Where's Johnny?

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"Where's Johnny?"
The Sopranos episode
Sopranos ep503.jpg
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 3
Directed by John Patterson
Written by Michael Caleo
Cinematography by Phil Abraham
Production code 503
Original air date March 21, 2004
Running time 54 minutes
Guest appearance(s)

see below

Episode chronology
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"Rat Pack"
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"All Happy Families..."
Episode chronology

"Where's Johnny?" is the fifty-fifth episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and is the third of the show's fifth season. It was written by Michael Caleo, directed by John Patterson and originally aired on March 21, 2004. It is the only episode of the entire series in which Edie Falco does not appear.

Starring[edit]

* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

Feech La Manna causes trouble for a local gardener, Sal Vitro, who has been cutting grass in a particular neighborhood for decades. Feech does not care about Vitro's arrangements and claims that his nephew, E. Gary La Manna, reserves the right to this area. When Vitro disobeys, Feech becomes offended and viciously attacks him, breaking his arm. Tony B., who is with him, is horrified because they are both on parole and pulls Feech away. Paulie "Walnuts" learns from his Aunt Mary, a customer of Sal's, that Sal will not be gardening the area anymore because he was assaulted.

Uncle Junior's creeping dementia is getting worse. As he is flipping through the channels, he comes across Curb Your Enthusiasm (the episode "The Doll") and confuses comedian Larry David with himself and Jeff Garlin with Bobby, whom they both physically resemble, thinking it's his trial.

Tensions rise in New York as loan shark Lorraine Calluzzo and her boyfriend and partner in crime, Jason Evanina, collect debts from a bartender. They are accosted by three competitors, including Phil Leotardo and Joey "Peeps", in a bar. Phil slaps Lorraine down to the floor while Joey "Peeps" points a gun at Jason and knocks him down and steps on his head to subdue him. They say they have now warned Lorraine twice that she will be "kicking up" directly to Johnny Sack and not Little Carmine. Lorraine explains that she has always been faithful in giving her collections to Little Carmine in Miami. Phil scares Lorraine with a mock execution by tying her up and putting a phone book to her chest under the pretext that it will muffle the sound. Phil then fires the gun, with the bullet only penetrating through to the middle of the phone book's "R" section. Phil warns her that, "Next time, there'll be no next time."

Lorraine takes her case to New Jersey with the guidance of Tony and Junior. Along with Angelo Garepe, Lorraine and Jason meet Tony and Junior at Harold Melvoin's office to discuss the New York issue. Lorraine tells Tony that she is scared and that Johnny now wants her to be giving her collections directly to him. Jason tries to offer a suggestion, but Lorraine dismissively says to him that "men are talking." Tony tries to resolve matters by recommending that New York form a triumvirate of bosses: Johnny, Carmine and Angelo. Angelo says that he does not want to work with all the added stresses since he is semi-retired and wants to enjoy his grandchildren.

Later, Paulie tries to help Sal win back his neighborhood. Paulie goes to the "LaManna Bakery" owned by Feech to discuss the situation. He tells Feech that Sal had been cutting his aunt's grass since the time he lived there. Feech says he is entitled to earn after 20 years in prison and Sal didn't belong to anyone so that makes him fair game. Paulie says being in prison entitles Feech to nothing, and he gets "points for staying out of jail." Feech becomes irate with Paulie, saying what was Paulie's was Paulie's, but everything else was none of Paulie's business. He then yells at Paulie to leave his bakery.

Tony tries to mend fences with Artie Bucco, who is still holding a grudge over the loan incident. Artie has run into trouble over his living situation so Tony offers him one of the bedrooms in his mother's house, where he has been staying since his separation from Carmela. At first reluctant, Artie eventually agrees.

