From Where to Eternity

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"From Where to Eternity"
The Sopranos episode
Sopranos ep209.jpg
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 9
Directed by Henry J. Bronchtein
Written by Michael Imperioli
Cinematography by Phil Abraham
Production code 208
Original air date March 12, 2000
Running time 55 minutes
Guest actors

see below

Episode chronology
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Episode chronology

"From Where to Eternity" is the twenty-second episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the ninth of the show's second season. It was written by Michael Imperioli, directed by Henry J. Bronchtein and originally aired on March 12, 2000.

Starring[edit]

* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Also guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

With friends and family by his side, Christopher Moltisanti clings to life in a hospital ICU. During the night, his heart stops and the doctors attempt to resuscitate him. He is pronounced clinically dead for over a minute, but the doctors manage to revive him. Fearing for his life, Carmela Soprano finds an empty hospital room and admits to Jesus that the members of the family have entered their occupations with eyes open but prays that Christopher will recover and "see the light." When he is conscious, he asks to see Paulie Walnuts and Tony Soprano and tells them of a trip he made to hell, where he saw Brendan Filone and Mikey Palmice in an Irish bar playing dice and celebrating St. Patrick's Day every day and that they had a message for Tony and Paulie: "Three o'clock."

Tony dismisses Christopher's story, but Paulie becomes obsessed with the message. Eventually, Paulie consoles Christopher with the idea that what he saw was purgatory, instead of hell. Paulie is awakened nightly at 3:00 a.m. with nightmares that wake his girlfriend's children. At the suggestion of his girlfriend, he eventually seeks the help of a psychic, using the pseudonym Ted Hughes. The psychic claims to see the spirits of the men Paulie killed following him. Believing his donations to a church should have prevented him from being haunted, Paulie takes out his frustration on a chain-smoking priest, telling him he feels that the Church has forsaken him and that he won't be giving any more donations.

Meanwhile, Carmela learns from Gabriella Dante that an associate in the Soprano family, Ralphie Rotaldo, just had an illegitimate child with his longtime Brazilian comàre. Carmela tells Tony this and asks that he have a vasectomy so that he will not bring shame to the family by potentially having an illegitimate child, since she knows that he still sees women on the side. Tony tries to shake off the accusation by saying he allegedly broke up with his girlfriend months ago. Carmela then reminds him of the shame that a "bastard-child" would do to the family. Tony does not feel like listening, which causes Carmela to take a pillow from the bed and sleep downstairs. Adding to Carmela's frustration is the fact that Tony lied to her about Christopher's trip to the afterlife, telling her that Christopher had been in heaven while Christopher admitted to her to being in hell. Another problem arises when Tony criticizes his son A.J., for overeating after A.J. accidentally breaks a dish of food on the floor. In front of A.J., Tony confronts Carmela about her wish for Tony to have a vasectomy when A.J. is his "only male heir", A.J. is very hurt by Tony's comment while Carmela says that Tony didn't mean it. Soon after, Tony apologizes to and makes amends with A.J. by sharing pizza and cokes. Tony agrees to have his vasectomy if Carmela still wants it. Carmela says she has changed her mind because she might want a third child with Meadow soon going off to college and she wants him to be faithful.

Big Pussy Bonpensiero is afraid that Tony knows he has been working with the FBI, so at the advice of his FBI contact, Pussy tries to "make Tony love him again." Pussy tries to regain his trust by hunting down Matthew Bevilaqua, who was responsible for Christopher's shooting. When he gets the information as to his whereabouts — Hacklebarney State Park in Chester Township, New Jersey near a house that George Washington purportedly slept in during the American Revolution — Pussy calls Tony and the two execute Matt after questioning him about the attack on Christopher, riddling his body with bullets after he finished drinking a diet soda.

After the killing, the two go to an Irish steakhouse, notably, in Tony's implied defiance of the Irish-bar image in Chris's near-death vision above. It's also where Pussy first took Tony after he had committed his first murder. They tell jokes and reminisce, noting how long it has been since they first started working together. Tony asks Pussy if he believes in God, to which he responds that he does, and that God has been very generous to him. Tony agrees, and the two toast.

First appearance[edit]

Deceased[edit]

  • Matthew Bevilaqua: Shot 21 times by Tony and Pussy for his involvement in the attempted assassination of Christopher.

Title reference[edit]

The episode's title is a play on 1953 film From Here to Eternity. It refers to Christopher's having a trip to the afterlife and not knowing whether it was purgatory or hell.

Production[edit]

  • Although the episode was the ninth of the second season, it was the eighth to be produced.
  • In his dream, Christopher describes how Mikey Palmice and Brendan Filone claimed that the time three o'clock would be important in the lives of Tony and Paulie.
  • This was the first episode written by Michael Imperioli, the actor who plays Christopher. He went on to become a regular writer for the show.
  • This is also the second one of four episodes directed by Henry Bronchtein, as well as being one of two which earned Bronchtein best-direction nominations by the Directors Guild of America.[1]
  • In his commentary for the episode "The Telltale Moozadell", Michael Imperioli says the idea of Christopher's experiences in this episode came from a spec script he had written between the first and second seasons about Christopher overdosing on drugs and having an after-life experience. When he talked to showrunner David Chase about this, Chase said that Christopher would get shot in the second season, and the after-life part could be added to the story.[2]

Cultural references[edit]

  • Tony tells Melfi the Hitlers and "Paul Pots" (Pol Pot) deserve hell and not people like Christopher.
  • He also mentions the historic Carnegie and Rockefeller families, saying they needed the poor immigrant Italian workers to construct their businesses, and says the "G.P. Morgans" (sic) were "crooks and killers" just as much as the Italian mobsters back in the day.
  • Carmela can be seen reading Memoirs of a Geisha in bed in this and several succeeding episodes.

Music[edit]

  • Otis Redding' song "My Lover's Prayer", from The Very Best of Otis Redding, Vol. 1, is played throughout the episode and over the end credits (specifically, when Christopher is in the hospital, when his friends and family wait in the hospital waiting room while Chris is in surgery, and over the end credits when Tony and Carmela make love).
  • The O'Jays' song "Use ta Be My Girl", from So Full of Love, is played when Quickie G tells Pussy where Matthew Bevilaqua is hiding.
  • The Metallica song "King Nothing", from Load, is played in the background while Paulie talks to Tony at the Bada Bing!, after he visits the psychic.
  • The song "Mona Lisa" is heard in the background at the Duke's Stockyard Inn (an Irish bar and restaurant) where Tony and Pussy eat steaks, reminisce, and discuss God.

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Henry Bronctein - Awards". IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  2. ^ The Sopranos: The Complete Third Season (2002) — DVD audio commentary