class bacchanal, school counselors informed Tony and Carmela that Anthony Jr. was on the "borderline" of Attention Deficit Disorder. Anthony Jr. was briefly in therapy, but his parents ultimately decided that Anthony Jr. was "just a kid who screwed up a little bit." When Anthony Jr. was expelled, however, Tony decided it was time for serious action: A.J. was enrolled in the Hudson Military Institute, a strict boarding school where there's no television and the day starts at 05:30. But when Anthony Jr. passed out while trying on his new uniform, it was discovered that he suffers anxiety attacks - the same malady suffered by his father and grandfather. As a result, his internment at military school was cancelled.
Post high school, A.J.'s aimlessness has continued. Partying with his friends and drifting from McJob to McJob, he's caught between his father's reputation and his own, essentially gentle, nature. He was determined to kill Uncle Junior for shooting Tony, but didn't have it in him when he was face to face with the old man. His lack of direction infuriates his father, but A.J. is showing some signs that he is changing - not the least of which: his relationship with Blanca Selgado, a single mother, ten years his senior.
"Oh, yeah. Be one of those wives like Carmela Soprano...breast feed a bunch of rugrats, then spend the rest of your life at the gym, just you and your stretch marks."
The future Mrs. Christopher Moltisanti, Adriana La Cerva is a mobster's dream girl: smart and engaging, with a physique good enough to star at the Bada Bing. In addition, she's been around wise guys all her life - she's the niece of Jackie and Richie Aprile. Growing up she saw and heard plenty, and isn't at all repulsed by the LCN lifestyle. In fact, when Christopher became a made man, Adriana was almost more excited about it than he was.
But that was before the Feds moved in on her, and she turned informant. She didn't know much, so they pushed her to get facts - and to get Christopher to turn. The pressure was almost more than she could bear; she was diagnosed with a digestive disorder, and almost confessed one night to Carmela after too much wine. (She did, however, find an upside to the arrangement; after her best friend Tina Francesco flirted with Christopher one too many times, she told the FBI that Tina was an embezzler.)
When the Feds turned up the heat, Adriana was left with a terrible choice: get Christopher to turn and give up Tony, or the two would go to jail for five years on drug charges. She couldn't fathom going to prison, so when Christopher was fed up with Tony one night (he felt he was favoring Tony B.), Adriana came out with it all. After nearly choking to her death, Christopher calmed down, then came around to see her side. At least for a little while. Tony called shortly after to tell her Christopher was in the hospital upstate - he'd tried to kill himself but he really just wanted to find out where she was. Silvio was sent to pick her up to "take her to see him," but instead drove her to a secluded spot in the woods, where he shot two bullets into her as she tried to crawl away through the leaves.
"You hear your uncle's gonna hurt my business by staging a hit in my place and that's your solution? Burn it down...?"
Artie Bucco is Tony's one close civilian friend. They've known each since high school, and when Tony went into his family's business, so did Artie. He's the owner and chef of the Nuovo (New) Vesuvio Restaurant, Tony's crew's favorite eatery.
Artie is fully aware of what Tony does for a living, and he's both attracted and repelled by it. He enjoys the cachet of hanging out with mobsters, and his affection for Tony is genuine. But that affection was severely tested when Tony, looking for a way to prevent his uncle from having someone murdered at Vesuvio, had the restaurant blown up. When Artie found out, he went ballistic himself, briefly threatening Tony with a hunting rifle. Ultimately, though, Artie decided to forgive Tony, and welcomed him to his new restaurant. His choice to be Tony Soprano's friend has cost Artie more than just a restaurant, however. His wife, Charmaine - his high school sweetheart - left him for a period because of his mob ties.
Tony's business has been critical to Vesuvio's financial survival, but lately the combination of Artie's obsequious style, dodgy service and somewhat tired menu has led some crew members to believe that he has lost his edge - and that the new place, Da Giovanni, is the best spot in town.
"I'm Fred Astaire."
Feech La Manna is something of a living legend in the New Jersey mob. A contemporary of Junior and Johnny-Boy Soprano, he was a much-respected capo in the '70's - although he always claimed to be a humble purveyor of Italian breadsticks.
Feech recently returned to Essex County after serving twenty years in prison, and as a central player in one of the seminal events of his life, Tony wanted to help him out. Back when he was a cugine, Feech ran a Saturday night card game. Tony and Jackie Aprile Sr., wanting to do something ballsy that would gain the respect of the made guys, robbed the game. They came away with 20K and a reputation as up-and-comers. At a sitdown afterward, Feech, in a magnanimous gesture, gave Tony and Jackie a pass in exchange for returning a chunk of their take.
So when Feech told Tony he wanted get back in the game, "shy, sports book, whatever," Tony told him he could do whatever he wanted, "as long as you don't step on any toes." Feech assured his new boss he had nothing to worry about. "Me?" he smiled, "I'm Fred Astaire."
