Rat Pack (5.02)

Jack Massarone gives Tony a painting.
Tony Blundetto joins SopranoWorld.
A power struggle begins in New York
after boss Carmine dies.


Episode 54 – Originally aired March 14, 2004
Written by Matthew Weiner
Directed by Alan Taylor


The season opener “Two Tonys” seemed to suggest that the Mafia storyline will take precedence over domestic issues this this year.  “Rat Pack” continues in that vein, introducing us to a lot of new mob faces.  (Well, old faces but new to us.)  Tony and Carmela’s domestic/separation issues stay out of the limelight for the most part here.  Carmela does get screentime with her girlfriends, but she has very little interaction with her husband, and Meadow and AJ make only the slimmest of appearances.

The first three scenes of the hour introduce us one after the other—bang bang bang!—to this episode’s rat pack (and I don’t mean Dino, Frank and Sammy); “Blackjack” Massarone, Adriana and Ray Curto are all working with the Feds.  We watch Curto now correct the FBI transcript of a conversation that we saw take place way back in 4.01.   We’ve known since “Proshai, Livushka” (3.02) that Ray Curto is a rat, and he will have the distinction of being the longest-tenured informant of the series.

Adriana will not have Curto’s luck—her tenure as an informant will not last nearly as long as his.  Ade doesn’t know it, but the Feds have installed a camera on a light pole outside of the Crazy Horse.  Even though the camera can only capture grainy black-and-white footage of the nightclub’s parking lot, that will be enough to capture some incriminating evidence later in the season.

Crazy Horse camera1

(Interestingly, the date on the video is 3/11/04, just three days before this episode originally aired, reinforcing the sense that SopranoWorld-time correlates with real-world time.)  Adriana is straining under the pressures of her double-life.  She tries to elicit some warmth from her handler Robyn Sanseverino, but the agent does not seem to be a naturally warm person.  Robyn rarely ever makes eye contact with Ade, keeping her eyes fixed on the notebook in which she constantly scribbles notes.  She lies about not having children when Ade queries her.  Robyn does, however, share a heartfelt story about why she got into the FBI in the first place.  But the story, and its lesson—“Nowhere but the FBI is the line clearer between the good guys and the bad guys…and you’re with the good guys now”—reflects Robyn’s lack of nuanced understanding or sensitivity, a shortcoming that will leave Adriana even more isolated over time.

Adriana does feel the warmth of friendship at the Soprano home during Movie Night with the girls, but this only makes her feel like a Judas for betraying her friends.  She rushes out of the house, slipping off the curb as she runs to her car.  (A couple of tight insert shots of Rosalie make us wonder if Ro will put 2 and 2 together and figure out that Adriana is an informant.)

Blackjack Massarone doesn’t have Curto’s luck as an informant either.  We first met Jack in “Do Not Resuscitate” (2.02) when he was Tony’s partner in grift at a construction project.  We don’t know when the Feds turned him, but we find out quite early in this hour that he is wearing an FBI wire.  It takes Tony a little bit longer to recognize that Jack is a rat.  He initially suspects that Jack gifted him the Rat Pack painting as a way to cover his betrayal, but then revolts at the idea because it would imply that there’s a hidden agenda behind every good deed: “Can’t a guy be fucking nice anymore?  Friendly?”  (Well, no, Tony—at least not in the world that you’ve fashioned for yourself.)  Tony wants proof of Jack’s betrayal, and is certain that at his next meeting with Jack he will be able to “vibe it out,” pick up on anything suspicious or unusual.

But Tony’s confidence in being able to sniff out a rat has completely disappeared by the time he returns from his meeting with Jack: “I couldn’t tell shit.  What the fuck am I, a mind reader?”  The Soprano crew find the proof they need, however, in Jack’s kindness.  When they hear that Jack complimented Tony on losing a few pounds, they realize he’s full of shit.  Tony Blundetto’s earlier fat-joke to Tony highlighted a fact that is glaringly obvious: Tony Soprano has been putting on weight over the years.  David Chase’s decision to bring back Jack Massarone—an old character from years back—is genius for how it triggers the plot-point: Jack has known Tony for years, so he certainly knows that Tony has not dropped a few pounds but has only gained weight.  This particular compliment coming from Jack, a longtime acquaintance, is a sure sign of his guilt.

