Eloise (4.12)

Furio decides to move back to Italy.
Carmela’s heartache ruins the annual
tea with Meadow at the Plaza Hotel.
Johnny Sac makes a surprising proposal to Tony.

Episode 51 – Originally aired December 1, 2002
Written by Terence Winter
Directed by James Hayman


“Eloise” defies expectations.  We’ve been waiting for The Sopranos to ratchet up the dramatic tension at the end of Season 4, as any self-respecting dramatic series should do in the homestretch of a season, but it hasn’t really happened here yet.  Sure, there is an affair brewing between Carmela and Furio which could have potentially violent consequences.  And yes, the threat of warfare with New York has grown over the last couple of episodes.  But the previous two episodes surprisingly spent a lot of time closing tensions: Chris checked into rehab; Janice finally landed Bobby.  “Eloise,” as the penultimate episode of the season, will surely ramp up the drama and set up an explosive finale, right?  Or it may even function like the penultimate episode of Season 1 did, showing us an attempt being made on Tony’s life—an event that was more explosive than anything that happened in that year’s finale.  Right??

Well, yes and no.  Some minor tensions do get built up, but the major conflicts mostly dissipate, with a whimper rather than a bang.  (That being said, the explosive event of the season finale “Whitecaps” is set up here, but we won’t realize it until we see that episode.)

The hour begins with Corrado’s trial.  The prosecutor seems to be an able man with a solid case.  That spells real trouble for Corrado.  But Bobby eyes a juror with a wedding ring, a man with a family—and thus a good target for the mob version of jury tampering.  Eugene Pontecorvo catches up to the unfortunate man and his young child at a convenience store, and—with a wink and a smile—lays down the threat.  Chase may be leading us to believe that a potential source of this season’s final fireworks might be the juror’s unwillingness to play ball with the mob.

This season’s climax may also potentially come from the ongoing friction between New York and New Jersey over the HUD scam.  Little Carmine comes up from Florida to speak to his dad as he assured Tony he would do.  But when old man Carmine declares his admiration for Tony’s decisiveness, it ignites Little Carmine’s jealousy and derails his good-intentions.  He badmouths Tony to his father: “He’s a bit of a pose-oor, if you ask me.”  Johnny Sac recognizes that Little Carmine’s ego has been bruised and quickly tries to change the subject, but it’s too late: Carmine solidifies his position against Tony.  Little Carmine’s effort to ease the tension between the two families has turned into (to borrow his phrase), a “total debicle.

After Tony trashes Carmine’s restaurant as payback for roughing up Vic the Appraiser, Carmine tells Johnny Sac that they’re going to retaliate.  We think for a moment that the NY Boss has decided to send Tony on a “permanent vacation.”  But no, Carmine has only decided to call for a work stoppage at the Esplanade:

cat and mouse

Up north, giant inflatable Rats are used to bring attention to sites where there are union labor disputes.  (The CAT excavator next to the inflatable prop almost seems to underscore the cat-and-mouse conflict between NJ and NY.)  Johnny Sac is not happy about the work stoppage because it takes money out of his pocket.  So Johnny approaches Tony and asks—without really asking—for Carmine to be hit.  (This is a neat inverse of the time that Carmine very similarly “asked/not asked” Tony to hit Sacrimoni in 4.04 “The Weight” because of his oversensitivity to a fat-joke.)  “Holy shit,” muses Tony.  We might be even more surprised than he is because we were expecting the threats to our protagonist Tony Soprano to mount in this episode, but they’re actually decreasing: Carmine chooses a labor strike over bloodshed, and NY’s second-in-command is now in collusion with Tony.

Another way that Tony becomes more secure is that Paulie—his most estranged capo this season—realigns himself with Tony and the NJ famiglia.  Paulie happens to run into Carmine at a wedding.  When the NY don doesn’t recognize him whatsoever, Paulie retreats to the restroom to take a long look at himself in the mirror:

paulie mirror

The mirror-shot underscores the double-game Paulie has been playing, showing one face to NY and another to NJ.  Now he needs to get back into Tony’s good graces—and knows exactly how to do it.  He’s never been a fan of that “malignant cunt” Minn Matrone, and her reckless driving which endangers his mother only deepens his dislike for the woman.  When talkative Cookie Cirillo mentions the money that is hidden beneath Minn’s bed, Paulie takes note.  While there is certainly something gruesome and ugly about Paulie’s ensuing murder of the old woman, the scene also seems to be played for laughs—it’s almost farcical.  Judith Shulevitz recognizes the comic aspect of this scene, writing at the Sopranos forum over at Slate.com:

Maybe the way to understand Paulie is not as a character but as an homage to Scorsese and Joe Pesci, since they are past masters at making us laugh at this sort of exceedingly comical, gratuitously awful nut job.

