In Camelot

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"In Camelot"
The Sopranos episode
Sopranos ep507.jpg
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 7
Directed by Steve Buscemi
Written by Terence Winter
Cinematography by Alik Sakharov
Production code 506
Original air date April 19, 2004
Running time 55 minutes
Guest actors

see below

Episode chronology
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"Sentimental Education"
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"Marco Polo"
Episode chronology

"In Camelot" is the fifty-ninth episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the seventh of the show's fifth season. It was written by Terence Winter, directed by Steve Buscemi and originally aired on April 19, 2004.

Starring[edit]

* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Also guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

Tony Soprano seems to have mended his relationship with his sister, Janice, since their last fight, as he visits her and Bobby Baccalieri's house for a meal together where he is informed his Aunt Concetta died. While at the cemetery for her funeral, Tony takes a detour to visit the grave site of his parents and finds an elderly lady there. He asks her if she was a friend of his mother, but soon discovers she is Fran Felstein, his father's longtime comare. Over a matter of days, Tony spends time with her and learns more about his father's life through her stories. He discovers that his childhood dog, Tippy, was given to Fran's family when Tony's mother made his father give it away (when all the while Tony thought the dog was taken to live with his uncle on a farm and Janice thought it was gassed). Fran also tells Tony about her life, including all the times she resisted Junior's advances and her one-time fling with President John F. Kennedy. Fran and Tony tour a midget car racetrack where Fran asks Tony about the women in his life, his wife, and his girlfriend, while Tony admires her manners and dress as classy. They also dine at Nuovo Vesuvio.

Fran tells Tony that John Soprano, before his death, promised to leave her a share of the midget car racetrack, but that Phil Leotardo and Hesh Rabkin cheated her out of this investment, with Hesh only sending her $500 once for it. Tony tries to collect the money on her behalf and has a sitdown with Hesh and Leotardo mediated by Johnny Sack. While Hesh agrees to pay, Phil is discontent at the decision to pay 25%, which amounts to almost $40,000 and keeps avoiding Tony. When Tony spots him buying ice cream, the two get involved in a car chase that results in Phil crashing his car. Later, Tony is able to collect $150,000 for Fran.

Uncle Junior, with his mental health and memory now improved due to the new drugs he has been taking, is going stir crazy while still under house arrest. He begins going to every possible funeral he can, even when he knows the deceased only slightly, just to get out of the house. He seems to be little affected by the atmosphere of grief in these gatherings, where he openly compliments the food served there and even tries to sing on one occasion. However, after attending a number of these ceremonies, while at the funeral of the husband of Tony's Aunt Concetta, Uncle Zio, who died only 15 days after burying her, Junior breaks down and begins crying uncontrollably in public at his wake when Father Phil invites those gathered there for a prayer and has to be helped away by Bobby and Janice. Junior later also breaks down in his physician's office when he mentions the lack of purpose in his life since he has no children and is "trapped." The doctor says they have to find a well-adjusted combination of medicine to successfully regulate his condition and minimize any side-effects the drugs may have, which is a process that takes time.

Christopher Moltisanti begins to spend a lot of time with J.T. Dolan, a friend he met in rehab, who is a television writer. The two offer to support one another when they get the urge to use. After losing a sports bet to him, Christopher introduces Dolan to the high-stakes poker games his crime family runs, seemingly oblivious to the potential for his friend to channel his addiction problems into problem gambling. After Dolan runs up $60,000 in debt and starts missing payments, Christopher and Little Paulie Germani come to his apartment and give him a beating. J.T. loses some writing jobs, further escalating his problems. He eventually turns back to heroin, which causes Christopher to help direct him back toward rehab (after taking his BMW Z3 as a partial payment and making plans to collect more money after he gets out of rehab and gets better work).

