Two Tonys

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"Two Tonys"
The Sopranos episode
Sopranos ep501.jpg
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 1
Directed by Tim Van Patten
Written by David Chase
Terence Winter
Production code 501
Original air date March 7, 2004
Running time 54 minutes
Guest actors

see below

Episode chronology
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"Whitecaps"
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"Rat Pack"
Episode chronology

"Two Tonys" is the fifty-third episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and is the first of the show's fifth season. It was written by David Chase and Terence Winter, directed by Tim Van Patten and originally aired on March 7, 2004.

Starring[edit]

** = photo only

Guest starring[edit]

** = photo only

Episode recap[edit]

The season picks up about one year after Tony and Carmela's separation. Tony has moved into his mother's former home. As the family is about to sit down for dinner at the now-married Janice and Bobby Baccalieri's home, a TV news report airs about the release from prison of many local-area mobsters who had been convicted in the 1980s. The parolées include, Michele "Feech" La Manna (a well-respected, greatly-feared, former capo of his own-but-now-defunct "crew"); Tony Blundetto (a cousin and close childhood friend of Tony's, and "rising star" in the 'family' at the time of his arrest, he was "button" man in many mob assassinations); Angelo Garepe (Carmine Lupertazzi's elderly consigliere); and, Phil Leotardo (a long-time Lupertazzi crime family "capo"). Tony is very excited about his cousin's release, planning a lavish 'welcome home' party for him. During breakfast at Uncle Junior's house with Tony, Bobby "Bacala", and the newly-released Feech, La Manna talks about his days in prison and entertains the others. Feech also voices interest in returning to work as a shy and sports bettor, something Tony and Junior appear to take into consideration -- on the condition that Feech "not step on anyone's toes."

One evening, while A.J. is in his parents' backyard retrieving a vacuum cleaner, he discovers a large American Black Bear and, petrified with fear, calls Carmela for help. The bear does not make any threatening moves and even seems to ignore A.J., as a piece of patio furniture breaks under its weight. Carmela manages to shoo the bear away by banging two pots together. She calls the police who, in turn, call the New Jersey Department of Fish and Game, who tell Carmela that it was probably the scent of (Tony's) duck feed in the moist fall air that attracted the bear, and that she should secure it in their garage. The next day, the bear briefly returns. Tony arrives at the house and overhears Carmela talking on the phone to Fish & Game about the bear's reappearance. Tony voices concern for Carmela and A.J.'s safety; Tony and Carmela have a civil discussion, initially, but the conversation turns acrimonious when Carmela suggests that Tony buys A.J. too many gifts out of guilt over their separation (including tickets to watch the New Jersey Nets on a school night, and a $5,000 drum set -- with which A.J. now loudly practices). As Carmela and Tony further argue, Tony reveals that he has been calling Italy and threatening Furio's life to all who would listen, mentioning there are hitmen ready to kill Furio once found. After the bear's appearance at Carmela's becomes common knowledge to his mob associates, Tony tasks Benny Fazio and Little Paulie Germani to guard the home's backyard, in case the bear returns. Although Carmela is reluctant to this, she unlocks the house's weapon cache, hidden in a hollowed-out column in the foyer, to supply the mob "soldiers" with an AK-47. The associates are unenthusiastic about their guard duty assignment, with Benny chatting with his girlfriend on the phone from Tony's office, and Little Paulie retreating to the house's restroom after being spooked by noises outside.