When Tony gave him stewardship of the "executive" poker game -- Feech's domain before he went to prison -- it became clear that the old capo resented kowtowing to someone he still thinks of as a kid. He'd smirk at Tony in front of his subordinates, then try to withhold his share of the earnings.
This wasn't his only breech of trust. Feech gave the green light to a raid on a wedding, where all the expensive cars were boosted and taken to Johnny Sacks' shops (he gave Feech a good deal). Tony started to wonder whether he could keep Feech around. "Did I learn nothing from Richie Aprile?" he asked Silvio, who reluctantly agreed that they might have to get rid of the old man. But as Feech became increasingly popular with the underlings, Tony decided he needed an alternative. Instead of arranging for his disappearance, he set him up to violate his parole, and soon Feech was back in the slammer, where he could no longer undermine his boss.
"Sometimes you gotta do things you don't want to...If you're lookin' for a purpose in life, doin' what's right is your purpose."
The late Sal "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero was the big brother Tony never had. Heavy-set and gregarious, he valued family above all else and had a special knack with kids. His own children adored him, and for years he was a Santa Claus nonpareil at the Satriale's Christmas party. Meadow and Anthony, Jr. were the only kids in their neighborhood with a doting Uncle Pussy, and he was an important part of many Soprano rites of passage: he was A.J.'s confirmation sponsor and on the night Tony lost his virginity, Pussy took him out for a steak.
But just because Pussy had a soft spot for kith and kin doesn't mean he was a pushover. He made his bones with Johnny Boy Soprano's crew, and rumor has it he acquired his nickname because he was once a cat burglar. (The "Big" was appended to distinguish him from another wise guy with a feline moniker, Little Pussy Malenga.) Killing was a part of the job, and Pussy was called on to "step up" several times during his career. He was unsentimental about it: "The more of them you do, the better you'll sleep." There were times, though, when dispatching someone was emotionally gratifying, as when Pussy and Tony personally executed Matt Bevilaqua for taking part in a hit on Christopher.
Ultimately, it was his love of family that was Pussy's undoing. Caught smuggling heroin, the FBI offered him a choice: become a confidential informant or spend the rest of his life in a federal penitentiary. To say it was an agonizing decision is a supreme understatement. If Pussy helped the feds get Tony, he was betraying a man he loved, a guy who would catch a bullet for a friend. If Pussy didn't cooperate, he'd be in prison - isolated from his children and with no way to pay for the college education that would keep them from ending up like their father. Pussy agreed to wear a wire.
One morning, Tony, Silvio and Paulie took Pussy for a boat ride and, when they were far enough from shore, confronted him. To his credit, Pussy didn't live up to his name in his final moments. He made an attempt to talk his way out of it - it's expected in these situations. But when at last guns were drawn, Pussy asked only for a seat and that they aim away from his face. Afterward, Tony, Paulie and Silvio wrapped Pussy's body in chains, pushed it overboard and headed back to shore. It was a painful rite of passage for all involved.
"I gave my life to my children on a silver platter."
Cagey, manipulative and possessing an encyclopedic memory of every slight she ever suffered, Livia Pollio Soprano was probably the most important person in Tony's life. She was born in Providence, Rhode Island, to Faustino (AKA Augie) and Teresa Pollio, Italian immigrants from Avellino. Livia's childhood was poverty-stricken and miserable, and she spent her adult life punishing everyone for it.
Marriage to the tough, charismatic Johnny Boy Soprano was Livia's ticket out of her parents' house. But married life, however, was not happy ever after. Livia wasn't particularly interested in housework and as for motherhood, her take on it was that babies were "animals...no different from dogs." Although Johnny Boy was a good provider, in Livia's estimation he was never good enough. She constantly pressured him to earn more, but when he came to her with a plan to move the family to Reno in order to pursue a new business opportunity - something he wanted very much - she quickly put the kibosh on it. Although Livia belittled Johnny Boy practically every day of his life, when he died she instantly canonized him.
Old age didn't mellow Livia - if anything, it made her more suspicious and abusive of everyone around her. She was convinced that her children were out to kill her and take her money - all the while insisting she was an impoverished, defenseless old widow. When Tony put her in a nursing home because he legitimately believed she couldn't live on her own, she retaliated by convincing Junior to put a hit on him. The hit, of course, failed, but Livia, as always came out unscathed. Nobody ever got the upper hand on Livia Soprano: a year later she died, peacefully, in her sleep.
"I got my limits, too..."
Robert Baccalieri, Jr., AKA Bobby Bacala, is a stalwart soldier in the Soprano organization. "Bacala" is salted cod, and at first glance, Bobby can appear to be a fish out of water. He's quiet and sweet tempered, and even among a bunch of guys sporting pasta bellies, his stands out. Bobby's obesity often brings him scorn from the other wise guys; Tony himself has warned Bobby "get off my car before you flip it over," and that he should "seriously consider salads." But Bobby is loyal to his deeply buried core, and doesn't shirk the physical requirements of his job. When Tony needed muscle to crack down on a demonstration at a construction site, Bobby was in the thick of the fray, wielding a crowbar with the best of 'em. When Tony needed someone to help him find Christopher and Paulie, who were lost in the pine barrens, Bobby's experience as a deer hunter was just what he needed.
