Mayham

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Not to be confused with Mayhem (disambiguation).
"Mayham"
The Sopranos episode
Ep68 06.jpg
Episode no. Season 6
Episode 3
Directed by Jack Bender
Written by Matthew Weiner
Cinematography by Phil Abraham
Production code 603
Original air date March 26, 2006
Running time 56 minutes
Guest actors

see below

Episode chronology
← Previous
"Join the Club"
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"The Fleshy Part of the Thigh"
Episode chronology

"Mayham" is the sixty-eighth episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the third of the show's sixth season. It was written by Matthew Weiner, directed by Jack Bender and originally aired on March 26, 2006.

Starring[edit]

* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

On a tip from Vito Spatafore, Paulie Gualtieri and a member of his crew, Cary DiBartolo, attempt to burgle an apartment of Colombian drug dealers. When the pair arrive, however, they find the apartment is not empty as expected, and a fierce firefight ensues. The building superintendent is killed when he is used as a human shield by Cary and he and Paulie manage to slay the two drug dealers holed up in the apartment. During his struggle with one of the Colombians, Paulie is kicked hard in the testicles and injured. The mobsters succeed in finding a large amount of money hidden in a dishwasher.

Back at the hospital, Christopher Moltisanti and Bobby Baccalieri confront A.J. about his attempt to purchase a gun. They tell him that if they were in his place they would want to do the same thing, but that he cannot go after Junior, who is in custody. They assure him that Tony would not want him involved. A.J. reacts as though he feels they are talking down to him and treating him like a kid. Afterwards, he accuses Carmela of putting the two up to the talk, though she has no idea what he is talking about.

Tony's dream sequence from the previous episode continues: at his hotel room he receives a court summons from the Buddhist monks addressed to Kevin Finnerty, and he begins to question his actual identity. He seeks answers from the bartender as well as from the monks who initiated the summons, but does not get any answers.

Back in real life, tension is surging within the Soprano crime family. Although Gabriella Dante flatters husband Silvio and suggests he could replace Tony, the pressure of being acting boss makes his asthma worse to the point where he too ends up in hospital. In addition, his performance does not go down well with several members. He makes rulings on how Bobby and Vito are to split Eugene Pontecorvo's former revenue and on the cut to be given to Carmela on behalf of Tony from Paulie and Vito's Colombian drug raid score. None of the parties involved like his decisions. Paulie and Vito delay giving the $200,000 to Carmela, since they do not want to part with it in the event Tony does not recover. Vito quietly starts a campaign to position himself as a potential new leader, pointing to his recent weight loss, which he has been discussing a lot, as a sign of better health and maintaining a cordial relationship with the Lupertazzi acting boss Phil Leotardo, whose cousin Marie is his wife. He also happens to be in the hospital when Meadow's fiancé Finn turns up, and quickly makes a rather threatening pass at him.

Carmela bumps into Dr. Melfi at the supermarket, and receives an offer of help. Carmela later becomes livid when she sees an A&E special hosted by Bill Kurtis, in which he gave his own account of the Soprano shooting, including interpreting A.J.'s cursing at the media (from the previous episode) as a threat towards them. Carmela rushes home and drags A.J. out of bed, berating him for putting the entire affair on national television, and tells him that he is "a cross that the rest of his family has to bear." The next day, she has a session with Dr. Melfi in which she tearfully regrets insulting A.J., and later reminisces on her attraction to Tony since the two first met. She goes on to acknowledge that she had a choice in picking a husband but that children have no option in choosing their parents.

Christopher's passion about entering the movie industry is reborn, this time he plans to become a producer instead of a writer. Christopher has Benny Fazio and "Murmur" rough up the screenwriter J.T. Dolan, who has new debts from his continued gambling addiction, and orders him to write the script for a movie he wants to produce with the concept of it being a slasher mob film, "a cross between Saw and The Godfather II." Christopher seems to have in his mind a very clear idea of the plot line for the film - a "rising star" in the mob is betrayed and killed by his jealous boss who had also been having sex with his fiancée behind his back, but the protagonist comes back from the dead, after his pieces reassemble together, and he kills everyone who ever crossed him. Christopher later arranges a meeting with potential investors for the production, their chief adviser and partner being Little Carmine who produced five successful porn films back in Miami. J. T. comes up with the title, Cleaver, and explains the premise of the film, but the investors, which include Silvio, Vito and Larry Boy Barese, seem confused about its plot. Silvio is focused on keeping any references to real-life mob figures out of the script, Vito is perplexed about the supernatural elements, while Larry deduces its story is unrealistic because the Mafia would never dispose all of the pieces of a body in a single dump. Nevertheless, Christopher assures them the film is a guaranteed win, citing other similar movies who raked in fortunes for their makers.