We might be reminded of Jack’s longtime friendship by a comment Tony makes to Johnny Sac in this episode.  As they talk in the Bada Bing bathroom, Tony tells Johnny that he used to find Jack to be a bore; this may spark our memory of Tony describing Jack as a bore to Artie as he approached them on the golf course back in episode 4.02:

Boring Jack

(Looking at this old imagery now, I just realized that Jack’s propensity to wear caps might be the reason why the Feds decided to hide their wire in his ‘Museum of Science and Trucking’ hat.)  It is because of this scene from “No-Show” that we know that Jack is a golfer, and this helps us to understand why he is now found in the trunk of a car with a golf club cover stuffed into his mouth.  FBI rats are conventionally found with a rat crammed into their face, as we learned back in Season 1.  The golf club cover (which resembles the symbolic rodent in color and texture) is a clever Season 5 variation of convention:

Dirty Rats

With this echoing imagery, Jack Massarone is paralleled to rat Jimmy Altieri.  I started seeing echoed images in this episode between Jack and fellow rat Adriana as well, but I’m not sure if I’m making too much of it—sometimes, when you think you see a pattern (a pattern of parallels, for instance), your brain start seeing that pattern all over the place.  In any case, here are the two strongest parallels I found:

Adriana and Jack are both shot in pointedly red, black and white settings, a color scheme rarely found
in SopranoWorld locations (despite being the theme colors of
The Sopranos):

Red and white

Adriana and Jack both have trouble with the curb—Adriana slips off one and lands on her face while Jack is helped over a curb by Tony:

Curb Rat Pack


Among the new mobsters that appear this hour are Lorraine “Lady Shylock” Calluzzo and Phil Leotardo (who tells a classic Jesus-joke at Carmine’s funeral).  But the most significant newbie to be introduced is Tony Blundetto.  Cousin Blundetto has been in prison for 17 years, and Tony Soprano feels a certain amount of guilt about this—although this is not easy to recognize upon the first viewing of the episode.  Chase starts to slowly build up our awareness of Tony’s guilt and regret in this hour: Tony gets emotional watching a WWII documentary in which a soldier recounts how he let his buddy down; Tony buys Blundetto a Motorola so he can “call me when he needs me”; Tony tries very hard to get Blundetto back in the game and is very disappointed to learn that he would rather go straight.  We immediately recognize that Blundetto’s desire to go straight is going to define his story, because we’ve seen the “just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in” arc in earlier works like The Godfather and Carlito’s Way.  But we really do believe (at least for awhile) that Blundetto might actually succeed at achieving his goal because he possesses a great repository of intelligence and insightfulness from which he can draw, something that we’ve already begun to get a sense of in this episode.

Arguably more significant than the arrival of Blundetto to SopranoWorld is the arrival of writer Matthew Weiner to The Sopranos.  According to a July 2011 Kodak.com “In Camera” interview, Weiner knew since childhood that he wanted to be a writer, and writers were idolized in his family.  (A giant poster of Hemingway hung in his childhood home.)  After finishing at USC’s graduate film school, he worked as a TV writer and stand-up comedian (and won an episode of Jeopardy to boot).  David Chase saw his script for the Mad Men pilot and insisted that he put his own series on hold to come work for The Sopranos.  (Weiner has described this as being called up from the minor leagues to come play for the Yankees.)  He was a significant contributor to The Sopranos in its final three seasons, and only after that infamous cut-to-black at Holsten’s Diner did he go back to showrun Mad Men (which was undoubtedly one of the highest-quality programs of the post-Sopranos landscape).

Part of the reason why Weiner was such a great fit on The Sopranos was his ability to plant little seeds of connectivity and then cultivate those connections through the seasons (as we will see).  He gave a lot to the series, but he also got a lot back in return—he says he learned much working with David Chase:

David Chase is a real artist who believes in himself. He has a lot of wisdom from being in show business for 30 years. He is completely reactive to what he considers to be the worst parts of television, and he’s always trying to overcome them…I learned to immerse myself and to never give up or take the easy way out. I learned to push myself and also to trust the audience. David had tremendous faith in the audience. He was uncompromising in every detail, and completely involved.

It was quite possibly through The Sopranos that Matt Weiner met director Alan Taylor, who went on to direct the Pilot episode of Mad Men.  Taylor does an excellent job on “Rat Pack.”  The opening scene, for example, is astutely staged, hinting that Jack Massarone has been followed but leaves the details mysteriously murky.  Later, Taylor’s camera follows an Asian character around the FBI office, essentially using the man to “connect” various beats within the scene, but Taylor’s direction prevents the gimmick from feeling contrived or kitschy.  Alan Taylor only directed a pair of Sopranos episodes before now, but he becomes a substantial contributor from here on out.   

