Fortunate Son (The Sopranos)

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"Fortunate Son"
The Sopranos episode
TheSopranosFortunateSon.jpg
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 3
Directed by Henry J. Bronchtein
Written by Todd A. Kessler
Cinematography by Alik Sakharov
Production code 303
Original air date March 11, 2001
Running time 58 minutes
Guest appearance(s)

see below

Episode chronology
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Episode chronology

"Fortunate Son" is the twenty-ninth episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the third of the show's third season. It was written by Todd A. Kessler, directed by Henry J. Bronchtein and originally aired on March 11, 2001.

Starring[edit]

Guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

Christopher Moltisanti receives a call on his cell phone from Paulie Walnuts who tells him to meet at a shopping center parking lot in half an hour and to "look sharp" and "shine his shoes". Christopher begins to get excited along with Adriana, since this may be his making ceremony. Christopher then shaves and dresses and drives to Modell's. Silvio Dante and Paulie pull up, and they all drive together to a basement of a made man where Tony congratulates Christopher and Eugene Pontecorvo (who is also being made) on their accomplishment. They then gather at a table where Tony makes a speech and that if they have any doubts to speak up now since "once [they] enter this family, there's no getting out". Tony continues that the mob life comes before anything else, even blood family, and if a soldier cannot earn due to health problems they will assist him. Tony asks for their hands and draws blood by pricking them with a needle. He gives them both a picture of St. Peter which they light on fire in their hands. Tony then asks them to repeat the phrase "May I burn in Hell if I betray my friends". This is the traditional Cosa Nostra ceremony of omertà. Christopher nervously eyes a raven which has landed on the open window, fearing it to be a bad omen.

After the ceremony, Tony throws a big party for Christopher at Nuovo Vesuvio with food and girl-on-girl pole dancers from the Bada Bing. Paulie congratulates Christopher on being made and tells him of his responsibilities. Since Christopher is now officially in the family, Paulie's sportsbook is now Chris', but Chris will have to give kick up 10% of his take or $6,000, whichever is more, to Paulie every week, or he will begin getting points added on. Christopher tells Paulie that he loves him and looks forward to working with him.

However, Christopher finds out that the sportsbook is not bringing in as much money as anticipated, and he is inexperienced in bookmaking and stubborn in taking advice from the more experienced sportsbook employees. He reluctantly gives his entire profits, $4,000, to Paulie, who is far from satisfied. Paulie warns Christopher to give him the remaining money owed by the end of the week and charges him another $2,000 for the delay.

Meanwhile, Jackie Aprile, Jr. rudely skips out on dinner at the Soprano house, and Carmela arranges a sit-down for him with Tony. Jackie shows up late to meet Tony, and shows general disrespect for him. Tony recognizes Jackie's belief that he had his uncle Richie Aprile killed, but denies it, and claims Richie was a rat, and is now in the witness protection program. Tony discourages Jackie from entering a life of crime, saying his father didn't want that for Jackie, and that Tony himself doesn't want it for his own son either. Separately, Tony tells Christopher not to involve Jackie in any criminal activities.

Both Christopher and Jackie ignore Tony's advice. Needing money to pay Paulie, Christopher goes to Jackie, who had earlier mentioned plans to rob a benefit concert given by Jewel at Rutgers University. Christopher puts Jackie behind the wheel as their driver and robs the ticket booth at gunpoint. Christopher then gives Paulie the remainder of the money he owed him. Paulie, who sees that Christopher is worn out, more supportively tells Christopher to take it easy. Paulie gives the money to Tony, mentioning Jackie Jr.'s involvement. This angers Tony, since it is exactly what he had earlier discouraged both of them from doing. While Tony waits for Christopher to pick up the phone, Christopher instead ignores the call and rolls over in his bed.

Christopher's making ceremony.

Tony asks Dr. Melfi where the therapy is going since he is still regularly passing out. Dr. Melfi suggests that he start seeing a behavioral therapist but Tony is uncomfortable with seeing anyone other than Melfi. Melfi becomes upset when Tony answers his cellphone during therapy. He claims that it is "his busy season" and has to take it. After learning that Janice stole Svetlana Kirilenko's artificial leg as a form of blackmail (still hoping to get her mother's record collection from Svetlana), Tony eats capicola and flashes back to his first panic attack. At the age of 11, Tony witnesses his father cut off the pinky finger of Mr. Satriale, the owner of the pork store that bears his name. At dinner that evening, Johnny Boy tells Tony that Mr. Satriale is a "degenerate gambler" who owed money, and that was his punishment. Johnny then warns Tony to never gamble. Tony then feels better but when he witnesses his mother and father become passionate as Livia cuts the roast, Tony passes out. Melfi thinks that this is a breakthrough since several of his panic attacks have to do with the presence of meat. Tony claims it is merely a coincidence but that he does find it strange that Livia got "turned on by free meat".

