Unidentified Black Males (5.09)

“The truth will out”: we learn the real reason
why Tony was a no-show the day Blundetto got arrested;

and we get a major revelation about Vito Spatafore.

Episode 61 – Originally aired May 2, 2004
Written by Terence Winter and Matthew Weiner
Directed by Tim Van Patten


This is the first episode that Terence Winter and Matthew Weiner get credit for working on together, and the hour benefits from their considerable talents.  “U.B.M.” has three plotlines, which is not in itself uncommon, but what is rare is that all three are stories are quite important, none can be considered the minor plotline.  The story of Tony and Carmela’s relationship runs parallel—and sometimes perpendicular—to the story of Meadow and Finn’s relationship, while the issues surrounding Tony Blundetto get more and more complicated as the hour progresses.

Blundetto was spotted a couple of blocks away from where Joseph Peparelli (aka Joey Peeps) was killed.  He denies having anything to do with the murder, but Tony Soprano understands that Blundetto is just giving him “plausible deniability.”  Johnny Sac is infuriated by the murder of Peeps (and the ridiculous mistake on his headstone must only add to John’s outrage).  It’s sort of hard to believe that Johnny Sac could be so infuriated, especially considering that Peeps wasn’t a made man and also because viewers had never previously been made aware that a strong relationship between Sac and Peeps existed.  But we have seen John Sacrimoni become irrationally angry before—Ralph Cifaretto pushed John’s berserk-button with his Ginny-joke last season.

Angelo Garepe has some regrets about hitting Joey Peeps, and says so to his colleagues.  Some viewers thought that this scene—where Lil Carmine and his guys debate how to deal with Johnny Sac—was a jab against George Bush and his administration’s decision to invade Iraq.  There are quite a few elements that add plausibility to this observation:

  1. Lil Carmine is wearing jeans and big ol’ belt buckle, looking a bit like the cowboy that George W. often pretended to be
  2. Lil Carmine’s dismissive comment about the United Nations mirrors the Bush administration’s gung-ho, unilateral attitude regarding the Iraq invasion
  3. Blood-thirsty Rusty mentions his quadruple bypass, connecting him to hawk Dick Cheney (who had suffered 4 heart attacks by the time this episode aired)
  4. Lil Carmine refers to the troubles that his father also had with Johnny Sac, which may remind us that both father Bush and son Bush had major conflicts with Saddam Hussein
  5. Lil Carmine’s final comment bypasses the rules of grammar and logic to finally land in a place of complete absurdity, much like the idiotspeak we enjoyed for 8 years from you-know-who 

As is the case for so many scenes on The Sopranos, it is easy to become convinced that a particular interpretation is the “correct” one.  In truth, there isn’t enough evidence to say with certainty that Chase was mocking the Bush administration with this scene.  Nevertheless, I can easily imagine Lil Carmine uttering some of George W’s unforgettable gems, like “Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream” or “They misunderestimated me.”  And conversely, I can imagine George W mouthing some of Lil Carmine’s greatest hits, like “You’re at the precipice of an enormous crossroad.”

(I’m not gratuitously picking on the former President here.  Like many Americans now stuck in the lunacy and perpetual mendacities of the Trump administration, I look back at the Bush years with a kind of nostalgia.  I’ll admit I even feel a certain warmth toward lighthearted, easy-going George W.  The criticisms of the Bush administration that we find in Seasons 5 and 6 of The Sopranos were part of Chase’s increasing effort to provide eyewitness testimony of those years.)

Carmela has warm feelings toward Tony at the beginning of this hour.  She tenderly describes to Gabriella Dante how sweet Tony was after Hugh’s birthday party.  But her feelings turn sour when Tony doesn’t come in to the house when dropping AJ off.  Tony is taking it for granted that his relationship with Carmela is on the mend.  He tells Melfi that he didn’t stick around that morning after making love to Carmela, and when the doctor tries to question him on the wisdom of this decision, he interrupts her to take a telephone call.

Carmela is eager to proceed with the divorce but she can’t find an attorney that hasn’t been polluted by Tony.  (Tony probably took the advice that Alan Sapinsly gave him last year: meet with all the good local divorce lawyers before Carmela does.)  Without a good attorney, Carmela cannot secure a comfortable future for herself—and Tony knows it.  He growls at Carmela, “You’re entitled to shit.

Meadow and Finn’s relationship is also in a bad spot.  Their dissatisfactions with each other and their uncertainty about the future and their steaming hot apartment all contribute to an almost formulaic depiction of the old trope, “the struggling young lovers.”  Finn thinks about scrapping dental school to become a professional photographer—someone once complimented his photos for being “solidly unsentimental.”  For the time being though, he can work at the construction job that Tony gets for him.

Finn functions as a viewer-surrogate perhaps like no other character on the series ever has.  He is a true outsider to the world of the mob, a Navy-brat born in Japan and raised in the Azores.  As outsiders ourselves, we might feel an affinity with the young man.  Additionally, there is a generic quality to Finn DeTrolio, particularly in comparison to Mead’s previous boyfriends Jackie and Noah, that makes it easier for viewers of all stripes to identify with him.  He is compared to both Shaggy and Joe Perry in this hour, and—strangely—both comparisons work:

The many faces of Finn

(I chuckled when Vito compared Finn to Joe Perry, but I laughed for a solid 10 minutes when Paulie called him “Shaggy.”)  Finn has such a generic quality that he can accurately be compared to both a slacker with a Scooby-snack addiction and a genuine rock-n-roll badass. 

Finn shows up at the construction site early one morning and inadvertently interrupts a romantic rendezvous:

Vito blowjob - Sopranos Autopsy

Zoinks!  I still get surprised by this moment, even after having seen the episode a half-dozen times.  The Sopranos doesn’t do too many surprise twists (especially compared to a show like Breaking Bad, which seemed to toss out a twist before every commercial break), and so when Chase does give us one, it truly feels shocking.

We wonder what we would do in Finn’s situation.  (I’m pretty sure I’d be on the first flight back to Mission Viejo or wherever the hell he’s from.)  Finn is not sure if Vito wants to fuck him, or kill him, or fuck him and then kill him.  The giant baseball bat in front of Yankee Stadium, underneath which Vito waits for Finn, symbolizes all of these possible fates—a bat can be a phallic symbol but it also makes for a good murder weapon:

Giant yankees bat

The bat is a visual pun, and it is just one of several phallic references that stock this hour: Finn says he might want to go home until this thing with Vito “blows over”; the character of Felicia has a name that sounds a lot like “fellatio”; Finn and Meadow argue about a student of “oral” surgery; and Tony tells Finn outside a restaurant, “I didn’t mean to bite your head off.”  (Oral sex has a recurring prominence in the series, and we know from previous episodes “Boca” and “Irregular Around the Margins” that Chase gets a kick out of fellatio-related puns and jokes.)