Taylor’s quality directing is part of the high standard that the series has set for itself.  This high benchmark exceeds anything we’ve ever seen on television, and even eclipses most film standards.  The love and respect that the Sopranos’ creators have for cinema and filmmaking is reflected once again in this episode’s “film club scenes,” as Carmela and her friends go through the American Film Institute’s list of top 100 American movies (the 1998 list).  First on the list is Citizen Kane.  Carmela pulls out a movie synopsis by housewife-favorite Leonard Maltin, and tells the group that Greg Toland’s cinematography in the film is first-rate.  One of the most groundbreaking cinematographic achievements in Kane, of course, is Toland’s use of deep focus/deep space.  After they watch the film, Carmela compliments the cinematography while the girls sit in two parallel lines that draw our eyes back into the deep space.  We might note that Gabriella concurs with Carmela’s statement from the back row, definitively pulling our attention into that focused background.  So, this shot may in effect be paying homage to Kane better than any of the comments that the women make:

Citizen Kane Sopranos Autopsy

The women make an effort to discuss the merits of the movie but quickly move onto gossip and girl-talk.  They change the subject partly because they’re not cinephiles, they don’t possess the knowledge or language to have a serious discussion about film.  But additionally, Citizen Kane is simply not one of those movies that inspire lots of viewer discussion.  It keeps topping “Greatest Movie” lists all around the world, and rightly so, because of its technical and narrative innovations, but I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone that actually loves the movie.  (Welles claimed that the audience’s cold reaction to the film was part of his master plan; it underscored Charles Foster Kane’s cold and unapproachable nature.)  In comparison, The Sopranos “broke all the rules and invented some new ones…the cinematography, music and screenplay…are all first-rate,” (as Leonard Maltin wrote about Kane) while managing to be loved in a way that the film isn’t.


Another old but not-so-familiar face to appear in this hour is Adriana’s friend Tina Francesco.  (We saw her previously in Season 3’s “Another Toothpick,” when she appeared as Mustang Sally’s girlfriend.)  She expresses a sentiment that is commonly held in SopranoWorld: “Sometimes you gotta just take care of yourself, you know?”  Yes, we know—and if we didn’t know, this episode abundantly supplies the lesson.  Tina tries to take care of herself by flirting with Chris even though she is Ade’s maid-of-honor.  Adriana in turn takes care of herself by revealing Tina’s ‘fake invoice scam’ to the FBI.  Ray Curto has selfish, not moral or civic, reasons for ratting on the Mafia.  The tension between Johnny Sac and Lil Carmine arises out of each one’s desire for power.  Even the good guys are looking out mainly for themselves: the attorney that prosecuted Corrado wants to go after the juror that caused a mistrial, despite the FBI’s objection, and he gives more priority to retrying Corrado than to building the RICO case against Tony Soprano all because this is his best path to a six-figure job at O’Melveny & Myers.  The line between the good guys and the bad guys is not as clear as Agent Sanseverino would like to believe – everybody has their own selfish reasons.



  • It is perhaps noteworthy that Chase places a significant number of Italian-Americans on the “good” side of the line; this hour features Agents Cubitoso, Grasso and Ciccerone.  Even Robyn, with the surname Sanseverino, might be Italian—or at least married to one.
  • Janice makes a naughty pun on the word “rosebud” after watching Citizen Kane.  Apparently, Kane’s real-life counterpart William Randolph Hurst and his mistress Marion Davies used the term “rosebud” in a similar way (thus giving rise to the popular Citizen Kane joke around Hollywood, “He died with Rosebud on his lips.”)
  • For reasons I don’t quite understand, some viewers find it hard to believe that Blundetto could mean so much to Tony Soprano when we’ve never heard of him before.  The writers seems to take these viewers’ concerns into account, having Bobby Jr. tell Blundetto, “How come we never met you before?  I’ve never even heard of you.”  Perhaps one reason why this episode brings back a couple of old faces (eg. Jack Massarone and Tina Francesco) is to make the point that even though a character might not appear onscreen, that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist; like Blundetto, they’ve been living their lives beyond our sight.
  • Faith & Firearms: the bloody power struggle that takes place between John Sacrimoni and Lil Carmine starts out as a spat here over Carmine’s association with Opus Dei, the Catholic institution that was on everyone’s radar at the time because of the release of The DaVinci Code the previous year.
  • The closing song, the Stones’ “Undercover of the Night,” is a political song but it nicely evokes the image of a “rat pack” scurrying around conducting its nefarious business under cover of night.
  • Christopher refers to Lorraine Calluzzo (Patti D’Arbanville) as “Lady Shylock” because she is obviously a female loan shark.  But it is also a clever meta-reference to Cat Stevens’ song “Lady D’Arbanville” which he wrote for girlfriend Patti in 1970.