Meanwhile, Christopher Moltisanti and Paulie Gualtieri spark a feud when their humorous re-telling of the "Pine Barrens" story to other gangsters, devolves into accusations against each other, and a fight between them almost ensues. Later, at "goomah night," after Adriana had pointed out earlier that that he is always being saddled with the checks, Christopher forces Paulie to pay for their dinner after having refused to do so, himself. At Satriale's the following morning, Paulie demands that Christopher either reimburse him for that dinner, or else begin to pay him "points" as punishment. Tony orders Christopher to keep paying the tabs for the dinners, explaining it as a Mafia tradition of respect shown by its younger members to their older colleagues. Tony explains how, for years, he had to pay the huge "tab"s run up by Richie Aprile and Jerry Anastasia at Benihana and Peter Luger Steak House (including steaks, liquor, and cigars). In Atlantic City, Paulie, having learned of Tony's decision, vindictively orders his dining guests to order steaks, 3 lb. lobsters, shrimp cocktails, Lyonnaise potatoes -- and, also sends a bottle of Cristal over to a group of women at a nearby table -- all to saddle Christopher with a heavily inflated bill. When the $1,184 bill is given to Christopher, he leaves the waiter $1,200. Paulie and Christopher continue bickering in the restaurant's parking lot. Just when they are about to come to blows, the waiter comes out, complaining about receiving only a $16 tip. He insults them when Christopher refuses to pay more, and Christopher throws a rock at the waiter's head after he turns to go back inside. The waiter is collapses after being hit, convulsing on the ground, causing a panicked Paulie to kill the waiter with a gunshot. Paulie grabs the money they had just paid, as they hurriedly leave in separate vehicles. The next day, Paulie and Christopher both agree to split the tab and "bury the hatchet."

While Tony lunches at a golf course with Johnny Sack, Carmine, Sr., and the newly-released Angelo Garepe, Carmine suffers a massive stroke, collapses at the table, and is rushed to the hospital, in critical condition. Johnny soon notifies Carmine's son, Little Carmine in Miami Beach, who hurriedly rushes to New York on the next available flight. At the hospital, Johnny reminds Tony that he still has not forgotten about him backing out of their deal to murder Carmine last year, which Johnny believes could have averted the current situation.

After watching The Prince of Tides with Valentina, Tony wants to reunite with Dr. Melfi. He sends flowers (along with a gallon of Tide detergent, in reference to The Prince of Tides) to Dr. Melfi's office, along with a calling card. When he calls her to set up a date, Dr. Melfi declines his invitation, feeling that it would be unprofessional of her to date a current of former patient. Tony says he is "not undeterred" by her refusal. Melfi has a sex dream about Tony. Tony makes an appointment to see Dr. Melfi as a patient, as a ruse to confess his love to her, in-person; he impulsively grabs and kisses her, but Dr. Melfi tells him to stop. Tony, rebuffed, then leaves. Later on, in a therapy session with her own psychiatrist (Dr. Kupferberg), she describes the encounter. Elliot suggests calling the police, because she is dealing with a sociopath who is not used to being rejected. She confesses that she initially found Tony sexy, but after learning more about his life, no longer did. Later, after conducting a group therapy session, Tony returns and makes a third, desperate attempt to court Dr. Melfi by giving her cruise tickets; but, once again, she declines. Tony asks Dr. Melfi what the real reason for her refusal is. When she responds by laundry listing his character traits that do not appeal to her -- including disrespect of women, and, people in general -- and his use of force and threat of force to get what he wants, Tony storms out, calling her a "cunt," leaving Dr. Melfi stunned. Tony then returns to the Soprano residence where he relieves Benny as bear lookout for the night; he starts his watch, puffing on a cigar and holding the AK-47, staring into the darkness.

First appearances[edit]

  • Michele "Feech" La Manna: former capo of the now defunct La Manna crew who was incarcerated during the 1980s
  • Angelo Garepe: former Lupertazzi family Consigliere
  • Phil Leotardo: (image only) Capo of the Lupertazzi family who was sent to prison in the early 1980s
  • Tony Blundetto: (image only) Tony's cousin and DiMeo/Soprano crime family member who was sent to jail in 1986 for hijacking a truck

Deceased[edit]

  • Raoul: an Atlantic City waiter who complained to Paulie and Christopher about a poor tip. Christopher hit him in the head with a rock, sending him into a fit, and Paulie shot Raoul dead.

Title reference[edit]

  • Tony attempts to demonstrate to Dr. Melfi that there are two Tony Sopranos, one of whom she has never seen before and he wants to show her.
  • Tony Soprano's cousin, Tony Blundetto, is getting released from prison.

