|The Sopranos episode|
|Episode no.||Season 6
|Directed by||Danny Leiner|
|Written by||Matthew Weiner|
|Cinematography by||Phil Abraham|
|Original air date||April 23, 2006|
|Running time||55 minutes|
"Luxury Lounge" is the seventy-second episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the seventh of the show's sixth season. It was written by Matthew Weiner, directed by Danny Leiner and originally aired on April 23, 2006.
- James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano
- Lorraine Bracco as Dr. Jennifer Melfi *
- Edie Falco as Carmela Soprano
- Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti
- Dominic Chianese as Corrado Soprano, Jr. *
- Steven Van Zandt as Silvio Dante
- Tony Sirico as Paulie Gualtieri
- Robert Iler as Anthony Soprano, Jr. *
- Jamie-Lynn Sigler as Meadow Soprano *
- Aida Turturro as Janice Soprano Baccalieri *
- Steven R. Schirripa as Bobby Baccalieri
- Frank Vincent as Phil Leotardo
- John Ventimiglia as Artie Bucco
- Ray Abruzzo as Little Carmine Lupertazzi
- Katherine Narducci as Charmaine Bucco
- Dan Grimaldi as Patsy Parisi
* = credit only
- Ben Kingsley as Himself
- Lauren Bacall as Herself
- Frankie Valli as Rusty Millio
- Edoardo Ballerini as Corky Caporale
- Denise Borino as Ginny Sacrimoni
- Elizabeth Bracco as Marie Spatafore
- Max Casella as Benny Fazio
- Manuela Feris as Martina
- Arthur J. Nascarella as Carlo Gervasi
- Artie Pasquale as Burt Gervasi
- Suzanne Shepherd as Mary De Angelis
- Wilmer Valderrama as Himself
- Maureen Van Zandt as Gabriella Dante
- Lenny Venito as James "Murmur" Zancone
- Nick Annunziata as Eddie Pietro
- Carlo Giuliano as Italo
- Peter Allas as Salvatore
- Taleb Adlah as Ahmed
- Donnie Keshawarz as Muhammad
- Brian O'Neill as Detective Hollings
- John Rue as Kloski
- Merel Julia as Gianna Millio
- Kristen Cerelli as Jen Fazio
- Mario D'Elia as Benny Fazio, Sr.
- Judy Prianti as Connie Fazio
- Dierdre Friel as Sandy
- Abigail Marlowe as Sarah
- Enya Flack as Janine
- Alicia Lorén as Eden
- Sig Libowitz as Hillel Teittleman
- John Bianco as Gerry Torciano
- John "Cha Cha" Ciarcia as Albie Cianflone
- Frank Borrelli as Vito Spatafore, Jr.
- Paulina Gerzon as Francesca Spatafore
- Ariana Delawari as Shelly
- Jose Sanchez as Hector
- Filippo Bozotti as Giovanni Coppito
At Nuovo Vesuvio, Phil Leotardo and Tony Soprano host a joint celebration as "the books are opened" for two new members: Gerry Torciano is now officially a New York capo and Burt Gervasi becomes the newest DiMeo family made man. The event is not without tension, as Phil rants about his disgust at his still-missing homosexual cousin-in-law Vito Spatafore, and many people seem dissatisfied with the food and service. Phil speaks favorably of a new competitor to the restaurant, Da Giovanni, and informs Artie Bucco he should check it out. After the meal, Christopher Moltisanti, Tony, and Carlo Gervasi discuss the search for Vito. Tony tells them to be passive and only worry about the fugitive capo if he returns to Jersey, but Carlo is adamant to find Vito via his police detective contacts. Christopher asks Tony's permission to fly to Los Angeles with Little Carmine on a casting trip to enlist actors for their movie Cleaver, and Tony reluctantly gives his permission.
As Rusty Millio and his bodyguard Eddie Pietro are pulling out of Rusty's driveway, Italo and Salvatore pull up behind them in a small SUV, cutting them off at the end of the driveway. One of the Italians gets out and distracts the passengers' attention by feigning poor English and asking Rusty for directions to Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn while the second man slowly walks up near the driver's side. Both of them then start shooting, killing Rusty and Eddie. The pair drop their guns in the driveway and make a quick getaway as Rusty's Mercedes-Benz rolls out into the street.
Tony unwillingly has a meal at Da Giovanni to celebrate Phil's grandson's confirmation. Marie Spatafore is there with her children, who are being teased about their homosexual father. Carmela sings the restaurant's praises and discusses what she thinks is wrong with Nuovo Vesuvio. Privately, Phil approaches Tony to thank him on Johnny "Sack"'s behalf for the hit on Rusty. Tony denies any involvement, which Phil accepts as cautiousness.
