Kennedy and Heidi

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"Kennedy and Heidi"
The Sopranos episode
Ep83 01.jpg
Tony and Christopher meeting with Phil Leotardo and Butchie.
Episode no. Season 6
Episode 18
Directed by Alan Taylor
Written by Matthew Weiner
David Chase
Produced by David Chase
Featured music
Cinematography by Alik Sakharov
Editing by William B. Stich
Production code S618
Original air date May 13, 2007 (2007-05-13)
Running time 52 minutes
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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"Walk Like a Man"
Next →
"The Second Coming"
List of The Sopranos episodes

"Kennedy and Heidi" is the eighty-third episode of the HBO television series The Sopranos. It is the sixth episode of the second half of the show's sixth season, the eighteenth episode of the season overall. It was written by Matthew Weiner and series creator and showrunner David Chase, and was directed by Alan Taylor. The episode premiered in the United States on May 13, 2007.

Near the beginning of "Kennedy and Heidi", series protagonist Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) and Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli) are involved in a car accident that leaves Christopher incapacitated. In a subplot, A.J. (Robert Iler) continues with his college courses and reconsiders his relationship with his friends.

The episode is noted for its thematic complexity and the plot twist early in the episode. It was nominated for an Emmy Award for writing and won for directing.

Starring[edit]

* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

Overlooking Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty, a late-evening meeting is taken between the heads of the Lupertazzi and DiMeo crime families regarding the removal of asbestos from a building project. Phil Leotardo is upset because he was unaware that Tony Soprano was dumping asbestos in one of his areas. Tony states he should have known that this type of activity is status quo, and suggests there should be minimal repercussions. Phil disagrees, asking for a 25% cut of what they get for the illegal dumping, but Tony rejects his proposal.

After the unsuccessful meeting, Tony and Christopher Moltisanti drive home in the dark along a winding road. Christopher suggests to Tony that he should concede to Phil's demands because "life is too short." Tony at first disagrees, saying it would be unwise to appear weak in accepting Phil's conditions just as he became the boss of his family, but then seems to support Christopher's idea. Christopher adds that Phil should enjoy life and "smell the roses," as he had told Tony he would, because "each day is a gift." Tony notices that Christopher avoids looking him in the eyes and is visibly agitated, as he complains about the Escalade's stereo, constantly changing the radio channels until putting on a CD of The Departed soundtrack. Tony eyes him suspiciously but keeps silent. As the dark road curves again and Christopher ups the stereo system's volume, Tony distracts him by asking him a question, and he swerves into the opposite lane, nearly hitting a suddenly emerging sedan driven by two teenage girls, who leave the scene as they are out after curfew on a learner's permit. Christopher immediately turns to the opposite direction to avoid the oncoming vehicle but is unable to control the Escalade as it veers off the road at high speed and violently rolls down a hill several times, hitting some tree branches before coming to rest upright.

Tony, who was wearing a safety belt, suffers only minor injuries to his face and knee and gets out of the vehicle. Christopher, who was not, is seriously injured and has trouble breathing as he coughs up blood. He asks Tony to help him. Tony exits the truck, limping around to the driver's side and smashes the driver's window to access Christopher, who says he will "never pass the drug test" and will lose his driver's license. Tony, immediately sulky, also notices that the infant carrier seat in the back had been impaled by a tree limb in the crash. Christopher once again pleads for help, asking Tony to "call [him] a taxi." Tony begins to dial 9-1-1 on his cell phone but then gives a bleeding and wheezing Christopher a morbid look and closes the phone instead. Tony reaches over and tightly pinches shut Christopher's nostrils, suffocating him. After wiping the blood off, he then calls in an ambulance.

Tony is rushed to the emergency room of Saint Clare's Hospital in Denville. A nurse calls Carmela and puts Tony on the phone. Carmela is horrified when he tells her about the accident and her cousin's death. Largely unscathed, Tony is home the next morning, and is visited by the members of his crime family who all lament the death of Christopher. Tony, however, is largely feigning his concern towards Christopher's passing. He has a dream in which he admits to Dr. Melfi that he has killed his best friends, Big Pussy and his cousin Tony, and that Christopher's murder is nothing compared to these losses. People express their sorrow for Christopher's death around Tony; Carmela feels remorse for ever accusing him of doing "those terrible things" to Adriana, and even Paulie Gualtieri regrets ever feuding with him. Tony finds himself unable to discuss his true feelings about Christopher's death with anyone, choosing to respond to his relatives' and friends' grief with comments pointing to Christopher being intoxicated and speeding during the incident and the mangled infant car seat. He also tries to subtly ask Carmela if she was "relieved" by her cousin's death, but when she passionately denies it, he backs down, assuring her she misunderstood his question. In a real session with Dr. Melfi, Tony largely reiterates to her the same feelings about Christopher from his dream, except not mentioning the murders. He also tells Melfi his own version of the Adriana situation, claiming that he saved Christopher from major trouble by helping him end his relationship with his fiancée and that Christopher was the one who never appreciated his help done for him. Tony describes Christopher as being worthless, a liability, someone who despised him and says he is absolutely glad a huge concern from his life had been lifted with his death.

