Down Neck

Episode Report Card
Sars: D | 3 USERS: B-
Down Neck

Fade up in a modern-looking church sanctuary; a kid stage-whispers, "Here, take a swig -- and don't backwash!" Pan past the candles in the nave. The kid mutters, "Shit, don't break it," and another kid says, "Quick, it's almost time for the nuns' rosary!" AJ and two friends scatter from a room off of the nave and head for class, arguing over whether the wine is sacramental, and one of the friends asks if AJ's "gonna confess this," and AJ says, "I'm gonna tell them I stole something, not what!" After they've run out of the sanctuary, the camera comes to rest on a statue of a sorrowing Jesus.

Cut to a gym teacher yelling things like "warm it up" and "hustle, hustle" at the boys' gym class, and he orders them to form straight lines. AJ and one of the friends straggle into the gym, flushed and unable to walk straight, and the teacher busts on them for lagging: "Soprano, DiCarlucci, shake a leg, let's go." Then the teacher calls out, "Jumping jacks, ten of 'em, count 'em down!" I think I'll go waaaaay out on this skinny little pencil-width limb over here and predict that someone is going to barf at some point during the scene. AJ and DiCarlucci flounder to the back of the group and try to do jumping jacks, and they can barely stand up, much less coordinate their arms and legs; Barber, the third li'l tippler, isn't doing much better. The teacher walks around the side of the group, gives them the furry eyeball, and tells them to "sync up" with the rest of the class. The boys start giggling. The teacher asks what's so funny and if they'd like to share it with the rest of the class (a tactic I always hated), and DiCarlucci slurs, "Sorry, Mr. Miskimmin." Eyeing them suspiciously, Mr. M fweeps his whistle and starts calling off squat thrusts (another element of secondary-school phys-ed that I always loathed), and AJ and his friends flail about while Mr. M hollers, "Floor! Kick! Return! Up!" "I'm dizzier than shit," one of them (I can't tell which) burbles. Mr. M strolls towards the three of them, and AJ mutters, "Fuck, here he comes." Mr. M fweeps his whistle again, and the three lie on the ground, smashed and nauseated, and stare up at him helplessly. Disgusted, Mr. M orders them to their feet; the rest of the class turns to gawk. AJ shakes his head to clear it and says, "Whoa." DiCarlucci looks at the floor. Barber clutches his stomach and groans that he doesn't feel so good. Mr. M snaps that he doesn't want any excuses, but Barber makes a pre-heave motion and says he has to go to the bathroom. Mr. M leans in towards him: "Is that alcohol on your breath?" The class begins to titter, and Barber staggers off to the edge of the gym and hurls expansively, which makes the class groan and start laughing outright. AJ and DiCarlucci, woozy and appalled, stare at Barber painting a mural in the corner.

Tony pulls up to a construction site in his Suburban, gets out with a cup of coffee, and asks a hard-hat-wearing Christopher, "How's the boy?" "How am I? I got dust up the crack a my ass and I'm starvin' to death," Christopher tells him sourly. Tony, enjoying Christopher's annoyance, tells him to take pleasure in doing a good job. Christopher complains that some "guy's been raggin' in my fuckin' ear all day, I'd like to kill the prick," and he punctuates the sentiment by yelling, "Ya hear that, prick?" The prick in question comes storming across the site, bitching at Tony to get Christopher the hell out of there. Tony asks if there's a problem, and Prick tells him he's made his point. Tony plays dumb: "What point is that?" Prick says he's had it with the work stoppage. Tony explains with a great show of patience that Christopher is there as a union safety official, and as such he can't allow work to go forward until "he deems this workplace is free of hazard." Or until Prick meets Tony's terms of extortion, whichever comes first. "I have the money," Prick snaps. "You do?" Tony asks in disbelief. He instructs Christopher to call the union office and see if Prick has paid up his dues, and then they'll pop open a set of wheel covers and check the brake pads. "I'll get right on it," Christopher says. The two of them just stand there; Tony sips his coffee calmly. Prick says, "I'll get your money, okay?" "We shall return," Tony says, and he and Christopher walk away, Christopher chucking his hard hat over his shoulder and grumping, "Halle-fuckin'-lujah." Tony asks for Christopher's cell so he can call Carmela.

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