Mergers and Acquisitions (The Sopranos)

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"Mergers and Acquisitions"
The Sopranos episode
Sopranos ep408.jpg
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 8
Directed by Dan Attias
Teleplay by Lawrence Konner
Story by
Cinematography by Phil Abraham
Production code 408
Original air date November 3, 2002
Running time 56 minutes
Guest actors

see below

Episode chronology
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"Watching Too Much Television"
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"Whoever Did This"
Episode chronology

"Mergers and Acquisitions" is the forty-seventh episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the eighth of the show's fourth season. Its teleplay was written by Lawrence Konner from a story by David Chase, Robin Green, Mitchell Burgess and Terence Winter. It was directed by Dan Attias and originally aired on November 3, 2002.


* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

Paulie Walnuts is concerned about his mother's welfare when she finally makes the move to the Green Grove Retirement Home. Quickly, Nucci is excited to reunite with old friends Cookie Cirillo and Minn Matrone. While Nucci is in the restroom, the elderly women inform Paulie that Nucci will not be allowed to play cards with or eat lunch with them since they are a set group. Paulie insists that they make room and be respectful to his mother. On casino night, Nucci is ostracized by Cookie after Nucci misplays a game of blackjack. Nucci then confines herself to her room, which begins to worry Paulie. An angry Paulie pays a visit to the Green Grove director, demanding their actions to integrate his mother into the social life of the residence, but the director tries to explain that Nucci's reclusiveness is a period of transition and that she should also make her own contributions to change her embarrassing behavior to other residents, such as crying constantly and not putting her dentures in. In spite of this, Paulie also visits Cookie's son, Chuckie, a high school principal. After giving him a rolling suitcase as a gift, Paulie discusses Nucci and Cookie's relationship with him and asks Chuckie to talk to his mother about getting along with Nucci. Chuckie tries to convince Paulie that he cannot intervene in his mother's social life. When relations between the women do not improve, Chuckie is later seen chased through his high school's hallway by members of Paulie's crew (Benny Fazio and "Little Paulie" Germani) and has his right arm broken. Chuckie's wife then threatens to take the stubborn Cookie out of the nursing home if Cookie does not make peace with Nucci.

Meanwhile, seeing Pie-O-My at the stables, Tony Soprano meets Ralph Cifaretto's new girlfriend, the Cuban-Italian Valentina La Paz, who seems to have a penchant for making practical jokes. Valentina convinces Tony to have a painted portrait made of him with the horse, Pie-O-My, and soon Tony and Valentina retreat to a hotel room and have sex. Valentina continues to date Ralph, and Tony buys her an expensive diamond horseshoe pin as a parting gift. Valentina objects (she still wants to see Tony), and complains to him that her sex life with Ralph consists mostly of his masochistic fetishes. Dr. Melfi suggests that Tony is reluctant to "cuckold" Ralph, and in fact Tony continues to push Valentina away until she informs him she broke up with Ralph and he gets confirmation from Janice, by agreeing to pay her $3,000 for the information, that Ralph really does have unusual sexual tendencies.

As a part of a long-term plan formed a few episodes earlier, Tony starts giving directions to his underlings through pay phone calls to Christopher Moltisanti, and informs his lawyer he is making steps to isolate himself from incriminating discussions.

Carmela, who seems to be infatuated with Furio Giunta, empathizes with him when he leaves for Naples, Italy to attend his father's funeral. While in Italy, Furio discusses his homesickness with his uncle, but mentions that what is pulling him back to America is a woman. When Furio confides that the woman is the don's wife, he is warned not to pursue the relationship any further, since it would be considered an act of treason and disrespect, would likely be discovered and would get him killed. The uncle goes on to tell him that the only way he could have Carmela is if he killed Tony. Furio says that he understands.

