The Weight (The Sopranos)

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"The Weight"
The Sopranos episode
Sopranos ep404.jpg
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 4
Directed by Jack Bender
Written by Terence Winter
Cinematography by Phil Abraham
Production code 404
Original air date October 6, 2002
Running time 58 minutes
Guest appearance(s)

see below

Episode chronology
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Episode chronology

"The Weight" is the 43rd episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the fourth episode of the show's fourth season. It was written by Terence Winter and directed by Jack Bender, and originally aired on October 6, 2002.

Starring[edit]

* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

Johnny Sack is conversing with a New York mobster, Joey "Peeps," in a bar in Little Italy. While there, Johnny spots a member of Ralph Cifaretto's crew, Donny K., and is infuriated to see him laughing and joking with the bartender, reminding him of the insulting joke Ralph had made about John's wife, Ginny, to a group of mob family insiders. As Donny K. gets up to leave, Johnny follows him outside, beats him into unconsciousness, and urinates on him. Tony Soprano learns of the encounter the following morning and is deeply troubled that Johnny inappropriately lashed out. Johnny informs Tony about Ralph's joke regarding Ginny's weight. Tony (who'd laughed when Ralph told the joke) assures Johnny that the joke is "deplorable" but feels he has to protect his capos, and Ralph is his highest earner.

Johnny then tries to convince the Lupertazzi family boss, Carmine Lupertazzi, to allow a hit on Ralph, but Carmine refuses, citing Ralph's key role in the Esplanade construction project where "millions of dollars are at stake." Carmine states that a fair punishment could be a crippling "tax" on Ralph for his disrespectful and unprofessional attitude, but a hit is out of the question. Johnny rejects this course of action. Lupertazzi then convenes a series of sit-downs involving Johnny, Ralph, Tony, Silvio Dante, and, by speakerphone, Uncle Junior, in order to make a settlement, to avoid having the situation threaten the two families' relationship. But, Johnny walks out of both of them, refusing to negotiate. After failing to gain support from either Carmine or Junior, Johnny decides to act without authorization from Carmine and orders a hitman to murder Ralph in Miami, Florida, where Tony has sent Ralph to vacation until the issue is resolved. Meanwhile, Carmine, who has determined that Johnny's uncompromising conduct is a threat to the profits from the Esplanade, makes a veiled suggestion to Tony to have Johnny killed. Surprised, Tony is advised by Uncle Junior to put a hit on Johnny using the skills of an experienced longtime crew of hitmen from Rhode Island, one of whom is Lou "DiMaggio" Gallina - nicknamed for his use of a baseball bat as a murder weapon. Silvio and Christopher Moltisanti pay a visit to the Gallina crew and find them to now be elderly, but still ready to take the contract. They pay DiMaggio half of the money for the job, $10,000, hand them a photo of Johnny, and suggest making "him disappear" in Boston, where he will be visiting his father. In Miami, however, events are already well in motion, as a hitman arrives at Ralph's hotel.

Back in New Jersey, Johnny leaves for Boston. But, after a few minutes, Johnny returns home, having forgotten a sweater. In the laundry room, he catches Ginny (who says she is dieting) eating from a secret stash of junk food, and yells at her for lying to him. Ginny becomes emotional and tries to convince Johnny that she truly wants to lose weight. Johnny assures her he does not care about her weight, as long as she is happy. His anger subsiding, he calls off the hit on Ralph at the last second and approaches Tony, offering reconciliation. Surprised but relieved, Tony in turn cancels the contract on Johnny.

In sessions with her psychotherapist Dr. Elliot Kupferberg, Jennifer Melfi discusses her son Jason's loss of interest in education and his unwillingness to be in communication with his father, which Elliot attributes to Jason's feeling helpless following Melfi's rape. Melfi says she feels like "a fraud" giving advice on parenting to Tony, when her own son is not acting well.

Meadow Soprano is urged by Kupferberg's daughter, Saskia, to join the South Bronx Law Center. Tony is not impressed, given the limited profitability associated with representing underprivileged clients and Meadow's drifting away from her interest in becoming a pediatrician, a profession Tony would love her to pursue. Meadow disagrees with her father's advice and continues to volunteer.

Meanwhile, Carmela is discontent and hurt by Tony's reluctance to engage in their family financial security planning with her financial adviser cousin, Brian Cammarata. Carmela is drawn emotionally closer to Furio Giunta. She takes along a discontented A.J. as a chaperone when she visits Furio at his new house, to advise him on land zoning regulations. Later, when Furio throws a housewarming party to celebrate his new home, the pair dance together to sensual Italian music.

The evening after the party, as Carmela lies in bed, Tony presents her with flowers and a slim designer dress from Saks Fifth Avenue, which he asks her to put on. Carmela does so, and Tony compliments her figure. They begin to kiss and, as they are about to have sex, Meadow blares the Italian music from Furio's housewarming party in the next room. This causes Carmela to interrupt Tony's advances, bang on Meadow's bedroom door, and tell her to turn the music down. After Meadow complies, Tony and Carmela resume making love, but Furio's party music is still playing in Carmela's head.

First appearances[edit]

Title reference[edit]

  • The title refers to the joke Ralph Cifaretto made about Ginny Sacrimoni's weight in "No Show", which Johnny Sack eventually learned about from Paulie Gualtieri; this joke almost cost two arguing mobsters their lives
  • The title could also refer to the emotional weight Carmela is feeling when she is caught between her responsibilities as a wife and mother, and her burgeoning desire for Furio
  • "The Weight" is the title of The Band's most famous song, and this episode's title could be a nod to Martin Scorsese's rockumentary about The Band, titled The Last Waltz, given Chase's many references to Scorsese's body of work

References to other episodes[edit]

  • Ralph told the joke about Ginny's weight in "No Show"
  • When Ralph calls Johnny Sack to deny he told the "mole joke", Johnny says that he "should have let Tony cut off [Ralph's] head a year ago", referring to when Ralph and Tony were on the outs, and Tony was considering killing Ralph in the season 3 episode, "He Is Risen".
  • While visiting Meadow's dorm, Tony sees Meadow's graduation picture taken in the episode "Funhouse".

Other cultural references[edit]

  • When Tony was visiting Uncle Junior at his home, Junior was watching Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? on television, commenting about a contestant who used up all his lifelines.
  • Godfather references abound. For example:
    • One of the elderly hit men Silvio and Christopher meet is Frank Crisci. Crisci is played by Richard Bright, who also played Al Neri, a Corleone family member and assassin, in all three Godfather movies.
    • In the episode, Crisci talks about killing a "Tommy Neri", who was Al Neri's nephew in The Godfather.
    • When Tony comes to visit Ralphie, he is offered a bag of Florida oranges ("Florida's finest"). In The Godfather, oranges are present whenever characters are murdered or die. Part of the episode revolves around an attempted hit on Ralphie in Florida.
  • The beginning of Tony's seduction of Carmela in front of the mirror, in the episode's final scene, strongly evokes a similar image in Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Music[edit]

  • Music from Furio's housewarming includes "O'Mare" and "Vesuvio" by Italian band Spaccanapoli.
  • "Suddenly Last Summer" by The Motels plays in the background when Furio visits Carmela.
  • One scene at the Bada Bing features ZZ Top's "Tush".
  • Music playing in the background at the Atwell Avenue Boys house is "No other Love" by Rodgers and Hammerstein
  • "Sally Go Round the Roses" by The Jaynetts plays in Johnny Sack's car radio.

External links[edit]