We might also wonder how to proceed with Meadow if we were in Finn’s shoes.  Despite her intelligence and education, she is living in a tangle of self-delusions.  She criticizes Finn for talking about “the guys” as though they were an anthropology subject—and then she proceeds to rationalize the mob precisely as though it were an anthropology subject.  She belittles Finn’s belief that Vito is out to get him, either sexually or homicidally.  I think that of all of Meadow’s self-deceptions here, there are two that we should particularly consider because of the irony that it generates:

  1. Her insistence that Jackie Jr. was shot by African-Americans
  2. Her argument that “Vito Spatafore is a married man, Finn.  I seriously doubt he wants to kill you.”

These two misbeliefs combine to ironically undercut Meadow’s criticism that Finn is overreacting because it was Vito Spatafore, in fact, who put the additional hole in Jackie Jr’s head.  Finn pulls out a suitcase and considers fleeing the situation, leaving his beautiful but annoying girlfriend behind.  When Finn explains that pulling out the suitcase was part of his “process” and that there was “no abundant intentionality in it,” we see that Chase has tweaked the age-old formula: Finn and Meadow are “struggling young lovers—with Ivy League vocabularies.”

Self-deception runs rampant in SopranoWorld, Meadow is not the only one that suffers from it.  Tony has buried deep within his psyche the truth about what happened the night Blundetto was arrested almost two decades ago.  It takes Melfi’s professional expertise to draw the truth back to the surface.  In a quietly intense scene, Tony explains why he has such feeling of guilt towards his cousin (and why his panic attacks come back when Blundetto is around).  Tony has been lying to everyone for the last 17 years about why he was not there the night of the hijack; it was because of a panic attack sparked by Livia, not because he was jumped by some black men.  (He has been saying he was jumped for his sneakers.  Air Jordans came out in 1985, and I guess it was around that time that we started hearing reports of sneaker-related crime, which makes Tony’s excuse more credible.)  The sequence of events that began on that fateful day would lead “Tony Uncle Johnny” to eventually become the wealthy and powerful head of the DiMeo/Soprano crime family, while “Tony Uncle Al” would spend 17 years in a federal pen learning how to make grill cheese sandwiches on the radiator.  (In one of the most absurd ironies of the series, Blundetto is arrested and sent up the river for hijacking—of all things—Betamaxes.  He served 17 long years in prison, but Betamax was almost completely supplanted by VHS in the consumer market by 1988—just two frickin’ years after his arrest.)  Dr. Melfi is excited by Tony’s breakthrough—she compares it to giving birth.  But Tony thinks that taking a shit is the more apt analogy.

Carmela is living with a generous heaping of self-deception as well.  She thinks that she can get away from Tony clean and simple, that the law will aid her as she seeks a divorce—as though she didn’t spend the last two decades enabling her criminal husband and colluding with their criminal colleagues.  Carmela is unable to look Tony in the face as he calls her out on her hypocrisy:

You knew every step of the way exactly how it works.  But you walk around that fuckin’ mansion in your $500 shoes and your diamond rings and you act like butter wouldn’t melt in your mouth.

In the final scene of the hour, we see Carmela “walk around that fuckin’ mansion” wearing 3 glittering necklaces, an expensive watch, a couple of sparkling bracelets.  As she takes off her costly earrings, Carmela receives a phone call from Meadow.  She and Finn are getting married.  As Carmela watches Tony lounge in the pool, she is overcome with mixed emotions: joy as she thinks of Meadow’s bright future ahead, and sorrow as she recognizes the shadows on her own horizon.

In a way, Felicia (she of the thong and tramp-stamp) has the key lines of this episode.  She told Finn that living together with someone is not the same as being married…

…because you could just pack up and leave whenever the shit hits the fan.  Talk to married people.  That ring, believe it or not, has got this kind of, like, weird power.

Finn momentarily considered packing up and leaving, but—after literally “hitting the fan” (of his dying air conditioner)—he ultimately decides to put a ring on Meadow’s finger.  Carmela tries to leave Tony but her wedding ring (not to mention all her other rings) have a weird power over her.  As she looks out the window at Tony laying in the swimming pool, she recognizes her husband to be a sort of “lord of the Ring”—he has used his reputation and influence to make it very difficult for her to escape the commitment embodied by her wedding ring.

UBM pool

We might remember that all the way back in the Pilot episode, Carmela looked through a window to watch Tony cavort in the pool, just as she does here.  This imagery has been repeated many times throughout the series.  The swimming pool itself has become associated with notions of home and domesticity and family over the years.  A sampling of pool imagery:

In the first episode, Tony associates the ducks that have roosted in his pool with his family:

pool Ep1

The slithering pool vacuum underscores that the (relative) tranquility of the Soprano household is threatened by the arrival of lying,
chaotic, reptilian Janice early in Season 2:

reptilian pool

In “Whitecaps,” Tony lounges in the pool after Carmela has kicked him out of the house, signifying that he will not easily relinquish his home or marriage:

calm waters

The Season 5 opening includes a shot of the covered pool, signaling Tony’s absence from the domestic space:


The image of Tony barreling into the pool just moments after Carm has made a date with Wegler serves to reinforce his “ownership” of both her and the house:


It is in the pool that Tony makes a big step in reestablishing his dominant position in Carmela’s life and in the household after Hugh’s birthday party:

pool scene MARCO POLO

Carmela’s eyes tear up now as she hears the news of Meadow’s engagement.  They are complicated tears, heavy with the complexities and contradictions of her life as a Mob wife and mother.

Some viewers may also find their own eyes tearing up.  The Sopranos is “solidly unsentimental” (just as Finn’s photographs are purported to be), but the closing moments of this hour have an almost mawkish tenderness to them.  I’m usually turned-off by gushy endings but I think this episode, by being tight enough and crisp enough in its first 55 minutes, earns its mushy finish.  Much of the sentimentality comes from Bobby Darin singing “If I Were A Carpenter” over the ending.  Christopher mocked the song’s hokeyness as he sang it at a construction site in Season 4’s “No-Show,” but I think there is something quite earnest about this particular version of the song.  (Matthew Greenwald at Allmusic.com wrote about this version that “Lyrically, the vulnerable, heart-rending stance that conveys his love fits Darin’s voice perfectly, making this one of the most honest records of its era.”)  There is no shortage of brilliant song choices in The Sopranos, and we all have our favorites.  The use of Linkin Park’s “Session” two episodes back ranks way up there for me.  But since “If I Were A Carpenter” is able to add to the real emotion of the final scene while it cleverly evokes Finn’s new blue-collar job at the construction site and simultaneously acts as an ironic criticism of the inauthenticity of Tony and Carmela’s marriage, it would probably get my vote for Most Perfect Song Selection of the entire series.


