Cold Stones

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"Cold Stones"
The Sopranos episode
Ep76 03.jpg
Episode no. Season 6
Episode 11
Directed by Tim Van Patten
Written by Diane Frolov
Andrew Schneider
David Chase
Cinematography by Phil Abraham
Production code 611
Original air date May 21, 2006
Running time 56 minutes
Guest actors

see below

Episode chronology
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Episode chronology

"Cold Stones" is the seventy-sixth episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the eleventh of the show's sixth season. It was written by Diane Frolov, Andrew Schneider and David Chase, directed by Tim Van Patten and originally aired on May 21, 2006.

Starring[edit]

* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

Tony and A.J.[edit]

Carmela discovers that A.J. was fired from his job at Blockbuster for selling promotional items and has kept this a secret for three weeks. During the heated family argument that ensues, he complains that the job did not pay enough to sustain the lifestyle to which he had become accustomed, including regular nights out in expensive New York nightclubs. Tony tells A.J. that he should be grateful to his mother because, had Tony had his way, Tony would have "knocked out all his baby teeth with one shot." A.J. responds with an obscene gesture after his parents have left the room.

Tony sees A.J. barely dressed, giggling and instant messaging on his computer and stares in disgust. In therapy, Tony discloses that he has been feeling hatred towards his son, feeling that A.J. is wasting his life. Tony says his father would find this hilarious and tells her that if Carmela had not protected A.J., he would be a better person. Dr. Melfi uses this to approach Tony's personality since she sees his life as a product of his father's own brutality, taking his anger out on others and having a desperate need to dominate and control. Tony says he could not even hit A.J. because of his small size, which he says comes from Carmela's side of the family. Melfi then points out that what Tony accuses Carmela of (protecting A.J.) is exactly what he used to mention in their sessions that he wanted from his own mother Livia, but never received.

At the Soprano house, Hernan, Rhiannon, and A.J. play video games. Tony then asks A.J. to join him in the garage, where he announces that he has provided him with a construction job. Tony threatens A.J. to take away his car and other possessions and to kick him out of the house. A.J. protests about his inability to have a job if he is looking to reenroll in school, to which Tony says many of the men who work at the construction job are high school and college students, and as such the firm can accommodate A.J's situation. A.J. rolls his eyes at this, instigating Tony to casually smash A.J.'s windshield with a football helmet and threaten to destroy the car entirely. Tony then warns his son, "Don't put me to the test." The next morning, A.J. gets up early to leave for work at the construction site.

Meadow[edit]

Meadow talks to her parents about following her fiancé Finn to California. She says gaining experience at his dental school would be useful in her application to a medical school, although she is still not sure if she will want to apply to one, or to a law school instead. Meadow bristles and dismisses Carmela's musings about what she had perceived as mounting friction between the couple.

Carmela and Rosalie's Paris trip[edit]

Over breakfast, Carmela discusses with Tony a trip to Paris she won at the silent auction she arranged for the Feast of St. Elzear, stating that she needs a break from her worries with the spec house and their children. Tony says he cannot accompany her because he is too busy and that "The Frogs (French) hate us (Americans)", but encourages her to take Rosalie Aprile instead, as she planned. Tony also presents Carmela with a purse full of money for her trip.

In Paris, Carmela reacts to the surroundings with emotional intensity and philosophy, unlike the more prosaic Rosalie, who is often distracted and later exchanges telephone numbers with a much younger local man, Michel. Over dinner, Carmela brings up Rosalie's grief over the loss of her husband and son, which they have never discussed in detail. Rosalie becomes angry that Carmela is spoiling their vacation with the morbid Jersey memories but does reveal that she feels her grief is futile. Rosalie then tells Carmela she is going out with Michel and invites her along. However, Carmela decides she will walk along the Seine instead.

One night in Paris, Carmela dreams of Adriana walking her dog, Cosette, by the Eiffel Tower. In the dream, a gendarme with an American accent asks Carmela to tell Adriana that she is dead.

