Can a misunderstood, recently de-closeted mobster find happiness in a bucolic New England village amongst the tolerant populace with their antiques and johnny cakes? Can a mismatched mafia princess and her freaked out dentist fiancé work through their differences? Can a put upon housewife with images of HGTV in her head sit idly by as her dreams strangle in red tape? Can HBO go through an episode dealing with homosexuality and the Mob without dropping about fifty or so crude homophobic puns and jokes?
If you answered “Yes” to any of those questions…stop reading now…you obviously have no understanding of “The Sopranos”.
Recap: As we begin, Vito is no longer hiding in the sleazy motel, choosing instead to hide at the shore with his sleazy goomar, who is bitching about the fact that they hadn’t had sex in over a year. Now keeping a mistress has never been very high on my “want-to-do” list…not with the cost of divorce lawyers now, plus the fear of my better half going all Lorena Bobbitt on me…but I’m a little confused here. If not for sex, what’s the point of having a mistress?
Back in the Land of Toll Booths and Toxic Dumps, Mobville is abuzz with rumors, as Vito’s request to Sal to “don’t say nuttin’” went unheeded. Christopher is spotted at an AA meeting by a New York crew member, who spills the beans about Sal’s chance meeting with Vito. All Hell breaks loose over the next several hours as Chris informs the boys at the Bada-Bing, setting off all kinds of reactions (and some great lowbrow putdowns)…most the guys being of the mindset to do some whacking. Except for Paulie, who insists that Vito can’t be gay. Way to go, Paulie. You have officially become the Draft Day Butch Davis of the Soprano Clan; the one person you can count on to ALWAYS be wrong.
We then descend into a male version of “Desperate Housewives” as we find out that mobsters can get caught up enjoying gossip just as much as any woman. And when even a heroin addicted flunky has heard the story; you know the cat’s out of the Gucci Bag. Tony, large and back in charge after his beat down of Perry last week, demands that someone finds Vito. Shortly thereafter, Benny Fazio is sent down to the Jersey shore to see if Vito is stupid enough to hole up there. Of course he is; and Vito gets in his Caddy and makes like Jeff Gordon fleeing a Tony Stewart tribute when Benny tells him to come in. This pretty much seals the deal to most of the Jersey crew about Vito “playing for the Pink Team”.
The Search for Truth continues. Silvio tries to get the 411 on the Spatafores’ love life from Vito’s wife, who dances around the subject with all the grace of Bob Wickman in Swan Lake (try getting THAT image out of your head). This prompts Sil to tell Tony; “My business…I’m around a lot of women. This one ain’t getting laid”. She’s probably also not getting coked up or turning tricks to pay for her next boob job like most of the women in Sil’s business…but that’s not germane to the discussion.
Soon, even the women have heard the rumors as Carmela and Roe joke about it at Casa de Mafioso. When Meadow overhears them, she tells them Finn’s story of the construction site blowjob. OH! MY! GAWD! Carmela instantly shrieks for Tony to come hear the Latest.
Flash forward to the Italian Inquisition, as Finn gets hauled down to the office to share his story with the Captains. Barry Bonds at his next Grand Jury appearance may feel almost as uncomfortable as Finn was breaking the news. Paulie is now in with the majority calling for a swift and merciless response…especially after finding out that Vito was the catcher and not the pitcher in the Security Guard encounter. I’m not sure what difference that really makes, but trying to figure out Paulie’s logic would be like listening to Yogi Berra’s dissertation on the origins of the universe.
Tony is still conflicted, however, on the best response. Vito is his “best earner” and a good captain, so he is reluctant to order the hit. He discusses it at length in one of the best Dr. Melfi sessions I’ve ever viewed. Tony is unbelievably torn on the issue. He likes Vito, and would like to cut him some slack, but all the old school teachings and prejudices stand in the way. On one hand, Tony tries to keep up the macho façade by saying “I had him pegged (as gay) all along”. On the other hand, we get a thesis on why you “get a pass” if you’re a mob guy and have gay sex in prison. But he’s quick to point out that he wasn’t referring to himself.
“Just for the record, my incarceration was very short term, so I never had any need for any anal….you know…”
Tony seems defensive for a second, thinking Melfi doesn’t believe him, but he drops it quickly when she reassures him, and he goes on about his ambivalence. An extremely well done scene.
In the meantime, Vito has hit the road, heading up into New England in search of a long lost cousin and some really heavy duty Handi-Wipes so he can stop wiping the barbeque sauce from the ribs he’s scarfing down on his pants. Gross. Now I drive a lot, and I often do find myself eating in the car since, like all guys, I’m genetically encoded with a desire to get somewhere as fast as possible when on a road trip. But there are a few things you don’t eat while driving a car…and anything coated with barbeque sauce is right up there with crab legs, spaghetti, and a bowl of five-alarm chili. He tosses his cell phone when he sees Phil’s name on the caller ID, knowing what his wife’s cousin will likely do to him, and eventually he’s stranded as his car hits a large branch that had fallen during a thunderstorm.
He walks a few miles in the heavy rain toting his cash bag, suitcase, and gun eventually stopping at a quaint Bed and Breakfast in a quaint New Hampshire village with a quaint diner and a quainter antique store. And EVERYONE is gay! Or at least doesn’t care that most of the population is gay. Seriously, this place is so friggin’ quaint that I may quaintly barf. Vito’s eyes have been opened! He sees the New Hampshire state slogan on a license plate, “Live Free or Die”, and he has an epiphany. He knows that he has found his Kubla Khan, and he’s coming home to a place he’s never been before (show me another place where you can have Samuel Taylor Coleridge and John Denver in the same metaphor).