This “awful nut job” has a job done to his nuts—Minn Matrone gives him a knee to the groin.  It’s not the first time we’ve laughed at Paulie as he takes one in the “walnuts”—Valery the Russian thumped him with a shovel in 3.11:

takin it in the nuts2

Paulie pilfers Minn Matrone’s stash and takes it to Tony.  When Johnny Sac’s name comes up in conversation, Paulie describes him as a “prick.”  All is well now between Paulie and his Boss.  But if all is well, then where the hell is this season’s climax supposed to come from?

Ahh, Furio and Carmela—we mustn’t forget this storyline as a source of suspense.  The two grow closer this hour when Carmela arrives with decorating tips for his mother’s detached apartment.  They even make a “date” to go to Color Tile.  (I guess Furio’s mom is going to be moving to the U.S. now that her husband has died of cancer, as we learned in episode 4.08.)  In her Slate.com piece, Shulevitz says about Carmela that…

…at long last she gets to be real, to have an inner life as sexual and operatic as Tony’s: a desperate longing for an encounter that she knows full well could only end in her lover’s or husband’s death…

We certainly seem to be headed towards the “operatic” death of one of these characters.  Tony is a bonehead, believing that Carm’s new hairdo has something to do with Pie-O-My’s death and completely misunderstanding her anger over his vacation plans.  Furio rolls his eyes at Tony’s insensitivity, and later fumes at Tony while he cavorts with a beautiful escort at the casino.  When one of the girls suggests that the guys utilize a casino helicopter instead of the limo service, cousin Brian starts humming Wagner’s “The Ride of The Valkyries,” undoubtedly thinking of the helicopter scene from Apocalypse Now.  As Tony and Furio urinate near the chopper’s blades, we are led to believe that we will witness Tony’s apocalypse now.  But Furio pulls himself back.  We may have thought for a moment that we would see the propeller shred Tony to pieces in a riot of blood and gore, but the only damage to Tony is his hangover the next morning.  This is SopranoWorld; we shouldn’t expect it to be operatic like Wagner’s The Valkyrie or Coppola’s Apocalypse Now—it is the “fuckin’ regularness of life” that rules Chase’s universe.

Even if Carmela’s storyline felt a little soapy or sappy this season, the techniques used to tell her story have been first-rate.  Her storyline in “Eloise” continues with technical brilliance.  For example, when Carmela tells Rosalie that she felt like “somebody punched me in the stomach” upon learning that Furio has fled the country, we can relate to her, because we too were blindsided by this information—it only takes about a minute-and-a-half for this substantial plot point to get revealed and developed:

The 1.5 minute clip begins with a church bell (as though the bell tolls for Carmela’s dying hopes) and finishes with Tony shutting his rear gate (underscoring that a door has permanently closed in Carmela’s life).  The middle part of the clip is dominated by that phenomenal camera dolly.  As the camera dollies backwards, diminishing Carmela in the frame, we intuitively grasp that Furio’s sudden flight has severely diminished her life:

Carmela alone

Through the window above the radiator, we can see the garage that Carmela was supposed to help Furio convert into an apartment.  The empty rooms now echo the emptiness of Carmela’s heart.  If we manipulate these images, blacking out everything but the window that frames Carmela, we get a better idea of how the shot is able to express her sense of diminishment and isolation:

Carmela - blacked out

At the beginning of the camera dolly, the window takes up about 1/2 of our TV screen, but by the end of the shot, that same window only fills up about 1/50th of our screen.  Everything else is just emptiness (or as Livia might have said, it’s all a big nothing).