Despite orders to allow only family to see Tony, Silvio and, later, Paulie are smuggled in by Carmela and Meadow. Silvio is quiet, standing at the doorway staring at his boss before walking over and clutching his hand. Paulie on the other hand is incapable of following Meadow's instructions to stay positive, and exclaims "he looks terrible" as he enters the room. Left alone with Tony, he then proceeds to treat his unconscious boss with an interminable and profanity-laden update of his current state of affairs, including the details of his injury, for which he is seeking medical attention, and his big score. Tony's heart-rate escalates steadily, but Paulie appears not to notice it until he goes into cardiac arrest. Hospital staff rush in and attempt to revive him.

In Tony's dream, Paulie's voice appears as muffled sounds from an adjoining room at his hotel, prompting him to bang on the wall and ask for some calm. Having found a flier for the Finnerty family reunion in his briefcase, he is greeted outside the venue by a man who looks like his cousin Tony Blundetto. The man tries to get Tony to enter the light-festooned house, assuring him that "everyone's here" and that he is "coming home"; but he also tells Tony that he must first let go of his "business" and hand over his briefcase. Tony is reluctant, replying that he had once already given away a briefcase which had "his whole life inside" and does not want to do the same with the one he has now. Standing at the steps of the house, Tony hesitates for some time. With the figure of someone similar to his mother Livia standing by the doorway in front of him, and the faint voice of a little girl coming from the trees behind him pleading with him not to go (in the hospital Meadow is calling to her father), Tony chooses not to enter the house and awakes in the hospital. His first words, after beckoning Carmela to come closer, are "I'm dead, right?"

Later, heavily sedated and still largely unable to talk, Tony sits in a chair at the foot of his bed and listens to an excited Christopher explain his movie venture to him; his nephew says he left a position for Tony to become a major investor in the project. Christopher then notices an Ojibwe saying taped onto the wall: "Sometimes I go about in pity for myself, and all the while, a great wind carries me across the sky."

With Tony now conscious, Paulie and Vito anxiously rush to get their cuts to Carmela. In the hospital lobby, when they hand over the cash, Carmela is initially grateful. However, before the elevator doors close, she turns around in time to see their facial expressions turn sour. Carmela arrives to tend to Tony's chapped lips and remarks to him her amazement about his ability to intimidate others without even uttering a word.

First appearances[edit]

Deceased[edit]

  • Building Superintendent: shot by Colombian #1
  • Colombian #1: shot by Cary DiBartolo and Paulie
  • Colombian #2: shot by Cary DiBartolo and then stabbed by Paulie

Title reference[edit]

  • After Vito gave Paulie bad information about the stick-up job (saying the place was empty), Paulie does not want to give him his full cut of the money, saying that the job was "mayham".
  • Disorder is within the ranks of the DiMeo/Soprano crime family as there are disagreements between some members, dissent is growing, and, at one point, both its boss and substitute acting boss are hospitalized.
  • Tony Soprano violently fights to stay alive.

Production[edit]

  • Ray Abruzzo (Little Carmine) is now promoted to the main cast and billed in the opening credits but only in the episodes in which he appears.
  • Lorraine Bracco's sister Elizabeth joins the show playing the character of Marie, the wife of Vito Spatafore.

Other cultural references[edit]

  • When confronted over his attempted purchase of a gun and told that he cannot get to his Uncle Junior anyway because he is in police custody, AJ says it's "difficult, not impossible" - these same words are spoken by Rocco Lampone in The Godfather Part II in reference to assassinating Hyman Roth.
  • Vito greets Finn, who flew over from California, as "Phineas Fogg" at the hospital.
  • J.T. Dolan is discussing Beowulf when kidnapped from his writing class.
  • When pitching Cleaver, Silvio, Christopher, and J.T. Dolan compare and contrast the film to The Ring, the Friday the 13th franchise, and Freddie Kruger movies, and Halloween as well as to The Godfather II, Saw and Ghostbusters franchises.
  • Tom Giglione says he needs some Irish Spring to look fresh again after a night spent beside Tony's bed.
  • Phil Leotardo says everyone thought Vito looked like John Travolta when he married Phil's cousin Marie.
  • Paulie Gualtieri refers to Carmela Soprano as the "Princess of Little Italy". This is an homage to Steven Van Zandt and his band Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul, who recorded a song by the same name.
  • In a rare session with Dr. Melfi, Carmela recalls her second date with Tony, in which he brought her father a $200 power drill as a gift. She says she knew there was "probably some guy with a broken arm" behind it and reflects on whether this made her like Tony less, or more. This mimics Bracco's own character's reaction in Goodfellas when she realized what Henry Hill really was early in their relationship.

Music[edit]

External links[edit]