Lady D'arbanville Lady Shylock - SopranosAutopsy

  • We see here that Tony has upgraded from his Suburban to an Escalade.  His father also had a big, badass Cadillac, as we previously saw in flashback scenes:

Cadillacs Sopranos Autopsy

  • Some viewers have found a connection between eggs and death on the series.  “Rat Pack” perhaps provides the strongest confirmation of this theory, as Carmine dies here after having had a stroke while eating egg salad in the previous episode.  There may very well be a conscientious connection, but as I mentioned earlier, sometimes we see patterns because we want to see patterns.  I just noticed that both Massarone and Carmine have appeared wearing Maxfli hats, and both are dead by the end of this hour.  Hmm…is this a pattern?  Probably not.

Maxfli Sopranos Autopsy

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53 responses to “Rat Pack (5.02)

  1. Hi Ron,

    Great to see you’re back continuing your analysis of The Sopranos. Your reviews of the show, to me, are the best on the Internet. Looking forward to seeing your insights into the remaining episodes.

    Regarding the connection between eggs and death in the series, here’s a long list from Reddit on eggs used as a portent. Like any list, some of them seem shaky, but it’s still a fun list to read.


    Liked by 2 people

  2. So I have to admit: I’m not much of a fan of this episode. Sure, it’s not bad, but it’s probably my least favorite of Season 5. I guess one of my main complaints is it’s so uncharacteristically unsubtle, so much more outsized and over-the-top and broad in the way its humor and situations are pitched. Then I realized that I think the same thing of every other Sopranos episode penned solely by Matt Weiner, which are all (with the exception of the great Mayham) my least favorite hours of the last three seasons (e.g. Luxury Lounge, Moe n Joe, Sentimental Education, Chasing It). I really love Mad Men, but for some reason I feel that Weiner’s broader, blunter approach often grates when used on The Sopranos, which is so great when you have a subtle writer like Terry Winter or Chase himself at the helm.

    Anyway, Rat Pack. Most of all I just feel this is a disarmingly slight episode: it’s almost entirely exposition instead of character moments or driving action, and that exposition is not done very well either. For a contrast I would say look at Members Only — basically a similar season-starting exposition hour but one which finds ways to not be dull, which integrates character insight and theme into the info-dump, and ends up one of the show’s very finest hours in the process. Rat Pack is pretty graceless in comparison. Yes, all this stuff is important — the FBI, the NY power struggle and all these new faces, Tony B’s entrance, etc. — but it’s not handled with the usual Sopranos light touch and subtle complexity. It’s more of a hit you over the head approach. Which, honestly, I more and more feel is also true of much of Season 5 as well, and the blame can’t all be pinned on Weiner. It’s still an excellent season, but one where the last three episodes do a lot of the heavy lifting. I think I somewhat agree with Matt Zoller Seitz’s characterization of Season 5 as having a “wheel-spinning” quality to it, as opposed to seasons like 3, 4 and 6 (especially 6B), which seem to me to retain both a freshness and an exceedingly high level of quality.

    And some scenes are just unintelligible. Take the FBI agent Robyn and her extremely odd coconut/gun story of why she supposedly joined the FBI. Not only does it make us wonder why such an unusual and frankly small incident would cause someone to want to be FBI, it makes us wonder if this story is even true or if she’s just pulling a fast one on Ade. Yet if we’re meant to think it’s false, there’s not much there to indicate this; it’s all very stilted, and ambiguous in a bad way, as if Taylor didn’t know what to do with what Weiner dropped on him. And even if she is lying, why would she think this very ridiculous tale would make Ade suddenly believe in the FBI’s cause? The fact that Ade does seem to buy it and buy into Robyn’s “we’re the good guys” schtick stretches credulity as to how dumb the show supposes Ade is, and it’s just silly.

    We have some good scenes here: the business with the painting and Tony’s “process” most of all. But I can’t even remember so much of the rest of it, and I’ve seen this episode at least 10 times now. Scenes like the movie club are comedy gold on paper, but the way they’re written leaves so much to be desired — Janice’s “rosebud” joke is the kind of thing I expect from a lesser show than this one. It’s all a little on-the-nose. Also, I can think of few episode endings/cut-to-credits-and-music as bland and forgettable as the one here from Ade’s rather shrug-inspiring ratting on Tina for hitting on Chris to the gaudy, jarring sounds of that mediocre Stones tune.

    I think I’ve written enough, but there’s just something about this one that’s fundamentally bland and almost disposable in a way that Sopranos rarely ever is (again, outside of Weiner-penned ep’s like Luxury Lounge and Moe n Joe).