Immediately after finding out that Furio has gone back to Italy, Carmela arrives at Meadow’s apartment for dinner.  Her dashed hopes color her behavior at the dinner party.  Meadow has a new boyfriend, Finn, who viewers are learning of for the first time.  The fact that Mead has got roommates and a boyfriend and a whole life that viewers no longer know very much about just underlines how independent she is becoming.  Meadow is no longer trapped in that little corner of NJ where she grew up.  But Carmela still is, and she knows it.  She envies her daughter’s opportunities.  When Finn gallantly assures everyone that he will protect Meadow from any criminals that may be lurking around, Carm has to make an effort to conceal her jealousy.  Another point that is notable (for reasons that will become clearer in the next episode) is that Carm may be further thrown off-kilter by the undertones of race and class division that vibrate through the apartment—Colin (and his mother) from Ohio personify the white, All-American family in a way that the Sopranos do not, and Alex (descendent of a Spanish countess) is of Old Money and Royal Blood.  Of course, Carmela cannot openly gripe about these race/class distinctions nor reveal her envy of Meadow, so she displaces her anger on to the discussion about Billy Budd.

Carmela has equated Furio to Billy Budd (and Tony to the “evil” Officer Claggart) ever since the morning that AJ read from his essay to her: “When Mr. Claggart gets mad at Billy, it is a surprise because he is always saying how handsome Billy is.  This does not seem realistic because why would an officer care if a sailor was handsome or not?”  The camera cut to Furio at the mention of “handsome Billy” and captured Tony coming down the stairs just as AJ referenced the “officer.”

Billy Budd Sopranos Actually

As a social conservative, Carmela would predictably be upset by a queer reading of the classic novella.  But she now defends Billy Budd’s heterosexuality not because of her conservative morality, but because she identifies Billy Budd with her lost lover Furio.  Meadow puts up a solid argument, referencing the work of prominent literary critic Leslie Fiedler, but this only makes Carmela lash out even more wildly.  (When I read Billy Budd in college, the “gay stuff” barely came up; our class read it as a study of the contrasting doctrines of natural law versus legal positivism—which could be an enlightening lens through which to view The Sopranos.  But the primary significance of Billy Budd to this episode might simply come from its somewhat analogous story: Billy is accused of conspiring to mutiny at a time when military tension against France is high, similar to how Furio thinks about mutinying against Tony when tension with New York is high.)

Carmela’s ugliest display of jealousy occurs at the Plaza Hotel where she meets Meadow beneath the portrait of Eloise for their annual tea.  “Eloise,” of course, is the famous character who appeared in a series of children’s books in the 1950s.


Eloise is a 6 year-old who finds adventures around the Plaza Hotel, and even around the world, independent from the reach of her mother.  Meadow too is growing independent and worldly, living in an NYC apartment and planning trips with her well-traveled, Navy-brat boyfriend.  Carmela can’t help but feel envy as her own life has suddenly become diminished.  Mother and daughter have their tea with biscuits and rancor.  Janet McCabe and Kim Akass, in their essay “What has Carmela done for feminism?” note the…

…intellectual divide between the women.  Meadow now has an educated (elitist) feminist language to explain, narrate, her daily experience.  Achieving a fluency not available to her mother lends clout to Meadow’s cruelly questioning her mother’s choices: ‘Would you rather I go to Montclair State?  Then maybe I could drop out like you did.’  Hurtful words.

Meadow certainly does unleash some hurtful words towards her mother, but she also senses that Carmela is suffering from some deep pain.  When AJ tells her about the trips to Furio’s house, Meadow starts putting the pieces together (before AJ runs her out of the room with an epic fart).  Tony sits Meadow down on the staircase to explain that Carmela is not exactly herself right now, but that her mother loves her nevertheless.  Meadow—as usual—is a step ahead of Tony, she has a better understanding than her father of what it is that afflicts Carmela.

Staircase of love

Staircases are usually places of menace and cruelty on The Sopranos, but this scene bucks that trend.  Meadow is incredibly sensitive here, not only towards her mother, but towards her father as well—she lets him believe that Carmela’s mood has something to do with menopause, and does not share her devastating intuitions about Furio.  Tony’s words to Carmela, as they lay in bed in the final scene, underscore the decency that Meadow displays here: “She’s becoming a wonderful woman, Carm.  Smart, beautiful, independent woman that you created.”  Meadow’s decency may indeed be a result of the benevolent love and influence of her mother, and it differentiates her from Livia and some of Livia’s other descendants, some of whom have exhibited—and will exhibit—horrible cruelty on staircases.

