This content contains content which is suitable for viewing by those 18 years of age or older. By proceeding, you confirm you are 18 or over.
For Tony Soprano, there's no such thing as business as usual. Balancing the demands of his immediate family - wife Carmel, daughter Meadow and son Anthony Jr. - with the demands of his other family - Paulie Walnuts, Silvio Dante and Big Pussy Bompensiero - means walking a tightrope no self-respecting mobster should have to walk.
With his mother and uncle plotting against him, his older sister Janice wreaking her own special kind of havoc, and the very real threat that one of his closest allies is wired by the F.B.I, Tony needs the support of his psychiatrist Dr. Melfi more than ever.
01 - Guy Walks Into A Psychiatrist's Office
Tony still has his two famiglia, but he's now the sole Boss of the professional one, as Junior's been indicted on twelve RICO predicates. So while his uncle spends his days sporting an orange jumpsuit and doing the perp walk, Tony is running the business "bunker style" and trying not to draw the Feds' attention himself. If that weren't enough to deal with, Christopher now has a broker's license from the SEC -- thanks to a stand-in who took the test for him -- and is running a brokerage selling phony stock to senior citizens. But Christopher's direct reports in this venture are two volatile new cugines, Matt Bevelaqua and Sean Gismonte, who don't exactly blend in with the white-collar milieu: they pour hot coffee on the brokers and steal cars from the parking garage.
To top it all off and answer the biggest question from last season Big Pussy is alive and back in New Jersey. He shows up at the Soprano house, indignant that he was labeled a rat and wanting his action back. He tells Tony he's been in Puerto Rico, having therapy for his back and canoodling with a beautiful 26-year-old acupuncturist. Paulie tells Tony that the story checks out -- but with all that's happened, can Tony afford to believe it?
Things aren't any easier for Tony Soprano with his other family. Livia is still hospitalized -- either recovering from a stroke or hiding from Tony -- and his long-lost sister Janice has come home from Seattle. Janice, who legally changed her name to "Parvati" when she left New Jersey, claims she has only her ailing mother's interests at heart. But whatever first name she uses, Tony's big sister is still a Soprano and Tony is suspicious of her motives. He tells Carmela, "Whatever her scam is, I'll be five thousand dollars lighter before she raindances back to the commune." As for Carmela, all she wants is for Tony to get back into therapy. Unfortunately, that isn't possible, as Dr. Melfi won't let Tony anywhere near her and she refuses to refer him to anyone else.
It's a good thing there are twelve more episodes to sort this all out.
02 - Do Not Resuscitate
PUSSY IS A RAT.
When Pussy goes to the doctor for steroid injections in his back, the person leafing through old magazines in the waiting room is FBI agent Skip Lipari. As they drive home afterwards it's revealed that Sal Bompensiero, AKA Big Pussy Bompensiero, made man and life-long friend of Tony Soprano, is facing a heroin possession charge and has become an informant for the Feds.
But for the moment at least, Tony is blissfully unaware of Pussy's conversion. Well, unaware maybe, but hardly blissful. After all, Junior is out of jail on a medical release pending trial -- and even though he's under house arrest, the disgruntled old capo is nursing a molto grande grudge against his nephew. If that weren't enough, Freddy Capuano, the Director of Green Grove, has been going around telling people that Tony likes "to fluff his mother's pillows." Although Tony doesn't know about Pussy, and Junior's not an immediate threat, this Capuano situation needs to be taken care of quickly. So Capuano's Cadillac and toupee are soon discovered by a State Trooper by the side of a New Jersey thoroughfare. But as for their owner . . . well, the camera cut away before the trooper opened the Cadillac's trunk.
At least Tony's business dealings are going according to plan. When black protesters picket Massarone Brothers Construction Tony accepts payment from Mr. Massarone to "fix" the problem. What Massarone doesn't know is that the whole thing is a setup and Tony is splitting the money with the protesters' leader.
And speaking of setups, Livia is convinced her two eldest offspring are planning to tuck her in for the big sleep. When Anthony, Jr. tells his grandmother he overheard Tony and Parvati discussing her DNR, to Livia it can mean only one thing. Her children would only be discussing a "Do Not Resuscitate" order if they're planning to get rid of her once and for all.