As all of us have figured out by now, the four sets of unidentified black males that “appear” in this episode are:

  1. The (fictional) black guys that Blundetto blames his limp on
  2. The (fictional) black guys who get blamed for busting Little Paulie’s head
  3. The (fictional) black guys that Meadow blames for Jackie Jr’s death
  4. The (fictional) black guys who kept Tony from appearing at the truck hijacking so many years ago

Characters in SopranoWorld exploit certain stereotypes about African-Americans for reasons of expediency or self-deception.  Tony works himself into a lather as he describes, in the most horribly derogatory way, the men that jumped him 17 years ago—but the men never even existed.  Stereotypes and prejudices against black people are so strong in SopranoLand that crimes and culpability can be successfully shifted even on to imaginary African-Americans.



  • Rewatching the series, I’m surprised how little screentime Adriana actually gets in Season 5.  The way I remembered it, the FBI put the screws to Ade in practically every episode—but in actuality, several episodes go by without even touching that storyline, or just skimming lightly over it.  I guess it doesn’t actually take much to keep the storyline alive and relevant.  For example, in a very quick scene here, Adriana talks to Agent Robin over the phone while the painting behind her underscores that the FBI has its eyes on her.  (Or it underscores how wide-eyed I got at the sight of that tiny miniskirt.)

Adriana eye

  • I think most people would not agree with my choice for Most Perfect Song Selection, as there are plenty of other viable candidates to choose from.  An argument can be made that “Don’t Stop Believin'” is the greatest song selection of the series, if not the history of television.  But Chase’s decision to use that Journey song in the final scene was so cerebral, so brilliantly calculated—and so discussed, analyzed and parodied in the ensuing years—that the song, for me, became deprived of much of the ineffable, inexplicable magic that Music is so able to conjure.  Time, however, has a way of making a person nostalgic, and I’ve once again grown very fond of the song and of the way that David Chase used it on that Sunday night in the summer of 2007. 


Lil Carmine W. Bush

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98 responses to “Unidentified Black Males (5.09)

  1. Dude Manbrough

    Three of the absolute funniest Sopranos moments ever: the reveal of the “Peeps” headstone, Little Carmine’s language-mangling and Finn’s “maybe he wants to f*ck me, then kill me”. The Sopranos has always been by far the funniest “major” TV drama and this one was especially so (Meadow serving hot chili in 100 degree weather…Finn checking out his “work friend’s” thong, “Shaggy”, Little Paulie’s shorts, Bat Day).
    When Angelo is first introduced he seems to barely remember Tony B, but that evolved into something more. A curious and rare incongruity. Spoiler alert…………Tony’s attempts to soothe the friction between John and Carmine (“power-sharing arrangement”) ends up with Angelo dead, which triggers Tony B and starts an long war with Phil. Meanwhile Tony attempts to placate his cousin end up setting Chris off and you know how that ends up. All because Tony B. got his foot run over.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Dude Manbrough

    Carmela and Meadow’s stories also kind of intersect a little here. Carmela is starting to realize that her “dream” of a “regular” 50/50 typical divorce simply isn’t going to happen, as in spite of her (constant) state of cognitive dissonance she’s anything but “normal”. Meanwhile Meadow doesn’t know how close she is to “getting out” by getting engaged to Finn, a move that could have radically altered her entire future had she followed through with it.

    Poor Finn. His sincere attempts to “fit in” and make the best of his girlfriend’s family’s lifestyle are just so hapless. He just isn’t prepared in any way to handle the “etiquette” of the life and the crudity and violence of it all leaves him terrified and shell-shocked. And Meadow is totally oblivious, trying to convince him HE’S in the wrong and being too judgmental. An underrated character IMO.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I totally agree – underrated character. Will Janowitz, who played Finn, was interviewed in a great episode of Talking Sopranos podcast recently, with Imperioli and Schirripa. Hearing him talk about his career, writing projects, stories from the set – especially his thoughts on the whole Vito storyline – was just great (and absolutely hilarious!).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great write up! I’d add more, but I need to finish recovering from the shock of seeing a new entry so soon first! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I actually believe Carmela was crying out of sadness at her own failed marriage contrasted with Meadows engagement as she watched Tony in the pool. Can’t believe this is your last post! It seems like Test Dream in two episodes will take all of your powers to translate for us! Looking forward to new posts, this has been great to re-watch the series with this site.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dana – I’m not sure if Carmela cried out of sadness at her failed marriage. Rather, she cried because she was jealous of Meadow. You have to remember that Carmela is now ‘middle-aged’, can’t find a divorce lawyer, is living on a much-reduced monthly ‘income’, and has to take care of an ungrateful, whiny teenager (AJ) all by herself. Meadow, on the other hand, is a young, attractive female who is being educated at a top-rated university … AND has her whole life ahead of her. Carmela is stuck, pure and simple, in the quicksand of her own making.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Welcome back, Ron! Great to see you continue your analysis.

    This is the first episode in which Vito’s homosexuality is revealed, and with regards to the “connectedness” of the Sopranos it’s interesting to me that one of the first shots of Vito after the reveal–standing outside the stadium near the huge, phallic baseball bat–seems to foreshadow Vito’s death by baseball bat later in the season. I remember reading somewhere that Chase decided to extend the number of episodes for the final season once the actor portraying Vito approached him about a gay mobster storyline (I imagine to increase the actor’s own on-air time). I suspect the Vito character was not thought of by Chase as gay before this storyline was created, and his orientation retrofitted, but that doesn’t bother me, since I enjoy the Vito story as much as I do.

    One of the things Winter and Weiner absolutely get right in this episode, and it’s a joy to watch it unfold, is the circular type of argument young lovers can get into that last late into the night, going back again and again over the same offenses, to the significance of Finn pulling out his suitcase, whether they should live on the East Coast or the West Coast, etc. etc. I think most of us have that despairing, alternately angry, consoling back and forth at least once in our lives. It’s depicted really well here, and “reads real”.

    I do agree with Dana that Carmella’s tears at the end seem to be her joy at her impression of the simple innocence of Meadow and Finn’s love, mixed with her sorrow comparing that joy to the complex failure of her relationship with Tony. In that regard, “If I Were a Carpenter” seems to underscore the idea of how young love can be: The male in a simple trade, carpenter or dentist, the female his lady. I respect your awarding that song the honor of “Best in the Series”, but my own preferences, synchronizing song and images, would certainly include “I’m Not Like Everyone Else”, “Running Wild”, “Seven Souls”, and especially, “Urine Town”.