But Tony’s comforting bedtime words to Carmela also manage to drive a stake into her heart.  Although her daughter is growing independent, she herself is not.  Annie Lennox’s “Little Bird” starts up and continues over the credits, voicing Carmela’s unutterable wish:

I wish that I could be that bird
And fly away from here
I wish I had the wings to fly away from here


There is small but interesting parallel between Carmela and Little Carmine here: Little Carmine is made jealous by the respect that his father has for Tony, while Carmela is jealous of her daughter’s romantic relationship.  We may have expected this penultimate episode of the season to drum up murderous tensions, but instead, we get jealousies between parents and children and literary discussions about a Melville novella.  There is a death, but Minn Matrone’s demise is not a substantial development, and it’s almost played for yuks.  “Eloise” confounds viewer expectations…and yet, the hour has in fact slyly built up tension with the storyline of Carmela’s unhappiness, laying the groundwork for “Whitecaps,” which I think is one of the most powerful and wrenching episodes of the entire series.



  • There are a couple of scenes in this hour that are quite clumsy by series standards, and I don’t know if it has something to do with this being James Hayman’s first crack at directing a Sopranos episode.  An example is the staging of the helicopter scene: why would Tony and Furio, even in a drunken stupor, line up to take a piss in the airstream of a propeller?  We’ve never known Tony to be a sloppy drunk, and nothing could be more sloppy than two guys pissing in a helicopter’s wind.
  • In the December 2002 edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education, Prof. Leslie Fiedler expresses his happy surprise at hearing his name mentioned in “Eloise.”  He was a great fan of the show, and never missed an episode.  He says of the Sopranos’ writers, “It was amusing that one of the things they picked up on was that ambiguous first name of mine.  I keep getting letters addressed to ‘Ms. Leslie Fiedler.’  And I always write back, ‘I prefer to be called Mrs.'”
  • I love how we don’t actually see Chief Doug Smith here (who we remember from “Christopher”), but when Marty telephones him for the helicopter, we can precisely picture the smug bastard’s unenthusiastic response.
  • I did the Sopranos bus tour that runs out of Manhattan, hosted by Marc Baron who appears as the waiter in the scene at the Plaza Hotel in this episode.  (He’s done a bit of work on the series as an extra/stand-in.)  During the tour, he recounted Edie Falco’s repeated attempts during this scene to engage the waiter in dialogue—which would bump up Baron’s wages for the day by giving him a speaking part.  But the producers couldn’t allow it, so they kept calling “Cut” and starting over—and Falco generously kept trying to speak to the waiter.  Eventually she had to give up, and Baron appears in the scene without any spoken lines.marc baron
  • Federico Castelluccio (Furio) had a great run on the show, and he probably didn’t struggle to make ends meet after ‘Furio’ got the boot. He is an accomplished artist who made an oil painting of Tony and Carmela that replicates a 15th century portrait of the Duke and Duchess of Urbino.  Castellucio sold the painting to an oil company executive for $175,000

duke and duchess of urbino, err north caldwell

  • And in 2014, Castelluccio purchased a painting for about $140,000 which turned out to be a masterpiece worth millions of dollars.  Way to go, Furio!

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66 responses to “Eloise (4.12)

  1. You mentioned the clumsiness in the scene where Tony and Furio are pissing. Not only I find that weird, but the entire build up: Silvio (and I think some other guy, I don’t remember who) says he’ll leave early from the casino, and Tony answers “you go, I’ll stay later”. Shouldn’t Silvio stay in a situation like that? I mean, his Boss is staying, how can he leave early? Maybe he has a special relationship or whatever, we know Silvio is one of Tony’s most beloved guys, but I’m pretty sure there was some other guy leaving too. I just find it weird.

    Is there anyway I can “subscribe” to this website, so that I find out when you upload the rest of the episodes?


    • I guess once any business matters are attended to, Silvio and the other guys are basically free to stay or go.
      You can follow me on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram.com/sopranos.autopsy for updates.