Bobby had reported directly to Junior. Initially, he replaced the late Mikey Palmice as Junior's personal assistant, and was promoted to run Junior's loan shark business. Despite Junior's cantankerousness, father figures are important to Bobby, and he had grown to love and respect the old capo. With the shooting of Tony, however, Bobby has been very careful with his visits to Junior.
Bobby was very close to his own father, famed DiMeo button man Robert Baccalieri, Senior. When his father died in a car crash after doing a hit for Gigi Cestone, Bobby was inconsolable. Tragedy, in the form of yet another fatal automobile accident, came to Bobby again recently. This time the victim was his wife, Karen, the mother of his two children. Utterly devoted to Karen - he was known to be the only made man who didn't have a goomara - Bobby nearly suffered a breakdown at her wake.
He was pulled from his grief by an unlikely savior in the form of Janice Soprano, who seemed determined to forge a relationship. Bobby eventually came around and married Janice, who quickly embraced her new role as step-mom to his kids, showing up at their soccer games. But when her temper got out of hand -- she attacked the mother of a peewee soccer player and got arrested for assault -- Bobby gave her an ultimatum: go see an anger management specialist, or "this with us ain't gonna work out." Janice agreed to get help.
"I've been looking for my soul mate all my life. Madonn' have I looked."
Janice is Tony's big sister, the eldest child of Livia and Johnny Boy Soprano. Unlike her brother, who's spent most of his life within a short radius of his birthplace, Janice had a serious case of wanderlust. She hated her home life while growing up and was constantly at odds with her mother. (Livia chided her about her weight and, according to Janice, once spiked her iced tea with broken glass.) So as soon as she graduated from high school, Janice hit the road.
A selective list of Janice's activities over the next twenty-odd years includes the following: she lived in San Francisco and then Los Angeles, where she joined an ashram. While living in the ashram, she worked for a moving company and changed her name to Parvati Wasatch; "Parvati" after a Hindu goddess and "Wasatch" after a Utah mountain range. She traveled around Europe, where she married a French Canadian named Eugene, and had a son they named Harpo. Eventually, Parvati ended up in Seattle, working in an espresso bar. She left that job after convincing a Workers Comp board that she had developed Carpal Tunnel Syndrome from operating the steamed milk machine.
Parvati was living off her disability checks when word reached her of Livia's stroke. Letting bygones be bygones, she returned to New Jersey to look after her invalid mother - and her inheritance. Going home wasn't her only retro move: she changed her name back to Janice and became engaged to her old flame, Richie Aprile. The re-christened Janice tried hard to make their relationship work - she even let Richie hold a gun to her head during sex - but it wasn't meant to be. One night at the dinner table he hit her in the mouth, so she calmly retrieved a gun from a kitchen cabinet and shot him to death. Shortly thereafter Tony dispatched the grieving almost-widow back to Seattle.
But when Livia died, Janice returned home to stay. In short order she got into a dispute with Svetlana - the Russian woman Tony hired to look after Livia following the Richie incident - over Livia's record collection. Svetlana said that Livia had given the records to her; Janice insisted she return them. The cold war escalated quickly: Janice stole Svetlana's prosthetic leg, ransoming it for the LP's. Svetlana retaliated by having a couple of her friends break some of Janice's ribs. While hospitalized, Janice experienced an epiphany and found Christ. She took up residence in the house where she grew up and, for a time, half-heartedly pursued a career in Christian rock music.
She carried on a brief but torrid affair with Ralph Cifaretto, but ended it when someone better became available: the newly widowed Bobby Baccilieri. Janice decided she was just what the stalwart Bobby needed to get over the death of his wife, and she quickly stepped into the role, becoming a soccer mom to his two kids. But when she got arrested for assaulting the mother of a peewee soccer player, Bobby told her it was time for "anger classes or whatever." The counseling seemed to be working, until Tony taunted her about her long-estranged son, Harpo. "What's French-Canadian for 'I grew up without a mother?"" he asked, provoking his sister to come at him with a fork.
"You know me...I don't stick my beak in."
The urbane boss of the New York family, Johnny Sack is known for his sharp intellect and calm demeanor. He's a still-waters-run-deep guy who makes it a point to keep tabs on anything that could affect his business and keep his innermost thoughts to himself. Those qualities have made him a successful capo - and someone you definitely don't want as an enemy.
Johnny has been an important ally of Tony's for some time. Back when Tony was annoyed that then-boss Junior was overtaxing Hesh, Johnny helped persuade Junior to relent. Johnny was happy to help; anything that helps keep the peace in one family is good for all.