During Sunday dinner at Uncle Junior's, which Janice "prepares" (with the help of Nuovo Vesuvio take-out), Junior keeps repeating his comment against Tony of not being "varsity material." Tony takes offense, defending his sports record, reminding Junior how those comments made him feel when they were said in front of female cousins. Tony warns Junior to not make the comment again. When Barbara arrives with her family, she asks her brother about NFL season tickets. Their discussion of a possible draft pick leads Junior to make the comment again. Furious, Tony tells A.J. they are leaving and they both walk out.

At Paulie's aunt's, she tells him that Sal is tending her lawn for the last time. Sal had to fire his Spanish helper and pull his kid out of college to help with the business because he couldn't afford to hire help.

Tony meets up with Johnny Sack in the Shea Stadium parking lot in Queens. Tony tells him that Lorraine reached out to him. It is revealed that Tony and Lorraine had sex a long time ago. Tony raises his power-sharing idea from the previous meeting (though he attributes it to Angelo), but quickly drops the subject when Johnny responds with contempt. Johnny also accuses Tony of empowering Little Carmine back when he reached out to him for help during Tony's disagreement with Carmine Sr. over the HUD scam.

Meanwhile, Uncle Junior wanders from his house in his bathrobe, unbeknownst to a sleeping Tommy, his new caretaker, who was supposed to be watching him. Junior drives to Bloomfield Avenue where his brother, Johnny Boy, once had a Soprano family hangout. Instead, he finds a storefront church. One of the older parishioners remembers that it was an Italian neighborhood "back in the day," and the made guys once had vending machines in the building. Junior is thrown out of the church. Befuddled, Junior forgets where his car is and walks in the opposite direction. Janice and her husband Bobby argue over the phone about what to do when he tells her that her Uncle Junior has wandered off. She wants to go to Tony with the problem, but Bobby wants to go looking for Uncle Junior himself and tells her to come to Uncle Junior's house in case he comes back.

Paulie drives over to his aunt's neighborhood (while listening to a tape of Sun Tzu) and pays a visit to E. Gary, who is pruning a tree high up with support from his brother. Paulie asks Gary to give back his area to Vitro, and Gary refuses, causing Paulie to beat Gary's brother Jimmy in the head with a shovel. This, in turn, causes him to let go of the rope holding Gary up, plunging him down from the tree. Paulie threatens Gary, robbing him of the cash, takes his lawn mower as a down payment, and tells Gary that he is to pay Sal's medical bills and is taking a piece of Gary's action.

Bobby lets Tony know that Uncle Junior is missing. Tony, still fuming over the "varsity athlete" comments, says he doesn't care and tells Bobby that Uncle Junior is dead to him.

Tony has a sit-down with Johnny to try to resolve the New York issue. When Christopher intrudes in the argument, something Tony had earlier told him not to do, Johnny reminds him that he used to stay in the car and that he should probably still be there. He shouts at everybody and leaves. Afterwards, Tony lashes out at Christopher in the car and advises him to keep his ears open and mouth shut in the future as their mob family could benefit from the brewing war in New York.

Adriana meets with her handler, Agent Sanseverino, and asks how long she has to be an informant. She is told it could be for up to seven years, if a previous RICO case was any indication.

Uncle Junior is sitting on a park bench, and a homeless woman sits down next to him and starts a conversation with him. She offers him sexual favors. He refuses, saying that he has to find his car. He is eventually discovered by police walking across a Newark bridge. He tries to flee the police after tripping over a discarded mattress and cutting his knee. He demands to see his lawyer when the cops question him. He says his name is Corrado Soprano, and the cops exchange disbelieving looks. He is driven home by the police. At Uncle Junior's home, a relieved Janice gives the police Uncle Junior's driver's license. Surprised, the cops realize he was telling the truth and leave.

