The Test Dream

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"The Test Dream"
The Sopranos episode
The Test Dream Sopranos.jpg
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 11
Directed by Allen Coulter
Written by David Chase
Matthew Weiner
Cinematography by Phil Abraham
Production code 511
Original air date May 16, 2004 (2004-05-16)
Running time 50 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Cold Cuts"
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"Long Term Parking"
Episode chronology

"The Test Dream" is the 63rd episode of the HBO television series The Sopranos and the 11th episode of the show's fifth season. Written by series creator/executive producer David Chase and supervising producer Matthew Weiner, and directed by longtime series director Allen Coulter, it originally aired in the United States on May 16, 2004. This episode is unique in that it features an elaborate 20-minute dream sequence, alluded to in the title, featuring many actors from past seasons reprising their roles briefly.

Starring[edit]

* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

After they have sex, Tony's girlfriend Valentina accidentally sets the sleeve of her kimono on fire and ends up badly burned. After Tony visits her in a hospital burn unit, he drops in on Tony B at his mother's house. Although Tony notices that his cousin is behaving erratically, he does not know that Tony B has just learned that Angelo, his friend and former cellmate, has been murdered by Phil and Billy Leotardo. Tony B tells his cousin he has to take his twin sons to their mother early, and Tony leaves.

Tony checks himself into a luxury suite at the Plaza Hotel and nearly runs into Dr. Melfi. When evening comes, a bored Tony starts drinking and calls Charmaine, to whom he is attracted. Running through TV channels, he sees an advert for an escort agency and makes a call for an Asian girl. After he steals a newspaper placed at the door of the neighboring suite, he gets a voicemail from Silvio informing him about Angelo's murder. Tony immediately tries to call Tony B, who is already on the move and not answering his phone. Tony then frantically calls Tony B's casino, Aunt Quintina, and the Bada Bing, telling everyone to let Tony B know he is looking for him. The prostitute arrives and, at some point, Tony falls asleep.

In his long, vivid dream, Tony encounters the deceased Carmine Lupertazzi and receives a phone call telling him to kill somebody. Next, he sits in Melfi's office and is counseled by his deceased "ex-goomah" Gloria Trillo. Tony then finds himself riding in the backseat of a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado, being driven by his long-dead father Johnny Boy Soprano and accompanied by the also-deceased Big Pussy Bonpensiero and Mikey Palmice. Mikey briefly turns into Artie. When Tony asks where they are going, Pussy—who has now turned into Ralph Cifaretto—turns around and says, "We're driving you to the job."

The dream cuts to Tony waking up at his house and preparing to go to dinner with Carmela to meet Finn's parents at Nuovo Vesuvio. When they finally arrive, Finn's father is the deceased Detective Vin Makazian, while his mother is played by Annette Bening. Finn occasionally turns into A.J. during the course of the dinner. Next, Tony's teeth start to fall out while Finn's father starts singing "Three Times a Lady" Tony tries and fails to get Bening's attention. In the restroom, Tony reaches behind a toilet tank looking for a gun which is not there and encounters Vin. Tony hears shots firing outside and sees Tony B shooting Phil in his car. The crowd blames and chases Tony, who is shot at by Lee Harvey Oswald during the pursuit. He escapes in the Cadillac with help from Artie. Tony looks in the backseat and sees the deceased Richie Aprile and Gigi Cestone.

Tony is then seen having wild sex with Charmaine, while her husband Artie coaches him along. The dream jumps suddenly to Tony sitting on top of Pie-O-My in his living room, with Carmela allowing him to return home on the condition that he get rid of the racehorse. At the end of the dream, Tony is confronted by Mr. Molinaro, his high school football coach, who criticizes Tony's lifestyle and points out how he didn't have to be a criminal and live with all the stress that comes with being one. When Tony tries to shoot Molinaro, his gun malfunctions and the bullets seemingly melt in his hands; the coach continues to taunt him about not being prepared until Tony awakens with a start.

Shortly afterward, Tony receives a visit from Christopher, who informs him that Tony B has killed Billy and wounded Phil. As it is not dawn yet, Tony goes back to bed and calls Carmela. Tony cancels a fishing trip with A.J. and tells her he had "one of [my] Coach Molinaro dreams." They joke with each other and Tony seems glad to learn she ate at Nuovo Vesuvio with only her girlfriends, before asking her if the sun has come up where she is.

Deceased[edit]

  • Angelo Garepe: murdered by Phil and Billy Leotardo.
  • Billy Leotardo: murdered offscreen by Tony Blundetto to avenge the death of Angelo Garepe.

Title reference[edit]

  • David Chase explained that the title refers to the dreams where an individual turns up late for a test in school and is wearing no clothing, meaning that the person is unprepared for a test or another task they have to face. Tony is unprepared to murder his coach in his dream. The dream could also symbolize Tony's thoughts that he is unprepared to forfeit protecting his cousin Tony Blundetto from Phil Leotardo even though that could lead to potentially disastrous consequences in the crime families' relationship.[1][2]

Production[edit]

  • The voice on the other end of the phone in the dream sequence is that of David Chase.[1]
  • A photo of a deleted scene of the episode on the official series website shows that there was an idea to have Meadow be temporarily replaced by Tracee the murdered Bada Bing stripper in Tony's dream in the scene at Nuovo Vesuvio, similarly to how Finn DeTrolio alternated between himself and A.J.

