Isabella (The Sopranos)

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The Sopranos episode
Sopranos ep112.jpg
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 12
Directed by Allen Coulter
Written by Robin Green
Mitchell Burgess
Cinematography by Phil Abraham
Production code 112
Original air date March 28, 1999
Running time 47 minutes
Guest actors

see below

Episode chronology
← Previous
"Nobody Knows Anything"
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"I Dream of Jeannie Cusamano"
Episode chronology

"Isabella" is the twelfth episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos. It was written by Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess, directed by Allen Coulter and originally aired on March 28, 1999.


* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

At Mariolina Capuano's funeral, Jimmy Altieri mentions to Junior Soprano how sad Brendan Filone's mother was at his funeral. Once Jimmy leaves, Junior complains to Mikey Palmice about Jimmy's talking about the Filone hit. He also confesses that Mariolina gave him his first hand job many years ago, but then realizes that such discussion is inappropriate at a funeral.

Tony, now in a severe depressive state, and after taking lithium pills prescribed by Dr. Melfi, sees a beautiful Italian woman in a white dress, named Isabella, in the Cusamanos' garden next door. Isabella tells Tony that she is a foreign exchange dental student, and guesses correctly that Tony's family is from Avellino, Italy. Later, Tony takes her out to lunch and, while hearing her talk about Italy, has a daydream that she is breast-feeding a baby named "Antonio".

Junior finalizes his plan to assassinate Tony, using two outside hired goons — Rasheen Ray and William "Petite" Clayborn — contracted through Donnie Paduana. Ray and Clayborn plan to wait for Tony appear at a newsstand he is known to visit as part of his weekly routine, but Tony enters the donut shop next door and leaves through the back to meet Dr. Melfi at her office. Christopher Moltisanti, concerned about Tony, has also followed him to the newsstand, and unknowingly prevents the hit when he pulls his car up next to the assassins, blocking their sight lines to Tony. After the failed murder attempt, Junior meets with Donnie who makes a joke about Tony's mother ordering the hit on him. Junior says that Donnie has a big mouth and says he does not feel right about him. Mikey then kills Donnie in his car after Chucky Signore calls him back as he is about to drive away.

The next day, Rasheen Ray and Petite Clayborn again wait for Tony to appear at the newsstand. Tony stops to buy a newspaper and orange juice, echoing a scene in The Godfather wherein Vito Corleone buys oranges before an unsuccessful attempt on his life. As Tony walks back to his car Clayborn approaches and Tony sees the reflection of Clayborn wielding a gun in the window of his Chevrolet Suburban. The first shot Clayborn fires shatters the juice bottle Tony is holding, while the second shatters the driver's window as Tony runs to his car. As Clayborn approaches the window, Tony quickly grapples with him while Rasheen approaches the passenger window and shoots at Tony. In the struggle, Rasheen's shot only grazes Tony's ear, but hits Clayborn in the temple, fatally wounding him. Tony grabs the barrel of Rasheen's gun, and manages to start the car. Tony pulls away, still holding the barrel of Rasheen's gun, twisting it away from himself as a Rasheen hangs onto the car. Tony drops his assailant once he gets the vehicle moving faster. This momentarily invigorates Tony, but he takes his eyes off the road and crashes into a parked car. In the car crash, Tony sustains injuries to his leg.

FBI Agent Dwight Harris shows up at the hospital to attempt to convince Tony and Carmela to enter the witness protection and full immunity if he agrees to be a witness against the rest of the DiMeo family. Tony declines and states that the incident was merely a carjacking, but Tony understands he has survived an assassination attempt. Silvio Dante, Paulie Gualtieri and Christopher suspect Junior's involvement, and discuss this among themselves when Junior visits Tony at home after Tony's release from the hospital.

Upon the Cusamanos' return home, Tony is surprised to find that there was never a foreign exchange student, and, moreover, nobody else ever saw Isabella in the neighborhood. Tony calls Dr. Melfi in alarm to report that he had hallucinated the whole thing, and, with Dr. Melfi's blessing, dumps his lithium medication down the toilet. Dr. Melfi theorizes that Isabella was an idealized maternal figure that Tony's subconscious produced because of his deep upset about his own mother's actions at the time, and asks if Tony has anything else worrying him right now. Tony responds that he is fine, and that he'll be even better when he finds out who organized the hit.


Title reference[edit]

Isabella is the Italian exchange student Tony hallucinates.


  • The song played at the Bada Bing when Christopher and Silvio discuss Tony's depression is "Ugly Stadium" by Tipsy.
  • The song that is played twice during this episode (when Tony is in his bedroom, and again during the "carjacking") is "Tiny Tears" by Tindersticks.
  • The song that is played briefly after Tony's meeting with Dr. Melfi, when he runs into Isabella, is "Ballad of Tindersticks (instrumental)" also by Tindersticks.
  • The song played when Tony and Isabella have lunch is "Milonga de Angel" by Al Di Meola.
  • The song played while Mikey kills Donnie Paduana is "Temptation Waits" by Garbage.
  • The song played over the end credits is "I Feel Free" by Cream.
  • The song played when Christopher follows Tony to the bookstand is "Cry" by Thornetta Davis.

External links[edit]