    Liked by 3 people

    • Funny – I found the ending with Ade to be bone-chilling and one of the better endings because it was a clear and unexpected turning point for a main character. Up to that point she has been a relative innocent – complicit in, but not guilty of anything venal – and helplessly drifting towards doom. Just after we see her verge on confession, she veers in a totally different direction and decides to see if she can defer her fate by bringing someone else (or maybe several others down with her. A character most people probably feel sorry for gets some agency back – but at a terrible cost. I think it’s a great ending.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I had a really nice, well thought out comment written in response to David above, but unfortunately it appears to have encountered a glitch, because it never posted.

    To summarize, I agreed with David about this episode. It’s actually one of my least favorite (but I like Season 4’s ‘Christopher’ a lot though, so your mileage may vary). I also went into an analysis of Weiner’s Season Five episodes, and concluded that he may have been in something of a transitional period where he was still breaking a lot of the sitcom habits he picked up over the years. I thought his work by Season Six was a lot closer to the level we’d come to expect from Mad Men.

    I really wish WordPress didn’t eat my original comment, because it was much better. Ah, well…


    • Sonicbluesea, I always thought, like many, that Christopher was the worst episode of the show — but when I watched it recently, it didn’t come off nearly as bad as it used to. It’s still weak compared to the otherwise perfect Season 4 and the show in general, I think, but the non-Columbus stuff is perfectly fine and even some of the Columbus stuff (like the final scene) is kind of funny.

      I think it may be true that Weiner got better writing Sopranos as he went on; but then again, I still find Luxury Lounge and Moe n Joe from Season 6 to be his worst episodes along with Rat Pack. Mayhem fares much better, of course, even if only for the astounding Inn at the Oaks scene, and I actually like Chasing It a lot and would probably rank it higher if it weren’t for the Vito Jr. plot (most disturbing shower scene since Psycho?). But it’s true that when he wrote with Chase he struck gold, and I don’t think it’s fair to give all the credit to Chase: Kennedy and Heidi, The Blue Comet, Soprano Home Movies, The Test Dream…. these are sterling, masterful episodes. And I think that it’s actually possible to detect a bit of the Weiner touch in them just as I do much more easily in episodes like Rat Pack, except with these ones it works really well.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Completely agree about that shower scene in Chasing It… even after so many rewatches, I still cringe at that one every time. I think you’re right about Weiner striking gold when working with Chase.

        To me, Weiner’s first two solo episodes in Season Five (this and Sentimental Education) are both extremely weak. Not poor in the general sense, just weak compared to a lot of other hours this series delivered, as well as his later work on both this series and Mad Men. However, after the two episodes co-penned with Chase and Terrence Winter later in the season – including the masterful Test Dream (a favorite of mine) – I found his work improved a lot.

        I think it’s also worth noting that, of the six episodes credited to Weiner as the sole writer, three of those six are helmed by non-Soprano veteran directors. Steve Shill, Danny Leiner, and Peter Bogdanovich each directed only a single hour of the series. Coincidentally, or not, those three hours are Moe n Joe, Luxury Lounge, and Sentimental Education.

        Glad to hear there are other Season Four fans out there as well! As a one-two punch with Season Three, that is where I feel the show was at it’s absolute zenith.

        Liked by 1 person

        • It’s interesting indeed how those three Weiner episodes were done by guest directors. In Season 5 they used a lot of one-off directors; I think it worked out well, with one exception: Mike Figgis (Cold Cuts is just kind of heavy-handed IMO, and Figgis’s unorthodox framing and editing choices stick out like a sore thumb rather than blend in seamlessly like the rest). Makes sense that they’d get Danny Leiner (the director of Dude, Where’s My Car?) for a light, almost entirely comedic episode like Luxury Lounge. I think it may be just mainly the script that’s the weak link there. Steve Shill is a talented veteran Deadwood and The Wire director, so I don’t know if I’d blame him for Moe ‘n Joe’s ho-hum-ness more than just the fact that the narrative of the episode itself functions as a kind of unnecessary rehash of Cold Cuts mixed with an oddly rushed wrap-up to Johnny Sack’s pre-cancer story. It’s just kind of a weird Frankenstein episode (a little of everything, but not much of it very memorable), which I can’t see existing if Season 6 had been 12 episodes as originally planned. It’s hard with this show to pinpoint flaws in the direction though, usually, because it’s almost always so well-oiled and streamlined and hewing to the overarching aesthetic no matter who’s directing. Figgis and some Season 1 directors are the only time I feel a real strong difference.

