Marco Polo (The Sopranos)

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"Marco Polo"
The Sopranos episode
Sopranos ep508.jpg
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 8
Directed by John Patterson
Written by Michael Imperioli
Cinematography by Alik Sakharov
Production code 508
Original air date April 25, 2004
Running time 53 minutes
Guest appearance(s)

see below

Episode chronology
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"In Camelot"
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"Unidentified Black Males"
Episode chronology

"Marco Polo" is the sixtieth episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the eighth of the show's fifth season. It was written by Michael Imperioli, directed by John Patterson and originally aired on April 25, 2004.


* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

The tensions in New York City rise. Little Carmine is actively recruiting supporters for his faction: in one such meeting at his recently purchased mansion on the ocean where he is giving away the newest Whirlpool washing machines to his allies, their business is suddenly interrupted when Carmine's party boat, recently refurbished, is found damaged and sinks.

Tony Soprano meets with Johnny Sack and agrees to have Phil Leotardo's car fixed, previously crashed in a car chase with Tony, even though it was damaged because Phil owed Tony money. To save money, Tony has the work done in the late Pussy Bonpensiero's body shop (now run by Pussy's widow, Angie). Phil, however, is uncooperative with Angie, and claims numerous problems with the car (none of which Angie was originally to be responsible for). After the stressed Angie complains to Tony, he sends Tony Blundetto to oversee Phil's return visit to the shop. Despite himself determining the car to be fine, Tony B is unable to change Phil's mind, and he once again turns down a counteroffer and sticks Angie with the cost of $2,000 to replace a seat. At the site, Tony B meets Phil's aide, New York mob associate "Joey Peeps" who acts much more courteously towards him than Leotardo.

Little Carmine's crew begins courting Tony B through his old prison buddy, Angelo Garepe. Angelo and Rusty Millio approach Tony B and offer him a freelance job. They want him to assassinate "Joey Peeps" in retaliation for Johnny Sacks' hit on Lorraine Calluzzo, who worked and earned for Little Carmine. As Tony B knows that Tony S tries to keep his family out of the New York hostilities, he turns them down.

Tony B meets Tony at the Bada Bing to deliver him his cut from the car airbag scheme. He uses the opportunity to ask him for any more jobs, expressing his willingness and determination to work, but his cousin tells him to be patient.

Carmela's father, Hugh De Angelis, accidentally falls off the roof of her house while fixing a loose shingle and injures himself, though not seriously. Carmela plans a surprise 75th birthday party for him with many friends and family members invited, but she also visits Tony at Livia's and tells him she believes he should not attend the event in order to avoid any discomfort for both of them there due to their separation. After Uncle Junior ruins the surprise by telling Hugh that he would not be attending his party, Hugh gets involved with planning the occasion. His wife Mary seems very happy to reveal to him that the couple's old friend Russ Fegoli, a holder of a doctorate in international relations, who has worked in many parts of the world, including the Vatican, and his wife will be attending. However, when Hugh also hears Tony, who he is fond of, is not invited, he demands the "man of the house" attend. Carmela is left with no options but to invite Tony to the celebration on short notice.

The party sees many family members and friends gather together to express their congratulations to Hugh, including the Moltisantis, the Blundettos, Brian Cammarata, Father Phil Intintola, Artie and Charmaine Bucco, who are also preparing food, and the Fegolis, among others. When Tony arrives at the party, Carmela's mother, Mary, seems embarrassed by his behavior: Tony plays with grill sausages, cracks crude jokes, and mistakes Dr. Fegoli for a physician rather than a PhD. Hugh, however, is overjoyed with Tony's attendance. Tony presents Hugh with a Beretta DT-10 over-under barrel shotgun, which he seems to be ecstatic about. His gift later warrants an awkward moment, though, when Dr. Fegoli comments that the best Berettas are never legally sold outside Italy. As night comes, some of the increasingly drunk partygoers start to leave for home, including an almost unconscious Hugh having to be carried and placed on the back seat of a car. Mary De Angelis apologizes for the Tony's uncivilized conduct to the Fegolis, but Carmela voices her disgust at her mother for her behavior. Carmela also commends Tony for his gift to her father, his performance grilling, and his treatment of guests.

After most of the invitees depart, Artie Bucco leads the younger guests in a game of Marco Polo. During the game, Tony and A.J. grab Carmela and throw her in the pool, where she is immediately made "it" by Artie. After everyone else is out of the pool, Tony and Carmela find themselves alone. A few kisses in the pool lead to the two of them spending the night together.

The evening at the Sopranos' house seemed to particularly bother Tony B. He admired and felt jealous of the estate and congratulated Tony for enabling his daughter Meadow to successfully turn into an educated and beautiful woman. Back home, Tony B finds his sons were dissatisfied with returning to their own home after they had so much fun at the Sopranos' home. He is shocked to find the twins even stole A.J.'s 1996 Summer Olympics pin collection, justifying their action as A.J. having so many goods that he would not even notice anything missing. The next morning, Tony B calls Rusty and agrees to do the hit. He finds "Joey Peeps" in his car outside a New York brothel at night and shoots him and his female companion, but his foot is injured when the vehicle rolls over it. He limps back to his car to make his getaway.


Title reference[edit]

  • After Hugh's birthday party, a game of Marco Polo breaks out in the Sopranos' pool.
  • The title could also refer to the practice of exploration, performed by Tony Blundetto in this episode. Tony B explores the wealth of others, the financial condition of his own family and then his prospects of making big money, be it by working for his crime family or by some other means (a secret assassination contract in this case).
  • Marco Polo is an example of the high Italian culture Mary De Angelis seeks to emulate.

References to previous episodes[edit]

  • Sal Vitro is seen landscaping at the Sacrimoni residence per the deal that was set up in the episode "Where's Johnny?".

Other cultural references[edit]

  • The movie Junior is watching when Bobby enters is the Fellini film, La Dolce Vita. Junior references the opening scene, in which the statue of Jesus is flown over Rome by helicopter, with the comment: "You could tell it was a dummy!"
  • When Tony arrives at the house for Hugh's party, he responds to Carmela's complaints about his being late by reciting, "Pins and needles, needles and pins". This is a line from a ditty frequently recited by Ralph Kramden in The Honeymooners, which in turn references the nursery rhyme: "Needles and pins, Needles and pins. When a Man marries his Trouble begins."[1]
  • Johnny Sack buys a Maserati Coupé and takes Tony for a drive.
  • At Angelo's urging, Tony B does a Jackie Gleason impersonation to Rusty, but he does not seem to be impressed.


  • The song on the radio in the opening scene is Mason Williams' "Classical Gas".
  • The song played over the end credits is "Bad n' Ruin" by Faces, it's also played at the Bada Bing, when Tony S and Tony B have their meeting.
  • The song playing on Sal Vitro's radio as he tends to Johnny Sack's garden is "Come Go With Me" by The Del-Vikings.
  • One of the songs played at Hugh's birthday party is "Bandstand Boogie", best known as the original theme of American Bandstand.
  • Another song played at the party is "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White" by Perez Prado.
  • The song played toward the end of the party while Tony S is talking to Tony B is "Allegheny Moon" by Patti Page.
  • The song being played on saxophone when the party is closing is "Stardust" by Hoagy Carmichael.
  • Toward the end of the episode, as Joey Peeps is about to leave the brothel with Heather the prostitute, Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive" (from 1986's Slippery When Wet album) is playing in the background.


  1. ^ J. O. Halliwell-Phillipps (1843). The Nursery Rhymes of England: Obtained Principally from Oral Tradition (2 ed.). London. p. 122. 

External links[edit]