But back to Pussy and his new relationship with the Federal Government. When they're in the car Pussy lies to Skip, telling him that he hasn't been to see Tony since he got back to town. So, if Pussy is fibbing to the FBI, is it possible he's not a rat after all?
03 - Toodle-F**king-Oo
Richie Aprile is back in town.
Big brother of the late, great Jackie Aprile, Richie has just finished ten years in prison and is looking to pick up where he left off. He figures it should be pretty easy, too. After all, the jerky kid he used to look out for in the old neighborhood has grown up to be none other than the current Boss, Tony Soprano.
But things in Jersey have changed in ten years -- and Richie's finding he doesn't like it. For one thing, Tony won't discuss business directly with anyone; you have to talk to Silvio or Paulie. And if Tony will "dwane" to meet face to face it can't be at the Bada Bing or the Pork Store -- you have to go to the mall. But worst by far is having Tony constantly tell him to "be patient; what was yours will be yours again." But from where Richie sits, Tony just doesn't get it. In one of their meetings he tells the new Boss, "What's mine is not yours to give."
So a frustrated Richie decides to be proactive. He visits an old associate, pizza parlor proprietor Beansie Gaeta, and tells him he owes Richie weekly remuneration for past favors. Beansie responds by saying he won't be shaken down, telling Richie, "I'll step up if I have to." But Beansie will be lucky to step anywhere when Richie's through with him. Soon after their encounter Beansie is the victim of a hit-and-run-and-back-up-and-run-over-again "accident" in the alley behind his restaurant.
So what's Tony going to do about Itchie Richie? Whatever it is, he'd better do it quickly. Unbeknownst to him Richie has paid a visit to Junior in the sanctum sanctorum of his cardiologist's examination room. Tony can handle having Junior pissed off at him -- but if Richie throws in with his uncle, it could mean serious trouble.
And speaking of trouble, Meadow's been causing more than her share of agita lately. A party she hosted at Livia's house ended up trashing the place. AND she was drunk. Tony and Carmela don't know what to make of her. Tony warns they have to be careful how they discipline Meadow, saying, "Let's not overplay our hand -- if she figures out we're powerless, we're fucked." And of course, Parvati -- who's never raised a teenage daughter -- is the resident expert in parenting techniques.
Things would sure be a lot easier for Tony if he had Dr. Melfi to talk to.
04 - Commendatori
This week Tony goes to the old country to conduct new business while Carmela stays home and contemplates the nature of marriage.
As part of the spoils of being Boss, Tony now controls the family's luxury car "export" business. This new responsibility takes Tony, Paulie and Christopher to Naples to meet with Zi Vittorio, head of the Neapolitan famiglia. An old associate of Junior's whom he last saw in 1961, Vittorio is, warns Junior, "a serious man" his nephew had better be ready for. But, he adds, at least "Vittorio don't listen to opera, which is a fuckin' break.
When they arrive in Naples, Tony and the guys soon discover that their Coppola-inspired images of their old world counterparts are disconcertingly inaccurate. Zi Vittorio is now a wheelchair-bound old man whose conversation consists of blurting out the names of American highways. And it turns out it ain't for nothing that "the Boot" is a high-heeled one: Zi Vittorio's organization is really run by a woman -- his daughter, Annalisa. Annalisa is tough enough to make Livia look like the singing nun, but Tony still finds it difficult to accept her as the head of a family. He's favorably impressed, however, by the ferocity and loyalty of the Italian cugines and so he strikes a bold deal with Annalisa: Tony will cut the price of the cars he supplies to Naples if she'll send her best man to Jersey to work for him. Thus Furio Giunta becomes the newest member of the Soprano crew.
Meanwhile, in the other hemisphere, Carmela is forced to re-evaluate her feelings about Tony when Angie Bompenserio tells her she wants to divorce Pussy. Since his return Pussy's been inattentiveness personified and she can't take it anymore. After all, what could be so heavy on Pussy's mind that he would completely shut out his wife of twenty-four years? (Maybe that he's lying to the FBI, or that he had to hammer to death an old acquaintance who spotted him with Agent Lipari.) Carmela insists that Angie has to stay with Pussy - marriage is a sacrament and a family has to stay together, whatever the cost.