    So tomorrow, I’ll watch the next episode in the series, but this time without a Ron analysis to savor afterwards. I’ll be back on the next rewatch, but I do hope (like all your many fans) that you do continue your great work here. Please don’t let this site end with a sudden cut to black, where we wonder if we’ve lost our cable connection

    Liked by 5 people

  6. I have come to the Conclusion that I’ll be watching this show over and over forever. There is always some little thing you over look. Your fantastic write ups always find something I missed or have an interesting angle. Kudos! That George Bush analogy went right by me and I have watched the series 3 times at least. I went back and watched this episode again and I noticed our Friend the Black bear (Unidentified male?) makes a brief appearance when Carmella is on the phone getting the bad news about her Lawyers and potential Lawyers. There is a brief cut to the Bear on the Patio once again. Another reference to Tony as a Predator to Carmella and the family. Or the Bear could be symbolic of their marriage. Watching the scenes with Carm and the lawyers put me in mine of the season 3 episode “Second Opinion” when Dr Krakower lays down the law and tells her to leave Tony. She could actually leave with the House and a settlement based on Tony’s Tax return but she wants it all (Her share of the Blood Money) Carm is the proverbial Monkey with his hand caught in the Jar. To me this episode one of the big turning points in the series because from this point on the marriage is truly dead. Its no longer personal between her and Tony its all business.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. asda222s@asdasd.pl

    great blog, would be better if you didn’t force your political bias.


  8. George Jr. as Carmine Jr. linked by their shared
    predilection for idiot-speak. Ron, that’s priceless! I’m still laughing!
    And now like Davey Scatino, we’ve doubled down as a
    nation, and come back for a bigger helping. It’s amazing.

    I wonder about Melfi. She seems blind and self deluded also, missing
    when Tony’s drops his mask during his session. The contempt!
    Melfi midwives his ‘discovery’ about the guilt he feels towards Blundetto, and likens it to
    childbirth. She thinks she’s helped him bring something good into
    the world. Tony dismisses it as taking a shit. Then he pounds it again:
    “Trust me, it’s exactly like taking a shit”. Brutal.

    By viewing self knowledge, and guilt as shit he needs to expel
    so he can continue his behavior, he casts Melfi in the role of
    a tool to keep him regular – or worse a receptacle.

    It’s no wonder she references his impacted lower bowel
    when she expels Tony much later.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Mamjja – Good analysis! Wow – that ‘tool’ analogy is … something else! And the ‘receptacle’ … well, I see that as a toilet. 😉


  9. “Sometimes you tell a lie so long, you don’t know when to stop.”

    That’s a quote from a later episode, but it’s true here. Tony
    actually believed his own lie about his made up African Americans.
    But he told it because he knew be believed. Just like all the other similar
    lies and liars in this episode – they exist in an environment where they
    will be believed, and the lie protects or promotes the liar. And so it goes.

    I love this series.

    Liked by 5 people

    • And I really love the comments you’ve been leaving, very thoughtful and clever. Clever pseudonym too. I only figured it out because my friend Jason once pointed out to me that his name fits neatly into the sequence…


  10. Andy the English guy

    Lil Carmine’s comment is worth repeating..
    ..Until I am it’ll be hard to verify that I think I’ll be more effective

    Just poeticalist

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I love these analysis’ but they make me feel like I am not getting the most out of this show. I get a few of the references, but not as they apply to life in America politically. I just enjoy the show, and think about the motivations of each character. When you watch this show, do you think of these things immediately, or do they come to you on a re-watch? What is the process?

    Liked by 2 people

    • 80% of Sopranos Autopsy comes out of the extensive notes I make during re-watches. The rest is stuff that I’ve learned or thought of while reading about the series or just reflecting on my own experiences. Since you mention political references: the idea that “Lil Carmine = George Bush” in that scene here is not one of my original observations, I think I first came across it on the Chase Lounge, and then in other places. But the breakdown of the scene is (mostly) my own.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. It doesn’t make sense to me that Vito would pick his head up so that someone could see him giving a blow-job. It was a surprise yes, but still it didn’t make sense to me. It also doesn’t make sense that the air conditioner wouldn’t be replaced by either set of parents. New York summer’s are brutal. Who would let the kids suffer like that? And it was obvious to me that Finn was so terrified of Vito, that he asked Meadow to marry him out of self preservation. Meadow is deluding herself in this whole episode as well. Why would he lie about something like that? Why would she make that whole speech about Italians to Finn when she is well aware of the life she is in? She even defended Eugene when he gave little Paulie a beating “He’s so sweet!”. …she just can’t bring herself at this point to see it for what it is. Like Carmela hiding behind Catholicism to justify staying with Tony. Then she signs Vito’s death warrant by telling Carmela about Finn seeing what he saw the next season…..putting poor Finn in that position when he knew what was going to happen.

    Liked by 4 people

    • You seem to be answering your own questions when you talk about Meadow being deluded. In real life, people don’t always act predictably and most certainly everyone lies to themselves out of convenience. A massive theme of the episode.

      In principle I agree about Vito – never mind why does he look up – why even do something so dangerous in the very place where you could get caught? But then, people doing inappropriate (sexual) things in the worst places can be kinky to some people. There’s always exceptions, and a whole lot of hypocrisy in life.

      Liked by 2 people

      • You’re right about Vito, but it was early and no workers were expected. He’s also taking a chance with that ridiculous outfit in the bar when he must know someone might see him. It’s true, everybody is deluded.

        Liked by 2 people

  13. straight outta iowa

    A great episode. One of my favorite aspects of the show, alluded to above by Ron, is the frequent juxtapositioning — or should I say “intersectionality”? — of the absurdity of SporanoWorld with the absurdity of the modern academy, at all levels. Meadow’s academic goobledygook in particular is just priceless, especially when deployed to confound Montclair State dropout Carm. What both the Sopranos and the edugangsters share, along with every other institution the series pillories, is corruption: Whether Wendi Kobler and her Barcelona consulting gig, Columbia shaking down Carm, or even her fling with Mr. Wegler for the benefit of AJ’s grades, as Michael said in GF2: We’re [all] part of the same corruption.

    Ron — I also appreciated you Ade comments. Though as you know I’m more a Gloria guy, I have to agree with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, I don’t see the modern academy as a bogeyman to the same degree that I’m guessing you do, SOI. (And I’d be very surprised if David Chase would fully agree with Tony’s earlier description of the Columbia administration as “Morningside Heights gangsters.”) But I see your point and it’s a good one…

      I think we can both agree that the most important thing is to always get back to Ade (and Gloria).

