Rat Pack (The Sopranos)

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"Rat Pack"
The Sopranos episode
Sopranos ep502.jpg
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 2
Directed by Alan Taylor
Written by Matthew Weiner
Cinematography by Alik Sakharov
Production code 502
Original air date March 14, 2004
Running time 57 minutes
Guest actors

see below

Episode chronology
← Previous
"Two Tonys"
Next →
"Where's Johnny?"
Episode chronology

"Rat Pack" is the fifty-fourth episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and is the second of the show's fifth season. It was written by Matthew Weiner, directed by Alan Taylor and originally aired on March 14, 2004.

Starring[edit]

* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Also guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

Tony meets with contractor Jack Massarone at a small diner to discuss their work together. Massarone presents him with a painting of Rat Pack members Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. and tries to get Tony to open up about his connections with government officials. Tony avoids direct questioning to his benefit. Unknown to Tony, Massarone is wearing a microphone hidden in his baseball cap, having joined Adriana and Raymond Curto as FBI informants. Raymond spends time at FBI headquarters correcting inaudible words that were mistranscribed from a meeting he recorded.

As Tony, Bobby and Uncle Junior reminisce at the latter's home, word comes from New York City that Carmine Lupertazzi has died. Uncle Junior is distraught over so many of his friends dying. The next day, during the funeral service, conflict arises between Little Carmine and Johnny Sack. Little Carmine seems to take offense at Johnny and his men telling jokes and laughing at his father's wake and at the fact that more New York mobsters are coming to greet John, who they regard as the successor to the New York throne, than to him to express their condolences for his father's death. Little Carmine later argues with John over rosary beads placed in Carmine Senior's coffin. Little Carmine asserts that Ginny Sack placed Opus Dei beads in the coffin without his knowledge. Little Carmine regards Opus Dei as a "fundamentalist cult" and gives Johnny Sack heated words about it. Despite bonding with Johnny Sack while his father was dying, Little Carmine announces that he didn't mean the kind words he once said to him, including that John was "like a son" to Carmine. Tony and other bystanders overhear. Later, in a restroom at the Bada Bing!, Johnny confesses to Tony he is astounded Little Carmine is now contesting his position as the new boss after having been away from Lupertazzi family matters for years in Florida.

Tony is more concerned about the return of his cousin, Tony Blundetto, from prison. He meets Tony B at his mother Quintina's house. Tony B greets him wearing an outdated 1980's style suit. At his welcome-home party in Nuovo Vesuvio, Tony tells a large gathering of family and friends how important his cousin was in his life growing up, calling him a brother he never had, and explains how the family called him "Tony-Uncle-Johnny" and called his cousin "Tony-Uncle-Al," a way of distinguishing the two boys by their fathers. Tony B meets and gets introduced to various family members he has not seen in years he spent in prison, including their children who grew up in his absence. He is disappointed to learn his ex-wife and their twin sons were not able to come. The party then continues at the Bada Bing! and Tony seems to act awkward around his cousin, taking offense when Tony B says it was good Tony was not arrested with him the night he hijacked the truck and then assuming Tony B was making fun of his weight when doing a Jackie Gleason's Reginald Van Gleason impression "Boy, are you fat" to other mobsters. Tony then notices Feech La Manna greeting Tony B with an envelope of cash and that the two former prisoners seem to be closer to each other than he and his own cousin. One day, after the party, Tony approaches Tony B with an offer for him to get involved in stolen car airbag operation, but "Tony-Uncle-Al" is not as eager to get back in the business as his cousin wants. Blundetto informs Tony that he was able to get an associate's degree in prison and is on his way to becoming a state licensed massage therapist. He believes this is his chance to start over, and wants to go completely legitimate. Tony reluctantly offers him a job delivering linens and tablecloths for a Korean and a quick way to obtain a driver's license. Tony seems to be somewhat let down by his cousin's decision, calling him "useless" in front of Silvio and Christopher. Tony also reprimands Tony B for making jokes about him, this way undermining his authority, and for distracting mobsters at Satriale's with a demonstration of his massage skills on a massage table. He later seems to soften his tone and reconcile with his cousin when he calls him on the phone in the middle of the night and Tony B calls Tony his "cousin and best friend."

Adriana watches the classic film Citizen Kane in the Sopranos' home theater with Carmela, Rosalie, Janice, Gabriella Dante and Donna Parisi during one of their "movie nights." Afterward, the women briefly discuss the movie, and it turns into a discussion of Carmela's possible divorce and their own tepid marriages, including Janice's, who is the newlywed of the group, and how the romance has gone out of her marriage already.

Adriana later meets with her FBI handler, Agent Sanseverino. She has a hard time dealing with informing on others and Sanseverino only talking about business. Sanseverino tells Adriana that she is with the "good guys" now and then reveals to her what she claims to be why she became an FBI agent: her sister's criminal boyfriend traded their TV for six handguns. He sold five of them to teenagers and used the sixth to shoot open a coconut, the bullet ricocheted off the coconut and hit her sister in the spine, leaving her a paraplegic. She became an FBI agent to deal with people like her sister's old boyfriend. Adriana is shocked and drops a tear.