If there's one subject that can quickly cause Johnny to lose his fabled cool, however, it's his wife Ginny, a "Rubenesque" woman. He once ordered a hit - which he later called off - on Ralph Cifaretto for repeating an off-color remark about Ginny's backside.
When then-underboss Johnny and Ginny moved their home to Essex County, Johnny was quick to assure Tony that he wanted to be closer to his wife's family, not Tony's business. Johnny's true ambition had always been to head the New York family, and he once enlisted Tony's help in a plot to kill the aging don, Carmine Lupertazzi. When, at the eleventh hour, Tony balked, Johnny was livid.
After Carmine Sr. kicked the bucket, Johnny moved quickly to take over - making it clear he was willing to take out anyone who got in his way, including Carmine Sr.'s consigliere, Angelo Garepe.
Though Tony tried to stay neutral in the battle, he found himself in a corner when his cousin, Tony Blundetto, went off the reservation and whacked Phil Leotardo's little brother - payback for Angelo, who had been his closest friend in lockup. In the midst of all the bloodshed, Johnny neglected to notice that one of his lieutenants had turned informant in a Brooklyn sting operation.
Moments after he and Tony decided to patch things up, Johnny was hauled off by the Feds - while Tony made a run for it. Now in the stir longterm, Johnny has lost the respect of many of his crew members, including the very dangerous Phil Leotardo, who appears to have his own plans for the big chair.
"All this over some whore?"
If the mafia gave out a Mr. Congeniality Award, Ralph Cifaretto would never be in contention for it. Mr. Obnoxious, however, would be his in a walk. Sarcastic, belligerent and misogynistic - even by wise guy standards - Ralph was easily Tony's least favorite business associate. Despite being a very smart man (albeit one who dropped out of school in the eleventh grade), Ralph was prone to making grossly inappropriate comments at the worst possible moment. When a young associate was in a coma, Ralph commented to the guy's brother, "Look at the bright side - he wasn't that smart to begin with."
One night, Ralph's lesser qualities coalesced in a particularly gruesome way, with consequences for the entire Soprano crew. In the parking lot of the Bada Bing, a coked-up Ralph beat to death a young dancer who was pregnant with his baby. When confronted by Tony, Ralph made the mistake of being flip about it: "She tripped...is it my fault she's a klutz?" Tony responded by punching Ralph in the face, something that a made man never does to another made man. The situation was eventually resolved, however: after being made to grovel awhile, Ralph was installed as the captain of the late Gigi Cestone's crew. Ralph was pleased; the captaincy was something he had wanted for a long time. Tony warned him, "be careful what you wish for," but hey, what does he know?
Plenty, it turns out. Ralph hadn't been captain for long when he was faced with his first major crisis. Jackie Aprile, Jr. robbed a card game, killing the dealer and shooting Furio in the leg. Once a made man had been shot, Jackie's fate was sealed; but Tony told Ralph that, as captain of the crew that had been hit, the final decision was his. For once, Ralph - who was dating Jackie's mother, Rosalie, and had developed a relationship with Jackie as well - didn't have anything funny to say. He ordered the hit on Jackie, and then took Rosalie to his funeral.
For a brief time, Ralph and Tony actually got along with each other, sort of. Ralph purchased a racehorse named Pie-O-My and Tony, always fond of animals, took a shine to the filly. But when Ralph was in sudden need of a large sum of cash - his 12-year old son had been gravely injured in an archery accident - the highly insured racehorse died in a suspicious stable fire. Tony, furious, confronted Ralph and accused him of ordering Pie-O-My's death. The confrontation quickly turned into a violent fight that ended with Ralph lying dead on his kitchen floor. Tony then enlisted Christopher's aid in dismembering and burying the body. Ralph Cifaretto is now in his final resting place, and Tony's official theory of the crime is that it was New York that put him there.
"What's mine is not yours to give."
Brother of Jackie Aprile and uncle of Jackie Aprile, Jr. and Adriana La Cerva, Richie was completely in and of the world of the New Jersey mob. He was a ruthless and feared racketeer, although at first glance he might not have seemed especially imposing. In a profession rife with big-muscled bigmouths, Richie was comparatively small and taciturn. But what he lacked in stature he more than made up for in pugnacity. He could intimidate with his eyes - his "Manson lamps," Tony dubbed them - and he emerged from ten years in Rahway Penitentiary unscathed. Richie's prized possession was a leather jacket he stripped from Rocco DiMeo, reputed to be "the toughest guy in Essex and Hudson Counties."
Richie was equally notorious for taking offense at the slightest of slights, earning him the nickname, "Itchy Richie." Ultimately it was that very itchiness that did him in. Upon his release from prison, Richie was unable to adapt to the changes that had taken place in his absence, especially the fact that the boss was now Tony Soprano, a "jerky kid" from the old neighborhood. Richie and Tony were constantly butting heads; Richie felt that his years in prison entitled him to more than Tony was willing to let him have. Finally, Richie decided to make a move on Tony, and sought Junior's support. But Junior weighed his options and tipped off his nephew. Upon learning Richie's intentions, Tony decided to hit him first.