    • There have been other instances of Tony out partying without his consigliere Silvio. The consigliere is sort of a “business advisor” whereas Furio is Tony’s bodyguard / driver. He’s the one who can’t and shouldn’t leave.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I didnt find the helicopter scene that sloppy because just after Tony starts urinating by the helicopter he chuckles, meaning it wasn’t a random thing but that he purposely chose to urinate there for laughs to either see his urine fly off or maybe there’s an enjoyable sensation when you pee with a wind thrashing against your member.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Would the helicopter side rotor blades have cut into Tony’s head from his 3 o’clock?
    There a lots of scenes where Tony seems to have a blind spot there.


  4. What do we make of the Eminem reference when Carmine’s soldier demands that work stop at the Esplanade? — “May I have your attention please? I repeat, may I have your attention please?”

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Andy the English guy

    One of my gripes with the Sopranos is the impotence of the police. The NJ crew are ostensibly a bunch of serial killers, Paulie (and Chris) especially. Worse, the Producers and writers played down the impact of the unsolicited murders to such an extent, that all current surveys return Janice as the least polpular character, with A J ( ?!) usually 2nd. The show descended into juvenile self parody around this time and I really think Chase intended to kill it off. Luckily Steve Buscemi saved it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, I see your point but I think some of that “impotence” is there simply because Chase didn’t want to turn the show into a police procedural. The series was never really about the murders or the violence. Chase told Variety magazine “What interested us was not the mob hits but the boringness in-between.” And Janice and AJ are some of the most unlikable characters in that boring, regular part of life…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ron – l beg to disagree with your comment that this series wasn’t ‘really about the murders or the violence’. As I noted in the comments section of a different episode, there were a total of 86 deaths in this series! Eighty-friggin-six! That surely contradicts Chase’s statement that he was interested in ‘the boringness’. There are more than a few boring episodes that don’t necessarily have to do with boring people. Nope, just boring SCRIPTS!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Buscemi didn’t save it. Unleashing an army of villains in season 5 was the stuff of comic books. A bit beneath these writers, imo. Tony taking a bullet in season 6 saved it. It was Tony’s first brush with mortality since season 1.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I was thinking that many of these crimes would be impossible to pull-off without severe legal consequences in 2020. I’m not sure how realistic it was in 2002 either.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 🎯🎯🎯 Exactly lol! He was trying to say it in the least offensive way possible… I thought it obvious Finn was playing a little dense, to not sound like a snob.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Andy the English guy

    Aahhh,that makes sense, Aida Turturro would have been great in Misery or Sybil, for sure

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I never thought about Carmela equating Furio with Billy Budd. I thought she was just in a bad mood because her “Boyfriend” left without a by your leave. Its very small of her to resent her daughter’s life. I know her daughter can be condescending, but she has always been that way, and although Carmela is not highly educated, she’s not stupid either. She should be proud and happy about her daughter. In a perfect world for Carmela, does she think that Furio would be comfortable with her daughters friends? Or living in Tony’s house? I just can’t stand the way Carmela fools herself about almost every aspect of her life. Yes, he is kind of romantic, and sexy…but really?? She will never get out of that situation, and she knows it deep down. Plus, how do you say you are in love with someone who will get killed for loving you back? Her only out is if Tony goes to jail or gets killed. That’s what she is preparing for with the real estate stuff. I think Edie Falco does a fantastic job with this role.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Agree with your general take on this episode.

    Another ‘clumsy’ event for me was the holiday Tony got tickets for, for Carmela and himself: flying the next day etc.

    OK for various reasons that we understand (and Tony doesn’t) she doesn’t want to go and makes excuses. But after that, apart from the ‘moody bitch’ remark to Furio by Tony, it wasn’t mentioned again, at all, and I found that a little odd, it felt a little out of character for Tony to just drop the subject to me.

    OK it was just a plot device to illustrate Furio’s growing contempt for Tony & his attitude to Carmela, I get that, but it seemed a little ‘clumsy’ to me.