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have to say, I really dislike the Meadow character and, as a Columbia University grad, find it preposterous that she would even get in. She is spoiled, obnoxious, and both enabled and another enabler.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I love meeting people who went to Columbia so that I clarify whether it was the Columbia School of Broadcasting. One line and a lifetime of laughs.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Re: Meadow being spoiled … So, why are she and Finn living in such a dump without air conditioning? I find this ridiculous, especially given Tony’s wealth, apparent adoration of his daughter, and known ability to score virtually any type of appliance (i.e., A/C)! Yes, Meadow may be intelligent enough to get into Columbia, but she is as manipulative and narcissistic as her mother (and 99% of the other characters). Also, what’s with her infatuation with Finn? He has no personality to speak of, and seems too wishy-washy to even catch Meadow’s eye, given her exposure to such macho men throughout her life.

          Liked by 1 person

  14. straight outta iowa


    Fair enough. Setting politics aside, I just think Chase is pretty cynical about everything — especially the institutions we used to hold in high regard.

    Your site has inspired me to re-watch the series. Keep up the good work!

    Full disclosure: My wife a CU alumna.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Carmela’s lawyer: “As my partners reminded me, I do have a full case schedule”

    I can hear Mrs. Alan Sapinsly: “YOU DON’T HAVE PARTNERS!”

    Carmela to Meadow earlier in the episode: “You have options, I have lawyers.”

    The squeaking of the air conditioner seems to mock Meadow’s high pitched voice. Finn kicks the air conditioner.

    Liked by 4 people

  16. Is it me, or does Jim Gandolfini have the worst golf swing on the East Coast?

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Why would Finn ever decide to get engaged to Meadow (i.e., deeper into the SopranoWorld) if he felt so threatened by Vitto and the guys? That made no sense to me. And he’s supposed to represent “us”?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Young love…


    • “Why would Finn ever decide to get engaged to Meadow (i.e., deeper into the SopranoWorld) if he felt so threatened by Vitto and the guys”

      I always thought that his decision was either 1) him waving the white flag and his brain not functioning correctly due to sleep depravation (basically just saying the only thing he thought would make the torture end) or 2) he might’ve been thinking that him marrying the Princess Soprano would make him untouchable/protected from Vito fucking him or killing (or both as he says)

      Liked by 3 people

  18. “you’re going to believe a drunken Irish prick over me? ….Here have a drink..”

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Regarding Vito’s sexual orientation being a surprise, I always thought the way Vito knelt in front of Gigi Cistone and took his hand before taking his pulse was… strange. Kneeling was unnecessary and the position he took in front of Gigi made taking the carotid pulse from his neck more awkward. So why this particular position? Perhaps a foreshadowing? I know I started looking at Vito with a different perspective from that point on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • haha I never thought of that..


    • Didn’t Adriana say that Vito called her every day when Chris was in detox recovery?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah that was kind of weird. Was he trying to use Adriana as a beard?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Well, he had two kids… (Paulie’s voice: “and a goomar’ on the side!” 😟) Yes, it was clear that, by the time he was outed, he was having trouble keeping a sexual relationship with the mistress. …And his wife (“that one, ain’t getting laid!”). It seems a lot of gay people have heterosexual relationships when younger, as cover, before having gay relationships exclusively later in life.
          But I think it’s safe to say Adriana might’ve tempted him – especially a couple years earlier, when he still had a sexual relationship with the mistress… Ade would tempt just about anybody. Or the writers just hadn’t thought of Vito as gay yet lol

          My big question re: the Vito/Finn storyline is this (and I’ve never seen anybody really tackle it)… each time I view that port-a-potty scene, I’m creeped out, like everybody else, thinking “maybe he does wanna fuck him and then kill him!”
          BUT… that shot of Vito waiting for Finn in front of the stadium… it always makes me doubt my thinking (the filmmakers are so great at ambiguity – and portraying the banality of real life). I’m sure Vito assumed Finn was gonna tell Meadow where he was going – maybe even Tony – for protection. I seriously doubt that Vito would’ve tried to kill Finn – or fuck him.
          Which makes me wonder… Mr. Super Fan, there, dressed up like a lil’ kid for “bat night”, with tix for Padres’ fan, Finn, seems so much more innocent… what if Vito was simply pressuring him to go so he could talk to Finn more honestly – or worn him to keep quiet, at least? What if Finn, instead of pretending it didn’t happen, started a real dialogue, and told Vito that he’d never persecute him, or ruin his life, for being gay – especially knowing what “the guys” would do, in turn?

          We’ve already seen Finn is a pretty liberal guy from SoCal – who already showed his relative comfort with the topic of homosexuality, at the dinner table, while first meeting his lady’s parents, with “Billy Bud” – a book he seemed to enjoy. He’s probably had people in his own life who’ve suffered from homophobia.
          If he could’ve connected with Vito on a human level, maybe it could’ve saved a lot of suffering, and, in turn, kept the whole Vito problem from causing more beef between Jersey/NY, Tony/Phil.

          Maybe Finn would’ve stayed with Meadow, and took her out of mob-life. The irony is that his poorly-motivated “proposal”, imo, only caused the relationship to end faster.

          Liked by 2 people

  20. Throw-down! Most Perfect Song Selection has to “State Trooper,” no? A wet New Jersey night, on the run & hoping to keep ahead of the law a little longer. With “a clear conscience about the things that I’ve done.”
    That ending song draws out the quiet fear that stalks all those characters.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. This is one of my favorite episodes, in big part because of Finn’s storyline and how he is systematically hedged in, all made worse by the fact that Meadow is in complete denial. He really is in a spectacularly terrible spot. I’ve thought more about what I would do in his situation. The most obvious solution is to simply leave and go back across the country and never come back….but even then I would be nervous for quite a long time, always looking over my shoulder. If Meadow grasped the seriousness of the situation, she would be a huge asset, but her denial puts him in an even more precarious spot. As the boss’s daughter’s boyfriend he has some level of protection (as highlighted by Pauly earlier in the episode), but if they break up then Finn is completely exposed. For this reason, I always took his desperate suggestion that they get married as a sort of self-preservation – maybe staying with Meadow, and being engaged gives him a little more protection from Vito.
    Like Finn, other characters are being hedged in throughout the episode as well, like Carmela as she comes to realize how all of her legal options have been preemptively squashed by Tony. By the end, she may be coming to realize that the best option left is to get back together with him.
    Then there’s Tony S, who is hedged in by the actions of Tony B. Tony S finds himself having to make up a fake alibi on the spot to Johnny Sac, and thus firmly plant himself right in the middle of the entire mess.

    Liked by 3 people

    • It’s certainly very possible that some thought of self-preservation motivated Finn here. But I’ve always felt that Meadow, despite all her issues and contradictions, is quite a catch…

      Liked by 3 people

      • She is a catch, but her fathers influence is like a poison over her life and I am positive that Finn was seeing her differently starting with that construction job. He gets a excellent view of the life she comes from. Lucky for him his snitching on Vito saved his life and he was able to get away from her. Sad but true.


