Fortunate Son (The Sopranos)

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"Fortunate Son"
The Sopranos episode
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 29th episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the third of the show's third season. It was written by Todd A. Kessler and directed by Henry J. Bronchtein, and originally aired on March 11, 2001.


Guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

Christopher receives the call for his initiation as a made man, and tells Adriana that she will soon stop working. During his induction ceremony, however, Chris nervously eyes a raven which has landed on the open window, fearing it to be a bad omen. Afterwards, Tony throws a party for Chris at Nuovo Vesuvio. Paulie congratulates Chris on being made and gives him his sportsbook, but warns that he will have to give a cut of his profits to Paulie every week. However, Chris finds out that the sportsbook is not very profitable and comes up short. Paulie warns Chris to give him the remaining money owed by the end of the week and he will be charged extra for the delay.

After Jackie Jr. rudely skips out on dinner at the Soprano house, Carmela arranges a sit-down for him with Tony. Jackie shows up late and is disrespectful, which Tony recognizes stems from Jackie's belief that he had his uncle Richie killed. Tony denies this and claims Richie was a rat who is now in witness protection. 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 Chris not to involve Jackie in any criminal activities.

Desperate to pay off Paulie, Chris agrees to Jackie's plan to rob a benefit concert given by Jewel at Rutgers University. Since Jackie's sidekick Dino has been arrested, Chris takes over the heist and appoints Jackie as their getaway driver. Chris then gives Paulie the remainder of the money he owed him. Paulie, who sees that Chris is worn out, tells him to take it easy. Paulie gives the money to Tony, mentioning Jackie's involvement. An angered Tony tries to telephone Chris, but he ignores the call.

Dr. Melfi suggests that Tony see a behavioral therapist for his fainting spells. She becomes upset when Tony answers his cellphone during therapy. After learning that Janice stole Svetlana's artificial leg over their dispute concerning Livia's record collection, Tony flashes back to his first panic attack, after watching his parents share an intimate moment while cooking roast on the same day he witnessed his father cut off a gambler's pinky finger. Melfi thinks that this is a breakthrough, since several of Tony's panic attacks have to do with the presence of meat. Tony claims it is merely a coincidence.

A.J. becomes involved with the school football team, which makes Tony very proud. When he recovers a fumble at a game, Tony wants his son to devote himself to football. Meadow continues to give Tony the silent treatment despite Carmela's efforts. While observing the Columbia University campus, A.J. becomes dizzy and nervous, and later tells his parents that he does not plan on attending college himself. Later at football practice, after being elevated to defensive captain and praised effusively, A.J. passes out on the field.

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 (played by Joe Pesci, who ironically killed Imperioli's character in the film) 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.


  • 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.


  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]