With Carmela away, Tony cheats on his wife for the first time since his coma, receiving oral sex from a Bada Bing! stripper. Later, Tony welcomes Carmela back at the house.

Vito[edit]

Vito Spatafore approaches Tony at a mall while his brother, Bryan, stands guard. Vito tries to convince Tony he is not really homosexual, but that his blood pressure medication had temporarily confused him. Tony is unimpressed by this explanation and angered that Vito and Bryan have "sandbagged" him. Vito asks to buy his way back in, with $200,000 to appease Tony and operate a business in Atlantic City involving prostitution and methamphetamine trafficking. Tony appears willing to consider the offer and later discusses Vito with Silvio Dante, Christopher Moltisanti, and Paulie Walnuts. Silvio recommends that abandoning Vito would be the proper way to deal with the situation. Tony then relays Vito's request for consideration, and Paulie responds by silently leaving the room.

Vito has a reunion dinner out with his family in Rockefeller Center. He tells his children that he has been working as an undercover spy for the CIA in Afghanistan as an alibi for his absence and demands that his family keep quiet about his return. As Vito and Marie watch their children ice skate, she asks if he will seek therapy and speak with a priest. Vito scoffs at this and recommends they have another child. Later in a Fort Lee motel room, Vito calls an upset Jim who describes Vito as "seriously fucked up." Jim doesn't buy Vito's excuse that he missed his family and tells Vito it was the life of self-indulgence that he missed. Vito admits that is true and says he didn't want to drag Jim into his lifestyle. Jim tells Vito never to call him again and hangs up. Later, Vito meets with Terry Doria, and, willing to start building back his good name among mobsters, agrees to lend him $20,000 at 2½ points.

Tony and Phil Leotardo, who has now started making decisions as the acting boss of the Lupertazzi crime family and named Johnny "Sack" as boss "in name only," following his plea deal at the trial, disagree over "no-show" jobs on a new construction project. When they meet later at the statue of Lou Costello in Paterson, Phil is extremely angry after having learned Vito is back in town and confronts Tony about the matter. Annoyed at being called by Phil for a matter Tony perceives as none of Phil's business, Tony reiterates to Phil that Vito is his captain and that Phil should leave the situation alone. Unfazed, Phil continues his tirade while Tony walks away from the meeting. Tony later angrily discusses the situation with Silvio and finally decides Vito must be killed in order to appease Phil, who might otherwise harm their business and possibly start an unwanted war. Upset, Tony tries to relieve the guilt of the hit by saying the situation was Vito's fault, as he should have stayed away from Jersey. Silvio tells Tony not to blame himself for the decision. Both agree that Carlo would be the best choice for the job, due to Carlo's tendency to issue blistering, public derisions of Vito's sexuality.

Phil and his wife, Patty, discuss Vito's sexuality. Patty expresses her disappointment and resentment for having a homosexual in the family. She tells Phil that Vito "has to be made to face his problems squarely." Meanwhile, Vito phones Tony, who arranges a meeting at the mall the following morning, planning for Carlo to lie in wait there. However, Vito arrives at his motel, and, upon entering his room, is ambushed by New York mobsters "Fat Dom" and Gerry Torciano who knock him down and duct tape his mouth. Vito pleads to spare him as Phil literally comes out of the closet and watches Dom and Gerry beat Vito to death with batons, after telling Vito he is a "fucking disgrace."

The Soprano crime family learns from Bobby Baccalieri that Vito was found dead with a pool cue rammed up his rectum. The room falls silent as Tony deducts it was likely Phil Leotardo who killed his capo. Carlo comes in and states that "you have to admire Phil — it's not all talk with him." Patsy remarks that he wishes he had borrowed money from Vito as Terry subtly smiles to himself. Tony takes Silvio aside and tells him that the murder is not about Vito but about Phil's defiance of his authority, Tony believes Phil is sending the family a message that he can kill one of Tony's captains and Tony cannot do anything about it. Tony tells Silvio he does not want a war with Phil, as it would likely be protracted and cripple their earning capacity. He decides to hit back at Phil financially, noting that Phil has "a wire room in Sheepshead Bay."

