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Recap / The Sopranos S 1 E 6 Pax Soprana

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Season 1, Episode 05:

Pax Soprana

Vin Makazian is reading the newspaper at a construction site when Tony arrives for a meeting with him. After exchanging pleasantries, Vin gives him some more intel on Melfi's shopping habits, then asks what he's supposed to be looking for. Tony rebuffs him for beating up Melfi's date a few nights back, then says he wants information on a need-to-know basis before leaving.

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Soon after, Tony goes to another session with Melfi and they discuss his recent problems with Meadow during the college trip and his frustration with Carmela. Tony sheepishly admits that Carmela thinks he's cheating on her with Melfi, to which the latter asks if he's visiting her office because he's projecting his insecurities from his family onto her. In turn, Tony asks why she brought someone like him on as a patient, to which she doesn't respond.

Low-level associate Sammy Grigio is hosting a poker game that night when he receives a knock at the door. Mikey and a pair of associates enter. When Sammy greets them warmly, Mikey beats him and asks who is receiving a kickback from the game. Sammy weakly says that no one is getting any money up top, and Mikey lays out the new rules: Junior's in charge, and he isn't respecting old arrangements.

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The next morning, Junior is at his tailor's when he receives word that the latter's grandson killed himself by taking drugs from a local dealer, Rusty Irish, and jumping off a bridge in a daze. After talking with Mikey about the matter, Junior decides to make an example out of Rusty and has Mikey and another associate throw him off a bridge and pay the onlookers to claim it was a suicide to the police. Junior also goes to visit Livia at the retirement home, and she convinces him to start taxing Hesh Rabkin in order to get under Tony's skin.

Tony is playing poker with his capos later that day at Satriale's when Hesh arrives and asks to speak with him privately. Outside, Hesh tells him what happened with Junior's new tax arrangement, and Tony promises to figure something out. That night, plagued with dreams about Melfi and Junior's dealings, Tony takes Carmela out for an anniversary dinner, but uses it as an opportunity to meet with Johnny Sack, the underboss of the Lupertazzi crime family in New York.

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Johnny immediately figures out that Tony is still running the show behind the scenes while Junior acts as a fall guy. They both agree to set out a proposition to pacify Junior and stop the new tax arrangemenets before he goes back to his table.

Once there, he and Carmela get into another argument about their marriage, and she accuses him of being too distracted with work to spend time with her. Despite Johnny sending over an anniversary cake for both of them, the mood is ruined and they drive back home. She tells him that she's sick of being marginalized before going to bed.

The next day, Tony settles the dispute between Junior and Hesh by bringing Johnny in for a meeting at Satriale's and having him negotiate the amount down to half of the original amount owed. Afterwards, Tony goes to Melfi's office and, in a daze, blurts out that he loves her. She laughs and chalks it up to the side effects of his progress in therapy before scheduling more appointments for him.

Tony meets with Junior later on and successfully persuades him to divvy up the kickback he got from Hesh among the top five capos so that everyone will be happy. Tony visits Hesh afterwards and gives him back his own personal share as well.

Carmela and Tony sit at the pool behind their house that afternoon. He tells her about his progress with therapy, and admits that he isn't sure if he wants to stick with it. Carmela also apologizes for being jealous about Melfi and says that she didn't initially understand what he was going through, but wants to be the most important woman in his life again. Tony tells her that she means everything to him before they embrace.

That night, a special dinner is held for the heads of the Soprano family. Tony gets up and gives a toast to Junior while a waiter named "John" pours champagne. Tony congratulates Junior on his new promotion and rallies everyone to raise their glasses in honor...

...and it's revealed that the "waiters" are actually private investigators for the FBI. At a busy office, an investigator is pooling the photos taken at the dinner, and removes Jackie Aprile's photo from a bulletin board showing the hierarchy of the Soprano family. Junior's photo is moved to the top of the board, while Tony's remains unchanged...

Tropes:

  • Absentee Actor: Neither of the Soprano children are present in the episode.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: Realizing that he's outmatched by Junior's "new arrangements", Tony enlists the help of Lupertazzi underboss Johnny Sack to cajole Junior into presenting an acceptable arrangement to the Hesh situation.
  • Bad Boss: Junior expressly tells the lower members of the regime that he's not respecting old arrangements, and has Sammy Grigio beaten up in response.
  • Blatant Lies: Tony at poolside denies to Carmela feeling any sexual attraction towards Dr. Melfi, and puts a lot of effort into giving even the thought of it dismissive short shrift.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Tony already starts to feel them when he's having to address the Capos' complaints against Uncle Junior. He confides in Hesh that as much stress as he feels being the unofficial manager of the operations, he definitely does not want to be official boss. Uncle Junior can enjoy the title.
  • The Consigliere: Mikey is defined as this by the FBI at the end of the episode.
  • Destination Defenestration: Rusty Irish, who's thrown off a bridge by Mikey.
  • Distracted by the Luxury: Carmela attempts to get over her argument with Tony and hurt feelings over his therapy sessions with Melfi by buying furniture. Notably, Tony doesn't object to her purchasing it. Subverted, in that she only gets over their spat when she speaks with Father Phil about the matter and pledges to become the main woman in Tony's life.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Johnny Sack, an underboss who excels at coming up with solutions to benefit everyone.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Junior is horrified and enraged by the drug-related death of his tailor's young grandson.
  • Evil Matriarch: Livia begins to show signs of this, being the one who convinces Junior to tax the associates to get under Tony's skin and cause havoc.
  • Foreshadowing: Junior and Mikey have a discussion about dressing well near the beginning of the episode, and the former says that mob associates are opting for athletic clothes so much that they end up getting buried while wearing them. But then...
  • I Let You Win: Tony enlists the help of Johnny Sack (and some persuasion of his own) to make Junior believe that he'll be loved by his capos if he spreads his wealth around a bit more. As evidenced by the end of the episode, however, Tony's plan has landed Junior at the top of the list in an FBI investigation.
  • Karmic Death: When Junior learns that a local drug dealer sold product to a local tailor's grandson (who subsequently killed himself by jumping off a bridge in a daze), he gets Mikey to find the dealer and throw him off the exact same bridge in the exact same fashion.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: Tony has trouble getting it up in bed with Irina, caused by his drifting thoughts of Melfi and the recent troubles with his wife.
  • Lost in Translation: Tony tries to convince Irina to dress more conservatively (in a business suit), but she takes this to mean that he wants her to dress like she's in the "whore business" before storming off in anger.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Mikey tosses a local drug dealer off a bridge for causing a local tailor's son to shoot up and kill himself in a daze, then pays off the onlookers who witnessed the death to claim it was a suicide.
Mikey: What happened here? [holds cash out, but not within reach]
[Mikey hands over cash]
  • My Girl Is Not a Slut: Invoked. When Irina refuses to talk about how her day was while in bed with Tony, he gets fed up and leaves while throwing money at her. She tells him that she's "not a whore", and tries to burn him with a candle in response, leading to a brief fight.
  • Neighbourhood-Friendly Gangsters: Junior invokes this when he seeks revenge against a drug dealer on the behalf of his tailor. However, the drug dealer happened to be an earner for the Soprano crew which adds to the tension between Junior and his underlings.
  • Not Helping Your Case:
    • Tony tries to initiate normal conversation with Irina several times, but due to her instances of Lost in Translation, she believes him to be calling her a whore and storms off twice.
    • Carmela storms out on Tony after they return home from their anniversary dinner, and (while attempting to kiss her) mentions how Melfi has told him about feelings can become confused.
  • Notice This: The camera lingers on the namebadge of a waiter named "John" at the Soprano crew dinner held at the episode. A couple minutes later, it's revealed that this waiter is an undercover agent and is taking photos to bring back to the FBI.
  • Properly Paranoid: Carmela relates to Father Phil that she always tolerated Tony's goomahs, likening them to a meaningless masturbation outlet, but feels threatened by the prospect of Dr. Melfi taking over as THE woman in Tony's life. Despite never previously seeing Dr. Melfi, and despite Tony's emphatic and repeated denials, she turns out to be spot on.
  • Spotting the Thread: Tony and Melfi both get instances of this during the first therapy scene. She gives him a speech suggesting that she's figured out why he's visiting her office - he's projecting all the problems from the women in his life onto her and using that as an outlet. He, in turn, wonders aloud why she took him on as a patient despite no other legitimate therapist refusing to talk to him.
  • Stolen Good, Returned Better: Melfi is having trouble with her car, and with the mechanics who are fixing it. When Tony learns this during one of his therapy sessions, he has her car stolen, fixed, and returned that night. She's grateful, but not happy about it.
  • Stupid Evil: How the Capos view Junior's decision to have Mikey kill Rusty Irish. Their tendencies towards Pragmatic Villainy meant that they regretted the suicide of the tailor's grandson, but not to the point of dispensing with a big earner like Rusty.
  • Too Much Information: When Junior is at the tailor's shop and hears the man in charge lost his grandson to a suicide caused by drugs, Mikey realizes that he's heard about the story and begins to explain the boy's death in graphic detail. Junior has to motion for him to be quiet because the grieving tailor is still in the shop.
  • Villain Ball: Junior begins taxing the mob associates for no good reason, which causes dissent and anger from all sides and leads to Tony enlisting the help of Johnny Sack to calm Junior down.
  • Wicked Cultured: Vin insinuates that Melfi is so cultured that she only buys her meat from a "fancy-schmancy deli, which has Italian in the name, but you can't find a fucking meatball in the place."

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