The Ride (The Sopranos)

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"The Ride"
The Sopranos episode
Ep74 04.jpg
Episode no. Season 6
Episode 9
Directed by Alan Taylor
Written by Terence Winter
Cinematography by Phil Abraham
Production code 609
Original air date May 7, 2006
Running time 54 minutes
Guest actors

see below

Episode chronology
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Episode chronology

"The Ride" is the seventy-fourth episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the ninth of the show's sixth season. It was written by Terence Winter, directed by Alan Taylor and originally aired on May 7, 2006.

Starring[edit]

* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

In preparation for the annual Feast of Elzéar of Sabran, Paulie Gualtieri and Patsy Parisi visit their local church and learn that the new priest, Father José, wants to raise the fee provided to the parish. When Paulie considers it extortion and refuses to pay, Father José tells them they will not be able to use the golden hat worn by the Saint, a traditional part of the statue's garb.

Christopher Moltisanti's girlfriend, Kelli, tells him that she is pregnant. She nervously blames herself and assures him she will "take care of it" by going to a clinic. Christopher instead suggests they get married in Atlantic City and "make a day of it." Christopher mentions how much he wanted to have a child with Adriana and tells Kelli that his ex is probably having some "other guy's babies now." Later, Christopher enters the Bada Bing! and surprises the mobsters with the news that he is now newly married and is about to become a father. They offer a toast to him. He and Kelli impulsively purchase a large house as he anticipates starting a family.

On their way home from a trip to Pennsylvania, Christopher and Tony Soprano make an impromptu bathroom stop in what they think is a deserted parking lot. When they pull behind a building, they witness two bikers stealing crates of 1986 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande wine from a liquor store. As the two bikers go back into the store, Christopher and Tony plunder their wine, moving the crates into Tony's SUV. When the bikers re-emerge (carrying an ATM), Christopher holds them at gunpoint. As he and Tony speed away, one of the bikers starts firing his handgun. Christopher fires back and hits him. The pair celebrate their adrenalin-fueled escapade at a restaurant, cracking jokes about the bikers. Although Christopher initially abstains from drinking the wine, he eyes it enviously and Tony suggests toasting to his wedding and pours him a glass. Later, they drink more of the wine in the parking lot, remembering their times together: how Tony protected Christopher moving up the ranks of the organization and Christopher also recollects the time when he tearfully told Tony that his fiancée, Adriana, was an FBI informer, which led to her murder. Tony and Christopher both profess their love for one another.

Carmela Soprano encounters Liz La Cerva (Adriana's mother) at the feast, who claims Christopher killed her daughter, telling Carmela that the FBI told her as much. Carmela brushes off her suggestion initially but next day she asks Tony about it. He insists that it would have been impossible for Christopher to have gotten away with killing his fiancée.

At the feast, Tony and Phil Leotardo work out a deal where they agree to split the profits for the New York distribution of a trailer of Centrum multivitamins confiscated by Tony's crew. Phil's stipulation is that Johnny "Sack" be left out of the transaction in order to "spare John the stress of having to hear about this."

Christopher meets with Corky Caporale to pay him for the hit on Rusty Millio. Part of his payment includes some heroin. As Christopher watches Corky shoot up, he first recommends rehab to him, but then tells him he wants to snort a little himself. After watching Corky reach ecstasy, Christopher decides to inject himself as well and ends up spending the night vomiting and in a stoned stupor, bonding with a stray dog at the feast.

During the feast, several parishioners notice the missing gold hat and word begins to spread that Paulie scrimped on the planning of the festival. His frugal ways are blamed for an accident on a ride that left several people injured. Little Paulie Germani is left to deal with the police investigation. Janice and her daughter Domenica were also on the ride, and although apparently unhurt after the accident, Janice seems to develop a neck injury after Meadow makes the suggestion, during Sunday dinner, that the injured should be compensated monetarily. Janice presses her husband Bobby to get the money. After threatening the ride operator, Bobby learns Paulie was the one who chose to forgo financing the maintenance for the ride.

In Dr. Melfi's office, Tony laments about people lining up for thrill rides. "They pay money to almost puke." She asks if he's bored. Tony claims he continues to feel that every day is a gift, but "Does it have to be a pair of socks?"

Bad blood erupts between Bobby and Paulie after their verbal battle at the feast where Paulie refuses to pay Bobby. Paulie has other problems, including having a biopsy to determine if he has prostate cancer. At the feast, he runs into Nucci, the aunt who raised him as her son. She points out how his cheap spending was not only wrong but also a sin to allow St. Elzear go without his gold hat; Paulie, furious, swears at her and departs, leaving his adoptive mother crying in the street. At Christopher's belated bachelor party, held at Nuovo Vesuvio's, there is noticeable lingering tension between Paulie and Bobby, who excuses himself from the dinner early. In the restroom, Tony finds Paulie and demands he work things out with Bobby, which prompts Paulie to disclose his medical concerns to Tony. Tony tries to calm him down and tells him not to be pessimistic.

At the feast, Domenica Baccalieri cries, anxious to go on the tea cup ride again. As an exasperated Janice looks on, Tony placates Nica, picking her up into his arms, swinging her around as she giggles and laughs.

At home, Paulie is unable to sleep, then calls his urologist's answering service in the middle of the night. He is informed his doctor is out of town. The next morning, after seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary at the Bada Bing!, a shaken Paulie visits Nucci at Green Grove. She warns him that she does not want to argue; Paulie enters her room and sits down to watch The Lawrence Welk Show on TV with her.