          Yeah, Sentimental Education is a strange case. I think it has a lot to like actually, and thematically it’s one of the most important episodes in terms of sealing Carm’s fate for the rest of the series. But I find its cheap fatalism regarding her and Tony B’s story disappointing and too easy for this show. Tony B. snapping and beating Kim never gets any better or more believable on re-watches for me, and neither does the predictable ending scene and its abrupt transition to the credits. But I realize that much of my reaction to this episode rests on my subjective emotional resistance to what the show is choosing to do. Usually I accept and admire Chase’s vision, but I think the Tony B. story in particular could have been handled a little more tactfully or originally.

          Anyway — I totally agree. For me Seasons 3 and 4 are the peak of the show, the perfect blend of all the elements and possessing a more confident command of form and content than the first two seasons. It “shouldn’t” be that way, you might say, considering they’re the two seasons most plagued by production woes (Marchand’s death and 9/11), but somehow Chase managed to pull it off. Actually Season 6 (especially 6B) is my absolute favorite season, but it’s so dark and depressing that I don’t watch it nearly as much anymore as 3 and 4.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. About eggs—maybe Chase really did intend them as a harbinger of death. After all, eggs are *traditionally* in Western culture a symbol of life (which is why there are Easter eggs, symbolizing Christ’s rebirth*, or something like that). But Chase has used other objects to represent the opposite of what they normally do, such as trees being associated with death and homes not as a sanctuary but an ominous presence, as shown in the opening scenes of season 5, where Casa de Soprano looks positively evil. (And this episode presents the parallel with the lonely mansion in *Citizen Kane*.)

    Maybe looking for a single phrase that summarizes the essence of “The Sopranos” is a Zen koan—a pointless exercise whose whole point is its very pointlessness. But sometimes I think “life is sometimes to opposite of what we expect” comes close? Trees and eggs as things of death. Homes as places of isolation and loneliness. Tony as a ruthless mobster but decent family man, or a decent family man who is also a ruthless mobster. Tony also spends the entire series telling Christopher he’s like a son to him but ends up snuffing him out when he finally because too much of a liability.

    *Speaking of Christ, remember the egg-eating contest in *Cool Hand Luke*? At the end of the contest, with Luke, absolutely stuffed, laying on the table, the camera pulls up and shows him in a very Christ-on-the-cross-ish position. And he goes on to die at the end. He should have paid heed to the eggs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maybe there really is something to the “egg theory,” and maybe its just a whole lot of nothing…but as Luke said, “sometimes nothin’ can be a real cool hand.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ageing, eggs and pathetic endings – This episode seems to focus on ageing and how bad life choices lead to a pathetic end. You can apply the idiom “putting all your eggs in one basket”, or perhaps the wrong basket.

        Regarding the ageing narrative, think about Paulie and Feech arguing like young hoodlums and taxing gardeners, Tony clearly thought this was pathetic. Also Junior loosing his marbles. All three of these characters have no wife, which brings in to focus Tonys life choices.

        Tony Bs early life choices have left him in a pathetic situation, as have Arti’s.

        Everything in the last 2 episodes has focused on pathetic endings, by which i mean things not turning out as they would have hoped.
        Think the guy in Tonys crew who’s now an old snitch.
        Carmine Snr went out on top, but his son is not going to fulfil the destiny his father hoped for

        With only PATHETIC ENDINGS to observe, its no wonder Tony looks to Melfi. She’s the only person who could help him build a completely new version of himself and a new future (i.e. Two Tonys).

        *sorry if I’ve posted this loads of times, I’ve not used wordpress before

        Liked by 1 person

    • Paul – How about … egg on one’s face, LOL! Or the saying ‘he sure laid an egg’.


    • Never noticed the egg symbolism before, definitely something in that

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My interpretation of Robyn is that she is somewhere on the high
    functioning part of the Autistic Spectrum. She’s just not relatable.
    She’s nothing like Puss’ handler. And her black & white view of life
    comes back to bite her later on.

    “Nowhere but the FBI is the line clearer between the good guys and the bad guys –
    and you’re with the good guys now”. I had to laugh. Wonder what Martin Luther King
    would have said to that one! Or Carmella’s housekeeper’s husband for that matter.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Speaking of eggs, I am not sure what episode it was, but Junior asks Bobby to give Tony a hardboiled egg, and Tony refuses, then Junior says it again, and then he says “Tony Egg?” instead of the correct name.

