The Ride (The Sopranos)

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"The Ride"
The Sopranos episode
Ep74 04.jpg
Episode no.Season 6
Episode 9
Directed byAlan Taylor
Written byTerence Winter
Cinematography byPhil Abraham
Production code609
Original air dateMay 7, 2006
Running time54 minutes
Guest appearance(s)

see below

Episode chronology
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The Sopranos (season 6)
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"The Ride" is the 74th episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the ninth of the show's sixth season. Written by Terence Winter and directed by Alan Taylor, it originally aired on May 7, 2006.


* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

Chris is told by his girlfriend, Kelli, that she is pregnant. She tells Chris she will get an abortion, but he instead suggests they get married in Atlantic City. Chris mentions how much he wanted to have a child with Adriana, and tells Kelli that his ex is probably having some "other guy's babies now." In preparation for the annual Feast of Elzéar of Sabran, Paulie and Patsy visit their local church and learn that the new priest, Father José, wants to raise the fee provided to the parish to $50,000. When Paulie refuses to pay, Father José tells them they will not be able to use the traditional golden hat worn put on the statue of the saint. Later, Chris enters the Bada Bing, where the surprised crew offer a toast to his new family. Chris and Kelli impulsively purchase a large house.

On their way home from a trip to Pennsylvania, Chris and Tony make a bathroom stop outside Sharon, Pennsylvania and watch two outlaw motorcycle club bikers stealing crates of 1986 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande wine from a liquor store. As the two bikers go back into the store, Chris and Tony plunder their wine, moving the crates into Tony's SUV. When the bikers re-emerge, Chris holds them at gunpoint. As he and Tony speed away, Chris exchanges gunfire with one of the bikers, who is wounded. As the pair celebrate their adrenaline-fueled escapade at a restaurant, Chris decides to break his abstinence from drinking when Tony toasts to his wedding. Later, as they drink more of the wine in the parking lot, the two men reminisce about how Tony protected Chris and how Adriana died as a result of his and Tony's actions. Tony and Christopher both profess their love for one another.

At the feast, Tony and Phil work out a deal where they agree to split the profits for the illicit distribution of Centrum multivitamins confiscated by Tony's crew. Phil's stipulation is that Johnny be left out of the transaction. Carmela encounters Adriana's mother Liz, who claims that the FBI has told her that Chris murdered her daughter. Carmela initially brushes off her suggestion, but asks Tony about it the next day. He insists that it would have been impossible for Chris to have gotten away with killing his fiancée. Meanwhile, Chris pays Corky for the hit on Rusty, part of which includes heroin. Chris ends up using heroin and ecstasy with Corky, spending the night vomiting and in a stoned stupor. He bonds with a stray dog at the feast.

Several parishioners notice that the statue is missing its golden hat, and word begins to spread that Paulie scrimped on the planning of the festival. His frugal ways are blamed for an accident on a ride that leaves several people injured. Little Paulie is left to deal with the police investigation. Janice and her daughter Domenica are on the ride and unhurt, but Janice pretends to develop a neck injury after hearing Meadow's suggestion that the injured should be compensated monetarily. Janice presses Bobby to get the money. After threatening the ride operator, Bobby learns that Paulie chose to forgo financing the maintenance for the ride. In session with Dr. Melfi, Tony laments about people lining up for thrill rides. Asked by Melfi if he's bored, Tony claims he continues to feel that every day is a gift, but "does it have to be a pair of socks?"

Paulie refuses to pay Bobby at the feast, resulting in a feud. He also runs into Nucci, who points out how his cheap spending was not only wrong but sinful; Paulie swears at her and departs, leaving his adoptive mother crying in the street. At Chris' belated bachelor party, there is noticeable lingering tension between Paulie and Bobby, who excuses himself from the dinner early. In the restroom, Tony finds Paulie and demands he work things out with Bobby, which prompts Paulie to disclose his medical concerns to Tony. Tony tries to calm him down and tells him not to be pessimistic.

At the feast, Domenica cries, anxious to go on the tea cup ride again. As an exasperated Janice looks on, Tony placates Nica, picking her up into his arms, swinging her around as she giggles and laughs. At home, Paulie is unable to sleep, then calls his urologist's answering service in the middle of the night. He is informed his doctor is out of town. The next morning, after seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary at the Bada Bing, a shaken Paulie visits Nucci at Green Grove. She warns him that she does not want to argue; Paulie enters her room and sits down to watch The Lawrence Welk Show on TV with her.