But just who is it that Carmela's trying to convince?
05 - Big Girls Don't Cry
Watch out, New Jersey, Furio Giunta has arrived.
The latest addition to the Soprano crew is safely in the States and, as a favor to Tony by Artie Bucco, gainfully employed as a mozzarella maker at the Nuovo Vesuvio Restaurant. But make no mistake: Furio's real boss is Tony. And now that his operation has some new talent, the Boss can make a few organizational changes. Paulie and Silvio are bumped up, reporting directly to Tony. Reporting to Paulie and Silvio are Furio, Christopher... and Pussy.
So how does everyone feel about the new pecking order? Obviously Paulie and Silvio have no complaints, and Furio's just happy to be working for someone who doesn't wear a skirt. But as for Christopher and Pussy, that's another story.
But then, Christopher hasn't exactly been acting like a guy who wants to be made. He has been acting, though. Unknown to Tony, Christopher has been taking a class called "Acting for Writers." And while Christopher follows the dictates of his muse, the dictates of his Boss are being seriously neglected. So when the operators of a local tanning salon/bordello on Christopher's collection route come up shy on their "security payment" for the 3rd week in a row, Tony decides to see how Furio handles the situation. Quite adroitly, it turns out. employing a Louisville Slugger, a few well-placed bullets and some vigorous Italian epithets to great effect.
As for Sal Bompensiero, he's turned into one sour Pussy. The demotion sticks in his craw, and he's not shy about showing it. He's openly hostile to Furio and complains to Agent Lipari that "this thing of ours" has turned into "this thing of Tony's." If Pussy's had reservations about ratting on Tony, they may well be dissipating.
But as far as Tony knows, things are going pretty well. He's not under indictment, he's firmly in control of the organization and business is good. So why, then, is he tearing the phone out of the wall and screaming at Carmela and the kids? Why is he so angry at reunited lovebirds Janice and Richie? Why is he picking fights with "civilians" half his size? In an attempt to find out, Tony seeks counsel from Hesh, who lets him in on an important piece of Soprano family history: Tony's father, Johnny Boy Soprano, also had a "condition" that caused him to black out occasionally.
Fortunately Tony can now discuss this revelation with Dr. Melfi, as she phones Tony and tells him that she's decided to resume his therapy. At first Tony's inner Italian stallion gets the better of him, causing him to turn down the offer. But the following afternoon, there he is, sitting in Dr. Melfi's waiting room. Why? Because, he tells her, "I want to be in total control."
Sounds like Dr. Melfi's got her work cut out for her.
06 - The Happy Wanderer
Now that he's back with Dr. Melfi, Tony tells her that he's angry with all the "happy wanderers" in the world: the people who manage to get through life "with a clear head." At the moment, however, he doesn't have time to explore this anger. He's got to organize the "Executive Game."
Started by Junior and Johnny Boy Soprano more than thirty years ago, the Executive Game is the Cadillac of poker games: the richest and most exclusive in Jersey. When Tony was a young cugine, Junior would chase him away just for peeking through the doorway at the game. But now that he's Boss, well, control of the Executive Game is just one more perk Tony can claim for himself.
And Tony's inaugural as the Executive host starts out well. The money and banter are fast-moving, and the players are an eclectic mix of wise guys, a penile implant specialist and none other than the "Chairboy of the Board" himself, Frank Sinatra, Jr. Silvio's displaying his usual paranoid poker persona, but all in all, the game is going great. So great, in fact, that Tony doesn't even mind when his old high school buddy, Davey Scatino, shows up wanting to sit in. Even though Tony's warned Davey repeatedly that this game is "too deep" for a guy who runs a sporting goods store, Davey insists he can handle himself. So Tony relents and even fronts him five "boxes of ziti." (That's five thousand bucks.)
That's when things start to go south. As the night wears on, Davey borrows - and loses - an additional forty boxes of ziti. Then Richie Aprile shows up. Richie glad-hands the room until his gaze falls on Davey Scatino, whom he immediately starts giving the Beansie Gaeta treatment. Why? Unfortunately, what Davey neglected to tell Tony is that he already owes eight thousand dollars in poker losses to Richie. Richie is understandably upset to see Davey playing with money that could be paying off his debt. But the Executive Game is not the forum for airing this kind of complaint. Sure enough, Richie's temper tantrum causes the guests to decide to "close the lights" and head home.