Unfortunately, Vito doesn’t seem to truly understand yet that he’s more likely to experience the latter part of that New Hampshire slogan, as Silvio finally appears to have convinced Tony that he can’t let Vito live happily ever after with his Rav 4, Jack Russell Terrier and Barbra Streisand box set (and please send all emails of outrage over those stereotypes to firstname.lastname@example.org)
There were a few developments in this show that didn’t have to do with Vito…all of them obvious setups for later on, allowing some total conjunction on my part.
Meadow is interning at a law firm specializing in defending white collar criminals. Of course they all know who Meadow’s father is…so that will be interesting to see in the remaining episodes if they get involved with Tony.
Meadow is still arguing with Finn, and I don’t think it will be long before the unhappy Herbie the Dentist wannabe runs as fast as he can away from the Goodfellas back to the land of Misfit Toys. But how do you break up with a girl whose doting father has killed more people than a Hannibal Lecter feeding frenzy? Possible Answer: by picking little fights, and boring her/agitating her so much that SHE calls it off…but isn’t so pissed that Finn ends up taking a ride on Silvio’s Adriana Express.
Carmela also discovers that not all women sit around all day spending their husband’s ill gotten gains. Some actually get some of their OWN ill gotten gains, like Angie Bompensiero (where do they get these names?) with her body (chop) shop. Carm walks in to Angie’s office while she’s talking ‘business’ with a couple of Tony’s boys, and it shocks Carm right down to her diva that someone doesn’t have to rely on a man to get what she wants (which puts Carmela one step ahead of my ex-wife). She’s also pissed that her spec house is going nowhere fast, due to her cheap-assed father scrounging materials and Tony’s continual failure to lean on the building inspector. I get the feeling that Carmela takes Angie’s willingness to be “one of the boys” to heart, and she’ll find a way to threaten the inspector into allowing her to continue her work. I am Woman; Hear me Extort!
Best Scene: Tony’s session with Dr. Melfi. Lots and lots of layers to that one. Melfi tries to get to the bottom of it all, and Tony is confused about what she’s confused about. “He’s a faaaa-aaaag”, sing-songs Tony…right after he’s praised Vito. Tony also says that TV is bad for promoting homosexuality. Except for Showtime’s “The L Word”, which shows women having sex with each other…something every guy knows is A-OK. Sly shout-out to the rival cable movie channel.
Most Humorous Scene: Tony calling Vito’s cell phone, the one that got tossed out the window, and a black highway worker that finds the phone answers. Tony thinks it might be Vito’s boyfriend, so he starts out by calling him an asshole. What follows is pretty much a language scene that would make Quentin Tarantino green with envy. At least until the worker puts the phone under the steamroller.
Best Lines: At the Bing, when first hearing of Vito’s gay bar experience, Tony’s getting a little flustered at what he’s being told, and wants to discuss if further in the office.
Tony (pointing towards the office): “Now let’s take this in the back.”
Chris’s buddy: “Yeah, that’s what Vito did.”
Latest Whacking Odds:
Not many changes this week since most of the show had to do with Vito. However, there were still a few clues that could potentially shake things up.
1) Vito (odds – 1:5) – There is a small chance that Vito ends up remaining hidden in New Hampshire, happily sizing up antiques and quaffing johnny cakes with his new boyfriend the cook. Yeah…and Christuhfuh may end up a Rhodes Scholar. I think Vito’s wife may have a few clues where he’s at, and she’ll spill it to Phil…who will obviously uphold the family honor by whacking his cousin-in-law in a very gross manner.
2) Rusty (odds - 1:4) – The chess pieces are in place with the ‘tailors’ coming over from Naples for a ‘fitting’.
3) Phil (odds – even) – You can’t kill a captain of another family without repercussions, regardless of the reasons. I speculated earlier that Phil will be the cause of a war between the two due to his violence, and I think we now can see the event that will cause it.
4) Uncle JuniorMummyHead (odds – 4:1) – Chase won’t let this story line stay on the back burner for too much longer.
5) Johnny Sack (odds – 5:1) – I’ve dropped the odds down a bit on the speculation that he may need to step back in and calm the waters after the Hairdo screws things up.
6) Benny Fazio (Vinnie Delpino): (odds – 6:1) – I never seem to learn from my mistakes. Despite the continual ‘bait and switch’ we see from the previews, I’m still going out on a limb after watching them last night and predicting Benny gets a little too big for his britches when filling in while Chris is in California and he pisses off Tony too much.
7) Paulie: (odds – 8:1) – For once, Paulie wasn’t totally stupid this week, and actually backed down from his “KILL VITO!” tirade once Tony got in his face. Of course, Tony hit him in his most vulnerable spot…his wallet…by asking Paulie if he wanted to financially take care of Vito’s family after he was gone…so no real surprises there.
8) JT (odds – 10:1) – Chrissy Goes To Hollywood next week.
9) Finn (odds – 12:1) – I think Finn is safe from Vito now…but he and Meadow are not going to make it as a couple, and there is a chance one of Tony’s crew (or Tony himself) takes him out once he’s away from Meadow since he knows too much.
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