Bust-Out Epsiode 23

Directed by: John Patterson
Written by: Frank Renzulli and Robin Green & Mitchell Burgess and David Chase

There’s a witness.

A law-abiding civilian — or “flag-salutin’ motherfucker” in Paulie’s parlance — was in Hacklebarney State Park the night Matt Bevilaqua was whacked. He heard the gunshots and saw Tony and “a husky accomplice” driving away from the scene. And then he called the police.

So what does this mean for Tony?

If he can’t uncover the witness’ identity, it may very well mean that he’ll have to lam it. And while it’s never convenient to go on the run from the law, this couldn’t have come at a worse time. Tony’s been trying to spend more time with Anthony, Jr. in order to teach him some street smarts, and it’s not material that lends itself to a correspondence course.

It also means Tony will need cash — and lots of it. In the event he leaves Jersey, Tony has to have enough money to ensure Carmela and the kids are provided for and that he doesn’t “end up in a rat infested motel in Elvis country.” In order to raise funds, Tony accelerates the “bust out” — planned bankruptcy — of Davey Scatino.

As a means of collecting the gambling debt Davey owes them, Tony and Richie Aprile have been overseeing the purchase of merchandise for Davey’s sporting goods store — and then taking the goods for themselves. The good news for Davey is that he will finally be free of Tony and Richie; the bad news is he’ll lose the store, his savings and probably his family.

While Tony contemplates lam plans, other members of his two famiglie are facing dilemmas of their own. Pussy is being squeezed by an angry Agent Lipari for information regarding the Bevilaqua hit. Lipari “chooses to believe” Pussy isn’t the aforementioned “husky accomplice,” but he expects his husky informant to get Tony’s confession on tape. And Pussy’s not the only one being pressured to move against Tony. Janice is not-so-subtly working to convince Richie that Tony should be usurped; Richie in turn tries to enlist Junior in the cause.

And while Carmela is unaware of Tony’s predicament, she is facing a situation that could prove just as dangerous. She recently hired Vic Musto, Davey’s good-looking brother-in-law, to do some wallpapering. No one is more surprised than Carmela when, one afternoon while she and Vic are discussing vertical striping, they end up in a near-horizontal embrace. It doesn’t take an FBI profiler to predict that this would cause Tony some serious — maybe even murderous — agita if he ever found out.

And he may get the chance. The witness ends up recanting and so there’s no need for Tony to leave town. But the way things are going, if he’d gone on the lam he might be better off.

Posted in Season 2, Sopranos.

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