Directed by: Henry J. Bronchtein
Written by: Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess
Tony Soprano…horse whisperer?
As unlikely as it may seem, when Ralph buys a filly named “Pie-O-My,” Tony discovers he has a knack for horseracing strategy. At the track to see Ralph’s new acquisition, Tony off-handedly suggests that the jockey hold Pie-O-My – normally a frontrunner – back with the pack, in order to “keep something for the finish.” Although the trainer rejects Tony’s strategy, it turns out to be the winning one: Pie-O-My is bumped by another horse leaving the gate and comes from behind to win. Ralph, flush with good will and forty G’s in winnings, insists on giving Tony a taste. “Fluke…whatever the fuck,” Ralph tells him, “She ran your race, you called it.” Although Tony’s gratified to have the cash, for him the greater thrill is simply being around Pie-O-My. He’s smitten with her; he hollers encouragement when she races and his tough-guy demeanor softens whenever he strokes her muzzle.
Relations at home are considerably cooler. When Carmela asks Tony for ten thousand dollars to invest in a stock that her cousin, Brian, recommends, he refuses. Later, Tony manages to dig himself out by agreeing to sign papers so that Brian can make future stock investments. But when Tony stops short of authorizing the life insurance trust – the investment that Carmela wants most – he’s back in the hole. Tony’s accountant, Alan Ginsberg, warned him that the trust is a “big red flag” because its only advantages are to Carmela, in the event of Tony’s death. “But present day, if something unforeseen should arise?” Ginsberg says, “Divorce, say? That type of trust is irrevocable.” But judging from the way Tony and Carmela were regarding each other, they could use some irrevocable trust right now.
While Tony and Carmela try to determine whether they still have a relationship, Janice is hard at work trying to initiate one with Bobby Bacala. As fate would have it, Janice and the Baccilieris are neighbors, and with the aid of binoculars she can effectively surveil the comings and goings of Bobby’s well-wishers. When she spies Jojo, the widow Palmice, heading to Bobby’s with a casserole and a new hairdo, Janice springs into action. She shows up in Bobby’s kitchen, thanking Jojo for the chicken Marsala and all but pushing her out the door. Once Jojo’s gone, Janice tries to make room in Bobby’s freezer by pulling out a pan of ziti. “Karen made that,” Bobby tells Janice, “That’s her last ziti before she died.” Then he starts sobbing – and Janice is more than happy to console him.
Jojo’s chicken Marsala ends up at Junior’s. While Janice drops it off, she queries Junior about Bobby’s place in his organization. Junior, preoccupied with his trial, tells her he’s tired of Bobby’s “moping.” He complains that Bobby’s “supposed to be taking care of something for me!” The “something” is strong-arming a shop steward into voting the way Junior wants him to in an upcoming union election. Janice urges Bobby to get back into the swing of things, telling him that if he doesn’t do his job, Junior will find somebody who will. Bobby grudgingly takes Janice’s words to heart. He finds the shop steward in a dingy bar and, over a shot of Wild Turkey, tells him that, “…if it was me, and I wasted my votes…I might as well put a bullet in my head here…here…and here.” Later, Bobby thanks Janice for helping him and she suggests they eat Karen’s ziti. When Bobby demurs, Janice tells him she understands – but she’s clearly looking forward to the day when the Baccilieri house is clear of leftovers.
While Janice is putting the squeeze on Bobby, the Feds are tightening their grip on Adriana. Agents Harris and Sanseverino (Agent Ciccerone has been replaced, for Adriana’s protection) have been phoning Adriana, as well as picking her up for impromptu interrogations. Adriana finds herself simultaneously trying to stonewall the FBI and convince Christopher they should leave New Jersey. But Tony’s plan to bind Christopher to him is working – Christopher tells Adriana that after what Tony did for him, “I would follow that man into hell.” Eventually Adriana, exasperated and scared, gives the agents some information about Patsy Parisi. “See?” Agent Harris asks her, “How hard was that?” Hard enough that one night soon after, a rain-drenched Adriana comes home and, with Cosette on her lap, shoots some of Christopher’s heroin.
Tony is unaware of Adriana’s – and by extension, his – dilemma. At the moment he has someone else to worry about. Pie-O-My is sick and the vet refuses to treat her until Ralph’s unpaid bills are settled. Ralph’s maid calls Tony, claiming she can’t locate Ralph to handle the problem. (In reality, Ralph’s the one who gave her Tony’s number.) It’s the middle of the night and the rain is falling in sheets, but Tony manages gets to the to the stable. He pays the vet and then goes in to see Pie-O-My, who’s lying down in her stall. Soaked and exhausted, Tony sits on an overturned bucket next to the filly and pulls out a cigar. As the rain continues to fall, he reaches out, strokes her neck and tells her everything will be all right.