Irregular Around the Margins

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"Irregular Around the Margins"
The Sopranos episode
Sopranos ep505.jpg
Tony and Carmela projecting family solidarity.
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 5
Directed by Allen Coulter
Written by Robin Green
Mitchell Burgess
Production code 505
Original air date April 4, 2004
Running time 52 minutes
Guest actors

see below

Episode chronology
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"All Happy Families..."
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"Sentimental Education"
Episode chronology

"Irregular Around the Margins" is the fifty-seventh episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the fifth of the show's fifth season. It was written by Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess, directed by Allen Coulter and originally aired on April 4, 2004.

Starring[edit]

* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Also guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

Tony is at the hospital having a suspected cancerous mole removed from his forehead. The removed mole is taken away for analysis, and it is later reported to be a benign squamous skin cancer. Later, he lies to Carmela saying he bumped his head against a cabinet. Adriana goes to the doctor with gastro-intestinal problems, possibly Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which includes frequent diarrhea brought on by the stress of her working as an informant. When the doctor asks about the possible stresses in her life, she comes up with a cover story.

Tony has been spending more time at the Crazy Horse, and, therefore, more time with Adriana. With Christopher out of town handling a cigarette smuggling job, Tony and Adriana are alone together a few times in her club's office, where Tony also conducts "business." The two bond over recent medical and family problems -- Adriana's IBS and Tony's cancer scare -- and also snort a few lines of cocaine together. During a game of darts, Adriana drops some of them and bends down to pick them up. When Tony helps her up, they have a sexually tense moment that is interrupted when Phil Leotardo and Joey "Peeps" arrive for a meeting.

Tony, back in therapy, discusses his feelings for Adriana with Dr. Melfi (Tony acknowledges that he is "on probation" with her) and tells her that Adriana is the kind of woman with whom he could start a whole new family. He is aware of how much trouble would arise if he pursued a relationship with Adriana; not just between himself and Carmela, but with Christopher as well. Dr. Melfi commends Tony for this psychological "milestone" of resisting temptations. She says it represents growth, thinking about the consequences of his actions and for those he loves, rather than acting impulsively on his feelings.

Meanwhile, while being pressured by her FBI handler to find out and to report where Christopher went, Adriana discusses her feelings for Tony with Agent Sanseverino. Agent Sanseverino appears to be sympathetic and understanding as to why Adriana is attracted to him, stating that Tony is "kind of attractive" and an "alpha male." However, Agent Sanseverino mocks Adriana and her attraction to Tony to her colleagues at the FBI during lunch.

One night, on the eve of Christopher's return from another cigarette smuggling trip, Tony and Adriana decide to drive to Dover at 2 AM to get some cocaine from a drug dealer Adriana knows. Tony, behind the wheel, is distracted and swerves to avoid a raccoon in the road which flips his SUV on its driver's side. Tony is later released from the hospital after getting a clean bill of health. Adriana, however, took the worst of the crash, bearing several bruises and a head injury. She is in a temporary neck brace and on an examination table. Tony suggests that they come up with a cover story as to why they were alone together at 2 AM near Dover.

After completing his job, Christopher learns of the accident from his crew. At first he is puzzled about why Tony and Adriana would be driving together at 2 AM. Then, he, apparently, expects the worst.

While driving Adriana home later, Christopher angrily interrogates her about being alone with Tony. Adriana tells him the cover story about getting something to eat; Christopher doesn't believe her. At the Bada Bing, Tony, whose string of physical misfortunes continues, cleans dog feces off of his shoe with a swizzle stick. While handing the swizzle stick to Christopher to dispose of, he tells Christopher the cover story about getting food and deflects the conversation with Christopher's supposed selfishness and wrongful suspicion, that she could have died in the accident. He tells him that he should feel lucky that a "knockout, a ten" like Adriana is with someone who is "average, at best." Tony swears on his children that nothing is going on.

Meanwhile, Tony's entire crew, including Uncle Junior, play an unintentional game of "telephone" with the story of the accident. The details get more elaborate and lurid with each retelling. The FBI gets wind of the story and believes the distorted version of an affair. Christopher has become a laughing stock. When Christopher goes to Satriale's, he sees Vito Spatafore and some others laughing over the story. Christopher, having only heard the laughter and wanting to know what the joke was about, becomes frustrated over the crew's subsequent evasiveness. Christopher bursts into a rage and throws his sandwich at Vito, a major faux pas since Vito is now a capo. Vito gets up to retaliate but is restrained by the others. Later, Christopher shows up at home and angrily confronts Adriana and chokes her. He has heard the distorted story about Adriana's being caught performing fellatio on Tony by the EMTs, and believes it was the reason for the accident. When he assaults her and chokes her again, she admits that she and Tony were going to see her drug dealer, but insists that nothing happened between them. Christopher then beats her and drags her by the hair out of the apartment, saying that he never wants to see her again. Seconds later, he relapses by guzzling vodka straight out of the bottle after rifling through Adriana's purse for drugs. Later, Tony Blundetto warns Tony that Christopher was drunk at the Belleville Tavern and was talking loudly about the situation. Tony says Christopher knows where to find him and tells Tony B to tell Christopher that if he sees him.

