Commendatori

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"Commendatori"
The Sopranos episode
Sopranos ep204.jpg
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 4
Directed by Tim Van Patten
Written by David Chase
Production code 209
Original air date February 6, 2000
Running time 52 minutes
Guest actors

see below

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"Commendatori" is the seventeenth episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the fourth of the show's second season. It was written by David Chase, directed by Tim Van Patten and originally aired on February 6, 2000.

Starring[edit]

* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

While attempting to watch a bootleg version of The Godfather, Part II, Tony Soprano announces to his crew that he will be traveling to Naples, along with Paulie Walnuts and Christopher Moltisanti, to make a deal with a local Camorra family (distantly related to the Sopranos) over the smuggling of stolen cars. Although Tony is excited by the prospect of the trip, he downplays its appeal to Carmela, who is upset that Tony will go abroad with his mob associates but not his family. Tony tries to explain to Carmela that it is a business trip and there will not be enough time for leisure activities.

That evening, a family (credited as the Sontags) are car-jacked by two black men wielding guns. The robbers start to drive away but then realize the family dog is still in the vehicle. They let it out via one of the passenger seats and it runs away, despite the family's cries for it to come to them. The patriarch of the family angrily yells to himself about the "niggers" that stole his car, making his family upset. However, the next shot shows Tony looking at a picture of the Sontags' SUV along with pictures of other stolen vehicles, making it clear that the carjackings are being performed at Tony's behest.

Over lunch with Rosalie Aprile and Angie Bonpensiero, Carmela asks Angie how her transition with Pussy is going now that he is home. Angie regrets having Pussy home and has been sick ever since. Angie then tells the wives that she had recently undergone a test for a tumor and Pussy had little sympathy for her. As the other wives listen in horror, she confesses that she has contemplated suicide but instead will pursue divorce when the results come back. Angie's tests soon come back negative, but she begins to file for the divorce papers as soon as the legal firms return from the upcoming Jewish holiday. Carmela, obviously taking the matter personally, reminds Angie that Pussy is a doting father, and persuades her to stay with him for the sake of their children who, although grown, are in precariously transitional stages in their lives. Angie tells Carmela that when Pussy arrived home after many months of absence, she felt depressed and angry. As she leaves, Carmela seems ambivalent about the reasoning she has presented to her friend. When Pussy arrives home and silently presents flowers to Angie, she pauses for a moment and then swats him with them.

However, the state of his marriage has been the least of Pussy's concerns lately: he has been preoccupied by the pressures of his cooperation with the government, and growing increasingly paranoid. Pussy is unnerved when he is spotted by Jimmy Bones, a professional Elvis impersonator and acquaintance, during a meeting with his FBI handler, Agent Skip Lipari. The pair are forced to concoct a cover story on the spot, claiming that Skip is a "friend of ours" (i.e., a made man) from Dover, Delaware, to which Bones remarks that he has never heard of any made men from Delaware before. Skip insists that Pussy is doing well and has not attracted suspicion, but this is clearly not true. To ensure that Jimmy remains quiet, Pussy visits his house and beats him to death with a ball-peen hammer.

Tony, Christopher, and Paulie arrive in Naples and meet Furio Giunta, who will be their translator throughout the trip. Furio then informs him that they will be dining with several capos in the Naples family and that Don Vittorio, boss of the family, might not be present. Paulie and Tony go to the dinner but find that they are doing business with another made man, Nino, whom Tony does not want to talk to. During dinner Tony is angry dealing with Nino as Paulie, who has been becoming increasingly excited over the trip, keeps bothering him. However, upon meeting the Don, it becomes abundantly clear that Vittorio is now senile and incapable of conducting business as he continuously names major roads and freeways that he remembers from a previous trip to America. Frustrated, Tony is informed that the Don's son-in-law, Mauro Zucca, stepped in to replace him, but is in prison serving a life sentence. Tony is surprised to learn that Mauro's wife and Vittorio's daughter, Annalisa, has assumed control of the family. On leaving the restaurant, Tony and Paulie are shocked to see Furio and his cohorts mercilessly beat a boy, who set off firecrackers as the Don passed by to gain attention and respect, and even punch the boy's mother when she tries to intervene. The next day, Tony meets Annalisa, but he still has reservations about dealing with a woman, and tensions are further raised by the bosses' mutual sexual attraction. Tony's companions from back home prove incapable of offering support; Christopher has spent his time locked in his hotel room, secretly indulging his heroin habit with local prostitutes and junkies, and Paulie has been on a mission to rediscover his roots, only to uncover a distaste for Neapolitan hospitality, cuisine, and plumbing.