Around then, Tony's friendship with Fran begins to sour, as he learns his father was often with her when he was needed at home. An example of the latter was one night in the summer of 1975, when Tony was just 16, when his mother was hospitalized after suffering a miscarriage and Tony was forced to lie for his father, who was at Fran's apartment all night. He also learns that she did not quit smoking, even after his father contracted emphysema, something that even Tony's mother did. Furthermore, Fran starts to openly disparage Livia in front of Tony, describing once seeing her dressed "as a refugee," and uses the money Tony collected for her to buy expensive attire when she had convinced him she could not even pay her phone bills. When Tony discusses these revelations with Dr. Melfi, she suggests he could have more sympathy for his mother, forgive her, and forget. Yet Tony remains unsympathetic, remarking that Livia did make his father give away Tippy.

As the episode closes, Tony starts regaling his buddies at the Bada Bing with exaggerated accounts of Fran's involvement with JFK.

First appearances[edit]

  • J.T. Dolan: Christopher's Alcoholics Anonymous friend, who is also a screenwriter.

Deceased[edit]

This episode had five deaths, the most of the series, although they all happened offscreen and none of them were murders.

  • Aunt Concetta: died of a heart attack
  • Vincent Patronella: Uncle Junior's dry-cleaner
  • Mrs. Crilli: cousin of Uncle Junior's
  • Unnamed Boy: 7 years old, died in a jacuzzi; Uncle Junior and Bobby attend his funeral
  • Uncle Zio: died of natural causes; 15 days after the death of his wife, Concetta

Production[edit]

  • Although the seventh episode of the season, it was produced as sixth, due to scheduling availability of previous episode director Peter Bogdanovich, as episode director Steve Buscemi wanted to direct an episode that his character was minimally featured in.[1]

Title reference[edit]

  • Fran Felstein claimed to have had an affair with President John F. Kennedy, whose administration was nicknamed "Camelot."
  • Tony refers to Fran as a "princess."
  • Fran calls the waiter who tops up her wine glass her "knight in shining armor."
  • Tony comes to the aid of Fran when she is financially mistreated by Hesh Rabkin and Phil Leotardo.

Connections to prior episodes[edit]

Cultural references[edit]

  • The Baccalieri children are watching Beethoven on TV when Tony pays the family a visit.
  • Aunt Concetta reportedly had a heart attack and died after watching Meet the Press.
  • During Tony's flashback scene to 1975, as he talks with Dr. Melfi, his teenage self is watching Cannon on television in his mother's house, when his father calls.
  • J.T. Dolan mentions he wrote for Nash Bridges and That's Life, and Christopher comments he thought the latter show was unrealistic. Christopher also makes disparaging remarks about director Jon Favreau whom is featured in the second-season episode "D-Girl."
  • Dolan says his agent is working to get him a job writing for Law & Order, created by Dick Wolf.
  • Dolan has a framed poster of Dr. Strangelove hanging in his apartment, which Christopher and Little Paulie later smash over his head when they beat him up.
  • Dolan later tries to sell his Emmy Award at the pawnshop for some money, but the clerk only offers a few dollars for it, saying it is no Academy Award.
  • Fran Felstein mentions going to see Enzo Stuarti sing at Manhattan's famous Copacabana in the 1950s.

Music[edit]

  • Kylie Minogue's "Can't Get You out of My Head" is playing when Chris and J.T. are in the gym.
  • The song blaring from Tony's stereo as he pursues Leotardo is "Rock the Casbah" by The Clash.
  • When Tony takes Fran Felstein to dinner, the title track from John Coltrane's album My Favorite Things can be heard.
  • The song played at the Bada Bing at the end of the episode, when Tony is exaggerating Fran's exploits with JFK, is "Session" by Linkin Park, from their album Meteora.
  • The song played over the end credits is "Melancholy Serenade", the theme from The Jackie Gleason Show, which was composed by Gleason. Fran said that Gleason was present at the March 1961 party at which she met President Kennedy. Other references to Gleason are made throughout the show (e.g., at Tony B's homecoming party at the Bing).

References[edit]

  1. ^ DVD audio commentary for "In Camelot" by Steve Buscemi

External links[edit]