Second Opinion (The Sopranos)
|The Sopranos episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3
|Directed by||Tim Van Patten|
|Written by||Lawrence Konner|
|Cinematography by||Phil Abraham|
|Original air date||April 8, 2001|
|Running time||59 minutes|
"Second Opinion" is the thirty-third episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the seventh of the show's third season. It was written by Lawrence Konner, directed by Tim Van Patten and originally aired on April 8, 2001.
- 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
- Drea de Matteo as Adriana La Cerva
- Aida Turturro as Janice Soprano *
- Federico Castelluccio as Furio Giunta
- Steven R. Schirripa as Bobby Baccalieri
* = credit only
- Tom Aldredge as Hugh De Angelis
- Sully Boyar as Dr. Krakower
- Dan Grimaldi as Patsy Parisi
- Tony Hale as RN Collins
- Toni Kalem as Angie Bonpensiero
- Sam McMurray as Dr. John Kennedy
- Suzanne Shepherd as Mary De Angelis
- Frank Wood as Dean Ross
Uncle Junior is put under anesthesia for his surgery to remove the cancerous tumors in his stomach. As he is given the anesthetic, he hallucinates about FBI agents offering him a cure to his cancer if he cooperates with them. A Star-Ledger newspaper is then seen, featuring the following headline: "Soprano wins freedom, indicts nephew — star witness weds Angie Dickinson". (Junior's desire to "fuck Angie Dickinson" had been revealed in a prior episode.) In reality, Dr. John Kennedy delivers news to Tony Soprano and the other mob associates that Uncle Junior will be fine and that they have removed all of the tumor that they could find. However, on a later doctor's visit, Dr. Kennedy informs Junior and Bobby Baccalieri that they have found more malignant cells and would once again like to perform surgery. Uncle Junior agrees, since he puts his full confidence in Dr. Kennedy. However, Tony disagrees: he believes that Uncle Junior is more fascinated that his doctor happens to have the same name as President John F. Kennedy. Tony and Uncle Junior visit another doctor in New York City, who recommends that Junior receive chemotherapy treatments. Eventually, a tumor board review is called and they reach the same conclusion, though more because Kennedy does not wish to have the other doctor breathing down his neck than for any medical reason. Junior undergoes chemotherapy and suffers unpleasant side effects. Unsatisfied with the chemotherapy, Junior waits to hear from Dr. Kennedy, who is not returning any of his calls. To appease his uncle, Tony and Furio Giunta visit Kennedy on his golf course and intimidate him into being more receptive to Junior. At the hospital during Junior's chemotherapy treatment, Kennedy appears and warmly greets him, acting supportive of the treatment and encouraging Junior to stay the course along with providing his home phone number.
Carmela Soprano attends a couples therapy session with Dr. Melfi, scheduled for Carmela and Tony, alone. She begins to break down as she realizes her ignorance about Tony's job and the fact that she has become very depressed. Melfi recommends Dr. Krakower, a colleague in Livingston, if she would like to see a therapist on a regular basis. Carmela reluctantly calls Dr. Krakower and agrees to see him for one appointment. As she describes her situation, she discusses her husband's profession and her marital woes. The doctor recommends that she leave the marriage (something Carmela has contemplated before) since Tony's life is indeed dangerous and that his steady income is derived from blood money. He refuses to accept any money for the session but advises her to leave while she still can. Krakower also suggests Tony could possibly renounce his prior life of crime, and spend time in prison reading Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment while reflecting on his past wrongs. He advises Carmela to use only the legitimate funds she can muster to survive on and raise the two children she and Tony have alone — a hefty task.