The following day, Annalisa calls for Tony and says they still have some unfinished business to discuss over dinner. Tony reluctantly agrees to finish talking to Annalisa and states that in order for their arrangement to work, she has to transfer Furio to his family. Annalisa scoffs at the suggestion, saying that Furio is one of her best men and her cousin. Tony agrees to trade her the stolen cars at a reduced price in exchange. She agrees and the pair relax, visiting several city landmarks. She comes on to Tony, but tension is also resolved when Tony reluctantly informs Annalisa that to have a sexual relationship with a business partner would be bad for business and states he does not want to "shit where he eats". She is initially angered by this, but the two decide to become business partners. At Newark Airport, Pussy drives up to take the returning trio home; Paulie describes his trip as "fabulous", although he is clearly very happy to be back in New Jersey as he looks through the window on the drive home. Tony is still brooding over his unfulfilled attraction to Annalisa, and Christopher, finally waking from his heroin-induced stupor, is busy buying Adriana a gift from the airport gift shop.

When Tony enters the house and announces his return home, Carmela is in her bedroom, seemingly reflecting on her own marriage struggles after having earlier consoled Angie's tale of woe about herself and Pussy. She steels herself, then exits to greet Tony.

First appearances[edit]

  • Furio Giunta: a made man from the Naples Mafia headed by Don Vittorio and Annalisa Zucca. Furio is sent to America after a successful trade between Tony and Annalisa.
  • These are also the first recast character appearances of Angie Bonpensiero: Pussy's wife, and Gabriella Dante: Silvio's wife. Previously, both of these characters (although only implied as their wives) appeared very briefly in the first season, played by different actresses.

Deceased[edit]

  • Jimmy Bones: an Elvis impersonator and Mafia associate, repeatedly hit with a hammer over his head and beaten to death by Big Pussy to cover up his FBI informant disguise.

Title reference[edit]

  • The episode's title is plural of the Italian language word commendatore, which is an honorable title in Italian society. Tony and his crew are given this greeting in Italy, which Paulie hears and then tries to use throughout the episode.

Production[edit]

  • Although the episode was the fourth of season two, it was the ninth to be produced.
  • Series creator and head writer David Chase makes a cameo appearance in the episode as an Italian man at an Italian cafe. Paulie says "commendatori" to the man's table, where he is sitting with other of men. They look at Paulie and then turn away emotionless.
  • The scene wherein Paulie attempts to make conversation with the locals on the waterfront was not scripted; Tony Sirico was simply filmed interacting with passers-by. In the scene Paulie tells a passer-by that he is from America, and the Italian man asks Paulie if he is from NATO and asks if his planes cut their ski lift cable. This is a reference to the 1998 Cavalese cable car disaster.
  • Paulie tells an Italian prostitute that Sicilians are hot-headed. In reality, the actor who plays Paulie (Tony Sirico) is himself Sicilian, not Neapolitan like his character.
  • Vittorio Duse, who played Zi Vittorio, also played Don Tommasino in The Godfather Part III.
  • The final exchange between Tony and Annalisa was filmed in the archeological ruins of Cumae.

References in popular culture[edit]

  • The opening scene of this episode is accessible as an easter egg on the bonus disc of The Godfather DVD Collection.

Music[edit]

  • The song "Con te partirò" by Andrea Bocelli is played three times throughout the episode.
  • When Tony is driven to Annalisa Zucca's villa the Napolitano song "Core 'ngrato" is played (without the vocals).
  • The song "Marco Polo" by Jovanotti is briefly played when Christopher is taking drugs the first time.
  • The song "Certamente" by the Italian rock band Madreblu is played when Christopher is taking drugs the second time.
  • The song played over the end credits is "Piove" by Jovanotti.

External links[edit]