As it turned out, his sister beat him to the punch. Richie and Janice, who were high school sweethearts, had rekindled their relationship and were engaged to be married. One night, as Janice was preparing dinner, she and Richie got into an argument about his son, Richard, Jr. Janice opined that "Little Ricky's" vocation, ballroom dance, is a legitimate art form, and asked, "if he was gay, what difference does it make?" Richie answered by shoving his fist into her face. But Janice got the final word, so to speak, by calmly pumping two nine-millimeter slugs into Richie's chest. Instead of taking over, Richie ended up being taken to Satriale's, and then buried - as Tony sarcastically told Janice, "someplace on a hill, overlooking a little river, with pinecones all around," - in several individual plastic bags.
"Unfortunately, because of her husband's high profile in the waste industry, Carmela's the one who bears the brunt of these insults. But there were many of us who were equally offended."
Gabriella "Gabby" Dante is the wife of Silvio and the mother of their college student daughter, Heather. A member of the close-knit sorority of New Jersey mob wives, Gabriella spends a lot of time with her "sisters" and is fiercely loyal to them. Once, when she felt that their place in the Italian American community had been maligned by a church luncheon speaker, Gabriella refused to grin and bear it. Instead, she confronted Father Intintola, the luncheon's organizer, and as she put it, "cut him a new one."
In addition to taking care of friends and family, Gabriella carefully maintains her appearance, working out to stay trim and keeping her hair long and her necklines low. That's part of her role in this thing of ours and for the most part, Gabriella accepts it. She would like, in return, to be the only woman in Silvio's life. But given that she once overheard him making fun of Bobby Bacala for not having a goomara and his "office" is populated with all-but-naked pole dancers, Gabriella knows it's highly unlikely she'll get her wish.
"You're talking to the wrong white man, my friend."
Because he's Jewish he can never be a made man, but in every other sense Herman "Hesh" Rabkin is an important part of Tony's crew. He was a trusted advisor of Tony's father, and Tony seeks his counsel as well; it was Hesh who told Tony about his father's fainting spells. He made a bundle in the recording industry in the 50's and 60's and, to his credit, Hesh gave a lot of talented young black musicians their start - but he also kept authorship of many of their songs for himself. This practice almost bit Hesh in the tushy, when a rap star named Massive G tried to shake him down for $400,000 in royalties he claimed was owed to a relative. Massive G threatened to sue, but Hesh fended him off with the threat of a countersuit. Hesh is perhaps the most sophisticated member of Tony's organization, he's well read and erudite, and keeps a stable of well-bred horses. (Although he doesn't ride them; just enjoys watching them run.) He's seen and experienced a lot, and Tony is fortunate to have him in his corner.
"A real hardhead, this Soprano kid. And the ego. I tell you, though, when I first met him, decisive as he is, I'd have been proud to call him my son."
The capo di tutti capi of New York, Carmine Lupertazzi Sr. was an old school wise guy of Junior's generation. But unlike Junior, who's called him "a slippery f**k" with "big fish lips," Carmine managed to stay at the top. During his tenure, the New York organization maintained close ties to New Jersey's, despite Carmine's contention that his friends across the Hudson weren't really a crime family but a "glorified crew."
Carmine was always on the lookout for any scheme his organization could horn in on. He made sure that his family got a piece of the New Jersey Esplanade project, and when he got wind of a HUD scam that Tony was running, he laid claim to a portion of that as well. When Tony balked at the size of the portion he demanded, Carmine showed he could be a hardhead, too. He had his union guys shut down construction of the Esplanade, creating serious financial consequences for both outfits.
The years hadn't really mellowed Carmine. Despite being a loving father and grandfather, he remained, foremost, a ruthless mobster. He once ordered a hit - later rescinded - on his own longtime underboss, Johnny Sack, when he decided Johnny's temper was a liability.
But after a massive stroke on the golf course, the old don finally kicked off -- before naming a successor. This left New York's organization without a clear capo, and set off a turf war between his oldest son and namesake, Little Carmine, and his determined underboss, Johnny Sack.
"Ralph told this funny f**king joke...he goes, Ginny Sack had a 95-pound mole taken off her ass...That's in bad taste, huh?"
Little Paulie is the nephew and right hand of Paulie "Walnuts" Gualtieri. He's not yet a made man, but has the makings of an adequate soldier; he leaves the strategizing to others and does what he's told. While Paulie Walnuts was in jail for four months on a gun charge, Little Paulie was his eyes and ears in New Jersey - which is how he inadvertently helped create the animosity between Ralph Cifaretto and Johnny Sack. It was Little Paulie who told his uncle the infamous wisecrack that Ralph made about Johnny's wife. A more circumspect individual might have kept the remark to himself, but Little Paulie is not that guy.
