Mayham

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"Mayham"
The Sopranos episode
Ep68 06.jpg
Episode no.Season 6
Episode 3
Directed byJack Bender
Written byMatthew Weiner
Cinematography byPhil Abraham
Production code603
Original air dateMarch 26, 2006
Running time56 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Join the Club"
Next →
"The Fleshy Part of the Thigh"
The Sopranos (season 6)
List of The Sopranos episodes

"Mayham" is the 68th episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the third of the show's sixth season. Written by Matthew Weiner and directed by Jack Bender, it originally aired on March 26, 2006.

Starring[edit]

* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Synopsis[edit]

On a tip from Vito, Paulie and a member of his crew, Cary DiBartolo, attempt to burglarize an apartment belonging to Colombian drug dealers in Newark, New Jersey. However, they find the apartment is not empty as expected, and a fierce firefight ensues. The building superintendent and the two drug dealers are killed. Paulie and Cary find a huge amount of money.

Tension surges within the DiMeo family. Silvio makes rulings on how the Colombian score, and how Eugene's former Roseville, New Jersey bookmaking revenue, should be split. None of the parties involved like his decisions. Under pressure and a reluctant boss, Silvio is later laid low by an asthma attack, and is himself hospitalised. Paulie and Vito delay paying the $200,000 cut they owe to Carmela, since they do not want to part with it in case Tony does not recover. Vito quietly starts a campaign to position himself as a potential new leader, pointing to his recent weight loss as a sign of better health and maintaining a cordial relationship with the Lupertazzi acting boss Phil Leotardo, who is a second cousin of Vito's wife Marie. He also happens to be in the hospital when Meadow's fiancé Finn turns up, and makes a threatening pass at him.

Christopher and Bobby confront A.J. who has attempted to purchase a gun, and try to dissuade him from going after Junior, who is in custody. They assure him that Tony would not want him involved. Carmela becomes livid when she sees a TV special about the shooting, in which A.J.is quoted—"totally misquoted!" he says—saying it is plain weird growing up a Soprano. "I want to fucking kill you" she says. "You're a cross to bear." She sobs in her room. The next day, she has a session with Dr. Melfi. She says she knew what Tony was when she married him, "but the kids, they don't decide who they're born to."

Chris' passion about entering the movie industry is reborn. He has Benny Fazio and Murmur rough up screenwriter J.T. Dolan, and orders him to write a script for a slasher mob film he wants to produce. Chris later arranges a meeting with potential investors for the production, their chief adviser and partner being Little Carmine. J.T. comes up with the title, Cleaver, and explains the premise, but the investors, who include Silvio, Vito and Larry Boy Barese, seem confused about its plot. Nevertheless, Chris assures them the film is a guaranteed win, citing profitable films with tangentially related subject matter.

Although only family are allowed to see Tony, Silvio and Paulie are smuggled in by Carmela and Meadow. Left alone with Tony, Paulie proceeds to treat his unconscious boss to a tedious and discontented monologue about his current life.. Tony's heart-rate escalates steadily, but Paulie does not notice it until he goes into cardiac arrest. Hospital staff rush in.

- - - -

Tony's coma

Tony's dream sequence from the previous episode has continued: at his hotel room he receives a court summons from the Buddhist monks addressed to Kevin Finnerty, and he begins to question his actual identity. He seeks answers from the bartender as well as from the monks who initiated the summons, but does not get any answers.

He is disturbed by muffled sounds from an adjoining room at his hotel (Paulie is talking to him), and he bangs angrily on the wall for quiet. Having found a flier for the Finnerty family reunion in his briefcase, he is greeted outside the venue by a man who looks like his cousin Tony Blundetto. The man tries to get Tony to enter the light-festooned house, assuring him that "everyone's here" and that he is "coming home"; but he also tells Tony that he must first let go of his "business" and hand over his briefcase. Tony is reluctant, replying that he had once already given away a briefcase which had "his whole life inside" and does not want to do the same with the one he has now. Standing at the steps of the house, Tony hesitates for some time. With the figure of someone similar to his mother Livia standing by the doorway in front of him, and the faint voice of a little girl coming from the trees behind him pleading with him not to go (in the hospital Meadow is calling to her father), Tony chooses not to enter the house.

- - - -

He awakes in the hospital. His first words to Carmela are, "I'm dead, right?"

Later, heavily sedated and still largely unable to talk, Tony sits in a chair at the foot of his bed and listens to an excited Christopher explain his movie venture to him; he says he left a position for Tony to become a major investor. Christopher then notices an Ojibwe saying taped onto the wall: "Sometimes I go about in pity for myself, and all the while, a great wind carries me across the sky."

