Another Toothpick

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"Another Toothpick"
The Sopranos episode
Sopranos ep305.jpg
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 5
Directed by Jack Bender
Written by Terence Winter
Cinematography by Alik Sakharov
Production code 305
Original air date March 25, 2001
Running time 60 minutes
Guest appearance(s)

see below

Episode chronology
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"Employee of the Month"
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Episode chronology

"Another Toothpick" is the thirty-first episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the fifth of the show's third season. It was written by Terence Winter, directed by Jack Bender and originally aired on March 25, 2001.

Starring[edit]

* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

Therapy session[edit]

As they have their first therapy session with Dr. Melfi together, Tony remains quiet throughout, while Carmela asks Melfi questions. Carmela asks Dr. Melfi if she's feeling better after her "accident", which she says she's doing better. Dr. Melfi then asks if Tony has been telling Carmela about any of the origins of his "root causes". Carmela tends to forget, which forces Tony to remind her of the capicola from Satriale's. Carmela asks Dr. Melfi why the therapy has not helped Tony very much, since he is still passing out on a regular basis. Carmela then becomes defensive when she thinks she has only been brought for the session as a scapegoat to take the blame for Tony's mental problems and starts yelling at him about his infidelity and guilt for what she says are more likely reasons for his attacks. Melfi says she notices both of their anger.

Tony and the cop[edit]

Afterwards, Tony drives a tearful Carmela home. Tony speeds in frustration and is pulled over by a traffic cop named Leon Wilmore. After attempts at winning him over, casually offering a bribe, and gentle taunting all backfire, Tony gives in after Officer Wilmore begins to radio in for backup. Officer Wilmore writes Tony a ticket.

Tony then gets in touch with his government contact, the corrupt Assemblyman Ronald Zellman, about the ticket. Zellman says he will look into the situation and take care of it. Days later, when Tony goes to purchase a water pipe at Fountains of Wayne, a lawn ornament store, he sees Officer Wilmore selling pottery. Tony sarcastically antagonizes and insults Wilmore, who then tells Tony that he was transferred to the property room and is no longer eligible for overtime thanks to him and his "friend the Assemblyman," and that he has taken the job at the pottery store to make ends meet. Tony denies having anything to do with his situation. Feeling guilty, Tony later calls Zellman, who informs Tony that Officer Wilmore was reassigned because he was a rabble-rouser and disliked by a number of other cops. Zellman goes on to relate that Wilmore was thought to be battling depression or another mental illness. Despite this, Tony asks if Wilmore can have his job back.

Meadow openly condemns Tony for being hypocritical in his attitude toward blacks when Tony makes fun of her after learning Meadow's bicycle was stolen by a black person; she says blacks are more likely to commit crime due to poverty. Later, when meeting with Zellman, Tony changes his mind again and tells Zellman to forget his request since he thinks Wilmore got what he deserved.

At the garden store, Tony offers Wilmore a bribe to ensure that his expensive order arrives in one piece. Wilmore looks at him and walks away.

Junior and Bobby Bacala, Sr.[edit]

Meanwhile, after attending a funeral for Carmela's uncle Febby, Tony meets up with Bobby Baccalieri and his father, Bobby, Sr. Tony learns that Bobby, Sr. has lung cancer as a result of a lifetime of smoking. When made man Vito Spatafore's brother Bryan is sent to the hospital after being clubbed by a jealous Mustang Sally, Bobby Sr. agrees to do the hit on him since he is Sally's godfather and can make a safe approach. Bobby is afraid of this because of his father's poor health (he is croupy and coughing up blood at the slightest exertion) and asks Junior to convince Tony to get someone else, even volunteering for the task himself. Junior attempts to make Tony change his mind, first by speaking with him personally, and then through Johnny Sack. When confronted by Johnny, Junior and Ralphie over dinner, Tony angrily informs all of them that Vito's captain Gigi Cestone suggested Bobby Sr. for the hit, Tony approved, and the matter is no longer up for discussion. Bobby Sr. is fatalistic about his cancer and wants to do the hit, which devastates his son.

Bobby, Sr. visits the house in Staten Island where Mustang Sally—fearing Tony's mortal retaliation—has holed up with his friend Carlos. After disarming Sally's pent anxiety by assuring him "don't worry, I got you a pass", then sending him into to the kitchen for a glass of water, Bobby Sr. sneaks up from behind to kill him, but is distracted by Carlos at the last minute and shoots Sally in the ear instead. Though injured, Sally puts up an intense struggle and a blood-soaked gun-in-hand grapple ensues. Hardly able to breathe, Bobby Sr. exerts himself to again shoot Sally, this time clean through the head. He then shoots Carlos dead. He takes Sally's cigarettes and smokes them while leaving the scene in his Chevrolet Lumina. In a coughing fit while driving, he fumbles for his blood-covered inhaler, seems to lose consciousness, loses control of the car, and crashes into a sign pole, killing him. The demolished car still plays America's "Sister Golden Hair" as Bobby Sr's lifeless body slumps over the steering wheel.