Phil and Patty Leotardo console Marie Spatafore over her husband's death who is in tears and insists Vito was a good husband and father. Patty maintains that homosexuality is a sin but this time says that one has to "blame the sin and not the sinner" as she starts sobbing herself. Phil, on the other hand, remains firm and tells Marie that, although he loved Vito "as a brother-in-law," it may be for the benefit of her children not to have their father as their role model. However, Phil is later seen being unable to fall asleep in bed at night.

At Satriale's, Carlo and Silvio prepare a meal. "Fat Dom" arrives to make a payment but declines the meal, as he must visit his daughter. Dom, who was one of the men involved in the murder of Vito, starts making crude jokes. When he insults the entire Jersey family and jokes that Carlo was involved with Vito sexually, tempers snap and Silvio hits him in the head with a dustbuster and grabs him while Carlo repeatedly stabs him with a chef's knife until Dom falls over the kitchen table, motionless. Silvio tells Carlo to call the others and say the dinner is canceled; they then devise a plan on how to dispose of the body and evidence. As they wait for the night to fall and play cards, Tony arrives and enters despite Silvio's warning. When Tony sees what has happened, he furiously exits the store quickly, letting Silvio and Carlo deal with it. Silvio, likewise exasperated, promises to take care of the body and shouts blame at Vito for the unplanned incident.

At the Spatafore home, Francesca and Vito, Jr. read the news article about their father's death and realize that he lied about his involvement with the CIA. Elsewhere, Vito's Thin Club photographer recognizes his picture in the paper. He shows his assistant the cover photo he shot of Vito.

Deceased[edit]

  • Vito Spatafore: Beaten to death with batons by Dominic "Fat Dom" Gamiello and Gerry Torciano on orders from Phil Leotardo. His body is also reportedly mutilated.
  • Dominic "Fat Dom" Gamiello: Stabbed multiple times to death by Carlo Gervasi while being held by Silvio Dante in the back room of Satriale's.

Title reference[edit]

  • The title "Cold Stones" could refer to the Parisian statues, old stone buildings, and ruins Carmela sees on her trip to the city.
  • Carmela admires an ancient necklace made from precious stones.
  • The title could refer to a play on the 'stone-cold' concept and "stones" (testicles) as applied to Phil's audacious killing of Vito.
  • The title could refer to a gravestone and death (Vito's). Carmela philosophizes that people get "washed away" and only structures and history remains.

Production[edit]

  • During the shoot in Paris, Edie Falco had the flu which rendered her voice almost inaudible. Sharon Angela had difficulty reacting to Carmela's dialogue when filming the scenes, and Carmela's lines had to be replaced in post-production with Falco recording them only once she had gotten well, already back in the US.[1]
  • The motel where Vito is beaten to death was filmed on location at the former Howard Johnson's motor lodge in Fort Lee, New Jersey.
  • This episode continues the trend of sleeping characters realizing a truth they had been avoiding (Carmela's dream suggests to her that Adriana is dead). In Seasons 2 and 5, Tony's dreams tell him truths about Big Pussy working with the FBI and the need to kill his cousin, Tony Blundetto, respectively.
  • The Star-Ledger article reporting Vito's death being read by the photographer, contains more text than was read out by Vito Jr. to his sister. DVD freeze frame reveals that the same paragraphs are just repeated over and over.
  • Former series regular member Drea de Matteo reprises her role as Adriana La Cerva in this episode. This is her last appearance on the show.