    (I realise that the above sounds negative/critical about this show that we love (otherwise why would we be watching it, reading and writing about it?) but it’s not meant in that way. Warts and all, it was another fine episode, just a little – as you say – ‘clumsy’ here and there.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually think that Furio’s sudden annoyance at Tony’s philandering and talking smack about Carmela is also a clumsy change. Remember, this is a man who punched a women in the face full force and then spit on her, after shooting her husband in the kneecap. He knows how Tony is…Carmela didn’t want to go because she was not attracted to Tony at that point anymore…but she still could have gone anyway. I’m sure he sold those tickets or gave them to someone or will use them with one of his girlfriends. Also, Tony and Carmela have been married 20 years, and she is a moody bitch sometimes, just like he is a bastard. Furio is looking at her with rose colored glasses, in the first flush of love. I am convinced that all kinds of problems would crop up if they ever got together. They would have to leave New Jersey, with the kids, and Tony would have to be dead….and there goes her high life. Furio has no real skills unless leg breaking pays well. And I don’t think its on par with Tony’s money. Ridiculous.


  9. more clumsiness…someone says Billy Budd is a gay book. Carmela scoffs. Finn says “ive heard that” as though it is not a widely held interpretation. moments later Meadow says “actually, it is” when Carmela continues to disagree.

    doesnt work

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ron, maybe I am going overboard because I have an unhealthy obsession of death and dying and the uncertainty of what happens after we die. However, was the scene of Carmela peering into Furio’s empty house reminiscent to Tony’s Dream in the “Calling All Cars episode”? I remember seeing a Night Gallery episode called “Hells Bells” where the Devil explains to a man that Hell is never what you expect it to be and it is different for everyone else. Someone’s hell could be another person’s heaven. Carmela has a constant internal struggle of how her husband makes a living. Yet she enjoys the benefits that come with being a mafia wife, she is extremely materialistic. I would imagine that hell for Carmela would be living in a modest house with nothing of material value, thus the empty house. Am I over thinking this?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hmmm it may be reminiscent but I don’t know if Chase meant it to be.

      I’ve thought about the uncertainty of “the afterlife” quite a bit too, and I think I have a fairly uncommon take on it. (My next passion project after I finish S.A. might very well be an exploration of that topic…)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Elliott – Haha! Actually, hell to Carmela would be a driving a rundown Pinto, living in a 2-bedroom mobile home in Alabama (sorry, but …), raising 2 inbred-looking kids who enjoy making/smoking crack, relying on welfare to pay the bills, and having Janice, Bobby, and his kids move in with her! Oh, and not being able to afford hair dye!


  11. I noticed that when Tony’s henchman are vandalize the restaurant it’s almost exactly the same scene as when AJ and his friends vandalize the pool at school. One of Tony’s guys even says “ Hey guys look at this!” Showing the huge penis drawn on the picture. Just like the boy who destroys the “Wall of Fame” at the school!! 20 years later and multiple viewings and I just noticed that today!!

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Small thing but I think when Furio is in the car with Tony and says Carmela is probably just worried about her mother, he replies “They got her on the cortisone.” But it sounds like he said corazon which means heart in Spanish. It looks like Furio does a little double take there so maybe he noticed that too and felt a little awkward.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. “Even if Carmela’s storyline felt a little soapy or sappy this season,”

    I might be the only one who enjoyed the Carm/Furio storyline and I don’t understand why. I honestly didn’t even think it was that corny tbh, but to each their own I guess

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Pulp? Rewatching the series while reading your commentary has made me way to detail oriented. Look closely at 19:30. When Carmela stops briefly in front of Furio’s home and looks at the unfinished garage remodel, there are two paper grocery bags on the front seat of her car. In the far left corner is a carton of orange juice. The word “pul” can be read on the top of the carton but the proceeding word is obscured by the door lock. I tried to slow this down a few times and see if that word was “some” or “with” but I cannot tell. Whether or not Carm conceded to Tony’s wishes of buying orange juice with “some pulp” the answer to that question would have symbolic(sorry) significance but alas, we do not know the answer. This very subtle detail only serves to further inundate the viewer with ambiguity. After the happenings of WhiteCaps, I think it’s pretty clear Carmela will be buying “with pulp” for a while, at least through most of season five.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Lastly. This one I can’t even prove let alone find any significance, but. When Gene confront’s the juror in the market, the song in the background seems to be the same song which was played in “FunHouse” when Pussy and Tony meet with Sundeep, right before it cuts to Keith Richard’s smokey vocal. Perhaps the similarity is signaling that this scene kind of kicks off a sequence which will have larger implications? (IE Junior’s mistrial.) Again, not sure it’s even the same song, but I am beginning to notice more and more detail and possible meta references during my current rewatch.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Also. “To a certain extent, all caucasians look alike.” may be the funniest line of the entire show.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Simon Gillies