First appearance[edit]

Title reference[edit]

  • The episode's title most directly refers to a faulty amusement ride at the feast, on which Janice, Bobby III, and Domenica were all riding.
  • Tony sees a happy Julianna Skiff on a ride.
  • Tony spins Domenica around as in a ride.
  • The title may also refer to the ride to Pennsylvania Tony and Christopher were taking when they stole the wine and bonded.
  • It may refer to Christopher's intoxicated trips (rides), first drinking wine with Tony and then, most notably, in a stupor high on heroin at the feast.
  • It may refer to the philosophical "thrill ride" discussed by Tony and Dr. Melfi - something people are ready to pay their money for and actively seek to temporarily escape their mundane lives.

Production[edit]

  • The episode includes a flashback scene of Christopher's emotional revelation to Tony that Adriana had been working for the FBI. That scene was originally shot as part of episode 5.12, "Long Term Parking" (directed by Tim Van Patten and photographed by Alik Sakharov), but had been cut to heighten the suspense surrounding Adriana's murder.
  • The feast depicted in the episode and named as the Feast of St. Elzéar is based on the annual Feast of St. Gerard, organized every October around the church of St. Lucy's in the Seventh Avenue of Newark, a historical neighborhood of Italian-Americans, which used to be known as the First Ward. In addition to the street procession with the dollar-bill-covered statue of the saint, the feast features light shows, street decorations with colors of the Italian flag, food stands, and music (including an orchestra). David Chase said that he wanted to create an episode about the feast ever since the first season.[1] [2] [3]
  • The theme of wind driving the characters (As per the Ojibwe saying written on a card in Tony's hospital room in the beginning of the season: "<..> And all the while, a great wind takes and carries me across the sky") is continued in this episode - the closing shot is of wind rustling autumn leaves as Paulie reconciles with Nucci.
  • Actor Tony Sirico, who plays Paulie, cited the final scene as probably his character's favorite thing to do with his mother as a child, going on to explain that he really has no one else who loves him, which explains Nucci's sudden change in mood and silence.[citation needed]

References to prior episodes[edit]

  • Paulie is not able to sleep and anxiously calls his doctor to learn the results of the prostate biopsy at 3 AM. In "From Where to Eternity" Christopher, awoken from coma, told Paulie a message from what he claimed to have been the afterlife he visited - "three o'clock." Paulie disavowed the Church in that episode. This time, Paulie curses at the statue of saint Elzéar, refuses to pay for its hat to be carried on it during the procession and insults his adoptive mother mentioning sinful deeds until he has a disturbing vision of the Virgin Mary at the Bada Bing!.

Other cultural references[edit]

  • Christopher is watching the movie Saw II at the start of the episode.
  • During the first scene of The Feast of San Elzear, the music playing is from the opera Cavelleria Rusticana.
  • Upon arriving at a house that he is looking at for a potential purchase, Christopher says, "This is what I'm talking about, stately Wayne Manor" (the residence of Bruce Wayne).
  • Following Tony and Christopher's heist of the wine (and again when Tony unloads the wine in his basement), Christopher comments that one of the bikers, with scraggly hair and a full mustache and beard, looked like "Grizzly Adams", a famed 19th Century mountaineer, later made popular as the title character in the 1977–1978 NBC television series The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams.
  • The episode uses a reference to Hurricane Katrina. Tony runs into Paulie in the bathroom and says "you're doing a heck of a job there, Brownie", a reference to a similar statement made by George W. Bush to then-Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael Brown. Bush's comment is often used to sarcastically praise someone who is doing a poor job.
  • Christopher calls Tony "The Bad Lieutenant". The film of that name is a 1992 Abel Ferrara tale full of religious undertones and Catholic iconography similar to this episode. In the film, the unnamed Lieutenant sees a vision of Christ just as Paulie sees a vision of the Virgin Mary at the Bada Bing!.
  • When Tony denies Christopher killed Adriana, he mentions O.J. Simpson and Scott Peterson to Carmela as examples of a lethal domestic violence case.

Music[edit]

  • The song playing in the background at the Bada Bing! while Christopher announces his marriage is "Flash and Crash" by 1960's Seattle garage rock band Rocky & The Riddlers.
  • The music playing while Christopher and Tony are driving and stealing wine is "All Right Now" by British rock band Free.
  • The song briefly heard while Christopher and Tony are driving home is "Midnight Rider" by The Allman Brothers Band.
  • The song playing throughout Christopher's high is "The Dolphins" by folk artist Fred Neil.
  • The song played when Tony Soprano and Phil Leotardo meet at the feast is "A Chi" by Italian singer Fausto Leali. The song is played again at the end of the episode when Tony and Carmela join the Baccalieris at the feast.
  • The song played when Tony Soprano lifts his niece and spins her around is "Red River Rock" by Johnny & The Hurricanes.
  • The polka played on accordion by Myron Floren on The Lawrence Welk Show during Paulie's visit to Nucci is the Norwegian children's song "Hompetitten" (presented as "Johnny Oslo Schottische"). The music was written by Gunnar Wahlberg and originally had lyrics by Alf Prøysen.
  • A live cover version of "Pipeline", performed by Johnny Thunders, plays over the episode credits.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Martin, Brett (2007-10-30). "Welcome to New Jersey: A Sense of Place". The Sopranos: The Complete Book. New York: Time. p. 25. ISBN 978-1-933821-18-4. 
  2. ^ "Saint Gerard Maiella at St. Lucy's Church website". Retrieved Oct 22, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Photos from the Feast of St. Gerard at St. Lucy's Church website". Retrieved Oct 22, 2013. 

External links[edit]