Directed by: Daniel Attias
Written by: Michael Imperioli
Romance is in the air in New Jersey.
Meadow and Jackie Junior are now dating openly, and while Rosalie Aprile and Tony are delighted, Carmela can’t help having reservations. Even though Jackie is every parent’s dream suitor – he’s polite, he gives A.J. football tips, he cleans their garage – Carmela is concerned that in coming home so often, Meadow’s missing out on the college experience. “She should be spending her spare time going to the Museum of Modern Art, not watching T.V. at Rosalie Aprile’s,” Carmela tells Tony. But Tony’s just relieved that Meadow’s no longer with Noah. At least, Tony says, referring to Jackie, “He’s one of us. ”
But if Meadow’s love life gives Carmela agita, it’s probably a good thing she doesn’t know about Tony’s. His affair with Gloria Trillo is revving up faster than the cars she peddles. To say Gloria’s not like any other of Tony’s goomahs is an understatement: she’s smart and independent, and her idea of a fun date is having sex in the snake house at the Bronx Zoo. Tony’s so besotted with Gloria that he’s even willing to overlook the fact that she wears a Tibetan talisman and meditates. The question is, would he be so infatuated if he knew that the reason Gloria sees Dr. Melfi is she attempted suicide after the breakup of her last relationship?
But Tony and Carmela have a more immediate concern than Gloria’s romantic traumas, namely, their son. A.J. and some friends broke into their school. They started out just swimming and eating pizza, but ended up trashing the trophy case and throwing furniture into the pool. Police were able to locate the perps through trace evidence – their pizza was a custom job, with extra mozzarella – and Tony and Carmela are called to the Verbum Dei principal’s office. To their surprise they’re told that A.J. will be allowed to stay in school and on the football team, and that Tony and Carmela should punish him as they see fit. When they face an unrepentant A.J., both Tony and Carmela can’t help wondering why their son isn’t more like Jackie Junior.
But Jackie may not be so wonderful after all. What Tony and Carmela don’t know is that instead of going to classes, Jackie’s setting up his own crew. He offers protection to Matush, a dealer who wants to sell Ecstasy at a new club called Crazy Horse. But Crazy Horse is managed by Adriana and owned by Christopher and Furio. “Ecstasy is federal turf,” Christopher tells Jackie, “I don’t want it in my club.” Despite Christopher’s warning, Jackie gives Matush the go-ahead to do business in the club’s parking lot. When Furio catches him, Matush ends up in the hospital – in traction and with his jaw wired shut. After seeing Furio’s handiwork up close, Jackie realizes he needs to get serious about his chosen profession. So he goes to Ralph, telling him, “I need a piece.” Ralph, in a generous mood, makes Jackie a gift of a .38.
Not long after that, Tony drops by the casino above Mancuso Insurance to find Jackie – the polite young man who dates his daughter, who assured him he’s getting A’s in pre-med courses, who promised him he’d do what his late father wanted – sitting at the blackjack table. Tony greets the Godfather wannabe warmly, then grabs him by the neck and tells him he never wants to see him there again. Before letting him go, Tony gives Jackie a warning as serious as it is succinct: “Smarten up.”
Whether Jackie was paying attention remains to be seen.