Sopranos
Denial, Anger, Acceptance

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Sars: D | 4 USERS: B+
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Denial, Anger, Acceptance

Fade up on Brendan "Fee" Filone in the parking lot of Comley Trucking, honking a semi's air horn. Christopher "Cross" Moltisanti crabs at him that he should have just rung the doorbell. A guy comes out and asks what he's doing, and Christopher makes up a cock-and-bull story about finding the truck on the side of the road, maybe kids did it, something with the transmission, he doesn't know. A couple of Comley guys come out into the parking lot, and one of them asks, "Hey, what're you doing with the truck, asshole?" as he stalks across the lot towards Christopher; Christopher responds by firing two shots into the air, which brings the guys up short. Christopher then announces all portentously, "A gift from Tony Soprano," and he and Brendan start laughing and peel off the Comley lot. The Comley guys head back inside, and one of them says, "Let's call the cops, those are the guys who killed Hector."

In the car, Brendan snorts some crystal and bitches about having to give up the biggest score of his whole year. Christopher, now in full-on self-importance mode, snots at Brendan that "Uncle Junior's been breaking Tony's balls" because Brendan hijacked that truck, and Brendan's lucky Tony doesn't shove the cab up Brendan's ass. Then he snorts some crystal too.

Cut to a quiet restaurant. Junior "Executive Suite" Soprano asks Mikey what else Comley said. "Nothing much," Mikey says between sips of soup. "There was some stuff missin' from the truck," but Comley was just glad to get the truck back. Mikey has on a light beige blazer over a darker beige cable-knit sweater with no shirt on under it -- sartorial non-splendor doesn't get any more Jersey than that, folks. Mikey adds almost as an afterthought that Comley said to tell Tony thank you, and if Tony needs anything, he should give Comley a call. Junior, spoon in mid-air, spits, "Tony?" Mikey smiles all oh-here-we-go, and Junior rants that "those fucking junkie fucks" work for Tony, they hijacked the truck and Junior got it back, and now Comley's thanking Tony. Mikey sees a suck-up opportunity and says that Junior should have taken care of "this Christopher Moltisanti thing" when it first happened: "You should have sent a clear-cut signal to him, you fuck with Junior Soprano --" Junior thunks the salt shaker down on the table and interrupts Mikey mid-blather: "Take it easy! We're not making a Western here." Mikey drums his hands on the table, frustrated. Junior sighs, "Fucking family." He says grimly that he bought AJ "Fat Ballou" Soprano a surfboard for his birthday. Just to let you know: we see neither AJ nor the surfboard for the rest of the episode, and Junior doesn't finish this thought either.

Moving right along to Melfi's waiting room, where Tony "Panic Button" Soprano reads the paper. As he turns the page, he notices on the wall across from him a painting of a red barn sitting in a field, with a tree on the left side and a fence in the foreground. He folds the paper and gets up to look more closely at the painting; close-up of the barn door, which seems to have a figure standing in it. Jennifer "Island Of Dr." Melfi comes out to invite him in, and he gives her an unnerved "how ya doin'" before following her into the office. Inside, they settle into their respective chairs; as Melfi adjusts the sleeve of her jacket, Tony asks too casually, "What's that, a trick picture out there?" "Which?" asks a puzzled Melfi. "The barn," Tony says, as if he's trapped her into admitting something, "and the old tree all rotted out inside." Melfi shrugs that it's "just a picture [she] bought" at a Provincetown gallery, which makes me laugh because it's exactly the kind of painting that vacationing New Jerseyans pay way too much for at Cape Cod craft fairs. Anyway, Tony doesn't believe her: "That is a special-made psychological picture. Like that what-do-you-call-it test. The Corshack." Like, ha ha. Not. Melfi asks if he thinks she's trying to trick him, then asks what the picture says to him. Tony, getting annoyed: "It says, 'Hey, asshole, we're from Harvard, and what do you think of this spooky depressing barn and this rotted-out tree we put here?'" "It's spooky and depressing to you?" Melfi wants to know. "Not to me," Tony says quickly, "but it's got that built right into it." He smiles, pleased with himself for (he thinks) not falling into the picture's trap. (For the record: the painting isn't particularly depressing. It isn't particularly...anything. It's just a barn and a tree, which, also for the record, has blooms on it and thus isn't "rotted out." Do with that what you will.) Melfi asks Tony, "How are things?" "Good," he chirps, adding that "a friend of mine's in the hospital," but other than that, he's having a good week. "What's he in for?" Melfi asks. Tony avoids answering directly, saying that first the doctors thought Jackie "Some Enchanted" Aprile had an ulcer, "you know, then this, then that." Melfi asks if Tony's worried about him. "Jackie?" Tony scoffs. "Jackie's so fuckin' mean, he'll scare that cancer away." "Your friend has cancer," Melfi says softly. Tony just raises his brows.

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