    • Probably the gay storyline wasn’t thought of yet.


  22. You mention “idiot speak”. Did you ever think in your wildest dreams that somebody else in the White House is a genuine idiot and uses idiot speak daily ad nauseam?? 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    • I didn’t, until Joe Biden showed up. When he’s not hiding from the press, he has said more incomprehensible and downright stupid things in 6 months as President (never mind during his entire career) than George Bush did in 8 years. Sorry, but it’s the truth. Just trying to add a little balance here on the political front.


      • Ha. I’m still waiting for the bleach-based “cleaner” we can drink or the “light therapy” as cures for COVID. These statements stand alone at the top of the Mount Rushmore of moronic, idiotic presidential comments, perhaps never to be eclipsed. Seriously, Biden is no Rhodes Scholar, and he may not have Tony Uncle Al’s 158 IQ, but in comparison he’s no Montclair State grad.
        Always with the scenarios…

        Liked by 1 person

  23. Carmela is especially irritating in this episode. Trying to get more money by having a forensic lawyer look into the finances. Doesn’t she realize the repercussions of such a move? All because Tony didn’t come in the house when he dropped off AJ. She’s just as bad if not worse than Tony. He’s a sociopath yes, but as a mob wife she puts the whole family at risk and probably wouldn’t get anything if the FBI gets wind of it.
    Meadow lectures her about people having things handed to them and brings up Finn and the construction site job that her father got him..Already we see the hypocrisy and the way Meadow fools herself. This episode makes me anxious!! 😂😂

    Liked by 4 people

  24. “Vito Spatafore is a married man, Finn. I seriously doubt he wants to kill you.”

    It’s also funny that Meadow mixes up her logic here. Being married and committing murder aren’t mutually exclusive. Of course, in SopranoWorld, neither is being married and having sex with someone else. It’s just a funny leap in reasoning she makes.

    And someone mentioned it above but it bears repeating: “It’s really good chili.” One of the funniest lines in the series.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I guess what Meadow is really trying to tell Finn is that a married man would not be interested in boning him (which is a pretty naïve thing for her to believe)… But the way the dialogue is written, it also shows, as you say, how illogical she can be.

      Liked by 2 people

      • And Meadow being part of Sopranoworld is the worst nightmare for Tony, i think he really liked Finn and wanted her to marry him, their marriage would be his dreams come true, Finn, the dentist and Meadow, the pediatrician, but he ran away after and she becomes engaged to Patsy’s son Patrick, that’s his worst nightmare, he and Patsy don’t like each other, Patsy knows Tony ordered murder of his twin brother and he’s the one of the guys who didn’t advance during his reign of New Jersey don, he gave all good positions to Carlo, Bobby, Chris, Vito, Paulie but Patsy is always just the soldier in his crew, but what is more important, Meadow and Patrick are future mob lawyers, when she told him the bullshit story how she decided to go to law school was seeing Tony arrested multiple times by FBI, she even said to him they arrested him because he is Italian-American, in that moment we see deep sadness in Tony’s eyes when she mentions she would be boring suburban doctor if she didn’t see that, Tony wanted in that moment say to her- “Meadow, they arrested me because I am a criminal, not because I am Italian”. I would understand if she says that story to some outsider, but i can’t understand why she says all that to Tony, she’s not stupid, she knows her father is the leader of the major New Jersey criminal organization, not poor Sacco or Vanzetti.

        Liked by 1 person

  25. Who was Josette, played by Hilary Flynn?


  26. This episode’s Tony and Melfi session has to be one of the finest acting performances by James Gandolfini in the entire series.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. This is the episode where Vito’s sexuality is revealed. Eugene Pontecorvo jokes, “That skank I saw you with, this girl’s fuckin’ mustache – it must’ve been like kissin’ a fireman.” As Vito’s storyline develops, he ends up dating a volunteer fireman with a mustache.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. again…the sloppy dialogue. “my parents offered me a jet blue ticket…”


    This episode is like Mad Men’s “The Gypsy & the Hobo” in that one side of it I am so into, and the other, well…

    Tony’s therapy sesh in this episode is incredible. How Melfi talks him through the panic attack, the nakedness of Tony right before. “What am I gonna tell them?” When he accentuates it with “all of them,” there that weight he speaks of in the season finale. Everyone answers to him, but they also look to him. Left at the top, alone with it all.
    Male gaze: Tony tells Melfi “Trust me” when he says therapy is like taking a shit, a universal experience, while her example, childbirth, is something for which Tony would have to take her word.

    Anyway, then there’s the Finn/Meadow drama. Finn gets a bad rap for being generally a milquetoast average Madigan lad, but I feel for him when he sees the casual violence these “friends” inflict on one another. Also “Maybe he wants to fuck me, then kill me,” is funny. It just is. Well done, Joe Perry. But the argument between the sappy couple is one of the least interesting regular things this regular show has rendered. Not too banal, but a little uncomfortable in its familiarity, a reminder of how silly these arguments can be when we are young. Finn’s not wrong to be freaked out, but Meadow has already become that blinkered, and focuses on that god damned suitcase.

    Anyway, besides all that, there’s great scenes. The Peeps funeral, and the tense limo convo. But shouty Sac is best sac, so who’s surprised (“The fuckin’ GALL on that man! His fatha must be SPINNIN'”)? Tony v Tony, therapy, and the job site, especially early on w/ Paulie, stuffing cash in Finn’s pants. What a suckup.

    Tony is good at pretending to be Tony, much like Livia is good at pretending to be Livia. The titular males don’t even exist, he made them up, but he spews out some racist shit about them that is so very in character for him. Reminds me of Livia’s “Your ear, it’s disfigured!” in Isabella.

    Despite his jail time, and how much has passed him up because of it, I can see Tony B being way more at ease in charge than Nucky Thompson. Then again, Tony’s got (slightly) fewer headaches in S1 as well, when he isn’t the Boss. Love how casually embarrassed Tony B is that his mom bragged about his IQ.

    Still need to comment on “The 2nd Cumsies,” but I just listened to your recent Podabing appearance, Ron, so here we are.

