Directed by: Tim Van Patten
Written by: Robin Green & Mitchell Burgess
Junior was having a rough day. His trial went overtime, so he missed the Early Bird Special. Then, while hurrying through a swarm of reporters, he was hit on the head by a boom mike and sent tumbling down the courthouse steps. But that knock on the head may turn out to be a golden opportunity: his attorney decides to use it to get the charges against him dismissed, via a claim of reduced mental capacity. As Tony puts it, all Junior has to do is “act oobatz” and his legal problems will be over.
But while things were looking up for Junior, they got as bad as it gets for Ralph. His 12-year-old son, Justin, is gravely injured while playing with a bow and arrow. In response, a grief-and-guilt-stricken Ralph does some serious soul searching, even going so far as to visit Father Intintola. He tells the priest, “I’ve done things in my life that I shouldn’t of done and (God’s) making my son pay for it.” In an attempt to make amends, Ralph asks Rosalie Aprile to marry him (she declines) and starts a scholarship fund in memory of Jackie Aprile, Junior.
Is this change for real? Possibly. But Ralph’s not around long enough to tell. After a suspicious fire at the stable causes the death of Pie-O-My, Tony is certain that Ralph is responsible. He shows up at Ralph’s place, accusing him of having Pie-O-My killed for the insurance money. Although Ralph vehemently denies it, he’s not exactly shedding tears over Pie-O-My’s demise. “It’s an animal,” he tells Tony, “This is a hundred grand apiece.”
While the Lord may mete out punishment by proxy, Tony Soprano delivers his directly. He launches his fist into Ralph’s face, so hard it knocks Ralph across the room. Ralph comes back at him and the fight the two of them have long been spoiling for finally happens. It’s down-and-dirty and to the death…of Ralph.
Tony enlists Christopher to help dispose of the body, explaining that when he came to Ralph’s place, he was already dead. Even though he’s high as a kite, Christopher realizes that Ralph’s disappearance could have serious consequences. “People could take it the wrong way,” he tells Tony. Locking him in his gaze, Tony says, “You’re the only other one that knows about it.”
But, in Tony’s world, just what does that mean?