    Liked by 1 person

    • haha makes me think of Arrested Development when Michael gets Ann’s name confused with “Egg”…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Its in this episode where Junior refers to Tony B. as “Tony Egg”. Which is interesting since Tony S. steps or almost slips on an egg right before realizing what has to be done to Tony B. in “All Due Respect”.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. After reading many of the comments, I am getting the feeling that this episode does not get the love that I think it deserves. I personally think it is a very solid episode. Carmine Lupertazzi’s wake to me was a brilliant scene, it shows how people are so narcissistic, that they will even make a death of another person about themselves. I have approximately 450 coworkers, so a coworker dying really isn’t that uncommon, most of the wakes and the funerals turn into office social hours, where people see it as chance to suck up to the higher ups. Like the scene in the Sopranos, they take a moment of life that is supposed to honor the life of the person who died; and they make it about themselves.

    One of the reasons why I love this site so much is it forces me to think about things I never noticed. Honestly, I never really gave any thought to the egg references, but now that the topic was brought up I think there must be a meaning to it, due to the fact there were so many references. My first thought came back to the scene in “Calling All Cars” when Tony is telling Melfi about his dream. A caterpillar on Ralphs head turns into a butterfly, Melfi asks Tony if his friend has changed in any way. An egg shell is like a Cocoon, it is an incubator where the fetus changes into a full-fledged chicken, perhaps the eggs signify change. Adriana was cooking Chris eggs right before she flipped, Richie was cooking eggs when it became clear that Tony was going to have a major problem with him, Valentina was cooking eggs when she set herself on fire, lastly when Junior calls Tony “Tony Egg” it is at the onset of Alzheimer’s. Perhaps it signifies that a major change is on the horizon, and not necessarily death; However, to be fair after most of the egg references, deaths did happen.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. Connectivity is again on display between “Rat Pack” and “Whitecaps”. Blundetto gets a job for a Korean cleaning company named after it’s owner, Kim. Kim was also the name of the original buyer of the house whitecaps that Alan Sapinsly refuses to go back to for fear of having “his feet held to the fire” after Soprano backs out of the deal.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Two of the good moments in this episode:
    – Johnny Sac’s contemptuous comment about Little Carmine: He has spent “five years in Florida fixing wet T-shirt contests.”
    – The uneasy silence of Carmela and the other women when they are told that the next film on their list is The Godfather.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. For those interested in family relationships. This is how Adriana explains things. Sometimes I think I can follow it, sometimes I don’t. It’s a clever piece of writing.

    FBI Agent Sanseverino: Something I’ve always been meaning to get straight: Tony calls Christopher his nephew, yet sometimes you refer to them as cousins.
    Adriana: Chrissie’s not Tony’s nephew, Chrissie’s Carmela’s cousin. She was first cousin to Dickie Multisanti, Chrissie’s dad, but he was always kinda like a big brother to Tony, Dickie, so Tony calls Chrissie his nephew. It’s an Italian thing. Although technically, Tony and Chrissie are cousins. Joanne Blundetti, Chrissie’s ma, is Tony’s cousin on his mother’s side – but, way back, like in the old country or something.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. A correction. The lines I quoted above are in the next episode, ‘Where’s Johnny?’


  12. I think Jack Massarone is left with the FIVE wood cover packed in his mouth, looking like a facsimile of a rat, because he should have been pleading the FIFTH.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Do you think that Picture had a bug in it? Or was it to throw Tony off the scent of an informant?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I think the agents try to distance themselves so they don’t get attached or invested. I also don’t think that story she told was true.She was trying to make a point. Also, they don’t have respect for OC people, in Adriana’s case maybe its a little different, but they are black and white about it. Good and Bad. Except Agent Harris. At the end, Robyn is sincerely upset about Adriana. She felt guilty.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. “But additionally, Citizen Kane is simply not one of those movies that inspire lots of viewer discussion. It keeps topping “Greatest Movie” lists all around the world, and rightly so, because of its technical and narrative innovations, but I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone that actually loves the movie.”
    To be frank, I find this section completely ridiculous and unbelievable. Citizen Kane doesn’t inspire viewer discussion!? How can you even say this? Anyway, I love the film. My girlfriend was crying after we recently watched it, she loves the film. Listen to Ebert’s incredible commentary track on the old DVD…Doesn’t inspire viewer discussion…Imagine somebody saying that about The Sopranos?
    Anyway, great writeup once again. I find the Kane scene hilarious. All these Harvard-y Sopranos writers making fun of idiot normies watching something artful and intelligent…There’s a snobbiness to the Sopranos writers that I find hysterically funny and also honest.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I mean more that Kane was probably never one of those “parking lot discussion” movies, where a group of moviegoing friends come out of the theater and talk about the film for 20 minutes before getting into their separate cars. In one of the film-studies classes I took in college, Kane was probably the most respected but least loved film among my classmates that semester. But I really like it, I find it poignant and moving..