With Tony now conscious, Paulie and Vito anxiously rush to get their cuts to Carmela. In the hospital lobby, when they hand over the cash, Carmela is initially grateful. However, before the elevator doors close, she turns round in time to see their facial expressions turn sour. She returns to Tony's room. Holding the money Paulie and Vito have felt compelled to pay, she says, "I don't know how you do it."

First appearances[edit]

Deceased[edit]

  • Building Superintendent: shot by Colombian #1
  • Colombian #1: shot by Cary DiBartolo and Paulie
  • Colombian #2: shot by Cary DiBartolo and then stabbed by Paulie

Title reference[edit]

  • The title is a malapropism; after Vito gives Paulie bad information about the stick-up job (saying the place was empty), Paulie does not want to give him his full cut of the money, saying that the job was "mayham".
  • Disorder is within the ranks of the DiMeo/Soprano crime family, as there are disagreements between some members, dissent is growing, and, at one point, both its boss and substitute acting boss are hospitalized.
  • Tony Soprano violently fights to stay alive.

Production[edit]

  • Ray Abruzzo (Little Carmine) is now promoted to the main cast and billed in the opening credits but only in the episodes in which he appears.
  • Lorraine Bracco's sister Elizabeth joins the show playing the character of Marie, the wife of Vito Spatafore.

Other cultural references[edit]

  • As Vito pulls up alongside Paulie at the beginning of the episode, Paulie greets him saying "Diary of a Thin Man", in reference to Vito's recent weight loss, misquoting the title of the Bob Dylan song "Ballad of a Thin Man".
  • When confronted over his attempted purchase of a gun and told that he cannot get to his Uncle Junior anyway because he is in police custody, AJ says it's "difficult, not impossible" - these same words are spoken by Rocco Lampone in The Godfather Part II in reference to assassinating Hyman Roth.
  • In another homage to The Godfather, when Benny Fazio unexpectedly speaks up at the movie pitch with a solution to the film's plot impasse, it harkens to the scene when Michael Corleone speaks up and calculatingly details how to assassinate Virgil Sollozzo and the corrupt police captain at a restaurant.
  • Vito greets Finn, who flew over from California, as "Phineas Fogg" at the hospital.
  • J.T. Dolan is discussing Beowulf when kidnapped from his writing class.
  • When pitching Cleaver, Silvio, Christopher, and J.T. Dolan compare and contrast the film to The Ring, the Friday the 13th franchise, and Freddy Krueger movies, and Halloween as well as to The Godfather II, Saw and Ghostbusters franchises.
  • Tom Giglione says he needs some Irish Spring to look fresh again after a night spent beside Tony's bed.
  • Phil Leotardo says everyone thought Vito looked like John Travolta when he married Phil's cousin Marie.
  • Paulie Gualtieri refers to Vito as "Bluto" (Popeye's nemesis).
  • Paulie Gualtieri refers to AJ as Van Helsing.
  • Paulie Gualtieri refers to Carmela Soprano as the "Princess of Little Italy". This is an homage to Steven Van Zandt and his band Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul, who recorded a song by the same name.
  • In a rare session with Dr. Melfi, Carmela recalls her second date with Tony, in which he brought her father a $200 power drill as a gift. She says she knew there was "probably some guy with a broken arm" behind it and reflects on whether this made her like Tony less, or more. This mimics Bracco's own character's reaction in Goodfellas when she realized what Henry Hill really was early in their relationship.

Music[edit]

  • In the first scene, as Paulie is driving, "Smoky Places" by The Corsairs is playing.
  • In one of the episode's first scenes "La Gata" by Nicky Jam is playing in the Colombians' office when Paulie enters.
  • An acoustic version of Heart's "These Dreams" plays in the supermarket where Carmela and Dr. Melfi run into each other.
  • Sheryl Crow's rendition of "The First Cut Is the Deepest" can be heard playing on Tony's stereo during his coma.
  • The mariachi music played in the country house when Tony Blundetto is welcoming Tony Soprano is "La Feria de las Flores" by Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán.
  • "When You Dance", by The Turbans can be heard heard playing in the last scene while Christopher is talking to Tony in his hospital room.
  • A rendition by The Mystics of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" is being played while Carmela is wetting Tony's lips.
  • The instrumental piece played over the end credits is "The Deadly Nightshade" by Daniel Lanois.

External links[edit]