A.J. becomes involved with the school football team, which makes Tony very proud, since he did the same in his youth. When A.J. recovers a fumble at a game, Tony becomes elated and would like his son to become more devoted to the sport and suggests training regimens and ways to reward himself by buying large hot dogs. A.J. shakes it off, seeing as he would rather relax by playing his Nintendo, but ultimately he accepts. Meadow continues not to talk to Tony while Carmela tries to get Meadow to forgive him. Carmela attempts to convince Meadow that she does not know anything about Tony and Noah's quarrel, but Meadow laughs it off, saying that everyone knows and the situation would never have happened if Noah was white.

While touring the Columbia University campus, A.J. becomes dizzy and nervous, facing qualms about college. Later at football practice, after being elevated to defensive captain, A.J. passes out on the field. This is the first instance of what turns out to be a condition of having anxiety attacks that has run in Tony's family for many generations.

First appearances[edit]

  • Carmine Lupertazzi: Boss of the Lupertazzi Crime family, one of five New York Mafia crime families.
  • Benny Fazio: Associate of Christopher and member of the Soprano crew.
  • Dino Zerilli: Friend of Jackie Aprile Jr. and partner in crime.

Title reference[edit]

  • The title refers to the song "Fortunate Son", by Creedence Clearwater Revival, about spoiled and privileged American youth.
  • Several of the young men in the episode are "fortunate sons": the newly "made" Christopher (who has difficulty handling his new Mafia pressures), rebellious Jackie Jr. (who resents losing, what he misperceives to have been, heir apparent status after the death of his father), and A.J., who suffers from the same panic attacks as his father.

References to other media[edit]

  • When Adriana learns that Christopher is about to be made, she becomes worried that it might be a pretext for a hit, but Christopher chides her for "watching too many movies." Soon after, after arriving at the basement location of the ceremony, Silvio tells Tony that Chris was nervous during the entire ride over, and this time, Tony kids Chris as the one who's "watching too many movies". This alludes to Goodfellas (in which Michael Imperioli appeared, as well as several other cast members of The Sopranos), where Tommy DeVito is lured to his death under the pretext of being made. A similar situation takes place in the movie Donnie Brasco, where Lefty (Al Pacino) fears he'll be the victim of a hit, but instead, his boss gives him a very unusual gift: a lion.
  • When Tony talks with Janice in his living room, they do so while an E! Channel program looks back at the career of Jayne Mansfield, circa 1954.
  • During the flashback scene in which Tony, as a boy, is speaking to his father about how he handled watching the torture of Mr. Satriale, the signature theme from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly plays on the television set.
  • When he robs the benefit concert, Christopher wears a mask from the movie Scream.
  • Dr. Melfi and Tony discuss the famous opening scene of Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust. "This sounds very gay," Tony comments.

Music[edit]

  • The music that can be heard playing in the background in the first pizza parlor scene is "Rock and Roll" by Led Zeppelin. "Rock and Roll"'s appearance on this Sopranos episode was the very first instance in Led Zeppelin's history that a band's song was licensed for a television series.[1]
  • The music that can be heard playing in the background in the second pizza parlor scene is "Ain't Talkin' 'bout Love" by Van Halen.
  • The music being played in the bar while the game is on is "All Good?" by De La Soul.
  • The song played at Christopher's party at the Bada Bing is "I See You Baby" by Groove Armada.
  • The song being played as background music in the restaurant when Tony meets Jackie Aprile, Jr. is "The Happy Organ" by Dave "Baby" Cortez.
  • The next song is "Sally, Go 'Round The Roses" by The Jaynetts.
  • The song being played as background music in the scene when young Tony talks with his father is the Hugo Montenegro arrangement of Ennio Morricones main title theme from "The Good, the Bad & the Ugly".
  • The song played over the end credits is "Where's the Money" by Dan Hicks.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Martin, Brett (2007-10-30). ""This Thing of Ours": Creating The Sopranos Universe". The Sopranos: The Complete Book. New York: Time. p. 169. ISBN 978-1-933821-18-4. 

External links[edit]