    P. S.: If Ray Abruzzo in the Sopranos is Dubya, Abruzzo’s brief appearance in Mad Men is Jeb.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Great comments KZ. We recorded that Podabing episode a few weeks before George Floyd was killed. If we had recorded it after, I’m sure we would have gotten more into the systemic racism that exists within SopranoWorld, and how these mobsters benefit from the ugly stereotype of the “unidentified black male.” Ah well, a bit of a missed opportunity…


  30. It’s around this point in a rewatch that I remember why Season 5 is either my favourite season or very close to it. The humour here is off the charts: primo Little Carmine stupidity, the Peeps headstone (maybe my favourite joke of the series), Meadow & Finn’s domestic disputes (which are both sad & hilarious), Paulie’s immediate change of heart after learning who Finn is… Plus the action sequences are riveting (Angelo Garepe’s end), unsettling (Pontecorvo vs Little Paulie), uncomfortable (Tony & Carmela’s restaurant dispute) — it’s just A+ drama throughout.
    I also love it when the show pits the Soprano family against each other to highlight how they’re all full of shit to various degrees, like when Meadow tells Carmela that she can’t be “dependent on some man” for the rest of her life post-divorce, and then uses Finn getting a job in construction (through Tony) as an example of being independent. Come to think of it, it’s a huge Meadow episode. Her descent into full-blown mob daughter brain damage during her conversation with Finn after he witnessing the beating is a seriously important character moment. Finn seems like kind of a dick, but I’m glad he escaped the Soprano family. Great analysis!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh whoops, Garepe doesn’t die until later. I kind of assumed it was going to happen here because of the opening scene… It’s uhh, a good scene though.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Well, you outta know it sweetie 🙂 , and then Eugene snaps bottle to Little Paulie’s head,he really overreacted for that stupid joke, but again, he must protect his reputation in that world, it’s something all of them expected, if he didn’t do nothing, they would probably comment it afterwards, not made guys who hang with them and expect one day to become made too must endure most damage- Joey Peeps murdered, Little Paulie got bottle in the head, Benny took vicious beating from uncle Philly, he would probably kill him there if he didn’t see some girls coming,Donny K took sever beating from Johnny Sack because he was thinking how he was laughing at him because of Ginny, I don’t know was Billy Leotardo made but looked little bit slow at thinking. Vito is rising star in Sopranoworld, major asshole really, later we see him how he is threating Finn at hospital after Tony is shot. He is really snake, he tells others how Adrianna called him all the time Chris was in the rehab, but it was the other way around, he constantly called her if she needs something, that’s why Chris threw sandwich at him, Goodship Lollipop. I like how Eugene was nice too Finn, day after he saw beating, he knew kid was frightened so he told him to sit down with them and take a rest, Eugene seemed like really mild mannered guy. Finn should at least bang Felicia, there was mutual attraction and she is hot as hell. What horror for Finn would be if Tony died and he somehow became boss , how he hoped. But he really became carelles,famous mobster dancing in gay bar and blowing the security guard, I really wanted him to go, he didn’t have any decency , I wanted bullet in his head, not that horrible death what Phil gave him.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. I dont understand how anyone that lived through bush, who got hundreds upon hundreds of thousands killed through senseless war could prefer that to trump whos, what, hurt peoples feelings? liberals are fucking insane morons.


    • It’s insane, in February 2021, to think that that’s all Trump did. And it’s moronic to think liberals “prefer” Bush to Trump—in the first place, it wasn’t liberals that nominated either of those men to be the Republican candidates. More importantly, most liberals preferred Gore over Bush and Hillary over Trump, but the quirks of the electoral system kept our “preferences” out of the White House in both cases.

      Liked by 2 people

      • 🎯🎯🎯🎯🎯🎯👏👏👏👏👏✊✊✊✊

        Liked by 1 person

        • Drumpf got hundreds of thousands of American citizens killed with his idiocy, incompetence and ignorance. He broke records for how many Americans he got killed in that short a time.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Who did Trump kill again? He was the initiator and biggest champion of the vaccine program. At the time, the same leftists who now want it to be mandatory swore they’d never take it.
            You just prefer a senseless war against brown people to Tweets that make you uncomfortable. Go take another booster of Trump vaccine and jack off to Biden drone-striking kids

            Liked by 1 person

  32. Did you notice the scene in this where Finn talks about going to NJ and Meadow said her Dad could get him a job and on the tv screen behind him there is a wolf hunting deer?
    Thought it seemed apt in that moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. I got real deep with the “3” symbolism in this ep (and also: shoes).

    I think references to shoes/feet are an analogy for the journey a character is on in this show.

    So, it’s interesting Tony’s lie involves being “jumped” for his shoes – although he was lying, it was missing the robbery this night that laid out his path to becoming the boss of the soprano family.

    Then in the real version of events that night, Carmella is late because she is caring for a “THREE” day old Meadow.

    Livia is annoyed because she wanted to knit some BOOTIES for Meadow. Interesting as it was the resulting argument Tony had with his mother that laid out the path for Meadow to become Mob Boss’ daughter, and this ep explores the effects this has had on her personality!

    Also Tony being mob boss eventually led to him being killed (if you subscribe to that interpretation), potentially adding some more meaning to the fact Meadow was 3 days old (ive always thought the number three relates to death in this show).

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Notemma Goldman

    Vito, of course, is afraid of what Finn will do with the secret he’s learned (rightly so, as we find out next season). We don’t know if Vito’s plan at Yankee Stadium is to seduce, bribe, or kill Finn, and Vito is similarly in the dark about what Finn’s intentions are – in other words both are perceiving “unidentified blackmails.”

    Liked by 1 person

  35. “Dr. Melfi is excited by Tony’s breakthrough—she compares it to giving birth. But Tony thinks that taking a shit is the more apt analogy.”
    For me, having been through lots of therapy. this was a thought-provoking exchange. At first I reduced it to Melfi being a woman and Tony unable to relate to child birth, which is true and does play a part, but it’s also an indication of what they do with their work in therapy outside of the sessions. Melfi sees it as giving birth; her revelations in therapy are something to live with, nourish, and take care of in order for that therapy to be successful. Tony’s therapy “hasn’t worked” because he doesn’t always take to heart the progress made in that room. It’s like taking a shit to him, a nasty and guttural process just like giving birth, but with a less fruitful outcome. What he reveals in his therapy sessions, he simply flushes down the toilet and forgets about it. (Fuhgeddaboudit!)
    Also, it’s worth pointing out that this persistent prejudice and racism of course extends way beyond just SopranoWorld. Unfortunately it is a reflection of actual biases people have.
    Lastly, although brief, I thought Adriana’s FBI interaction in this episode was meaningful. *She* calls *them*, immediately after Chris is yelling about work issues and bitching about her going shopping. Like she’s sick of the BS. And in the same moment we learn about the agent’s daughter, and that she lied to Adriana earlier about not having kids. It’s short but so much is conveyed.

    Liked by 2 people

  36. This may be extremely off-kilter, but Meadow’s self-deceptions seem to me unreplicable in modern mass media, and may or may not have something to do with the Bush-era nostalgia you mention.

