Pax Soprana

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"Pax Soprana"
The Sopranos episode
Sopranos ep106.jpg
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 6
Directed by Alan Taylor
Written by Frank Renzulli
Cinematography by Alik Sakharov
Production code 106
Original air date February 14, 1999
Running time 50 minutes
Guest appearance(s)

see below

Episode chronology
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"Down Neck"
Episode chronology

"Pax Soprana" is the sixth episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos. It was written by Frank Renzulli, directed by Alan Taylor and originally aired on February 14, 1999.


* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Also guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

After a long wait, a Soprano has finally become the boss of the DiMeo crime family, and it's Tony's Uncle Junior. But as Junior's lead henchman, Mikey Palmice, says when he busts up Sammy Grigio's card game, Junior "ain't respecting old arrangements". He changes old deals and attempts to have more money funneled toward him, while allowing less to trickle down to his capos.

Tony allowed Junior to gain control of the family in the hope that he himself would be able to be the de facto boss, while leaving Junior to deal with the headaches associated with being the boss. Thus, the captains come to Tony to complain, letting him know they are unhappy with the way Junior "eats alone" and that Mikey should have let the card game proceed after Sammy brought up Jimmy Altieri's name.

Junior makes another rash decision when he finds out that one of Larry Boy Barese's top earners, Rusty Irish, had sold drugs to the 14-year-old grandson of Junior's elderly tailor, causing the boy to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge above the Great Falls of the Passaic. He decides that Rusty should be killed for this infraction, to be made an example of. The next day, Palmice, with the help of "Joey Eggs" Marino, abduct Rusty and throw him off the same bridge to his death. After they throw him over, they notice some witnesses sitting on the other side of the bridge and pay them off to say it was a suicide.

Livia convinces Junior to tax Tony's Jewish associate Hesh Rabkin, even though Hesh's arrangement has been in place for decades, dating back to Hesh's relationship with Johnny Boy Soprano, Livia's husband and Tony's father. When Hesh approaches Tony with the news and threatens to leave the area, Tony aligns with Johnny Sack, the underboss in New York's Lupertazzi crime family, and helps Hesh and Sack present a disingenuous proposition for Junior to accept.

After more persuading from the other capos, Tony meets with his uncle at a local Little League baseball game to try to convince him to share more of his newfound wealth. With historical evidence related to the leadership skills of Augustus Caesar, Tony is successful. Junior decides to divide the money he received from Hesh and give it to his capos, fifty thousand dollars apiece. Tony later returns his share to Hesh personally.

Meanwhile, Tony is having difficulty with his libido, and is fantasizing about Dr. Melfi, through intrusive thoughts and dreams. At his therapy session he professes his love for Dr. Melfi, who tries to explain what he feels is not love, but positive feelings as the result of his progress in therapy. Carmela expresses a jealousy towards Melfi that she's never felt about Tony's mistresses. Later, Carmela tells Tony that she wants to be the woman in his life to help him, and Tony agrees.

Even though Tony really controls the family, Junior becomes the main focus of the FBI. At a banquet to honor the new boss, the Feds are in attendance, disguised as servers. With the photographic information they gather from their button cameras, they move Junior up their hierarchy board, to replace the late Jackie Aprile, Sr as "boss". Tony's position as "captain" remains unchanged; he is on the same level as the other capos.

First appearance[edit]


  • Dominic Capri: Grandson of Uncle Junior's tailor Mr. Capri who committed suicide after taking designer drugs sold by Rusty Irish.
  • Rusty Irish: murdered by Mikey Palmice with help of Joseph Marino on orders from uncle Junior.

Title reference[edit]

The title is a reference to Pax Romana (Roman peace) and related terms (Pax Britannica, Pax Americana etc.), which refer to a lack of conflict over a long period of time due to the unchallenged rule of a single dominant power, which Tony hopes to achieve within the Soprano family. Pax Romana was an era initiated by the Roman emperor Augustus, mentioned by Tony in his conversation with Uncle Junior.


  • The song played when Mikey and his boys shake down a poker game which is under Jimmy Altieri's protection is "Willy Nilly" by Rufus Thomas.
  • The song played when Mr. Capri fits Junior for a new suit is "When the Boys in Your Arms" by Connie Francis.
  • While Junior visits Livia at Green Grove, some of the other seniors are singing to "I Whistle a Happy Tune".
  • The song played as Christopher walks into the card game at Satriale's is "Coconut Boogaloo," by Medeski Martin & Wood.
  • The song played during Tony's first dream featuring Dr. Melfi is "What Time Is It?" by The Jive Five.
  • The song played when Tony meets with Johnny Sack during his anniversary dinner with Carmela is "Pampa" by Gustavo Santaolalla.
  • The song played during the final montage and end credits is an instrumental version of "Paparazzi" by Xzibit, a song derived from Gabriel Fauré's "Pavane".


In 2015, Alan Sepinwall argued that "Pax Soprana" is "so fraught with discomfort and complications with both family and Family (and whatever separate sphere Melfi occupies) that it's nearly as compelling in its own right as last week's Very Special Episode."[1] Todd VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club wrote that the episode "isn't a tremendous hour of television like 'College' was, but it may be more significant."[2]


  1. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (July 8, 2015). "‘The Sopranos’ Rewind: Season 1, Episode 6: ‘Pax Soprana’". Uproxx. Retrieved April 17, 2017. 
  2. ^ VanDerWerff, Todd (June 23, 2010). "The Sopranos: "Pax Soprana"/"Down Neck"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved April 17, 2017. 

External links[edit]