Directed by: Allen Coulter
Written by: David Chase
As the new season opens, the overarching sentiment in both Tony’s families is: there must be more money.
Tony still meets with Junior in Dr. Schreck’s office and lately the old boss’ main preoccupation – aside from flirting shamelessly with Schreck’s comely new nurse – is his growing stack of legal bills. Junior’s trial is fast approaching and by his estimate, it’s going to cost a million dollars to keep from spending the rest of his life in an orange jumpsuit. “We need to change our arrangement,” he tells his nephew. But Tony has a different take on the situation. Junior’s financial problems are of his own making, and Tony’s advice to his uncle is to reorganize and “get your shy running right.”
Tony finds that fiscal concerns are foremost at home as well. After seeing Angie Bonpensiero handing out sausage samples at the supermarket, Carmela fears for her own future and demands that Tony let her know the state of their finances. She wants Tony to do some serious estate planning – i.e., make some legitimate investments – but he demurs. “We don’t have those Enron-type connections,” he argues, and tells Carmela that there’s plenty of money, although none of it is stashed in the house. But even though Tony assures her she’s better off being ignorant, Carmela is far from blissful about it.
In the literal sense, Tony was telling the truth; the money’s not in the house – it’s tucked beneath the floor of the utility shed and into bags of duck feed. Junior and Carmela have given Tony cause for concern, however, and he calls a meeting of his capos to make those concerns known. “I want to know why there’s zero growth in this family’s receipts,” he snarls at the guys who are supposed to be his top earners. (The only member missing is Paulie, who’s in jail on a gun charge and, unknown to Tony, making collect calls to Johnny Sack.) This thing of ours is supposed to be recession-proof, he reminds them, and things had better improve.
One improvement is that Junior, taking Tony’s advice to heart, decides to promote Bobby Bacala, putting him in charge of his loan shark business. Tony then generously offers to “help” his uncle by buying an old warehouse from him – conveniently omitting the fact that, as the result of a government-sponsored development project, the property’s value will soon skyrocket. But Junior’s too distracted to be distrustful; he just found out that Schreck’s comely nurse is actually an undercover agent who will likely testify at his trial.
And the nurse isn’t the only federal agent in the family’s midst. Adriana’s new best friend, Danielle Ciccolella, is really Special Agent Deborah Ciccerone. She’s been hanging out with Adriana a lot, even accompanying her to Tony and Carmela’s house. Christopher can’t stand “Danielle” and gives her the bum’s rush whenever he sees her. But Christopher’s too distracted by his own worries to be polite – he’s afraid that Tony distrusts him for questioning his handling of Jackie Junior. He warns Adriana, “I may be on the endangered species list,” and relieves his stress with interdigital heroin injections.
But Christopher’s got it wrong; Tony’s got other plans for him. He wants to “bond him to me inseparably,” and, to that end, Tony gives Christopher the address of Lt. Detective Barry Haydu, the man Tony claims murdered Christopher’s father. Christopher subsequently breaks into Haydu’s house and puts two 9-milimeter bullets in his skull, making Haydu a corpse and himself a cop killer. Later, Tony explains to Dr. Melfi that he doesn’t want to end up like Junior, 72 years old with legal bills “that would make you gargle Drano.” It’s become too dangerous to operate his business directly, and from now on, he’ll issue orders only through a blood relative -meaning Christopher. When Melfi asks Tony why he’s telling her this, he pauses a moment and replies, “I don’t know…I trust you.”
But, in Tony’s world, just what does that mean?