The Strong, Silent Type

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"The Strong, Silent Type"
The Sopranos episode
Sopranos ep410.jpg
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 10
Directed by Alan Taylor
Teleplay by
Story by David Chase
Cinematography by Alik Sakharov
Production code 410
Original air date November 17, 2002
Running time 53 minutes
Guest actors

see below

Episode chronology
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"Whoever Did This"
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"Calling All Cars"
Episode chronology

"The Strong, Silent Type" is the forty-ninth episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and is the tenth of the show's fourth season. Its teleplay was written by Terence Winter, Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess from a story by David Chase. It was directed by Alan Taylor and originally aired on November 17, 2002.

Starring[edit]

* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

At the Bada Bing!, now a week after Tony killed Ralph, the crew is hanging about, playing pool. Christopher Moltisanti walks in with a large parcel in one hand as the rest of them are discussing Ralph's disappearance. Tony decides to call Ralph in front of his crew, feigning ignorance about Ralph's fate. The parcel Christopher brought in turns out to be the painting of Tony and Pie-O-My that Tony had ordered previously. Distraught, Tony leaves the Bing. Almost in tears as he drives down the highway, he calls back to the strip club and orders the painting destroyed. Later, Paulie sees Benny Fazio and Little Paulie trying to burn the painting and rescues it from destruction, saying it would be an honor to have a painting of Tony hanging in his house. Paulie hangs it in his living room but later takes it down to have it modified to garb Tony in the uniform of a "Napoleon-like" 18th century general.

Ralph's disappearance is starting to become an issue. At a dinner with Silvio Dante and Patsy Parisi, Ally Boy Barese, speaking off the record, verbalizes what some are thinking: Tony killed Ralph because of a horse. After Silvio leaves the table, Ally Boy summarizes that any boss who kills a member of his crew over a horse should be eliminated, and that if it were the case that Tony committed such an act, Silvio would be the "first in line to pull his plug."

Meanwhile, Tony visits Ralph's comatose son in the hospital and later has a session with Dr. Melfi. As Tony relates his pain over losing Pie-O-My, Melfi comments that he seems to grieve more for animals than for humans. Further, she reminds him that his sadness about the ducks leaving his swimming pool was an inner metaphor for his worries and fears about losing his family. Dr. Melfi questions whether the death of the horse can be attached to another internal conflict.

When Furio Giunta returns from Naples, he has gifts for A.J. and Meadow but nothing for Carmela. Later, Carmela visits Furio at his house, under the pretext of giving interior decorating tips (with A.J. once again acting as an unwitting chaperone) and receives an improvised present of a jar of homemade balsamic vinegar from Furio that he brought back from Italy. When Carmela tells Rosalie Aprile about her feelings, the widow advises that if Carmela hasn't had sex with Furio yet, she shouldn't, if only to keep Tony from exacting revenge on Furio.

At a meeting, Johnny Sack demands that Tony let New York in on the HUD scam. When Tony refuses, Johnny threatens him with, "You sure you wanna go down this road, Tony?"

Again at the Bada Bing!, Tony calls a meeting of Paulie Walnuts, Silvio Dante, Vito Spatafore, Carlo Gervasi, and other key family members. Once everyone is seated and listening, Tony states that he thinks he knows what happened to Ralph and that if he's right, he won't be coming back. Tony asserts Johnny Sack had Ralph killed over the HUD scam. Tony mentions payback will be exacted later on. Others, to Paulie's startle, speculate and question the "Ginny Sack joke" and whether or not it had any bearing on Ralph's disappearance. Tony asserts that he's sure it didn't help matters.

Adriana La Cerva meets her FBI handler, Agent Robyn Sanseverino, and feeds her as little information as possible. Sanseverino, knowing about Christopher's heroin habit, suggests that Adriana push for him to go into rehab and says the FBI has been sending them Hazelden Foundation pamphlets through the mail. Adriana breaks down in tears when she finds that Christopher, in a heroin-induced stupor, sat on her dog Cozette, killing it. Christopher, late for a meeting with Paulie and Silvio, is carjacked and robbed while attempting to purchase heroin in a low-income barrio. When he returns home beaten, Adriana gives him a pamphlet for a rehab clinic, but he hits her several times and knocks her to the floor.

