Directed by: James Hayman
Written by: Terence Winter
It wasn’t the first time there was an I-won’t-be-coming-to-work message left on the Bada Bing’s answering machine. But it was the first time there was one from Furio. What he said was that he was returning to Italy – and not coming back. What he didn’t say was why: that his growing affection for Carmela was inspiring murderous impulses towards his boss.
But his boss can ill afford to lose one of his top guys right now, even one who fantasizes about killing him. Tony’s plan to use Little Carmine to smooth things with the elder Carmine backfired, and relations between New York and New Jersey are rapidly deteriorating. When Carmine refuses to compromise on the H.U.D. split, Tony has the old don’s new restaurant “redecorated” with spray paint and box cutters.
While Tony contends with Carmine, Carmela faces a more personal crisis. Furio’s departure leaves her depressed and angry, causing her to pick fights with her family, especially her daughter. When Carmela and Meadow go to the Plaza Hotel to have tea beneath the portrait of Eloise – an annual tradition – they have a large helping of recriminations with their finger sandwiches. Carmela berates Meadow for the “superior attitude” she’s adopted since going to Columbia. Stung, Meadow gives as good as she gets. “Would you rather I go to Montclair State?” she asks, “Then maybe I could drop out like you did.”
There is fighting among the members of Tony’s professional family as well. When Silvio warns Paulie that “certain people are starting to wonder where your heart is,” Paulie’s response is to call Silvio a “wormy cocksucker” and storm off. He then goes to see Carmine, but is mortified to discover that the New York boss doesn’t know who he is. Now desperate to get back on Tony’s good side, Paulie burglarizes the home of an elderly woman he knows keeps large sums of cash. To Paulie’s dismay, she catches him in the act and he quiets her by smothering her with a pillow. The next day, he delivers a fat envelope to Tony.
Tony can certainly use the money, since Carmine retaliated for the restaurant vandalism by shutting down construction of the Esplanade. But Johnny Sack is hurting, too, and he has a solution. “Carmine won’t bend,” the frustrated under boss tells Tony, “But if something should happen to him…”