During the preparations for Christopher's wake, Tony hears that Paulie's adoptive mother, Nucci, has died of a stroke. The family and crime family members gather in large numbers to attend Christopher's wake, including celebrities from Cleaver and AA and NA members, including Julianna Skiff. Now widow, Kelli and Christopher's mother Joanne are most grief struck by his death and Tony is noticeably disgusted by the ostentatious display of everyone's sorrow. Meanwhile, it appears that even in his death Christopher managed to pull a trick on Paulie, as Nucci's wake is poorly attended, deeply upsetting him. Tony and Carmela do make a courteous appearance at the ceremony, though, which Paulie appreciates.

A.J. continues to spend time with Jason Parisi, Jason Gervasi and their friends. The man they injured with sulfuric acid for not paying his gambling debts, Victor, is revealed to have had some of his toes amputated and, when they hear his own story of the incident, that the burns and amputation resulted from an accident with battery acid, it gives them a chuckle. The Jasons console A.J. upon Christopher's death, but it does not seem to have affected him much. A.J. impresses his therapist by telling him he had begun taking college courses at Rutgers again, studying English literature and world history. But when Jason Gervasi one time inadvertently causes a Somalian college student to crash his bicycle into his car doors, A.J.'s friends pick a fight with the bicyclist, racially insulting him and beating him up in addition to throwing his bike into the path of an oncoming vehicle where it is crushed. The incident greatly disturbs A.J., and he visibly and abruptly relapses back to severe depression, as noticed by his psychotherapist.

When one day Kelli and Joanne visit Tony's house and Kelli starts breast-feeding Caitlin, this is the last straw for Tony who can no longer tolerate the outpouring of grief over Christopher. He quickly arranges a flight to Las Vegas on a private plane and checks into a hotel. In Vegas, he at first enjoys the peace and quiet of being all alone in luxury but soon meets Sonya, a stripper college student with whom Christopher used to spend time there. He tells her that Christopher died, which upsets her. Sonya philosophizes that it is good he at least managed to leave someone behind (his daughter Caitlin) after himself. Sonya begins to accompany Tony during his Vegas trip, telling him that he reminds her of Christopher, as they come from the same line of business, a comparison that Tony is not too fond of.

Tony receives phone calls from a waste disposal manager, who informs Tony that the accumulated asbestos have to be dumped somewhere or they are at risk of an investigation by the authorities, and from Phil Leotardo, who mocks him by insincerely offering condolences for Christopher's passing, while providing no relief for the original asbestos impasse; Tony, irritated, announces he is hanging up but Phil responds by hanging up on Tony.

Tony and Sonya have sex, smoke marijuana, and then take peyote. After some vomiting by Tony, the inebriated couple then visit the casino floor where Tony manages to win a large amount of money on roulette while still high. Believing his recent bad luck has ended with Christopher's death, he repeatedly mumbles happily, "he's dead" and collapses in a laughing fit on the casino floor.

In Jersey, the asbestos is being dumped into a lake.

Tony and Sonya, still very intoxicated, drive up to the Red Rock Canyon and enjoy looking at the scenery. Sonya is aimlessly throwing pebbles into the air, as Tony sees the sun flicker in the distance. He suddenly mutters, "I get it," and stands up to walk towards the sun. Both crying and laughing he puts his hands on his head; looking at the sun, he exclaims from the top of his lungs: "I get it!"

Deceased[edit]

  • Christopher Moltisanti: seriously injured in a car crash and then murdered by suffocation by Tony by squeezing his nose shut when he was gasping for air; he dies after choking on his own blood pouring down his airways. According to Tony, killed for using drugs again, being a danger to him and his crime family and generally disappointing Tony in the last few years.
  • Marianucci Gualtieri: stroke.

Title reference[edit]

  • Kennedy and Heidi are the names of the teenage girls driving the car that nearly collides with Christopher's vehicle. Heidi refuses to stop after the accident for fear of losing her learner's permit for the curfew violation.