Janice and Bobby go to Livia's old house to tell Tony about Junior's situation. Artie has now moved into the house. Tony claims not to care about Uncle Junior's situation and repeats to Janice what he told Bobby: that Junior is dead to him. Tony and Janice then begin to argue, dredging up old hurts and slights. Tony believes Janice is simply trying to dump her problems on him, like she always does, and he reminds her of people she has tried to "help" in the past, only to help herself. Tony mentions her drug habits and her life on the road, that Janice took acid and gave blowjobs to roadies. Bobby is shocked. Janice says the allegations are untrue and slaps Tony. Tony snaps and attempts to choke her which leads to a larger skirmish. Bobby and Artie try to break up the fight and Artie gets hit in the eye by Janice's flailing elbow. Janice runs out of the house crying. Referring to Janice pushing Bobby into asking for more opportunity to be an earner, Tony then tells Bobby that if he wants more responsibility, he should start by "controlling his wife."

Paulie and Feech have a sit-down at Satriale's with Tony, who rules that Sal Vitro and Gary LaManna get half of the area. When Sal is told this, he is disappointed, but Paulie insists he should be grateful for getting this much. He then adds that he will have to provide free services at the homes of "some friends of ours," including Tony's and Johnny Sack's lawns.

After running into Junior's neurologist on the golf course, Tony realizes that Junior's comments may have been due to his infarcts (mini-strokes causing brain trauma). Tony visits Junior to reconcile, and recommends that he takes his medication to help with his memory loss. He reveals that Feech complained to him about Tony ruling against him. Tony is upset about Feech going to Junior, but Junior reminds him that he is still the official boss of the family "despite arrangements." Tony asks why he always repeats mean things and not something nice. When Tony asks Junior if he loves him, Junior doesn't answer, and they both quietly tear up.

First appearances[edit]

  • Sal Vitro: a gardener helped by Paulie who becomes indebted to the Soprano crime family.
  • Billy Leotardo: Soldier in the Lupertazzi crime family and Phil's younger brother. He was seen along with Joey "Peeps" and Phil during Lorraine Calluzzo's mock execution.

Title reference[edit]

  • Junior wanders away from his home looking for his brother, Johnny Boy Soprano, and utters the question in the episode.
  • Tony tries to scout where Johnny Sack stands on the idea of sharing the Lupertazzi crime family boss position with Little Carmine and Angelo Garepe.

References to previous episodes[edit]

  • In the pilot episode, when Tony describes Uncle Junior to Dr. Melfi, he says his uncle embarrassed him by telling all his girl cousins he didn't have the makings of a varsity athlete. Junior greatly annoys Tony by repeating this once again to the Sunday dinner guests in this episode.
  • The audiobook that Paulie listens to in his car is The Art of War by Sun Tzu. Paulie's curiosity about Sun Tzu was brought up in the previous episode, "Rat Pack".

Cultural references[edit]

  • When Tony B. delivers laundry to the Bing, he talks with Tony S. about his new working status and says he once told Feech that it had been a "long, strange trip," which is possibly a reference to the Grateful Dead's song "Truckin'", which includes the lyrics "What a long, strange trip it's been." Grateful Dead also released a "best of" album titled "What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been," in 1977.
  • Uncle Junior is seen watching the HBO television series Curb Your Enthusiasm (featuring a scene between Larry David and Jeff Garlin) and is confused because he thinks he's watching himself and Bobby on TV. The scene in question is from the season 2 episode "The Doll" (2001).
  • When Janice stops by her late mother's house to tell Tony about Uncle Junior, he's watching the 1940 movie His Girl Friday. The TV screen isn't seen, but a snippet of dialogue between Abner Biberman, who plays a small-time thug, and Rosalind Russell is heard: Hi, Hildy. / Oh, hello, Louie. How's the big slot-machine king? / Oh, I ain't doin' that no more; I'm retired.

Music[edit]

  • The music played over the end credits is "Earth, Wind, Water" by Mitch Coodley, from The Metro Music Production Library.
  • When Paulie meets with Sal Vitro to discuss Sal's problem with Feech, the song playing in the background at the bar is "Let Your Love Flow" by The Bellamy Brothers.

External links[edit]