      • Rosalie’s comment about how “I can’t believe he had all that and still died all alone” reminded me of Livia’s, “in the end, you die in your own arms” comment.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I have to agree with Jordan. Not only is “Kane” one of the most technically brilliant films in cinema history, it’s also one of the most entertaining moviegoing experiences ever… watching it is an absolute rush, and it’s still incredibly modern, today. I love it but, of course, the more you love cinema, the more there is to discuss and reflect on afterward… along with The Sopranos and The Godfather, it may be the defining motion pictures of the American experience.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. The final few episodes of S3 and all of S4 were Sopranos at its best imo.
    The first half of S5 doesn’t carry the gravitas or (ridiculously high) standards to me – Feech is played as an almost caricature of a ‘mad gangster’ and AJ is such an utter prick in every single scene that it’s almost cartoonish, while Lorraine Calluzo is a token female capo with a stereotype of a meat-head boyfriend, then the Vito diversion… And as much as Steve Buschemi is great in almost every thing he does, his face doesn’t fit The Sopranos – he just looks out of place.
    S5 redeems itself towards the end with the culmination of the Tony B, Adrianna storylines and the Tony/Johnny Sack dynamic but I think there were a few mis-steps in this season.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Comical foreshadowing of the Vito storyline in the back room of Satriale’s – Tony B giving him a massage with the camera angle making it look like he’s being rammed from behind. Then Tony S walks in…

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I’ve never felt that Tony B/Buscemi sudden appearance was ever truly earned and felt very forced. Usually the show doesn’t do things like this but here we’re supposed to be emotionally invested in this character simple because were TOLD to, not shown. It’s pretty messy and I can think of several other ways to achieve the same results without force fitting Steve Buscemi into the show out of nowhere.

    Also, as to Jack and the #5 on the gold cover, is it possible that he was the 5th RAT – executed or otherwise? Pussy, Jimmy, Larry, and another Jimmy…Jack makes 5 I think. Someone do the math on that.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Two issues I have with this episode:
    1. Tony B was incarcerated for 15 years, yet all of his tattoos look like he got them a week ago.
    2. Given Tony’s paranoia about ‘rats’ and wiretaps, I’m surprised that he didn’t yank Jack’s cap off his head (which Jack wore in 2 scenes).


  20. I was curious about Buscemi’s role on this series, so back on the ‘net I went. Cheatsheet.com (2020) noted, “Of all the guest stars of the show, Buscemi might be the only one who never read for the part”. Buscemi said he thought he would be on the show for two seasons, but was “shocked and disappointed I only made it through one season”. The article continued, “Chase reiterated that he didn’t initially plan on Buscemi dying so soon. But he and his writing team had backed themselves into a corner and Tony B had to go”. As usual, Chase is the ambiguous master of his domain (to paraphrase ‘Seinfeld’).

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Connectivity: Love how, during the scene with Adriana and Robyn in the car, we briefly glimpse the “2nd Generation Airbags” decal on the passenger side window, after Tony B turns down the offer to run the new “2nd hand” airbag scam.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Pingback: The Soprano Onceover: #37. “Rat Pack” (S5E2) | janiojala

  23. “a soldier recounts how he let his buddy down” – I didn’t get that out of it. I couldn’t find it just now but my recollection is he talked about how some people do their duty even though they may pay the ultimate sacrifice for it which goes back to the ‘strong silent type’ motif Tony sees for himself.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. MAXFLI was a brand owned at the time by a company named TaylorMade. Pretty sure that was just an easter egg for the director.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Can someone explain to me the significance to the scene near the beginning of the epposide where Adriana is in a car with her FBI handler and another agent. The agents show her photos of what looks to be a murder victim. When Aid tells the agents she recognizes the victim, the agent in the back seat seems dismayed and then rushes off…Can someone explain this to me? Do we who the photo’s show? I get that Aid is being shown some of the unintended consequences of her actions cooperating with the FBI but I would like the details here if anyone has them.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. No doubt. Just wondering if the decedent is someone we know, some fringe character introduced in a previous episode. Upon rewatch, season 5 is mysterious.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I don’t think Adriana realizes that what she’s doing ‘has real consequences’; maybe she finally realizes that the mob’s actions have awful consequences. The murder victim is simply a by-product of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, I guess. But you know what? I doubt whether Adriana has ever felt bad over any negative event in her life. Not only that, she even rats out her friend and maid of honor ‘Tina’! There’s very little guilt in this series. 😖

    Liked by 1 person

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