References to prior episodes[edit]

  • Tony and Phil mention the Barone Sanitation sale, which happened in "The Fleshy Part of the Thigh."
  • Tony has been involved in a number of car accidents in the past, and, as in this episode, was not harmed seriously in any of them. He crashed his truck when escaping hitmen in "Isabella," crashed it when passing out from a panic attack in "Guy Walks into a Psychiatrist's Office...," and, in "Irregular Around the Margins", when a wild animal runs in front of an Escalade during a nighttime ride, Tony and Adriana flip the truck and it is totalled.
  • In the pilot episode, when Christopher is first introduced, he is wearing a baseball cap and driving Tony around. Right before he dies, he is wearing a baseball cap and driving Tony around. According to an article in TV Guide, Michael Imperioli states that he does not know if this is intentional or a coincidence.
  • Christopher dies in large part due to his drug addiction (it both contributed to him crashing the car, as he was intoxicated, and as one of the motives for his murder by Tony). Christopher struggled with his drug addiction for many years, most notably since the trip to Naples, Italy, seen in the Season 2 episode "Commendatori", where he picked up the habit of injecting heroin from the Italian gangster Tanno. Following the drug intervention in "The Strong, Silent Type" (Season 4) and his stay in rehab, Christopher's life was marked with periods of being clean and relapses after particularly stressful experiences. Additionally, in "The Strong, Silent Type," Tony asks Junior for advice on how he should deal with Christopher, after having learned of his addiction. Junior tells him that he should be "put out of his misery," as it used to be done by the mob in the old days.
  • In "The Strong, Silent Type", when Tony discovers during the intervention that Christopher accidentally sat on and suffocated Adriana's dog Cosette, he remarks that he "ought to suffocate" Christopher. Coincidentally, this is exactly what Tony does.
  • In "Long Term Parking," in one of his rants complaining about Tony in front of Adriana, Christopher says: "That’s the guy, Adriana. My uncle Tony. The guy I’m going to hell for." Throughout the series, Christopher did work for Tony and followed his orders, committing numerous criminal acts. Christopher was ultimately killed by Tony himself, upon his boss' decision. And if he did die, Christopher believed he would go to hell, as once, near death (clinically dead), in "From Where to Eternity" (Season 2) he said he already went to the afterlife, which he believed was hell.
  • Right after the scene when Christopher's death is confirmed to Kelli, a crow is heard cawing just prior to Silvio and Paulie's entering Tony's room to offer condolences. Christopher saw a crow after becoming a made man in "Fortunate Son", which he interpreted as a bad omen.
  • Carmela tells Tony that it was Christopher who comforted her in the hospital when Tony got shot by Junior ("Join the Club").
  • In "Chasing It", Carlo relates to Tony the Twilight Zone episode, "A Nice Place to Visit", in which a dead gangster, Rocky Valentine, finds himself unable to lose when gambling and able to have any woman or any other pleasure he desires. Originally, he believes himself in Heaven, until it is revealed he is actually in Hell. In this episode, Tony finds himself in a similar situation while in Las Vegas, winning at roulette and having sex while high on peyote. Also, at one point during this trip, he encounters a flashing red devil logo on a slot machine.

Other cultural and historical references[edit]

  • Al Lombardo, angry, says that Syracuse is losing a basketball game when in the family gathering after Christopher's death.
  • Hanging out with the Jasons, A.J. and a girl compare antidepressants Lexapro and Wellbutrin.
  • The English teacher at A.J.'s class talks about Wordsworth.
  • A.J. says he took a class about and is interested in the Arab-Israeli conflict. A.J. remarks that "nobody knew who started it."
  • Carmela is watching an old episode of The Dick Cavett Show where Cavett is interviewing Katharine Hepburn.
  • At Christopher's wake, Tony comments, "fucking James Brown" when Joanne breaks down crying. He also says the mourning Kelli looks like Jackie Kennedy with her appearance and the sunglasses.
  • After witnessing the savage beating of the unarmed black cyclist, A.J., distressed, asks his therapist, "Why can't we all get along?" This could be a reference to exactly the same famous phrase said by Rodney King, a black man beaten by Los Angeles police in an incident that sparked national protests and riots.

Music[edit]

  • The song that Christopher puts on the car stereo and on full volume as he is driving Tony right before the crash is Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb", performed by Roger Waters featuring Van Morrison & The Band, the first track from the soundtrack of The Departed.
  • The song playing when Tony is first being driven in a taxi in Las Vegas is "Are You Alright?" by Lucinda Williams.
  • The song playing in the background when Tony first meets Sonya is "Outta My Head" by M. Ward.
  • The song playing in the background as Tony and Sonya are having sex is "The Adultress" by The Pretenders.
  • The song playing in the background when Tony and Sonya are talking in bed is "Space Invader" by The Pretenders, which was also featured in the season 2 episode "House Arrest."
  • The song played over the end credits is "Minas de Cobre (for Better Metal)" by Calexico.

Awards[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]