References to prior episodes[edit]

  • Carmela mentions the time A.J. was being nihilistic and denying god's existence at the time of his confirmation, which happened in the season 2 episode "D-Girl."
  • Carmela mentions the time she and Rosalie planned to travel to Italy ("The Knight in White Satin Armor").
  • Carmela reads about Abelard and Heloise in her Paris guidebook and then thinks for a second. Robert Wegler prominently talked to Carmela about a book about Abelard and Heloise in the season 5 episode "Sentimental Education."
  • Carmela remembers what Tony spoke immediately after he woke up from his coma: "Who am I? Where am I going?" ("Join the Club").

Other cultural references[edit]

  • Carmela says she went to Blockbuster to rent Cinderella Man.
  • A.J. mentions the Forbes magazine.
  • A.J. says the promotional item for Wallace & Gromit cost many trees their lives.
  • When he and his crew are in the Bing, Tony points out Mickey Rooney on TV as a very hyper band leader in the movie Strike Up the Band.
  • In the same scene above, Paulie mentions how ashamed "Salvatore Lucania" would probably be of him and his cohorts. Lucaina was the birth name of iconic Mafia boss Charles Lucky Luciano.
  • The Star-Ledger that Tony is reading in the mall contains the headline "The Corzine Era Begins".
  • Vito is wearing a University of Notre Dame hat when he meets with Tony.
  • When Carmela tells Tony about her plans to visit Paris, he is watching Is Paris Burning? (1966) on television. Later, when Carmela calls from Paris, Tony jokes, "Is Paris burning?" When he hears it's been raining over there, he replies "When it drizzles!", a play on Paris When It Sizzles.
  • Tony presents Carmela with a Louis Vuitton purse.
  • The sights seen in Paris besides the Eiffel Tower are: The taxi is driving Carmela and Rosalie on the Champs-Elysees towards the Arc de Triomphe. Later, Notre Dame Cathedral is shown in the background. The Palais-Royal gardens and the Pont Alexandre III bridge are visited. The church where the candles were lit is St. Eustache. The women have dinner at Le Grand Véfour restaurant. Rosalie consoles Carmela at the Thermes de Cluny. Additionally, Carmela says they should visit the Louvre.
  • Rosalie Aprile sees a ferry in the Seine and says "Look! Just like Charade!"
  • Leaving the hotel, Rosalie remembers she forgot her Toulouse-Lautrec placemats.
  • Silvio Dante reacts to the repeated news of Vito's death by responding that Carlo Gervasi is a "regular Jimmy Olsen", a reference to Superman's photographer friend at the Daily Planet.
  • Tony tells Silvio that "Joe Bananas" fought a Mafia war with Carlo Gambino of retribution killings for seven or so years.
  • As Silvio and Carlo wait for nightfall after killing "Fat Dom," New York's popular sports radio talk show, Mike and the Mad Dog on WFAN, can be heard.

Music[edit]

  • "Ouvre Les Yeux" by PM (from their 2000 album "Les Petits Chefs"), a French rap group from the Paris suburbs, plays during the first scene in Paris.
  • "Knights in White Satin" by Giorgio Moroder is played while Tony is in the Bada Bing!.
  • "Back In Black" by AC/DC is playing on the car radio while Tony is receiving fellatio from a stripper while driving. That song was followed immediately by Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Simple Man", as Tony speaks to Vito on the phone.
  • The melody to "La Vie En Rose" is hummed by Rosalie as she consoles Carmela at the Gallo-Roman baths.
  • The ringtone of "Fat Dom"'s phone is Für Elise by Ludwig van Beethoven.
  • "Home" by Persephone's Bees plays in the beginning of the credits.
  • "As Time Goes By" from Casablanca plays through the rest of the closing credits. The city of Paris plays an important role in both Casablanca and this episode. This particular rendition is sung by Dooley Wilson.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Martin, Brett (2007-10-30). "Welcome to New Jersey: A Sense of Place". The Sopranos: The Complete Book. New York: Time. p. 46. ISBN 978-1-933821-18-4. 

External links[edit]