Tony is furious, telling Richie that as a tax for disrupting his game, he won't collect a penny from Davey until Tony gets what's owed him. And Davey soon sees why Tony warned him to stay away; when Davey's slow with his payments, Tony expedites matters with his fists. Still unable to come up with the cash, Davey takes his son, Eric's, Jeep and gives it to Tony, who in turn makes it a gift to Meadow.
But Meadow wants nothing to do with the Jeep. She accuses her father of unfairly hurting the Scatinos, especially Eric, who is her friend and classmate. But later, when Eric screams at her that his father's predicament is solely Tony's fault, Meadow rises to her dad's defense. Maybe she's still Daddy's girl, after all.
And speaking of "daddy's girl," that's exactly how Janice refers to herself when she tells Richie he's being shabbily treated by Tony and ought to stand up to him. As she encourages Richie, it becomes clear that while her heart may belong to daddy, Janice's tactics are purely her mother's.
Maybe there aren't as many "happy wanderers" in the world as Tony thinks.
07 - D-Girl
"Life is essentially meaningless."
Tony talking to Dr. Melfi?
Livia to anyone who'll listen?
No, this time it's Anthony, Jr. to his parents, upon being caught driving -- and crashing -- his mother's car. An unrepentant A.J. has been reading Camus and Nietzsche and come to the conclusion that God is dead, existence is pointless and his upcoming confirmation in the Catholic Church is an exercise in absurdity. And while Tony can put the fear of God into an unruly cugine as easily as putting on his socks, A.J.'s affront to his and the Almighty's authority has the capo di tutti capi poleaxed.
Dr. Melfi advises Tony that A.J.'s angst is a typical reaction to the discovery that he's responsible for his own actions; Pussy's assessment is that "at age thirteen . . . they start getting broody." Regardless of what's causing A.J.'s dark adolescence of the soul, Tony wants him to be a God-and-Tony-fearing Catholic again ASAP. So he assigns the task of enlightening his namesake to Pussy, who, coincidentally, is A.J.'s confirmation sponsor.
But A.J.'s not alone in giving Tony agita. Christopher has been shirking his responsibilities again. He's been flirting with filmmaking -- and a beautiful redheaded filmmaker -- and thinking that he'd rather be a player in Hollywood than New Jersey. When Tony finds out, he accosts his nephew at A.J.'s confirmation party and gives him ten minutes to make a choice: "I'm gonna look up and if you're not here I'm gonna assume . . . that I will never see you again. If you are still here, then I'm gonna assume you have no other desire in the world than to be with me and your actions will show it every fucking second of every fucking day."
And Christopher's not the only one with a difficult decision to make. Pussy is being pressured by Agent Lipari to wear a wire to A.J.'s confirmation party. Some choice: do thirty years in prison or betray a man who, as he tells A.J., "would catch a bullet for you." A.J.'s not the only one hearing Pussy's testimonial to his father -- it's coming in on Agent Lipari's headphones.
As Carmela and Tony see to their guests, Christopher sits on the front steps and makes up his mind. In ten minutes, he re-enters the house; he's made his decision and he's at peace with it.
Meanwhile Pussy's upstairs, sobbing in the bathroom; he's made his and he's not.
08 - Full Leather Jacket
In Tony Soprano's world, there's no such thing as doing a simple favor for someone. To the contrary: it's never simple and isn't always a favor.
Case in point: Carmela is concerned that despite having good grades and high test scores, Meadow still might not get into a good college. "It's all who you know," she tells Tony. And while rubbing elbows with Frank Sinatra, Jr. at a poker game might wow'em at the pork store, it doesn't impress the Admissions Committee at Georgetown. So Carmela asks Joan O'Connell, twin sister of her neighbor Jean Cusamano and a highly successful alum of Georgetown Law School, to write a letter of recommendation for Meadow. At first Joan demurs, telling Carmela she can't write a letter for a girl she doesn't know. But when Carmela shows up in her office armed with a ricotta pie, Meadow's transcripts and her husband's reputation, it becomes clear to Joan that Carmela is not really "asking." So Georgetown soon receives a letter extolling the academic and personal virtues of one Meadow Soprano.