References to past episodes[edit]

  • Tony previously dreamed about being in his father's Cadillac (including the blurry background) in the Season 4 episode, "Calling All Cars."
  • When Tony is having sex with Charmaine, he mentions it being better than the sex they had in high school. Charmaine reveals that Tony and her had sex to Carmela in the Season 1 episode, "Denial, Anger, Acceptance."
  • When Tony wakes up in bed next to Carmine and the phone rings, he says to Tony, "answer the fucking thing," which is what Carmine said to Johnny Sack in the episode "Fortunate Son", when Johnny's cell phone was ringing.
  • The dream-sequence conversation between Tony and Gloria Trillo (who appeared in "He Is Risen", "The Telltale Moozadell", "Pine Barrens", "Amour Fou", "Everybody Hurts", and "Calling All Cars") referred to events that were revealed in earlier episodes: Tony once hit and choked Gloria, Gloria died too young to have children, and Tony's mother once threatened to poke out her son's eye with a fork.
  • The chase scene evokes the angry mob scene in The Hunchback of Notre Dame and recalls The Sopranos episode "Denial, Anger, Acceptance" in which Shlomo Teittleman likened Tony to a golem or a Frankenstein; in that same episode Tony tells Dr. Melfi that the analogy bothered him. The Hunchback of Notre Dame was also directly referred to in the episode "For All Debts Public and Private", in which Bobby Baccalieri confused the hunchback Quasimodo with Nostradamus.

Other cultural references[edit]

  • The episode makes multiple references to the film The Godfather. Annette Bening speaks the line, "I don't want my husband coming out of there with just his cock in his hand", referring to an almost-identical line spoken by Sonny Corleone. Afterwards, Tony's reaching behind the toilet tank for the non-existent gun is a reference to a similar scene with Michael Corleone. When Tony Blundetto shoots Phil Leotardo in Tony Soprano's dream, he exits the same make and brand car (Lincoln Continental) in a similar fashion to Sonny Corleone, during the famous toll-booth shooting scene.
  • The book that Tony finds in the men's bathroom during his dream is The Valachi Papers, written by Peter Maas; it is the famous book based on the testimony of Joe Valachi, the first member of the Mafia to turn state's evidence and who confirmed the existence of the American Mafia. It is seen again when Tony states he's done his homework.
  • When Tony calls Aunt Quinn from his hotel room, an advertisement for Anne Murray is on the TV.
  • Lee Harvey Oswald shoots at Tony from an apartment building window, when Tony is running from the angry mob. This is in keeping with his Kennedy interest.
  • Annette Bening also says about Tony, "There's something Bugsy about him". This is a reference to Bugsy Siegel, who was portrayed by Bening's husband Warren Beatty in the film Bugsy; she co-starred in the film as Bugsy's lover.
  • Phil Leotardo (Frank Vincent) shoots Angelo Garepe in the trunk of his car, which is a bit of an in-joke to his own demise as Billy Batts in Goodfellas.
  • A scene from the movie Chinatown is showing on the television in the kitchen when Carmela tells Tony they are late to meet Finn's parents. It is then replaced with the ending of the film Scrooge.
  • As Tony and Carmela enter Nuovo Vesuvio to meet "Finn's parents" in Tony's dream, the climactic scene of High Noon is playing on television above the bar. The film stars Gary Cooper, an actor whom Tony repeatedly references throughout the series (notably in the episodes "Pilot", "Christopher", and "The Strong, Silent Type") because Tony believes Cooper's strong, silent type demeanor is a trait lacking in today's psychotherapy-driven society.
  • The episode also makes a series of references to Jackie Gleason, both as a musician and as Ralph Kramden in the 1950s sitcom, The Honeymooners. When Tony and Gloria are talking in Dr Melfi's office, they jokingly repeat Gleason's catchphrase from the show: 'One of these days, Alice! Pow! Right in the kisser.' The line adroitly references Tony's own physical violence towards Trillo and perhaps suggestively indicates Trillo's own ambivalent attitude towards it, as she too repeats Gleason's phrase. This could also be a glimpse into the meaning of the dream (coming to terms with his cousin's actions) as Tony B frequently quotes Gleason.

Music[edit]

  • The song played over the end credits is "Three Times a Lady" by the Commodores. The same song was sung earlier, a cappella, by Vin, during the dinner portion of Tony's dream.
  • The song that Angelo is listening to on his car radio before he is murdered is "Peanuts" by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Ironically, Frankie Valli's character Rusty Millio is the one that got Angelo involved in the feud with Johnny Sack that led him to be killed.
  • The piece heard when Tony first walks into the hotel is "Clair De Lune" (which means "moonlight" in French) by French composer Claude Debussy.
  • The music playing when Tony is in Artie's car is "Kulun Mankwalesh" by Mahmoud Ahmed.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b NJ.com: The stuff that Tony's dreams are made of
  2. ^ Martin, Brett (2007-10-30). ""Whatever Happened to the Strong, Silent Type?": plumbing The Sopranos subconscious". The Sopranos: The Complete Book. New York: Time. p. 114. ISBN 978-1-933821-18-4. 

External links[edit]