    I don’t think it’s inaccurate to say liberals prefer Bush to Trump (though I saw your earlier reply to a comment refuting that assertion, an opinion I, of course, respect), at least the cosmopolitan liberals who generally make and consume television shows do. The disproportionate outrage compared to Bush came largely from the horrifying revelation that when you strip away the high-minded liberal idealism of Obama, Clinton, and even W (comparatively), what’s left is the terrifying spectacle of the Trump years. The only way liberals could distinguish themselves from the unexplainable hoard which brought this about–the only way anybody can distinguish themselves from anyone else, really–is in the culture they consume, now having to double-down on the idealism under siege. This invariably poisoned culture (where I think the nostalgia comes in), since television, social media posts, and late-night talk shows had to serve the function institutions no longer could: remind you that you’re with the good guys and have the right ideas.

    In a Trump-era Sopranos, Meadow stays her Season 3 self for the entirety of the series: highly-educated, with the right ideas, calling Tony out for his racism, sexism, and violent life. If she doesn’t, the show no longer serves its purpose.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. I don’t doubt the power of self-deception and defensiveness, so I’ll give Meadow’s insistence that Jackie Jr. was shot by African-Americans a pass. But “Vito Spatafore is a married man, Finn” is too far below the level of Ivy League insight and reason I expect from Meadow; it jars in what was otherwise a hilariously erudite quixotic young lovers quarrel.
    I prefer Carmella’s season 5 arc to her season 4 one, which always felt a bit soapy. This woman who once saw the truth in Dr Krakower’s advice even when she could not contemplate leaving, now commits to returning because she feels entitled to half his blood money. It is completely believable that her moral unease of seasons past simply evaporates in divorce asset battles. A feminist reading might say that she deserves half of Tony’s money for giving up her career to bring up their children. Only deliberate ignorance spares her from owning half the blood. However, it makes her money play in the same episode Adriana is killed as a cost of doing business so much more foul. I have not seen season 6 but it is an amazing character arc so far.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m curious what your feelings on season 6 will be. So much of the power of S.5 comes from Carmela’s incredible arc, but Chase takes Carm, and the entire series really, in a bit of a different direction in S.6…


  38. There is a timeline problem with Tony’s story to Melfi about what really happened to him the night Tony B was arrested. The arrest was in 1987. Tony said Livia was knitting booties for Meadow. He excused Carmela’s lateness in bringing yarn to her by saying that she had a three month old at home.

    Meadow was born in 1982.

    No one knits booties for a four or five year old. Maybe A.J. Was the three month old, but if so, why wouldn’t Livia be knitting booties for him?

    Otherwise this is a nearly perfect episode.

    I love this site, Ron. I’m sure I will be back often as I re-watch the series for the seventh or eighth time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark – Does anyone actually believe that Livia would knit Anything for Anyone? Tony, for some bizarre reason, can’t say anything negative about dear old ma.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Tony. B went to prison in 1987. That doesn’t mean the hijacking was in 1987. In fact, since he was apparently caught up in some sort of RICO charge and those take a long time to put together and prosecute, it could easily have been a few years prior. Also, not sure where you got that Meadow was born in 1982. This may be a fact that I missed somewhere, but since she is a junior in college in 2004, I would assume she was born in 1984. That would fit fine with a hijacking in 1984 or 1985 followed by a sentence beginning in 1987.

      Liked by 1 person

  39. Ron, thank you, thank you! I am on my 4th series watch(since original airing) and I found Autopsy about halfway through this time. There have been 2 other series that have inspired me to find some way to get a deeper dive from the internet; Boardwalk Empire and Twin Peaks. They’re all so deeply layered that they beg for discussion or further dissection (and I have no one in my circle that nerds out on these like I do). Not only do you provide incredible analysis and insight, but the reader comments (and screen names) are also a great accompaniment. I would tell anyone to plan on watching Sopranos twice. First, for pure entertainment. Second, with Autopsy to get the full experience. I will have to watch again soon, to get the Autopsy experience all the way through.
    One of my favorite characteristics of the show is the satire, puns, irony… the carefully inserted humor that can be so subtle, you might just miss it. This episode is jam packed.
    I also love the visual subtleties. The 2 therapy sessions focused on 2 different Melfi angles that featured 2 different sculptures behind her. The first is standing, likely dancing or jumping with hair showing some rather vigorous movement. The second therapy session features the seated scupture, but open in her body language. Hair more formally in a bun. The framing contrast seemed very deliberate to me. I wondered if they represented Carmela or Livia or even Dr. Melfi. Carmela made sense since he spoke of their erotic rendezvous in the first session and in the second session of how Livia criticized her. I might believe they are Tony. More casual in what he chooses to bring up and a session he isn’t that invested in, as he interrupts to take a phone call. The second session is very serious. He is panicking and must sit down. He is open to the coaching, to not only ride through the panic attack, but dig up the source. Also sitting because shitting. (that humor)
    I definitely took note of Lil Carmine’s outfit but didn’t fully understand it. I appreciate your historical context to remind us of even more connectedness throughout the series.
    Thank you for giving me an outlet to get a little too obsessed with this show.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Finn paying for dinner and his girlfriend’s father getting overly upset… Ross does the exact same thing in Friends, and Rachel’s father actor is in The Sopranos. Yet another connection is Valentina’s practical joke with the salt-shaker in a hotel; Ross has a similar moment with the salt-shaker in a hotel.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. I never thought about that busted blowjob scene before but, yeah. Why did Vito look up? Wouldn’t the other guy have seen Finn’s car coming and warn Vito? Push him down more to keep him hidden or whisper to him to stay down? Maybe he had his eyes closed I guess but he’d at least hear the car I’d think. Even more odd because you could just have Finn park somewhere else unnoticed and then just walk by the other car where he could see through the window or something. That IS weird directing the more I think about it.
    Also, I didn’t see mention of it but the episode title is also a call back to the attempted hit on Tony by Junior in season 1.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Great session with Dr. Melfi and Tony! I love the way he was finally able to vent about his feelings of guilt over Tony B’s arrest! And his panic attack in session really reminds me/us how difficult – and sometimes dangerous – self-realization and honesty can be.


  43. When it comes to film and TV the Sopranos has — without question! — the best use of music I’ve ever witnessed.
    One of my favourite uses of music from the Sopranos is “High Fidelity” from Mr Ruggerio’s neighbourhood. It serves not only to underscore the FBI’s high-fi listening device, but also to sardonically comment on the FBI’s painstaking fidelity to the Soprano (DiMeo, technically) crime family. We see FBI agents, moments before the song kicks-in, having to wait for two minute intervals before getting 40 seconds worth of surveillance …. And what is there reward for this fidelity? Tony talking about how a Viennese roast “cleaned him out”.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Pingback: The Soprano Onceover: #17. “Unidentified Black Males” (S5E9) | janiojala

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