First appearance[edit]

Title reference[edit]

  • The episode's title most directly refers to a faulty amusement ride at the feast, on which Janice, Bobby III, and Domenica were all riding.
  • Tony spins Domenica around as in a ride.
  • The title may also refer to the ride to Pennsylvania Tony and Christopher were taking when they stole the wine and bonded.
  • It may refer to the philosophical "thrill ride" discussed by Tony and Dr. Melfi - something people are ready to pay their money for and actively seek to temporarily escape their mundane lives.


  • The episode includes a flashback scene of Christopher's emotional revelation to Tony that Adriana had been working for the FBI. That scene was originally shot as part of episode 5.12, "Long Term Parking" (directed by Tim Van Patten and photographed by Alik Sakharov), but had been cut to heighten the suspense surrounding Adriana's murder.
  • The feast depicted in the episode and named as the Feast of St. Elzéar is based on the annual Feast of St. Gerard, organized every October around the church of St. Lucy's in the Seventh Avenue of Newark, a historical neighborhood of Italian-Americans, which used to be known as the First Ward. In addition to the street procession with the dollar-bill-covered statue of the saint, the feast features light shows, street decorations with colors of the Italian flag, food stands, and music (including an orchestra). David Chase said that he wanted to create an episode about the feast ever since the first season.[1][2][3]
  • Actor Tony Sirico, who plays Paulie, cited the final scene as probably his character's favorite thing to do with his mother as a child, going on to explain that he really has no one else who loves him, which explains Nucci's sudden change in mood and silence.[citation needed]

References to prior episodes[edit]

  • Paulie is not able to sleep and anxiously calls his doctor to learn the results of the prostate biopsy at 3 AM. In "From Where to Eternity" Christopher, awoken from coma, told Paulie a message from what he claimed to have been the afterlife he visited - "three o'clock." Paulie disavowed the Church in that episode. This time, Paulie curses at the statue of Saint Elzéar, refuses to pay for its hat to be carried on it during the procession and insults his adoptive mother mentioning sinful deeds until he has a disturbing vision of the Virgin Mary at the Bada Bing!.

Other cultural references[edit]

  • Christopher is watching the movie Saw II at the start of the episode.
  • During the first scene of The Feast of San Elzear, the music playing is from the opera Cavelleria Rusticana.
  • Upon arriving at a house that he is looking at for a potential purchase, Christopher says, "This is what I'm talking about, stately Wayne Manor" (the residence of Bruce Wayne).
  • Following Tony and Christopher's heist of the wine (and again when Tony unloads the wine in his basement), Christopher comments that one of the bikers, with scraggly hair and a full mustache and beard, looked like "Grizzly Adams", a famed 19th Century mountaineer, later made popular as the title character in the 1977–1978 NBC television series The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams.
  • The episode uses a reference to Hurricane Katrina. Tony runs into Paulie in the bathroom and says "you're doing a heck of a job there, Brownie", a reference to a similar statement made by George W. Bush to then-Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael Brown. Bush's comment is often used to sarcastically praise someone who is doing a poor job.
  • Christopher calls Tony "The Bad Lieutenant". The film of that name is a 1992 Abel Ferrara tale full of religious undertones and Catholic iconography similar to this episode. In the film, the unnamed Lieutenant sees a vision of Christ just as Paulie sees a vision of the Virgin Mary at the Bada Bing!.
  • When Tony denies Christopher killed Adriana, he mentions O.J. Simpson and Scott Peterson to Carmela as examples of a lethal domestic violence case.



  1. ^ Martin, Brett (2007-10-30). "Welcome to New Jersey: A Sense of Place". The Sopranos: The Complete Book. New York: Time. p. 25. ISBN 978-1-933821-18-4.
  2. ^ "Saint Gerard Maiella at St. Lucy's Church website". Archived from the original on October 23, 2013. Retrieved Oct 22, 2013.
  3. ^ "Photos from the Feast of St. Gerard at St. Lucy's Church website". Retrieved Oct 22, 2013.

External links[edit]