Carmela also has plans to meet with the dean of Columbia University regarding a donation; Tony considers it a shakedown and makes other plans. She meets with Meadow in her dorm room beforehand, but Meadow is still sour over her breakup with Noah Tannenbaum and is still angry with her father. Carmela defends Tony and challenges Meadow to explain herself, but she does not respond. Later, Carmela has lunch with the dean and they bond quickly, learning they attended nearby schools in college. The dean entices Carmela with a picture of the planned university student center, saying that donors who give $50,000 will have their name engraved on a wall nearby. Carmela is receptive to the idea, but when she tells Tony, he becomes angry and says he will only go as high as $5,000. Later, depressed and lying on the couch (in the aftermath of the aforementioned session with Krakower, which hit Carmela hard), Carmela tells Tony that she has already told the dean she will give $50,000. Tony initially objects, but when Carmela tells him that he must do something nice for her, he agrees (to the money), and then suggests they go out to dinner.
Christopher Moltisanti is aggravated when Paulie Walnuts asks him if he is wearing a wire during a pool game at the Bada Bing. Christopher quickly denies the accusation but when Paulie asks him to disrobe in order to prove it, he becomes very offended. Paulie humiliates a nude Chris, making fun of his penis size. Later, at 2:00 a.m., Paulie and Patsy Parisi arrive unexpectedly at Christopher's apartment and comb through Chris and Adriana's belongings, looking to see if Chris has acquired swag that he hasn't given Paulie a share of. Christopher grows extremely upset when Paulie takes Adriana's new (stolen) designer shoes for his comáre and sniffs the panties in Adriana's lingerie drawer. Christopher informs Tony about this the following day, but is advised that Paulie "can be a little quirky." Furthermore, Christopher is later reprimanded by Paulie himself, who tells him to never go to the "boss" again about an argument between the two of them. They settle by bonding over a Big Mouth Billy Bass that Paulie plans to give Tony (not knowing that Tony smashed one over Georgie's head already, as its animated fish features resurrected memories of Pussy's murder).
Meanwhile, Carmela spots Angie Bonpensiero at a Pathmark supermarket and invites her to dinner. Angie politely rejects the offer, saying that her dog is very sick and that she is worried to leave her alone. Also, Angie cannot afford veterinarian bills and needs some extra money now that Pussy has disappeared. Carmela tells Tony about their encounter which leads him to visit the Bonpensiero residence. Tony spots Angie's new Cadillac in the driveway and, because she had mentioned grievances that are Tony's (not Carmela's) business, he angrily breaks its window. He then honks the horn through the broken window with the bat. When Angie comes out, he damages the rear lights as well, telling Angie that, if she needs money, she should come directly to him.
- The scene wherein Carmela waits in Dr. Melfi's waiting room, gazing at the green statue, is almost identical to the opening scene of the very first episode, with Tony in the waiting room.
- Mike Nichols was originally cast to play the role of Dr. Krakower. However, the role eventually went to Sully Boyar. During the episode's original broadcast, Nichols was credited instead of Boyar; this was corrected for repeats and the DVD release; Boyar died of a heart attack on March 23, 2001, two weeks before the airing of the episode.
- Uncle Junior seeks a second opinion from another doctor for his cancer treatment.
- Carmela gets a second opinion from a psychotherapist.
Other cultural references
- Adriana alleges to Christopher that she once performed oral sex on Penn Jillette of Penn and Teller fame in a public restroom.
- The episode features the toy Big Mouth Billy Bass, a popular singing animatronic fish from the late 1990s that most of Tony's crew gets a kick out of. However, Tony is reminded too strongly of his best friend whom he was forced to kill (and more specifically, the dream where Pussy appeared to him as a talking fish).
- The song played when Carmela visits Meadow at Columbia and, again, over the end credits is a live version of "Black Books" by Nils Lofgren.
- A remix of "Mysterious Ways" by U2 is playing in the Bing when Tony beats up Georgie with the Billy Bass.
- Songs sung by Big Mouth Billy Bass are "Take Me to the River" by Al Green and "Y.M.C.A." by The Village People. "Y.M.C.A." was a specially-recorded version for the toy by The Sopranos prop department after the originally planned song, "Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin, was not allowed to be licenced for the show by McFerrin, who disliked the adult content of the TV series.
- The Goldberg Variations can be heard when Carmela has lunch with the dean of Columbia University.
Edie Falco won her second Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her performance in this episode.