    I think its worth noting that AJ is reading Thomas Mann’s “Death in Venice”, as assigned by his gay-agenda-pushing (as Carmela sees him) English teacher. Death in Venice is the story of an aging man that becomes (as many have argued) homo-erotically infatuated with a young boy while on vacation in Venice. I’m sure Carmella wouldn’t be too happy about her son being exposed to yet another “gay book”.
    Another thing I noticed was when Carmela is checking the mail and sees the picture of Rome’s Colosseum that turns out to be from her hairstylist informing her that they are moving (much like Furio). Her pained expression and the fact that images and artifacts of the “old country” have been used throughout the series to represent Furio suggest that he was the catalyst for Carmella’s new hairdo – not, as Tony naively suggests, the death of his prized horse.
    This is my first time watching the series and I have been reading this site as I go and I appreciate the dedication and time you put into crafting these essays – its greatly enhanced my experience! Cheers

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I am watching “The Sopranos” for the very first time while on lockdown here in NYC–hey, better late to the party than never! I love reading your observations… they always include several details or correlations that had escaped me completely, and leave me in even greater awe of the creative minds behind the series. So as I was reading the comments for this post, I kept thinking “Am I the ONLY one that noticed…”….until the last comment before mine. And re an earlier comment: the interpretation of “Billy Budd” as a “gay” book has been around a very long time–certainly before my college years in the 1970s. In fact, it was the first thing I ever heard about the book–and opera, a milieu in which I work (or used to work…) frequently. So when Meadow asked AJ what he was reading now, and he answered “Death in Venice”–the only generally-studied book I can think of “gayer” than “Billy Budd”–I burst out laughing. Such a fabulous touch!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, it is so weird I didn’t make that connection. I guess it’s because I always thought of “Venice” more as a book about “love from a distance” than about homosexuality. I read it when I was around 20, during a time when I was stuck worshipping a girl from afar, and its line “Strangely fruitful intercourse this, between one body and another mind” rang so true to me at the time. I still haven’t forgotten that line…

      Stay safe in NYC!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Love the recap and thanks for the blog! Two catches I wanted to call out because I don’t see them above:
    1 – In the scene in front of the church, there are 3 church bells as Carmela learns Furio has left–it’s 3 o’clock, the mysterious theme that runs through the entire series!
    2 – In the first dialogue with Furio, he mentions that there is water seeping into his sheet rock. This is known as Rising Damp, a callback to the last episode where Janice identified herself by the term.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Here’s a cute little thing – Carmine Jr says his father has a *testa dura* – literally, hard head – and shortly after, in the same scene, Carmine Sr describes Tony in the same way, only in English. Connettività!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Oh! And I forgot – a bell tolls for Johnny Sack as he takes a drag on his cigarette, which I’m sure is completely irrelevant and will not have any bearing on anything.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. This is one of the most joyless hours of the series, which does not mean it’s a bad episode. It’s just that this is Carmela Soprano & the Infinite Sadness. Or Furio Giunta & the Infinite Hard On. Or Carmine & His Teeth.
    In all seriousness, Carmela’s plot is a real bummer. Eloise feels longer than Whitecaps, and I just rewatched them b2b. Maybe it’s because for all her flaws (here: homophobia, pettiness, soreheaded feelings, other things Junior has accused her of), but I am nevertheless invested in Carmela all through the show. She’s a spoiled hypocritical petit bourgeois, but so are many people. Maybe your mother? A sibling? You? She is one of the most well written characters ever on tv, alongside at least Tony and Chris. Most of the characters are in some personal way compelling. Sil is limited somewhat by Little Steven’s chops, as has been said, but the writers know how to make that part his mystique, how he probably has correctly deduced every one of Tony’s secrets. Paulie is remarkably complicated for a guy that could easily have been portrayed as a cardboard cut-out gangster figure. Edie Falco understands her character. Anna Gunn was great as Skyler White, but I’m not sure the material is there for the two to be comparable, despite some obvious parallels.
    And of course the episode is grim elsewhere. Paulie ganking the world’s worst senior woman is still pretty macabre. Her death stare is simultaneously obtusely funny and very unsettling, kind of like Ari Aster’s work. And, of course, Min is Exhibit A for many Paulie Would Totally Burn a Horse to Death theories. What’s interesting about that plot is that the two really have it out; they’ve known each other all his life, and she clearly thinks he’s a degenerate with a dowdy sadsack mother. David von Chase is a sick sick man sometimes, and God bless him for it.
    But the dinner scene at Meadow’s is my favorite. Tony the Dad is his most charming face, the same one we see at the party in Marco Polo. “Thought you read it.” Incredible. Carm and literature again. Madame Bovary, Abelard & Heloise, Memoirs of a Geisha all this reading. Is this just a character trait? I often wonder if the fact that she’s reading bed is just the show’s usual realism or its usual layers. Madone.