Being an informant doesn't work out so well for Jack Massarone, however. Tony becomes suspicious about him after he gets a tip from Patsy Parisi that their earlier meeting had been under FBI surveillance; Tony is certain that he wasn't the one being followed. Tony arranges a meet with Massarone to "feel him out," quite literally as it turns out. At the meet, Tony hugs Massarone in greeting while feeling for recording or listening devices, not realizing the device is in the baseball cap Massarone is wearing. This gives Jack an uncomfortable feeling. Tony reassures him. Later Tony tells his crew he couldn't tell if Massarone was an informant. A few moments later, Tony remarks about how Jack had mentioned that Tony had lost weight, which the rest of the crew seem (quietly) skeptical about. During the council with his crew, Tony gets a call from Tony Blundetto's discontented boss at the linen company who is considering firing Tony B. Christopher then floats the idea of using Tony B to hit Massarone. Tony is frustrated and tells Chris that Tony B wants to "go straight."

Tony retreats to his house (Livia's house) to think about Massarone and seems to be having anxiety problems, expressed at the Rat Pack picture Massarone gave him. He drinks alcohol, repositions the painting on the wall and then on the fireplace mantel piece. He calls Tony B at 3 a.m. for small talk and to complain about his separation. After facing a mirror and patting the full size of his gut, he takes a drive with the painting. On the Pulaski Skyway, Tony tosses it out his truck window, into the river beneath, and drives away. The next morning, Massarone is found dead in the trunk of his car, a bullet hole in his head and a golf club cover in his mouth.

Adriana, meanwhile, is racked with guilt during another movie night at Carmela's, inflamed by Rosalie Aprile telling her how Sal "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero's wife, Angie Bonpensiero, was not welcome in their group anymore because Big Pussy, they believe, went into the witness protection program. Rosalie condemns him as Judas-like. A teary Adriana comes very close to telling her girlfriends about her being an informant but keeps her tongue and flees the get-together in tears. An upset Adriana runs off in the darkness, skinning her knee and scraping her face on the driveway. She refuses her girlfriends' offers of first aid and flees in her car, speeding away from the Soprano house.

The next morning, she tells Agent Sanseverino that Tina Francesco (her friend who keeps annoying her by flirting with Christopher), is embezzling money from her boss at a clothing store. Sanseverino writes this down.

First appearances[edit]

  • Lorraine Calluzzo: loan shark working for the Lupertazzi crime family, also known as "Lady Shylock."
  • Jason Evanina: Lorraine Calluzzo's loan-sharking partner and lover.
  • Tony Blundetto (first physical appearance): Tony's cousin and DiMeo/Soprano crime family member who was sent to federal prison in 1986 for hijacking a tractor trailer.
  • Phil Leotardo (first physical appearance): Captain in the Lupertazzi crime family, recently released from prison after serving 20 years.

Deceased[edit]

  • Joseph "Joey" Cogo: killed offscreen in a payment dispute. Agent Sanseverino shows photos of his corpse to Adriana, who confirms his identity and having seen him previously with certain mob members.
  • Carmine Lupertazzi: died of stroke
  • Jack Massarone: killed for being an FBI informant. Massarone is found dead in the trunk of a car by FBI agents.

Title reference[edit]

  • Jack Massarone gives Tony a painting of Sinatra, Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr, who were all members of the "Rat Pack."
  • The episode shows Adriana, Jack Massarone, and Raymond Curto all working with the FBI. Such informants are often called "rats."
  • Junior refers to the recently released "Class of 2004" as "Old rats on a new ship."

References to other media[edit]

  • Paulie quotes from Sun Tzu's The Art of War, mispronouncing the author's name as "Sun-Ta-Zu", confusing Tony Blundetto until corrected by Silvio. He also mistakenly refers to Sun Tzu as "the Chinese Prince Matchabelli", (meaning Niccolò Machiavelli).
  • In one scene, Tony is shown watching a tearful recollection by WWII veteran Edward Heffron in "Points", the final episode of HBO mini-series Band of Brothers.
  • During Tony Blundetto's comeback party, Artie asks Tony Blundetto, "Where's Tubbs?" This was in reference to the 1980s TV series Miami Vice, in which Tubbs' partner, Crockett, usually wore a light-colored suit and t-shirt similar to what Tony Blundetto wore that night. Sopranos actors Tony Sirico, Steve Buscemi and Joe Santos appeared as guest stars on Miami Vice.
  • Tony Blundetto jokingly calls Paulie Grandpa Munster (from The Munsters) because of his hair.
  • At Carmela's house, due to Tonys removing the media system, the women enjoy snacks and wine instead of watching Casablanca. The next movie on their list is The Godfather.
  • Before watching Citizen Kane, Carmela reads the review of the film from Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide.

Reference to real events[edit]

  • After Carmine Lupertazzi passes, Bobby mentions that he had heard Carmine invented point shaving. To this, Uncle Junior nostalgically recalls, "CCNY versus Kentucky, 1951. Nobody beat the spread, I bought a black Fleetwood." This refers to the actual CCNY Point Shaving Scandal of 1950-1951.

Music[edit]

External links[edit]