"I'm gonna be a licensed massage therapist. It's like a chiropractor, just not as prestigious."
Tony Blundetto was Tony Soprano's first cousin and one of his closest childhood friends. Their mothers were sisters; Tony B.'s mom is Quintina Pollio Blundetto. Although Tony B. is also related to Christopher Moltisanti (Christopher's mother's maiden name was Blundetto), the two Tonys were born the same year and grew up as close as brothers.
Like his cousin, Tony B. was once a rising star in the mob, but his career was cut short at 28 when he was sent to prison for 15 years for hijacking a truck - a heist Tony S. was supposed to be in on. At the time, Tony S. told his cousin he'd been jumped by two black guys, but the guilt got to him over the years. He eventually confided to Tony B. that he'd had a panic attack and passed out.
When he was first paroled after 15 years, Tony B.'s efforts at civilian life didn't work out so well. And despite his cousin's efforts to get him back in the N.J. game, he succumbed to the financial temptations of freelance work, ultimately putting the entire Jersey organization at risk. When the Leotardos took out Angela Garepe, his former cell mate, Tony B. lost it and settled the score - taking out Billy Leotardo as his brother watched. This put his cousin Tony S. in a box - ultimately sealing his own fate. Sparing him a tortured death at the hands of Phil Leotardo, Tony S. decided to let his oldest friend meet his end the easy way...and did it himself.
"No bitcha to me."
Furio Giunta was the one member of the Soprano crew who was literally a son of Italy. A native of Naples, Furio was in the employ of elderly mob boss Zio Vittorio when he came to Tony's attention. In Naples to broker a deal for stolen Mercedes, Tony got to witness Furio's professional skills up close: during an incident where it appeared that gunshots were being fired at Zio Vittoria, Furio unhesitatingly shielded the old man with his own body. When it turned out that the "gunshots" were only errant firecrackers lobbed by a teenager, Furio and his comrades severely beat the boy anyway. Impressed by this display of loyalty and ferocity, Tony imported Furio to New Jersey and installed him at Artie Bucco's restaurant. As far as the INS was concerned, Furio was a highly skilled mozzarella maker. To people who owe Tony Soprano money, he was a pony-tailed nightmare.
As it turned out, Furio's stay in the States was not a long one. Although he became a valued member of Tony's crew, he was never fully at home in the Garden State. In addition, he found himself in an impossible personal predicament; he had fallen in love with Carmela Soprano. On a trip home for his father's funeral, Furio's uncle advised him that he had two options: he could either stay away from Carmela . . . or kill Tony. Furio made his choice. He returned to the New Jersey long enough to put his house on the market, then took a one-way flight back to Italy. He hasn't been heard from since.
"All these years I sat here and kept my mouth shut. And I didn't want you boys here and look what happened, look what you've done to my husband."
Charmaine Bucco is Artie Bucco's wife. No longer able to tolerate her husband's relationship with Tony Soprano, Charmaine once left Artie, telling him, "and you're not getting the kids." During the split, Charmaine considerably improved her personal appearance and she continued to work at the Nuovo Vesuvio, where she made a point of antagonizing Tony and his crew: "Those two guys over there? I think they're FBI...I'm kidding. Enjoy."
Things weren't always bad between Charmaine and the Sopranos; in fact, she and Carmela had been good friends since high school. But that relationship has soured, too. When the old Vesuvio was destroyed (see Artie's bio), Carmela decided to "help out" the Buccos by hiring them to cater a benefit. But during the event, Carmela - surrounded by people she wanted to impress - treated Charmaine like her servant. Charmaine was hurt, got mad and ultimately got even: she told Carmela that once, before Carmela and Tony were married, she and Tony had slept together. "But don't worry," Charmaine told a speechless Carmela, "I made my choice and I'm fine."
Now back together, Artie and Charmiane's marriage remains a testy one. Charmaine is one tough little civilian.
"She (Hillary Clinton) stood by him and put up with the bullshit and in the end, what did she do? She set up her own little thing."
The quintessential mob woman, Rosalie Aprile is smoky-voiced and tough talking, and always immaculately dressed, coiffed and manicured. She grew up around "the life" and, like most females in that world, was married at a young age to a wise guy wannabe. In her case, the wannabe was Jackie Aprile, who eventually became the head of the New Jersey organization - even Tony Soprano reported to him. When Jackie died of cancer, Rosalie became a sort of queen dowager of the Garden State rackets.
Rosalie has seen more than her share of tragedy. In addition to her husband's death, her son, Jackie, Jr. - whom Rosalie had hoped would marry Meadow Soprano - was shot to death in what, she was told, was a drug deal gone bad. Unknown to Rosalie, the shooting was actually a hit ordered by her then-boyfriend, Ralph Cifaretto. Rosalie's relationship with Ralph came to an end, ironically, when he grew impatient with her depression over young Jackie's death. But as testament to Rosalie's compassion, when Ralph's son was seriously injured in an accident, she reached out to him. "Until you've been through it yourself," she told him, "you don't know."