Then there's Richie Aprile's attempt to do a favor for his new Boss. As a conciliatory gesture, Richie gives Tony the leather jacket he took off Rocco DiMeo in a fight that is now legendary -- to Richie, at least. As Richie remembers it, DiMeo "had a reputation as the toughest guy in Essex and Hudson Counties, but he never came back after I got through with him." Unfortunately, the jacket is about as current as the rest of Richie's wardrobe; Tony might wear it to 70's Night at the Bada Bing, but not as regular business attire. The favor Tony really wants from Richie is for him to build a wheelchair ramp on Beansie Gaeta's house. Grudgingly and over the protests of Beansie himself, Richie complies. But later, when he drops by the Soprano house, Richie sees the housekeeper's husband wearing the DiMeo jacket. Carmela offers Richie a cup of coffee, but it's clear the French Roast's not the only thing that's steaming.
Finally there's Matt Bevilaqua and Sean Gismonte's idea of doing a favor for Richie and by extension, themselves. One evening after being stood up by Christopher at the Bada Bing, they have an epiphany about the Soprano organization and their place in it: "Look at us, we're like a couple of little fuckin' scared rabbits... they make us do their shit work so they don't have to." To Matt and Sean's way of thinking, Christopher is only holding them back and "We got to do something to get ahead in this world." So they wait outside a diner for Christopher and, when he emerges, resign from his employ via several shots from a Glock 9. Although gravely wounded, Christopher manages to return fire, killing Sean and sending Matt running -- like the above-mentioned rabbit -- for cover.
He eventually ends up at Richie's social club, telling Richie that he and Matt did the hit on Christopher for him, "As a favor." Richie responds by screaming, "This is just what I need, for (Tony) to think I had any part of this!" and chases Matt down the street with a Louisville Slugger.
As for Tony, he ends up sitting at Christopher's bedside, contemplating recent events. After all the problems Tony'd been having with him, it seemed Christopher had finally gotten his life back on track. He was off the drugs, focusing on work and had even asked Adriana to marry him. "How could this happen?" Tony asks.
When he finds out, not even a favor from God is going to help the party responsible.
09 - From Where To Eternity
There are spirits in Essex County this week -- and they're anything but blithe.
To everyone's relief, Christopher has survived the attempt on his life -- but not before going into arrest and being clinically dead for a full minute. When he awakes, he calls Tony and Paulie to his side and informs them that during his minute ad patres he went to Hell: an Irish bar that exists in a perpetual Saint Patrick's Day, and where his father gets whacked every day. If that weren't bad enough, Brendan Filone and Mikey Palmice are best friends there and they gave him a message for Tony and Paulie: "Three o'clock."
Never mind that Christopher has been hitting his morphine button like a hyperactive game show contestant going for the buzzer; Paulie finds this message highly unsettling. In his quest to divine its deeper meaning, he seeks counsel from a priest, a psychic and even JoJo, the Widow Palmice. He finally confesses to Tony that he's certain he's being haunted by the vengeful spirits of all the guys he's whacked.
But Tony can't be bothered with wiseguys who have already taken a dirt nap; he's concentrating on someone he wants to tuck in with them: Matt Bevilaqua. When he finally gets word of Bevilaqua's hideout, he and Pussy grab a few "tools" from the pork store "utility closet" and send Matt to join Brendan and Mikey.
So does this mean things will now be calm in Sopranoland?
Carmela has decided she's had enough of Tony coming home with his shirts smelling like CK One and she wants him to bid his goomah goodbye. Dr. Melfi is finding it increasingly difficult to cope with her disgust for Tony's "profession." And while Tony has been dealing with the consequences of the move against Christopher, Janice has been pressuring Richie to make a move against Tony.
It doesn't take a psychic to predict trouble on the horizon for Tony Soprano.
10 - Bust-Out
acked. He heard the gunshots and saw Tony and "a husky accomplice" driving away from the scene. And then he called the police.
