Live Free or Die (The Sopranos)
|"Live Free or Die"|
|The Sopranos episode|
|Episode no.||Season 6|
|Directed by||Tim Van Patten|
|Written by||David Chase|
|Cinematography by||Alik Sakharov|
|Original air date||April 16, 2006|
|Running time||55 minutes|
"Live Free or Die" is the 71st episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the sixth of the show's sixth season. Written by David Chase, Terence Winter, Robin Green, and Mitchell Burgess, and directed by Tim Van Patten, it originally aired on April 16, 2006.
- James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano
- Lorraine Bracco as Dr. Jennifer Melfi
- Edie Falco as Carmela Soprano
- Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti
- Dominic Chianese as Corrado Soprano, Jr. *
- Steven Van Zandt as Silvio Dante
- Tony Sirico as Paulie Gualtieri
- Robert Iler as Anthony Soprano, Jr.
- Jamie-Lynn Sigler as Meadow Soprano
- Aida Turturro as Janice Soprano Baccalieri *
- Steven R. Schirripa as Bobby Baccalieri
- Frank Vincent as Phil Leotardo
- John Ventimiglia as Artie Bucco
- Joseph R. Gannascoli as Vito Spatafore
- Dan Grimaldi as Patsy Parisi
- Toni Kalem as Angie Bonpensiero
- Sharon Angela as Rosalie Aprile
* = credit only
- Tom Aldredge as Hugh De Angelis
- Edoardo Ballerini as Corky Caporale
- Elizabeth Bracco as Marie Spatafore
- Max Casella as Benny Fazio
- Will Janowitz as Finn DeTrolio
- Arthur Nascarella as Carlo Gervasi
- Anthony Ribustello as Dante Greco
- Suzanne Shepherd as Mary De Angelis
- Lenny Venito as James "Murmur" Zancone
- Maureen Van Zandt as Gabriella Dante
- Louis Gross as Perry Annunziata
- John Costelloe as Jim Witowski
- Selenis Leyva as Jill Dibiaso
- Danny Mastrogiorgio as Kevin Mucci
- Susan Blommaert as Betty Wolf
- Ray Anthony Thomas as Flagman
- Donna Villella as Rae 'Rafaella' Martino
- Adam Trese as Michael Kardish
- Jacqueline Antaramian as Mrs. Fahim Ulleh Khan
- Afeefa Ayube as Afaf Khan
- Laith Nakli as Mr. Fahim Ulleh Khan
- Ron Castellano as Terry Doria
- Amanda Magnavita as Babysitter
- Michael Malone as Antique Store Owner
- Frank Borrelli as Vito Spatafore, Jr.
- Paulina Gerzon as Francesca Spatafore
- James Hindman as Carty
- Leo Daignault as Don
- Robert Feeley as Rehab Patient
- Cal Crenshaw as Local Man
Christopher hears through the grapevine that Vito has been seen in a gay bar and reports it. Meadow reveals to Carmela that Finn witnessed Vito performing oral sex on a security guard. As a result, Finn is taken by Tony to the back room of Satriale's where, very frightened, he has to repeat the story for the crew. The main reaction is disgust and anger; Carlo says they should "put him down for the honor of the family." Tony, despite everything, is hesitant to kill Vito. As he tells Dr. Melfi, he abhors homosexuality, and is “a strict Catholic”; but he doesn’t mind what happens between consenting adults, and he cares about Vito as a friend and an earner. "I had a second chance,” he says. “Why shouldn't he?"
Benny, Dante Greco and Terry Doria visit Vito and his mistress at a beach house on the Jersey Shore, where he's been lying low. They try to escort him to see Tony, but he speeds away. Vito returns home later that night, kisses his sleeping children, packs some keepsakes and necessities and some cash, and drives off into a stormy night. After his car hits a downed tree branch, he proceeds on foot and finds himself stranded in a small town in New Hampshire. Exhausted, he checks into an inn. He has cousins in New Hampshire, but cannot find them. He stays in the pleasant town, comfortable in its friendly, open-minded ambience.
Meadow is working as a volunteer in a law center and also starts an internship at a law firm handling white collar crimes. In an argumentative conversation with Finn, she contrasts the soft treatment of white-collar criminals with the harsh treatment of others, for example the humiliation of Johnny at his daughter's wedding. Finn challenges her values and notes her hypocrisy since Tony's crew is poised to punish Vito over his sexual orientation. Meadow storms out.
Carmela discovers that Angie Bonpensiero has secretly branched out into business with members of the crime family, putting money up for street loans and buying stolen car parts. Carmela is still pressuring Tony to get permission from the building inspector to move forward with her spec house. He seems to keep forgetting. She is appalled to find that Hugh has been selling materials salvaged from the construction site.
