The Weight (The Sopranos)

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"The Weight"
The Sopranos episode
Sopranos ep404.jpg
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 4
Directed by Jack Bender
Written by Terence Winter
Cinematography by Phil Abraham
Production code 404
Original air date October 6, 2002
Running time 58 minutes
Guest actors

see below

Episode chronology
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Episode chronology

"The Weight" is the 43rd episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and is the fourth of the show's fourth season. It was written by Terence Winter, directed by Jack Bender and originally aired on October 6, 2002.

Starring[edit]

* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

Johnny Sack is conversing with a New York mobster, Joey "Peeps," in a bar in Little Italy. While there, Johnny spots a member of Ralph Cifaretto's crew, Donny K., and is infuriated to see him laughing and joking with the bartender, reminding him of the insulting joke Ralph had made about John's wife, Ginny, to a group of mob family insiders. As Donny K. gets up to leave, Johnny follows him outside, beats him into unconsciousness, and urinates on him. Tony Soprano learns of the encounter the following morning and is deeply troubled that Johnny inappropriately lashed out. Johnny informs Tony about Ralph's joke regarding Ginny's weight. Tony assures Johnny that the joke is "deplorable" but feels he has to protect his Capos, and Ralph is his highest earner.

Johnny then tries to convince the Lupertazzi family Boss, Carmine Lupertazzi, to arrange a hit on Ralph, but Carmine disallows this, citing Ralph's key role in the Esplanade construction project where "millions of dollars are at stake." Carmine states that a decent punishment could be a crippling "tax" on Ralph for his disrespectful and unprofessional attitude, but a hit is out of the question. Johnny rejects this course of action. Lupertazzi then convenes a series of sit-downs involving him, Johnny, Ralph, Tony, Silvio Dante, and, by speakerphone, Uncle Junior, in order to make a settlement since it may threaten the two families' relationship. But, Johnny walks out of both of them, refusing to negotiate. After failing to gain support from either Carmine or Junior, Johnny decides to act without authorization from Carmine and order a hitman to murder Ralph in Miami, Florida, where Tony sent him to vacation away from Jersey until the issue was resolved. Meanwhile, Carmine, who has determined that Johnny's uncompromising conduct is a threat to profits from the Esplanade, makes a veiled suggestion to Tony to have his underboss killed. Quite surprised, Tony is advised by Uncle Junior to put a hit on Johnny using the skills of an experienced longtime crew of hitmen from Rhode Island, Lou "DiMaggio" Gallina -- nicknamed for his use of a baseball bat as a murder weapon. Silvio and Christopher Moltisanti pay a visit to the Gallina crew and find them to now be elderly, but still ready to take the contract. They pay DiMaggio half of the money for the job, $10,000, and hand them a photo of John, suggesting making "him disappear" in Boston where he will be visiting his father. In Miami, however, events are already well in motion, as an assassin traces Ralph to his hotel. Back in New Jersey, Johnny leaves for Boston. But, after a few minutes, Johnny returns home having forgotten a sweater. In the laundry room of his home, he catches Ginny with a secret stash of sweets and junk food and yells at her for lying to him. Ginny begins to become emotional and tries to convince Johnny that she truly wants to lose weight. Johnny assures her he does not care about how she looks, as long as she is happy. His anger subsiding, he calls off the hit on Ralph at the last second and approaches Tony, offering reconciliation. Surprised, but relieved, Tony in turn cancels the contract on Johnny's life.

In sessions with her psychotherapist Dr. Elliot Kupferberg, Jennifer Melfi discusses her son Jason's loss of interest in education and his unwillingness to be in communication with his father, which Elliot attributes to him feeling helpless following Melfi's unavenged rape. Melfi says she feels a "fraud" giving advice on parenting to Tony Soprano when her own son is not acting well.

Meadow Soprano is urged by Kupferberg's daughter, Saskia, to join the South Bronx Law Center. Tony is not impressed, given the limited profitability associated with representing underprivileged clients and Meadow drifting away from her interest in becoming a pediatrician, something Tony would love her to be. Meadow disagrees with her father's advice and continues to volunteer.

Meanwhile, Carmela is discontent and hurt by Tony's reluctance to engage in their family's financial security planning with her financial adviser cousin, Brian Cammarata. Carmela is drawn emotionally closer to Furio Giunta. She takes along a discontented A.J. as a chaperone on a ride to visit Furio at his new house to advise him on land zoning regulations. Later, when Furio throws a housewarming party to celebrate his new home, the pair dance together to sensual Italian music.

The following evening, as Carmela lies in bed, Tony presents her with flowers and a slim designer dress from Saks Fifth Avenue, which he asks her to put on. Carmela does so, and Tony compliments her figure. They begin to kiss and, as they are about to have sex, Meadow plays the Italian music from the Furio housewarming party in the next room. This causes Carmela to interrupt Tony's advances, and bang on Meadow's bedroom door and tell Meadow to turn it down. After she turns it down and leaves, Tony and Carmela resume the intercourse, but Furio's party music is still playing in Carmela's head.

First appearances[edit]

Title reference[edit]

  • The title refers to the joke Ralph Cifaretto made about Ginny Sacrimoni's weight in "No Show," which Johnny Sack eventually learned about from Paulie Gualtieri; the joke which almost cost two arguing mobsters their lives.
  • The title could also refer to the emotional weight Carmela is feeling when she is caught between her responsibilities as a wife and mother and her burgeoning desire for Furio.
  • "The Weight" is also the title of The Band's most famous and well-known song. The episode title could be a nod to Martin Scorsese's rockumentary The Last Waltz, given Chase's many references to Scorsese's body of work.

References to other episodes[edit]

  • When Ralph calls Johnny Sack to deny he told the "mole joke," Johnny says that he "should have let Tony cut off [Ralph's] head a year ago", referring to when Ralph and Tony were on the outs and Tony was considering killing Ralph in the season 3 episode, "He Is Risen".

Other cultural references[edit]

  • When Tony was visiting Uncle Junior at his home, Junior was watching Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? on television, commenting about a contestant who used up all his lifelines.
  • One of the elderly hit men that Silvio and Christopher meet is Frank Crisci. Crisci is played by Richard Bright who also played Al Neri, a Corleone family member and assassin, in all three Godfather movies. In the episode, the character talks about killing a "Tommy Neri," who was Al Neri's nephew in The Godfather.
  • Other Godfather references abound. When Tony comes to visit Ralphie, he is offered a bag of Florida oranges ("Florida's finest"). In The Godfather, oranges are present whenever characters are murdered, or die. Part of the episode revolves around an attempted hit on Ralphie in Florida.

Music[edit]

  • Music from Furio's housewarming includes "O'Mare" and "Vesuvio" by Italian band Spaccanapoli.
  • "Suddenly Last Summer" by The Motels plays in the background when Furio visits Carmela.
  • One scene at the Bada Bing features ZZ Top's "Tush".
  • "Sally Go Round the Roses" by The Jaynetts plays in Johnny Sack's car radio.

External links[edit]