Production[edit]

  • The new addition to the series writing staff beginning with Season 5, Matthew Weiner, plays the Mafia expert on the news broadcast who introduces the new gangster characters. Previously, series writers Terence Winter and David Chase also made cameo appearances on the show, as Dr. Melfi's patient and a man in Italy, respectively.[1][2]
  • Steve Buscemi joins the main cast as Tony Blundetto and is now billed in the opening credits, although he doesn't appear in this episode other than in the form of photographs during the "Class of '04" news report. Buscemi previously directed two Sopranos episodes, "Pine Barrens" (Season 3) and "Everybody Hurts" (Season 4), and he continues to direct for the show, as well as act.
  • Jamie-Lynn Sigler is billed as "Jamie-Lynn DiScala" during this season, due to her marriage.[3]
  • The character of Sophia Baccalieri is now played by a new actress, Miryam Coppersmith, who replaced Lexie Sperduto from Season 4.
  • Toni Kalem, who plays Angie Bonpensiero on the series, becomes a story editor for the show starting with this episode. She will also write an episode, "All Happy Families..." (season 4, episode 5).
  • This episode is the first season opener wherein Tony is not featured picking up The Star-Ledger at the foot of his driveway. Instead, Meadow runs over the newspaper with her car.
  • The preface to an April 10, 2002 Star-Ledger article titled, "Jersey mob soon to get infusion of old blood: Lawmen are wary as jail terms end", reads: "(EDITOR'S NOTE: Sopranos creator David Chase revealed that the story arc of Season 5 was inspired by a Star-Ledger article on the RICO trials of the '80s. We've combed our archives and believe this may be the article he was referring to.")[4]

Other cultural references[edit]

  • The opening sequence of various shots of the Soprano home with autumn leaves blowing in the wind is an homage to the opening shots of The Godfather Part III, which portrayed the rundown Corleone compound in Lake Tahoe.[citation needed]
  • Tony gets angry upon learning Carmela did not inform him of a bear sighting, saying this is not Little House on the Prairie.
  • Tony greets Feech La Manna with: "You go straight from the joint to Earl Scheib?" when telling him he has a tan.
  • Tony observes that Junior's house is like the Bowery Boys, with secret codes.
  • Feech La Manna calls himself Fred Astaire when told not to "step on anyone's toes".
  • Carmela tells Benny, whom Tony has sent to "protect" her and A. J., that he shouldn't sit outside like A Fistful of Dollars.
  • Christopher is shown reading My Search for Bill W. by Mel B., the biography of the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • When trying to persuade Dr. Melfi that it is ethically permissible for her to date him, Tony references information that he learned from the Dr. Phil show.

Connections to prior episodes[edit]

Connections to The Rockford Files[edit]

  • Robert Loggia, who plays Michele "Feech" La Manna, and Joe Santos, who plays Angelo Garepe, both had roles on The Rockford Files, the television show for which David Chase wrote several scripts in the 1970s.
  • Carmela retrieves the keys to the weapons closet from a cookie jar, which is the same place where P.I. Jim Rockford would often hide his gun.

Music[edit]

  • The song played in the opening scenes, then heard on Carmela's radio, and then over the end credits is "Heaven Only Knows" by Emmylou Harris.
  • The song blaring from Meadow's car when she comes to pick up A.J. is "Bichu Rap" by Titi Robin.
  • The song playing at the restaurant where the guys eat dinner with their goomahs is "Mia Serenata" by Jimmy Fontana.
  • At the start of the scene where Tony's crew were having dinner at the Atlantic City restaurant, "Band of Gold" by Freda Payne is heard, as is "Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Guy Walks into a Psychiatrist's Office...", The Sopranos, originally aired January 16, 2000 on HBO
  2. ^ "Commendatori", The Sopranos, originally aired February 6, 2000 on HBO
  3. ^ "Jamie-Lynn DiScala, Husband Split Up". People. September 25, 2005. Retrieved January 29, 2013. 
  4. ^ Rudolph Robert; Sterling, Guy (April 10, 2002). "Jersey mob soon to get infusion of old blood". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved May 8, 2012. 

External links[edit]