Full Leather Jacket Episode 21

Directed by: Allen Coulter
Written by: Robin Green & Mitchell Burgess

In Tony Soprano’s world, there’s no such thing as doing a simple favor for someone. To the contrary: it’s never simple and isn’t always a favor.

Case in point: Carmela is concerned that despite having good grades and high test scores, Meadow still might not get into a good college. “It’s all who you know,” she tells Tony. And while rubbing elbows with Frank Sinatra, Jr. at a poker game might wow’em at the pork store, it doesn’t impress the Admissions Committee at Georgetown. So Carmela asks Joan O’Connell, twin sister of her neighbor Jean Cusamano and a highly successful alum of Georgetown Law School, to write a letter of recommendation for Meadow. At first Joan demurs, telling Carmela she can’t write a letter for a girl she doesn’t know. But when Carmela shows up in her office armed with a ricotta pie, Meadow’s transcripts and her husband’s reputation, it becomes clear to Joan that Carmela is not really “asking.” So Georgetown soon receives a letter extolling the academic and personal virtues of one Meadow Soprano.

Then there’s Richie Aprile’s attempt to do a favor for his new Boss. As a conciliatory gesture, Richie gives Tony the leather jacket he took off Rocco DiMeo in a fight that is now legendary — to Richie, at least. As Richie remembers it, DiMeo “had a reputation as the toughest guy in Essex and Hudson Counties, but he never came back after I got through with him.” Unfortunately, the jacket is about as current as the rest of Richie’s wardrobe; Tony might wear it to 70’s Night at the Bada Bing, but not as regular business attire. The favor Tony really wants from Richie is for him to build a wheelchair ramp on Beansie Gaeta’s house. Grudgingly and over the protests of Beansie himself, Richie complies. But later, when he drops by the Soprano house, Richie sees the housekeeper’s husband wearing the DiMeo jacket. Carmela offers Richie a cup of coffee, but it’s clear the French Roast’s not the only thing that’s steaming.

Finally there’s Matt Bevilaqua and Sean Gismonte’s idea of doing a favor for Richie and by extension, themselves. One evening after being stood up by Christopher at the Bada Bing, they have an epiphany about the Soprano organization and their place in it: “Look at us, we’re like a couple of little fuckin’ scared rabbits… they make us do their shit work so they don’t have to.” To Matt and Sean’s way of thinking, Christopher is only holding them back and “We got to do something to get ahead in this world.” So they wait outside a diner for Christopher and, when he emerges, resign from his employ via several shots from a Glock 9. Although gravely wounded, Christopher manages to return fire, killing Sean and sending Matt running — like the above-mentioned rabbit — for cover.

He eventually ends up at Richie’s social club, telling Richie that he and Matt did the hit on Christopher for him, “As a favor.” Richie responds by screaming, “This is just what I need, for (Tony) to think I had any part of this!” and chases Matt down the street with a Louisville Slugger.

As for Tony, he ends up sitting at Christopher’s bedside, contemplating recent events. After all the problems Tony’d been having with him, it seemed Christopher had finally gotten his life back on track. He was off the drugs, focusing on work and had even asked Adriana to marry him. “How could this happen?” Tony asks.

When he finds out, not even a favor from God is going to help the party responsible.

Posted in Season 2, Sopranos.

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