At home, when Tony plays a joke on a showering Carmela by emptying a glass of cold water over her, she does not seem impressed and when she discovers a broken false fingernail in Tony's clothes, it infuriates her. She vents her anger by stealing Tony's keys to the duck feed bin (while Tony was showering), taking two bound stacks of money he had hidden there, and investing it with several stock brokers in $9,900 segments (in order to avoid the $10,000 mandatory notification of the IRS). After recounting the hidden money, Tony discovers that there is some missing. Before having a chance to talk about it with Carmela, he discovers the false nail, which Carmela left on his nightstand next to his car keys. Tony walks downstairs, where Carmela is reading the newspaper. He asks for coffee, which she makes, and, noticing his demeanor, asks Tony if he wishes to discuss anything. He says no. A.J. comes downstairs and Tony asks if he had been in the backyard. After A.J. denies being in the backyard and leaves, Carmela again asks Tony if he wishes to talk about anything. He declines, and asks Carmela the same. She responds likewise.

First appearances[edit]

  • Valentina La Paz: An art dealer and Ralph's girlfriend, who quickly falls for Tony.
  • Minn Matrone: Friend of Paulie's mother, Nucci Gualtieri at Green Grove.


  • Furio's father: Cancer

Title reference[edit]

The phrase mergers and acquisitions refers to the aspect of corporate finance strategy and management dealing with the merging and acquiring of different companies as well as other assets. In the episode it could allude to:

  • Carmela's acquisition of Tony's cash, putting it into long-term investments
  • Tony's acquisition of Cousin Brian as a financial advisor and involvement of Brian in secrets from Carmela and from Brian's wife, Janelle Cammarata
  • Tony's acquisition of Ralph's horse
  • Tony's acquisition of Valentina

References to other media[edit]

  • Janice watches Robot Wars on television, with the original commentary from Jonathan Pearce audible.
  • Tony watches the 1993 film, The Fugitive (which includes cast mate Joe Pantoliano) on his new widescreen television.
  • Tony references the movie Hud, which starred Paul Newman, when Carmela's cousin mistakenly references the HUD scam to Carmela at dinner.
  • When Tony shows Carmela the new media center he has installed in the pool house, she replies that she will pick up the movie, In the Bedroom, for them to watch.
  • When lying in bed Carmela is reading The Mists of Avalon, a 1983 novel by Marion Zimmer Bradley.
  • Under the shower Tony sings Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd.
  • In his meeting with Dr. Melfi, Tony talks of how in the olden days mafia men would take their mistresses out on Fridays and their wives on Saturdays. This could be a reference to Goodfellas, in which Lorraine Bracco (Melfi) plays gangster Henry Hill's wife. Tony also almost matches Ray Liotta's dialogue from the film when, as Henry, he is explaining the same custom: ('Friday nights were for the wives, but Saturday was always for the girlfriends'). This is particularly relevant as The Sopranos creator, David Chase, refers to Goodfellas as his Koran.[citation needed]
  • Ralph refers to Valentina as "my Chiquita Banana" and "the Mambo Queen".
  • A distraught Nucci tells Paulie that in an effort to be friendly, she bought Cookie a card from the gift shop (to no effect.) She says "I cared enough, and I sent the very best" a reference to the Hallmark slogan.
  • Carmela watches the contemporaneous television show Mario Eats Italy. The ponytail of the host, Mario Batali, sends her into reverie about Furio.


  • Tony listens to "Bell Bottom Blues" by Derek and the Dominos on his new entertainment center. He comments that "it's like Clapton's sitting right there in your house."
  • The bagpipe music Tony listens to on the entertainment system is "The Inverness Gathering," performed by the Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band.
  • Tony falls asleep in front of his home theater and wakes up as Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon approaches its end. The closing track "Eclipse" is heard when he wakes. Later in the episode, when he is under the shower, he can be heard singing fragments from "Another Brick in the Wall part two" also by Pink Floyd.
  • Parts of "Vesuvio" by Spaccanapoli (previously heard in "The Weight") play whenever Carmela remembers Furio.
  • The song played over the end credits is "When the Battle is Over" by Delaney & Bonnie.

External links[edit]