Carmela receives a visit from a bruised Adriana and hears about how Christopher's addiction has left him increasingly unstable. Tony rejects the advice of Junior for dealing with Christopher, who compares Christopher to a beloved dog who gets rabies and must be put out of its misery. Instead, one morning, family and friends organize an intervention. The opening exercise involves everyone telling Christopher how his drug use has affected their lives. Tony becomes enraged when Adriana reveals that Christopher had accidentally killed Cozette. Christopher frequently interrupts and verbally attacks those speaking to him, including making veiled references to Paulie's Pine Barrens fiasco, and mentioning Silvio's infidelity. The counselor tries to stop the accusations flying in the room. But, when Christopher starts to disrespect Tony and insults his own mother, he gets a beating from the men in the room. Before really getting started, the intervention ends with Christopher being taken to the emergency room with a hairline skull fracture.

At the hospital, Tony tells Christopher that the only reason Christopher is alive is because, "You're my nephew and I love you." He arranges for Christopher to go to a rehab clinic in Pennsylvania and demands that he not leave until he is clean and sober, telling him that Patsy will be staying at a motel a half a mile away, watching him. Christopher arrives at the clinic with Adriana and Patsy. His chocolates are confiscated (because they contain caffeine) and he says goodbye to his fiancée before entering the facility.

Tony later pays a visit to Uncle Junior but finds him napping. Svetlana Kirilenko is there, but without her prosthetic leg, and is using crutches. They exchange small talk on the couch. Svetlana discusses the differences between Americans' and others' world outlooks: Americans don't expect anything bad to happen and are surprised when it does, while the rest of the world expects the worst and are not disappointed. Tony remarks that Svetlana, in partial shadow with her blond hair and cigarette smoke wafting about her, reminds him of "Greta Garble" (Greta Garbo). They look at each other intently, kiss, and then have sex on Uncle Junior's couch. Afterwards, while Tony dresses, he suggests seeing her again. Svetlana says it is not a good idea, and Tony seems upset. When Junior's home-help nurse Branca arrives unexpectedly and finds them sitting together, Tony leaves.

The episode closes with juxtaposing scenes of both Tony and Furio preparing food and eating alone at their respective homes without Carmela (Tony microwaves rigatoni and pours a glass of milk from a plastic bottle, while Furio boils pasta, and then fries it, grates cheese and has a glass of wine). The music of military drums starts playing in the background. Paulie, also home alone, hangs the painting of Tony and Pie-O-My over his fireplace. Tony has now been redone to look as an 18th-century "Napoleon-like" general, as Paulie wanted. Paulie sits with his back to the painting and turns the television to a Yankees game. However, the eyes of Tony in the painting still seem to bother him.

Deceased[edit]

  • Cozette: killed when Christopher, strung out on heroin, sits on her while she was lying on a sofa.

Title reference[edit]

  • The episode's title refers to Gary Cooper, who Tony has described as a perfect model of a man. Tony mentions Cooper several times during the series, describing him as "the strong, silent type". He first said it during therapy in the series pilot, and again in the 4th season episode "Christopher."
  • Tony's unknown rival for Carmela, Furio, could also be described this way.

Other cultural references[edit]

  • At the start of the episode, as Christopher gets high on heroin before sitting on the dog, Cozette, the television was showing an Our Gang short film Bear Shooters.
  • Paulie tells Silvio he watched On the Waterfront in HD and was impressed.
  • The baseball game Paulie watches near the end of the episode is a Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees game played at Yankee Stadium on September 4, 2002, and won by the Yankees, 3-1. The play shown is Yankee designated hitter Jason Giambi's fourth-inning two-run home run off Red Sox starter Derek Lowe. Then-Red Sox left fielder Rickey Henderson is also referred to by the game's announcer. This also represents a discontinuity, as earlier in the episode Svetlana had said her fiancee was in Florida for Mets' spring training, which would be held in March.
  • There is an unintended and unfortunate reference during the intervention scene, when Christopher taunts Tony about his eating habits and predicts "you'll have a heart attack by the time you're 50!" James Gandolfini would in fact die of a heart attack on June 19, 2013, at the age of 51.

Music[edit]

  • When Adriana is talking to the FBI agent, the other car stereo is playing the song "Analyze" by The Cranberries.

External links[edit]