Her compassion and common sense have made Rosalie a valued friend and confidant of Carmela Soprano. It was Rosalie with whom Carmela discussed her feelings for Furio - and it was Rosalie who counseled her friend to forget him. Rosalie had once had her own extramarital dalliance, and knew the potential danger. "If Tony suspects one iota, you know what'll happen to Furio," she told Carmela, "These guys are living in a different century." Rosalie is ever mindful of the world in which she and Carmela live. But unlike Carmela, she's not tortured by it; Rosalie is clear-eyed about the life she's chosen and accepts it as is.
Gloria Trillo has the distinction of being the woman in the briefest and most intense affair of Tony's life. No ordinary goomara, she was a smart, beautiful career woman, a top sales rep at Globe Mercedes. She was also highly independent, capable of traveling to Morocco alone and on her own dime. Gloria was passionate and impulsive - bordering on the compulsive; she once arranged for Tony to meet her at the zoo, where she seduced him in the reptile house. Gloria was like nothing Tony had ever seen before, and he told Dr. Melfi that said she made him "feel better than your Prozac and therapy bullshit combined."
But Gloria had her dark side as well. That Tony met her in Dr. Melfi's waiting room should have been an indication of it. Gloria was being treated for severe depression, exacerbated by a string of failed relationships, and her relationship with Tony was eventually added to that string. Gloria became jealous and demanding, and the last time she saw Tony she threatened to call Carmela. Enraged, Tony almost strangled her on her kitchen floor, with Gloria spitting in his face and begging him to go through with it.
Ultimately, Gloria - nothing if not self-sufficient - took matters into her own hands. Some months after her breakup with Tony, she committed suicide. She hanged herself from a chandelier, without leaving a note.
"Boss or no, you don't raise your hand to another made guy."
Eugene Pontecorvo was a member of the crew that was headed by Ralph Cifaretto, and was one of the few people who actually seemed to get along with the late capo. He was one of the newer made guys in New Jersey; he got his button at the same ceremony as Christopher. That day, Eugene stood up in front of Tony Soprano and the rest of the family, and pledged his undying devotion to them, above any and all else.
Later he learned the seriousness of that pledge, when he inherited $2 million from an aunt. Seeing a chance to make a new life, Gene and his wife Deanna hatched a plan to move to Florida and asked Tony for permission to leave. But after considering it, Tony dispatched Silvio to inform Eugene that this wasn't the NHL - there's no retirement. Pressed hard by his near-hysterical wife and, suddenly, the Feds, who wanted Gene to be their new man on the inside of Tony's crew, Pontecorvo took the only way out: he hanged himself.
"D.A. tossed (my case)...the witness bailed."
Once Tony's driver, Benny is an eager young aspirant who likes to hang out with Christopher, hoping he'll get the opportunity to score some points. He and Christopher used to frequent the Ooh-Fa Pizza Restaurant, until Christopher, now a made man, decided it was no longer sophisticated enough for him.
It wasn't long before Benny got a chance to display his skills. He was Christopher's accomplice in the armed robbery of a Jewel concert at Rutgers University, which went well until a campus security guard came running onto the scene. While Christopher warned the guard off verbally, Benny got excited and fired his gun at him. Fortunately, no one was shot and Benny and Christopher got away. Granted, Benny was sloppy, but at least he hung in there, and showed some mettle.
Benny took one for the family when Phil Leotardo's boys came looking for information on the whereabouts of Tony B., ending up with a cracked scull. He has also expanded his trade to include credit card fraud, but with his usual carelessness, he stole card numbers at Artie Bucco's restaurant, using his hostess girlfriend (and Artie's crush) Martina as the inside man. That enterprise led to a blow-up -- with a beating for Benny, a boiled arm for Artie, and, ultimately, an intervention from Tony himself.
"I am reminded of Louis the whatever's finance minister...he built this chateau - Nicole and I saw it when we went to Paris - it even outshone Versailles, where the king lived. In the end, Louis clapped him in irons."
Tony refers to him as "Brainless the Second" and, truth be told, Carmine Lupertazzi, Jr. (AKA Little Carmine) is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Although he comes from the same background as the other wise guys, Little Carmine fancies himself a sophisticate, peppering his speech with big (and often mispronounced) words to demonstrate his worldliness. Although he may seem buffoonish, as the oldest son and namesake of the don of New York, he's not someone who can be easily dismissed.
Little Carmine loves his father very much, although it bothers him that Carmine, Sr. often treats him like he's still a child. It undermines Little Carmine's authority, especially when his father does things like remind him - in front of Johnny Sack - to put on sunscreen. Whether or not Little Carmine is aware of it, his dad's underboss is his chief rival. Johnny chafes at the prospect of having to take orders from "that disgusting, fucking, cocksucking idiot son" of his boss. But even though Little Carmine is far less qualified than Johnny and has been removed from the New York scene for a number of years (he lives in Miami), as Carmine's blood he's the heir apparent.