    • She is TOTALLY in denial about the “relationship” with Furio. She will never get out of the dilemma she has put herself in, and she lives in a fantasy world. It would never work out for her to have any kind of life with Furio, and I get annoyed that she thinks so. She totally romanticizes him. She can’t figure out that he is a murderer and a gangsters just like her husband? If Tony didn’t cheat on her and paid more attention she wouldn’t even bat an eye. She can live with her choice or she caN leave. REALITY check please.

      Liked by 2 people

  23. Carmella’s “Yes.” to end this episode is to me one of the most haunting Sopranos moments, to me up there with the “apparition” in Tony’s Florida dream. Her eyes-wide-open-but-no-one’s-home blankness is just. Depression. Nothingness. “Big Nothing” all in one word and facial expression. Terrifying

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Pingback: The Soprano Onceover: #78. “Eloise” (S4E12) | janiojala

  25. I think Paulie doesn’t “accidentally” run into Carmine at the wedding, and it’s more sinister. The groom’s dad is his father’s third cousin? He doesn’t talk or socialize to anyone else, just walks immediately up to Carmine to try to butter him up. I think the talk with Sil, in conjunction with his previous nighttime talk with Johnny Sacc (who subtly suggested he could be the nex NJ boss), gave him ideas of flipping to NY. Carmine not even recognizing him at all was a wake up that he has severely less clout with NY than he thought, so he decides to shore up his standing with Tony and make his last envelope very good.
    To me it seems there’s a big parallel, and then antiparallel, with Furio flirting with Carmela in a psuedo-affair and Paulie flirting with NY in a psuedo-affair. Both were suggested to maybe-possibly whack Tony at previous points to bring their respective affairs to completion. The difference is that Furio didn’t commit while Carm seemed willing (emphasis on seemed), whereas Paulie tried to commit but NY wasn’t willing (at least Carmine didn’t recognize him, which adds to the ludicrousness of Paulie in general).

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Pingback: How Meadow Soprano Ended Up Just Like Her Mother - Grow Up

  27. R.I.P. Fran Anthony (‘Minn Matrone’, smothered with pillow by Paulie), 2019

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Continuity errors:
    AJ’s sitting at the kitchen counter. There’s a plate on the counter with 5 scones on it. Carmela adds 3 more to the plate, lets Furio in the house, and goes back to the kitchen. There are now 2 scones on the plate. As big of a pig AJ is, he couldn’t possibly have scarfed down 6 scones in 30 seconds! Glug, glug! 🤨


  29. Red flags?:
    ▪ Furio nearly offs Tony via helicopter blades.
    ▪ Furio ‘suddenly’ ups and leaves NJ. (Okay, but how the hell did he place his house on the market, clear out his furniture, AND leave his pad in such immaculate condition in a matter of one or two days?)
    Tony’s immediate reaction to Furio’s departure is mild anger, he doesn’t scream in rage or hit something. Curious. I mean, he trusted the guy and kept him around for awhile. We don’t even hear Tony calling Italy or threaten anyone (until season 6)! Ultimately, Furio was simply expendable in Tony’s eyes – the guy was ‘there’ until he … wasn’t. How quickly Tony forgets.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Abundant Intentions

    What was the deal with Finn telling them he lives on 118th st instead of 108? He pauses, he says “one hundred and eight….teenth, street.”
    Does he not want them to know he lives in Harlem or something?

    Liked by 1 person

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