"Murmur" makes rounds for Christopher that include buying credit card details from an Italian delicatessen and the Teittleman's hotel, and then delivering numbers to Ahmed and Muhammad, who operate in stealing money via the Internet.
Artie has a new Albanian hostess at his restaurant, Martina. She starts flirting with mobster Benny Fazio, which irks Artie, and he tells her that he cannot help expedite her green card process any further and keeps handing her work to keep her away from him. Benny questions the way Artie treats Martina, leading to increased tension between the two.
Artie's business is starting to lose its customers and, drunk, he laments his status as one without any privileges to Tony at the Bada Bing!. He confronts Tony about dining at Da Giovanni's recently, to which Tony apologizes. But when the mob boss offers some tips to increase the restaurant's popularity, such as changing its interior, making advertisements or offering two-for-one meal promotions, Artie angrily rebuffs him, insisting his luxury establishment would never subject itself to such lows and tells Tony to rather settle his outstanding tab at the restaurant. A mad Artie shoots dead a rabbit for eating an arugula plant from his garden and rejects his wife Charmaine's suggestions to stop bothering his restaurant guests with his stories, insisting he is a "warm host."
Christopher and Little Carmine land in Los Angeles and check into a hotel. They have a scheduled meeting with actor Ben Kingsley, arranged because his agent owed Little Carmine a favor. Away from his AA sponsor, Christopher soon partakes in drinking, drugs, as well as in sexual services of a female escort, before calling for "Murmur" to come out and help him get back on the wagon.
The meeting with Kingsley does not go well. The actor seems unimpressed and is uninterested in the producers' "The Ring meets The Godfather" film project. Kingsley interrupts Christopher and Carmine to speak poolside to Lauren Bacall, who states she is in town to be a presenter at an awards show. When she mentions the gifts associated with presenting, Kingsley remembers he has a walk-through scheduled in the "luxury lounge," a room set-up with free gifts handed out to celebrities. Christopher and Carmine tag along with Kingsley and Christopher is soon fascinated by the great quantity of free expensive luxury items offered to a casual-acting Kingsley. The mob capo later phones Kingsley asking him if he could get him his own entry into the Luxury Lounge, but the actor says he doesn't handle such arrangements.
While Christopher is away in California, Benny Fazio takes over the handling of the credit card data thefts. He hands Tony his cut, a fat bundle of cash, citing success with the operation.
Nuovo Vesuvio's financial woes continue when Artie gets a visit from American Express fraud investigators. They inform Artie someone has been stealing credit card numbers from his customers to run up bogus charges, and that they must suspend Vesuvio's card usage as a precaution. After an emotional staff meeting, Artie learns Martina was the one who has been helping Benny steal the credit card numbers from the restaurant and fires her. Then, furious, he goes to Benny's house in the middle of the night and they get into a fistfight. Artie leaves a bloody Benny at his porch.
Tony tries to patch things up between Artie and Benny, lecturing the two on how they both were at fault: He invites Charmaine and Artie onto The Stugots II with him and Carmela, and criticizes an unreceptive Artie, and he gives the revenge-minded Benny a direct order to make peace with Artie and to never "shit where you eat."
At Tony's insistence, Benny's parents have their anniversary dinner at Nuovo Vesuvio, which has now indeed started offering "two-for-one" special meal promotions and advertising them in newspapers. Artie makes a table-side visit during their meal. While asking if he can get anyone another drink, Artie makes a veiled comment referencing Benny's sexual activity with Artie's former hostess Martina. Benny follows him into the kitchen and forces Artie's right hand into a boiling pot of tomato sauce, burning him severely.
Little Carmine informs Christopher that Ben Kingsley turned down the role in Cleaver. "Murmur" arrives in L.A. and finds an intoxicated Christopher in his hotel room. Once he sobers up, the two find Ben Kingsley in an elevator and try to subtly intimidate/convince him to gain access into the Luxury Lounge. Kingsley admits lavish presents for celebrities are “obscene”, but says he gives almost all of them away to charity. He blurts out that award presenters get free goods worth around $30,000.
Before leaving Los Angeles, outside of an awards show, a masked Christopher mugs Lauren Bacall, punching her and stealing her gift bag. He flies back to East Coast on the same plane as Kingsley to the latter’s dismay. When he gets home, Christopher offers Tony some of the stolen goods, but Tony is more concerned with Christopher's lack of focus. He blames Christopher's absence for the Artie-Benny feud, stating that perhaps if he was around to keep a handle on his crew, the confrontation could have been avoided.