When Carmine Sr. died of a stroke before naming a successor, Johnny Sack moved quickly to establish his turf - taking out two of Carmine's lieutenants, including former paramour Lorraine Calluzo and Carmine Sr.'s old consigliere, Angelo Garepe. Little Carmine eventually retaliated, taking out Joe Peeps. But when the bloodshed got to be too much, he bowed out and retreated to Miami - realizing he didn't have the stomach to be the New York don.
"Next time there won't be a next time."
A longtime captain in the Lupertazzi family, Phil Leotardo was one of several wiseguys who were sent to prison in the "Mafia crackdown" of the 1980's. Phil was always very good at his job; he has an alleged twenty-seven hits to his credit and can literally scare the piss out of people. When he was released from prison, he didn't waste any time getting back on the payroll.
But the "thing" Phil returned to has seen a lot of changes while he was away, and it's about to go through some more. Shortly after Phil rejoined the Lupertazzi organization, Carmine Sr. suffered a fatal stroke before naming his successor. Phil chose to throw in his lot with Johnny Sack, Carmine's second in command, instead of the old don's son, Little Carmine. It proved to be a wise choice. But when Tony B. retaliated against Phil's younger brother, Billy, for killing Angelo Garepe, it set off a near-war between the New York and New Jersey organizations - despite assurances that Tony B. was acting on his own. Phil wanted his revenge: he planned to torture Tony B. before taking him out himself. When Tony Soprano wouldn't let him, a lot of animosity was left between them.
The bad blood between Tony and Phil continued with the tense truce that developed with Johnny Sack's incarceration. Constantly pushing and tweaking Tony, Leotardo has never showed him the respect he deserved as a boss. But just as the insults between the two began escalating to murder and arson, Phil suffered a heart attack, prompting Tony to make a bedside plea for peace.
"I'm concerned that treating a mobster provides you some vicarious thrill."
Dr. Elliot Kupferberg is a nice, middle-aged man. He drives a BMW, carries a bottle of water everywhere he goes and has a good relationship with his daughter Saskia, a Columbia University student. He's also Jennifer Melfi's therapist, the man who has helped her deal with the stress of treating Tony Soprano. Dr. Kupferberg has tried to help Dr. Melfi discover the reasons she's drawn to - perhaps even obsessed with - Tony, and has repeatedly counseled her to stop seeing him. His efforts often elicit anger and defiance; Dr. Melfi once called him a "smug cocksucker." But she continues to seek his help, as he's the only person who has any idea what she's going through.
"Stay the f**k away from Tony Soprano...you call, or go anywhere near him or his family and they'll be scraping your nipples off these fine leather seats. And here's the point to remember: my face is the last one you'll see, not Tony's...it won't be cinematic."
In theory, a made man's professional family is his number one priority; all else - including his blood relatives - comes second. No one has had a harder time adhering to that tenet than Patsy Parisi. A soldier in Junior's crew who later joined Paulie Gualtieri's, Patsy knows firsthand the pain that comes when allegiance to one family comes into conflict with the other.
Patsy had an identical twin, Phil (AKA Philly Spoons) Parisi, his kid brother by eleven minutes. Philly was also a made member of Junior's crew and when Junior was arrested on RICO charges, Philly assumed more responsibilty. But Philly ran afoul of Tony, who discretely ordered a hit on him. Philly's death devastated Patsy and in the weeks that followed, he drank heavily and started blabbing that he knew who'd killed him. Unknown to Tony, Patsy even showed up drunk in his backyard one morning and aimed a revolver at him through the kitchen window. Patsy didn't shoot, however; instead he urinated in the pool and left. Later, Tony had a heart-to-heart with Patsy, reminding him of all the good things in his life and advising him to put his grief behind him.
And, it appeared he had, and was once again solidly in the ranks. But when Christopher was made interim capo of the Gualtieri crew during Paulie's jail stint, Patsy, who had seniority, couldn't help but feel slighted. He acted out, defying Christopher's orders and once even getting into a fight with him. Now, it seems, Patsy has managed to get over that incident, too. But with Patsy, you never really know.
"Honey, I'm not Adriana. I'm healthy, our baby's healthy. Stop worrying and enjoy this time, OK?"
Kelli Lombardo Moltisanti wasn't expecting a lifelong commitment from her new boyfriend Christopher, and when she told him she was pregnant, she also told him "I'll take care of it." But the volatile capo surprised her with a proposal, and took her house shopping the next day.
Now Kelli suddenly finds herself in a place she never expected: living in a suburban villa, spending holiday dinners with Tony and the famiglia -- and vying with drugs and a new goomar for her husband's attention.