So what does this mean for Tony?
If he can't uncover the witness' identity, it may very well mea
11 - House Arrest
This week Tony finds out that going to jail might not be as bad as what you have to do to avoid it.
Tony's lawyer, Neil Mink, warns him that while he dodged a bullet on the Bevilaqua matter, the Feds are still gunning for him. The government has devoted considerable resources to investigating the Soprano organization, Neil tells Tony, "and sooner or later, they're going to want a return on their investment." If Tony wants to stay out of jail, Neil says, he's going to have to start behaving like a civilian and "get your ass out of that strip club." So, on advice of counsel, Tony forsakes the Bada Bing and the pork store for the corporate headquarters of Barone Brothers Sanitation.
For the next few weeks Tony spends his time going to the office and hobnobbing with the movers and shakers of the non-putrescable waste industry. While this solid-citizen-as-solid-waste-manager act may be helping him avoid federal indictment, it's also causing Tony's stressors to pile up higher than the inventory. He's having even more anxiety attacks and developed a rash on his forearm. Dr. Melfi tells him the reason for his increased stress is that inactivity has allowed him to reflect on the abhorrent things he's done. As for her own stressors, Dr. Melfi has been dealing with her growing aversion to Tony by fortifying herself with vodka before his sessions.
But Tony's too concerned with other matters to notice Dr. Melfi's flexible cocktail hour. Richie and Junior have been using their garbage routes to sell coke, despite Tony's warnings that this could bring the DEA and FBI down on everybody's heads. Finally Tony's taken as much insubordination from Richie as he can stand, and screams at him, "I fuckin' hate the way you make me ride you!" But as Richie sees it, Tony's eating alone and he's going to have to do something about it.
Speaking of eating alone: Junior has about had it with house arrest. Desirous of company more stimulating than Bobby Baccala's, he tries to get in touch with his old girlfriend, Roberta Sanfilippo. Junior remembers Roberta bittersweetly as "a great ass... and game as they come." But when she doesn't return his call, he settles for the companionship of Catherine Romano, an old friend from his school days. She's no Roberta, but she's game in her own way: she makes manicotti, massages his feet and doesn't mind when he falls asleep in front of the TV and snores like a band saw.
So it seems that for the time being, Junior has found a way to cope with confinement. And Tony finds a solution to boredom, too: he says "so long" to Barone Sanitation and goes back to his old haunts.
As for the Feds: let'em watch.
12 - The Knight In White Satin Armor
What's to be done about Richie Aprile?
It's not a rhetorical question. And it's going to have to be answered soon because he's rapidly running out his string with Tony. He's still selling drugs on his garbage routes and started trying to horn in on other capos' hauling contracts. And while Richie continues to contend that his future brother-in-law is not giving him due respect, Tony's rejoinder is direct: "Those who want respect give respect." And openly disobeying the direct orders of the capo di tutti capi is about as disrespectful as it gets. Is it any wonder Tony doesn't want A.J. and Meadow anywhere near the guy?
But Richie's not the only one with whom Tony would like to sever ties. He's been trying to break up with Irina, his Russian goomah, but she's not the kind of girl you can just shove a pie at, Junior-style. Whenever he broaches the subject of breaking up, Irina threatens to kill herself -- she even attempts it one night by washing down twenty sleeping pills with a quart of vodka. Tony wants Irina out of his life, but he's genuinely concerned for her and even asks Dr. Melfi to recommend a therapist for her. But in Irina's experience, psychiatrist equals gulag and she wants no part of it. So Tony sends her the next best thing: Silvio. As gently as he can, Silvio gives Irina the benefit of the wisdom he's gleaned from years of managing the Bada Bing: "You got a short window. It's not good to get too hung up on any one thing." As it turns out, that advice -- and an envelope with seventy-five thousand dollars -- helps Irina see the light.
Meanwhile Richie has decided to take action. He tells Junior the time has come to make a move against Tony. Unfortunately for Richie, none of the captains is willing to side with him. And as Junior's already made one failed attempt to knock off his nephew, he's not about to embark on another one. Deciding he's better off backing Tony, Junior warns him of Richie's intentions. Tony immediately contacts Silvio, whose take on the Richie situation is as succinct as it is deadly: "I genuinely don't think there's anything to gain by keeping him around." Tony concurs, telling Silvio, "Get it done."