Tony informs Chris that two Italian hitmen will be sent over to the U.S. to kill Rusty, and tells him to hire a "third party" to equip them with weapons and to act as an intermediary between the assassins and the DiMeo family. Chris gives the task to Corky Caporale, a DiMeo family associate who speaks Italian, and pays him in heroin.
- Corky Caporale: A DiMeo crime family associate and heroin addict who is tasked with serving as the "third party" intermediary between Christopher Moltisanti and the Italian hitmen coming to murder Rusty Millio.
- Jim Witowski: Owner of a local diner at Dartford, New Hampshire, the town where Vito has taken refuge.
- The episode's title, "Live Free or Die", refers to the New Hampshire state motto, which Vito notices on a license plate while he is browsing an arts and crafts shop.
- It also possibly refers to Vito's options: Live free (stay in New Hampshire) or die (return to New Jersey).
- Sharon Angela (Rosalie Aprile) is promoted to the main cast and now billed in the opening credits for the episodes in which she appears, with some exceptions.
- "Live Free or Die" is the final episode written by the married writing team of Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess. They left the series, which they had been with since the first season, to produce a new project for HBO, which never took shape. This is also one of only three episodes in the entire series where four writers share credit for the script, the other being "Calling All Cars" of Season 4 and the Season 6 Part II premiere "Soprano Home Movies."
- The scenes filmed for the fictional town of Dartford, New Hampshire were actually filmed in Boonton, New Jersey.
- The highway Vito was traveling on when his car broke down, New Hampshire Route 228, is also fictitious.
Other cultural references
- In the opening scene, Tony is sitting by his pool reading Yachting.
- When Christopher's friend "Murmur," standing outside the AA meeting, asks the guy from Yonkers if he's "lost," it recalls the title of the play and movie Lost in Yonkers.
- When Meadow explains to her family of a Muslim family who were in need of legal assistance, she mentions 9/11 and how George W. Bush is “using it as an excuse to erode our constitutional protections.”
- Tony asks Chris if he thinks Ahmed and Muhammad are Al-Qaedas; Chris doesn’t think so.
- Tony angrily calls Carlo, who talks about killing Vito, Judge Roy Bean.
- When the highway department worker finds Vito's phone on the side of the road and is antagonized by Tony, Tony says "Oh, yeah? Telephone tough guy, eh?". Famous actor Joe Pesci, known for his mobster roles, says this exact line arguing with Mel Gibson's character in a scene from the film Lethal Weapon 4.
- After Finn confirms to the Soprano crew that he caught Vito performing a sex act on a security guard ("Unidentified Black Males"), Christopher suggests that he should cut off his penis and "feed it to him." This same fate befell actor Michael Imperioli's character at the hands of the Viet Cong in the film Dead Presidents.
- Also, in the scene where Finn confirms Vito's sexual preference, the table and the seating of the crew around the table suggests The Last Supper in placement, as well as mood, as "betrayal" is an oft-repeated suggestion by Christopher, Paulie among others.
- Silvio tells Tony that one of the guys has "gone Mau-Mau" on the subject of the necessity of killing Vito. This is a reference to the brutal Mau-Mau uprising in Kenya (1952-1960).
- In the scene with Dr. Melfi, Tony referenced the controversial comments made by Senator Rick Santorum (pronouncing his last name as "Sanatorium") who once claimed that allowing gay marriage would be the first step in a slippery slope leading to tolerance of more taboo practices, including bestiality.
- Also in the scene with Dr. Melfi, Tony referenced a Showtime series (The L Word) when talking about "that lesbian show with Jennifer Beals."
- When discussing Ahmed and Mohammad with Tony, Christopher mentions their reaction to the "Danish cartoons" incident - the 2005 Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy.
- After speaking with Carlo at the backroom of the Bada Bing, Tony starts reading the Robb Report magazine.
- At a diner in Dartford, Vito is introduced to jonnycakes, pancakes made with white corn meal. "Johnny Cakes" is also the title of the eighth episode of the season.
- Vito also tries to order some Jimmy Dean sausages.
- The room that the innkeeper assigns to Vito Spatafore is called the "Franklin Pierce" room, a reference to the 14th President of the United States, a native of New Hampshire.
- After Meadow tells Carmela and Rosalie Aprile about Vito and the security guard, Tony comes down the stairs singing the opening line of "Aqualung" by Jethro Tull.
- The songs playing in the background of the scene at the Bada Bing! when Tony promotes Carlo are "Loops of Fury" by The Chemical Brothers and "After" by Wide Open Cage.
- The song played during the end credits is "4th of July" by X.
- The song playing in the background of the scene at the Bada Bing! during the meeting discussing Vito's sighting at a gay bar is "Rock & Roll Queen" by The Subways.