Bobby Bacala is extremely upset, which causes Junior to first ask how exactly he was killed, cancer or the car accident, prompting Bobby to reply, "All due respect Junior, what do you care about the details?" Corrado then abruptly unleashes his fury by breaking a lamp and picture frames. Junior tells Tony at Dr. Schreck's office that he has stomach cancer. He asks Tony not to tell anyone. Tony, however, immediately tells Janice, and they both meet at Livia's for a drink of wine and discuss the deaths in their family.

It is revealed that Uncle Junior holds the superstitious belief that "these things come in threes," pertaining to two recent cancer-related deaths (Jackie Aprile and Febby). Supposedly, he believes that if Bobby Sr.'s death was from cancer, it would prevent him from becoming the third in line to die of the disease. This is why he becomes upset not knowing whether Bobby Sr. died from the car accident or his cancer.

When Bobby comes to get Junior for his father's wake, he finds Junior unprepared and distracted by television. Junior confesses he has cancer and pretends to be too sick to go. Bobby is shocked and leaves without him.

FBI setback[edit]

During an argument in the Soprano household between Tony and Meadow about Tony's racism, Meadow picks up the FBI-bugged lamp and takes it back to her dorm at Columbia University. With the relocation of the lamp far away from where it is needed, the undercover techs declare the bug "neutralized".

Ralph and Gigi[edit]

It begins to become apparent at a dinner, along with Johnny Sack, Paulie Gualtieri, and Tony that Ralph Cifaretto has some major resentment towards Gigi getting promoted to Capo of the former Aprile Crew over him, seeing how Ralph was a top earner in the crew, and Gigi wasn't exactly thought to be Capo material. Ralph then ridicules Gigi's idea to send in Bobby, Sr. for a retaliatory hit on Mustang Sally and comments that Tony should allow him to do it because "he'll take that guy apart at the joints...with him conscious." Tony angrily reminds everyone at the table that Gigi calls the shots in the crew.

Artie and Adriana[edit]

Artie Bucco is upset when he learns that Adriana La Cerva is leaving her post as hostess at Nuovo Vesuvio, now that Christopher Moltisanti is a made man and earning more money. After hours in the restaurant, a drunken Artie insults Christopher in front of Tony, which almost leads to violence. After Chris leaves, Artie tells Tony that he is in love with Adriana, but Tony tells him to sober up and to never utter those words again. The next day, Tony suggests that he and Artie go into business together selling Italian food products under the Satriale's brand name. Charmaine nixes the idea, being against doing business with a mobster, believing Tony only wants another business to use as a front. During the ensuing argument, Charmaine threatens Artie, and Artie scoffs, calling her bluff by asking her if she's going to divorce him. Angered by the exchange, Charmaine tells him the marriage is over, and he should not expect custody of the children. Artie, sporting an earring, later has an awkward dinner with Adriana. Even though she attends the dinner without telling Christopher —- ostensibly because it was a "going away" dinner -— she soon realizes that Artie is romantically interested after he repeatedly attempts to hold her hand and suggests that she is not ready for marriage.

Deceased[edit]

  • Febby Viola: died of cancer; Carmela's uncle
  • Mustang Sally: shot and killed by Robert Baccalieri Sr. on orders by Tony Soprano and Gigi Cestone
  • Carlos: Mustang Sally's friend; shot for being a witness to his murder
  • Bobby Baccalieri, Sr.: Crashed his car while suffering a coughing fit brought on by his lung cancer

Title reference[edit]

  • Janice claims that Livia often described a person who was dying as "another toothpick."

Cultural references[edit]

  • As Bobby Sr. visits Mustang Sally and Carlos, before their deaths, the two were watching Sally Jessy Raphael's talk show on TV.
  • After confessing his love for Adriana to Tony, Artie muses that he'd have a better chance with her if he weren't bald. Tony states that the older, married Artie wouldn't have a chance with that young girl even if he had hair like Casey Kasem.
  • In the scene where Junior tells Bobby he has cancer, the movie playing on the television is The Devil at 4 O'Clock with Frank Sinatra.

Production[edit]

Going into the third season, this episode marks the first time the show's leading ladies, Lorraine Bracco and Edie Falco as Dr. Melfi and Carmela Soprano, spoke to each other face-to-face. Their two previous conversations had taken place over the phone, while they had only caught a glimpse of each other in season 1, when Carmela drove Tony to meet Melfi for a session in her car.

Music[edit]

  • The song played over the end credits is "Shuck Dub" by R. L. Burnside.
  • Meadow Soprano sings along to The Corrs' "Breathless", while listening to headphones.
  • The song playing on the radio in Bobby Baccalieri Sr.'s Chevy as he is driving away from the murder scene is "Sister Golden Hair" by America; Bobby Sr.'s car crashes as the line "I just can't make it" was sung in the main chorus.
  • The song played while Artie Bucco and Adriana have dinner is "Concierto de Aranjuez" by Joaquin Rodrigo.

External links[edit]