When Tony brings A.J. over to the house with pizza (to help protect A.J. should an angry Christopher show up at Livia's house), Carmela has heard the worst of the stories and confronts him in the foyer. She believes them, given Tony's philandering history, and is resentful about how the story affects the family. She tells Tony she can't stand to look at him and drops the pizza box at his feet, turns her back and walks away. Tony leaves the house angrily, after picking up the pizza box and taking it with him.

Apparently taking up Tony's challenge, Christopher roars into the parking lot of the Bada Bing in his Hummer H2, staggering drunk, looking for Tony. He empties his pistol's magazine into a vehicle that looks like Tony's old Chevy Suburban in the parking lot and staggers into the full gentleman's club, yelling for Tony and pointing his empty pistol in Tony's general direction. Bouncers quickly subdue him, with Christopher screaming that Tony was lucky that he "ran out of load." Tony and his crew take Christopher out to a deserted road, where Tony kicks and slaps him a couple of times and prepares to execute him, if he won't accept that nothing happened between himself and Adriana. Paulie intervenes, stating that Christopher knew he'd expended all the bullets when shooting at the SUV, and therefore never intended to shoot Tony. But this only incites Christopher, who repeatedly asks Paulie what he is "trying to say" by the comment. Ultimately, Christopher seems unwilling to believe Tony, saying Tony sent him to North Carolina so Tony could take his girlfriend. Tony denies that he even thought of it. Christopher waits for Tony to shoot. Tony B intercedes with a plan to convince Christopher of the truth.

Christopher and the two Tonys see the emergency room doctor who treated both Tony and Adriana on the night of the accident. The Tonys want him to convince Christopher that Tony was telling the truth that no fellatio occurred. They subtly threaten violence against him if he doesn't cooperate. With his "pre-board-certified massage therapist" knowledge of human anatomy, Blundetto is able to convince the doctor to confirm that Adriana must have been wearing her seatbelt during the accident and must have been sitting upright, and therefore could not have been physically involved with Tony at the time of the crash. Tony tries to pay off the doctor for his help, but the doctor doesn't take it and leaves the car in disgust. Christopher has been placated, but he is still upset. Everyone else thinks that the false story is true, but Tony asks him why he cares what people think, since he knows the truth. Christopher laments that he has to live in the world of what people think, looking like a fool. Christopher gets out of the car in frustration. Tony later relates the story in general outlines to Dr. Melfi during a session, he laments, "You know what? I might as well have fucked her. Thanks."

With this resolved, Tony manages to convince Carmela that nothing happened with Adriana, telling multiple lies, such as he didn't do drugs, but Carmela rebuts that Meadow saw him at the Crazy Horse "coked out." Tony tries to shift the blame, saying that Carmela is no saint herself, a veiled reference to Carmela's relationships with Furio Giunta and with Father Phil Intintola. Carmela, disgusted, turns to walk away, but Tony stops her roughly. He asks her if she believes that he would go after Adriana, a girl that will soon be a member of their family. Carmela's frustrated silence is his answer. He then asks her for help in putting "a good face on this thing, for the sake of the kids, and the family," only for Carmela to angrily say that she has to bail him out once again, so he doesn't lose face.

Agent Sanseverino is keeping up the pressure on Adriana and would like more information on Tony, but is at first shocked at Adriana's battered face when she enters her car. Adriana reassures that most of the bruising was the result of the accident and, on top of everything, she may have ulcerative colitis. Agent Sanseverino still believes the distorted stories of Adriana and Tony's being intimate, and she wants Adriana to use that relationship to get information. If not, the FBI could get a court order to plant listening devices in the Crazy Horse. Adriana verbally explodes on Sanseverino and moves to get out of the car. Agent Sanseverino says it is a syndrome to protect one's batterer. Adriana defends Christopher back-handedly by saying that if it were Christopher, alone in a car with a woman, she "would have killed him."

In a show of supposed solidarity, Tony, Carmela, Christopher, Adriana, Tony B., and Quintina Blundetto arrive to dine at Nuovo Vesuvio, where most of Tony's crew is eating at other tables. Vito approaches them and shakes Christopher's hand, wishing him a pleasant evening, and it appears that all fences have been mended, at least on the surface.

First appearances[edit]

  • Frankie Cortese: an associate/Soldier in the Soprano family. He is one of the two bodyguards who subdue Christopher when he comes into the Bada Bing to confront Tony.
  • Jason Molinaro: member of the Aprile crew.

Title reference[edit]

  • Tony tells Adriana that he's afraid a mole on his shoulder looks "irregular around the margins," a worry he's had ever since a cancerous mole was removed from his forehead.
  • Margins, representing boundaries of relationships, are pushed to irregular points: e.g., Tony and Adriana almost kiss and go to Dover to get cocaine; this drives Chris and Tony to nearly murder each other.

Awards[edit]

Music[edit]

External links[edit]