Is this the end of itchy Richie? Well, yes. But not the way you think. That night, Richie makes the fatal mistake of ending an argument with Janice by punching her in the mouth. Janice responds by taking a gun from a cupboard and shooting Richie like a downward facing dog. Now Richie's lying dead on Livia's kitchen floor and as she's done in the past, Janice turns to her baby brother for help. Tony brings in Christopher and Furio to minimize the problem -- literally. They take Richie's body to Satriale's, where they cut it into more easily disposed-of portions. That taken care of, Tony puts Janice on a bus back to Seattle, telling her, "all in all...I'd say it was a good visit."
So Tony got lucky. Both Richie and Janice are out of his hair and he barely had to lift a finger to accomplish it. He still has one big enemy, though: Big Pussy. Until now, Pussy has been avoiding giving Agent Lipari anything probative on Tony. But he's grown increasingly resentful of the Boss' treatment of him since his return. Is Pussy's resentment strong enough that he'll finally give Tony up to the Feds?
There's one more chance this season to find out.
13 - Funhouse
The last episode of the season finds things going pretty well for Tony. Business-wise, things are great: the Webistics scam and Scatino bust out yielded, as Junior might put it, some serious sponduliks. A current venture involving the sale of bogus telephone cards is proving to be highly profitable as well. Richie and Janice are gone and soon Livia will be, too. Tony gave her two airline tickets so that she and his aunt Quintina can go to Arizona. At last, as Tony says, "All my enemies are smoked."
But despite his success, one night Tony's doubts about Pussy keep coming up -- along with the chicken vindaloo he ate in an Indian restaurant. While in the throes of a nasty bout of food poisoning, Tony has a series of fever dreams. His E. coli influenced subconscious conjures up everything from self-immolation to a vigorous sexual encounter with Dr. Melfi. But by far the most disturbing dream is one in which Pussy -- in the form of a fish on ice -- tells him he's been working for the Feds and that Tony's known all along. "You passed me over for promotion," the Pussy fish tells him, "You knew."
Tony wakes up determined to find out the truth about Pussy, one way or the other. He shows up at the Bompensiero house with Silvio in tow and while Silvio has coffee with Pussy and Angie, Tony searches their bedroom. Beneath the false bottom of a cigar box he finds what he's looking for: Pussy's wire and some tapes he's made for the FBI. Madonn', the hit in the gut from the vindaloo was nothing compared to this.
So Tony has Pussy join him, Silvio and Paulie for a test ride on a boat he says he's thinking of buying. But once they're beyond sight of land and below decks, the real reason for the excursion is revealed. "Why'd you do it, Pussy?" Tony asks. Over strains of Frank Sinatra, Pussy admits he's a rat, leaving only one thing to be done. And after a few shots of tequila Tony, Silvio and Paulie do it: they shoot Pussy, push him into the ocean and head back to shore.
But it's hardly safe harbor. Once he's home Tony gets a frantic phone call from Livia, who's been detained by airport security. The tickets Tony gave her are stolen -- booty from the Scatino bust out -- and no sooner is Tony off the phone than the FBI shows up with a search warrant. They've found the rest of the stolen airline tickets in Tony's Suburban so he has no choice but to accompany them to FBI headquarters. And while Neil Mink assures him, "they don't have bubkes," Tony's not convinced. "We're talkin' predicates up the ass," Tony tells Neil, "A fuckin' RICO case. Thirty to life."
Bailed out by Neil, Tony's free -- at least for the time being. He has a contentious session with Dr. Melfi during which she tells him, "After two years treating you I've learned things. And I pick up sorrow coming from you." But Tony's got more important things to do than confront any sorrow he may be feeling: it's graduation day. Meadow's, of course, but Christopher's, too. At the school Tony tells his nephew that he's going to be made. "I deserve it," Christopher responds, "Got no spleen, Gene." Afterward Tony and Carmela host a big shindig in Meadow's honor. The food is by Artie Bucco and everybody has a good time -- with one possible exception.
Angie Bompensiero is angry that Pussy hasn't shown up.