Employee of the Month (The Sopranos)

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"Employee of the Month"
The Sopranos episode
Photo from the episode: Jennifer Melfi sitting on a chair with Tony Soprano standing to the right of her with his hands on her upper arms
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 4
Directed by John Patterson
Written by Robin Green
Mitchell Burgess
Cinematography by Alik Sakharov
Production code 304
Original air date March 18, 2001
Running time 53 minutes
Guest appearance(s)

see below

Episode chronology
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"Another Toothpick"
Episode chronology

"Employee of the Month" is the 30th episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the fourth episode of the show's third season. It was written by Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess, and directed by John Patterson, and originally aired on March 18, 2001.

Starring[edit]

* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

After Tony's breakthrough in a previous session, Dr. Melfi suggests that he is ready to be referred to a behavioral therapist. Tony takes offense, prompting her to change the subject by asking what is new with his life. Tony proceeds to tell her about problems with his children. Melfi suggests that he bring Carmela into the therapy sessions, but Tony is uncomfortable with the idea. Meanwhile, New York mobster Johnny Sack quietly moves to New Jersey with his wife, Ginny. They are surprised to receive a visit from Tony, who is upset that Johnny had not informed him about the move and about Johnny's possible intereference. Johnny explains that Ginny wants to be closer to her sisters, and that they already have a condo in Point Pleasant. Furthermore, he assures Tony that he will not "stick his beak" into New Jersey business. He invites Tony to a housewarming party, along with some of his family's mobsters.

Meanwhile, as Melfi leaves her office, she is attacked and brutally raped in the parking garage. At the hospital, a detective tells her the rapist, Jesus Rossi, has been apprehended. Melfi's son Jason wants revenge on the rapist, but her amicable ex-husband Richard wants the police to handle it. The following day, Richard is informed that Rossi was released on a technicality, due to a breakdown in the chain of custody. Upon learning this, Melfi becomes very upset and afraid. Later, while buying a sandwich at a sub shop, she notices a plaque indicating that Rossi is the establishment's "Employee of the Month"; she drops her soda and runs out of the building.

Melfi later dreams about finding a vending machine in the middle of her office, which takes macaroni for currency. When she reaches her hand into the machine to get her soda, her hand is trapped inside. While trapped, she dreams of a large Rottweiler that scares her, but then she sees Rossi coming to assault her again. As Rossi makes advances towards her, the dog begins mauling him. When Melfi awakens, she feels a sense of relief. Later, she describes the dream to her therapist, Dr. Elliot Kupferberg, and realizes its meaning: the large dog protecting her was actually Tony — someone who could take revenge on her behalf. Melfi assures Kupferberg that even though the justice system has failed her, she will not turn to Tony for help, although she mentions that the idea has brought her great pleasure.

Ralphie Cifaretto begins to show a fatherly interest in Jackie Aprile, Jr., the son of his girlfriend, Rosalie Aprile. During dinner at Nuovo Vesuvio, Ralphie asks Jackie if he has any current love interests; he then recommends Meadow to him. Shortly thereafter, Ralphie takes him to help collect money from a client who refuses to make his payments, goading the man into a fight. The client swings a bat at Jackie and a struggle ensues. Jackie and Ralphie manage to knock the man down and take the money from his wallet, with Ralphie giving Jackie a large cut. Hearing of this, Tony warns Ralphie to keep Jackie away from the family, as Tony had promised Jackie's father that his son would not be a part of the business. Due to Ralphie's taking Jackie along on his criminal ventures, Tony ultimately decides against promoting Ralphie to capo of the Aprile crew, picking Gigi for the job instead. Ralphie is disappointed.

After refusing to give up Svetlana's prosthetic leg, Janice gets a visit from two Russian thugs. At first, they ask for the leg, but soon attack her and force her to retrieve it. Tony visits Janice at the hospital and angrily explains that because the Russians have assaulted his sister, he is now required to retaliate against them, which will cost Tony time and money. Janice then tells him that she has hit rock bottom and informs a nonplussed Tony that she "forgives" Svetlana for what happened. During their next session, Melfi begins to weep when Tony agrees to see the behaviorist, and he tries to comfort her. Tony asks her what is wrong, but she persuades him to sit back down and continue the session. Tony asks Melfi if she wants to tell him something. After a tense pause, Melfi says, "No."

First appearances[edit]

Title reference[edit]

  • Dr. Melfi happens to see her rapist's picture on the wall as "Employee of the Month" at a local subshop.

Awards[edit]

Production[edit]

  • Series creator, David Chase, says of the rape subplot and those expecting revenge from Tony: "If you're raised on a steady diet of Hollywood movies and network television, you start to think, 'Obviously there's going to be some moral accounting here'. That's not the way the world works. It all comes down to why you're watching. If all you want is to see big Tony Soprano take that guy's head and bang it against the wall like a cantaloupe… The point is—Melfi, despite pain and suffering, made her moral, ethical choice and we should applaud her for it. That's the story." [1]
  • Denise Borino (Ginny Sacrimoni) won her part by attending an open-casting session; she had not acted professionally before.

Music[edit]

Reference to other media[edit]

  • Lorraine Bracco's character is raped by Jesus Rossi, or J. Rossi. In the film Goodfellas, Lorraine Bracco's character also has a nemesis named J. Rossi (Janice Rossi), whom her husband is sleeping with.

References[edit]

External links[edit]