Tony has dinner at Nuovo Vesuvio with Carmela and her mother Mary, but Hugh is absent, still being hostile to Carmela. Tony urges Artie to enter therapy, telling him he goes "about in pity for himself." Artie responds with hostility, to which Tony responds by informing Artie that customers do not like his table-side chatter. Tony suggests to the shocked Artie that he stay in the kitchen and departs.
Charmaine seats a young couple just before closing time at the restaurant. Artie tells Charmaine to tell the guests they will have to eat whatever he prepares, since the staff has left for the evening and there are barely any food supplies left. With his right hand heavily bandaged, Artie methodically prepares a rabbit dish from his grandfather's weathered hand-written cookbook.
Italo and Salvatore fly back to Italy and comment on the luxury souvenirs they purchased in the U.S., which they say were much cheaper in America than in Italy due to the weak U.S. Dollar.
- Burt Gervasi: newly made DiMeo/Soprano family soldier and cousin to Carlo Gervasi.
- Rusty Millio: assassinated on orders from Johnny "Sack" via Tony Soprano's enlisted hit men from Italy for potentially trying to take power away from Johnny again.
- Eddie Pietro: collateral damage from the Millio hit.
- Christopher and Little Carmine follow Ben Kingsley through a celebrity Luxury Lounge where many free gifts are offered to celebrities.
- The title could refer to a luxury restaurant. Artie's fight for his restaurant against competitors and through hardships is one of the main storylines of the episode.
- The title could refer to the higher status of free luxury, enjoyed by people such as Tony Soprano and Benny Fazio, that comes to be resented by Artie Bucco who tries to make a living by "honest work," as did his father.
- Creator David Chase makes his second cameo appearance on the series as a passenger on the plane to Italy during the last scene. Previously, he appeared as a man in Italy in episode "Commendatori".
References to prior episodes
- Tony reminds Artie about the time his family found refuge and happily dined at Nuovo Vesuvio during a heavy storm, which happened in "I Dream of Jeannie Cusamano".
- Christopher reminds Tony about his "huge sacrifice" made for him - Adriana. ("Long Term Parking").
Other cultural references
- Italo and Salvatore talk about visiting the World Trade Center site.
- Tony refers to Vito Spatafore as "La Cage aux Fat." La Cage aux Folles is originally a French comedy play later turned into a movie about gay lovers. An American film remake of it is the 1996 The Birdcage.
- Tony says he saw CSI when Carlo starts talking about techniques that could track Vito.
- When Tony denies having anything to do with Rusty's murder, Phil Leotardo says the deed can then be credited to The Headless Horseman.
- Artie says the New Jersey Zagat described him as a "warm and convivial host."
- Artie tells Tony he would never allow his restaurant to turn into an IHOP.
- Potential directors for Cleaver were mentioned as Ridley Scott, Tobe Hooper or "the next James Wan" (Saw).
- Christopher mentions Ben Kingsley's role as a villain in Sexy Beast.
- Christopher lists J.T. Dolan's screenwriting credits to Ben Kingsley, which include Nash Bridges, Hooperman, and Law & Order: SVU (mistakenly referring to it as "Law & Order: SUV").
- Lauren Bacall says she will give awards at the ShoWest.
- Christopher tells Lauren Bacall that she was great in "The Haves And Have-Nots" (To Have and Have Not).
- In the Luxury Lounge, some of the displayed items were: an iRiver MP3 player, Oris watches, and the video game True Crime: New York City on a television.
- Christopher tells Tony he and Little Carmine met Lindsay Lohan in LA.
- Italo and Salvatore examine a Montblanc pen.
- The song being played at Nuovo Vesuvio when Artie surveys his mostly empty establishment is "La-La (Means I Love You)" by The Delfonics.
- The song being sung by Murmur when making the credit card collection from the Jewish-owned hotel is "Daniel" by Elton John.
- The song playing at the Bada Bing! where Ahmed and Muhammad get the stolen credit card numbers is "Dazz," a 1976 hit song by Brick.
- The song playing at the Luxury Lounge when Christopher looks around at the swag is "Welcome to New York City" by Cam'ron, from the True Crime: New York City's intro, briefly shown in the TV.
- When Artie meets the Benny Fazio party in his restaurant the song playing is "Whispering Bells" by The Del-Vikings.
- Closing credits music is a classical guitar piece called "Recuerdos de la Alhambra," composed by Francisco Tarrega and played by Pepe Romero.