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Recap / The Sopranos S 3 E 7 Second Opinion

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"One thing you can never say is that you haven't been told."
Dr. Krakower
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Uncle Junior undergoes surgery for his cancer. The surgeon, who is named John Kennedy, claims the operation was successful and the tumor has been completely removed. However, when Junior visits him later, Kennedy reveals that more cancerous cells have been found in his body. Junior is reluctant to go under the knife again but has an inordinate amount of respect for Dr. Kennedy, apparently because of his name.

Carmela attends therapy with Dr. Melfi alone, as Tony (apparently) could not make it for this joint session. She shows signs of severe melancholy, and cries in front of Melfi, but is dismissive when Melfi suggests regular therapy with another psychiatrist - Melfi herself cannot treat Carmela one-on-one due to conflict of interest. Despite Carmela's insistence that she does not need any help with her mental health, Melfi recommends her to a mentor of hers, Dr. Krakawer. Carmela later visits Columbia University to discuss a possible donation to the college that would benefit Meadow's academic career. She visits Meadow while on campus and finds her largely burnt out by the college grind. They have a brief argument about Tony's racism towards her boyfriend Noah. Carmela meets with the dean and is charmed, becoming enthusiastic about making his recommended donation of $50,000. When she broaches the subject to Tony, however, he is completely opposed and only willing to donate as much as $5,000.

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Tensions begin to escalate between Christopher and Paulie, who is now his boss. Christopher bristles when Paulie and Patsy Parisi order him to strip for the required wire search on newly made guys, and Paulie mocks his penis size. Later, Chris brings a large stash of stolen Adriana new shoes. She is happy with the new perks of being a made man's girlfriend, though somewhat disappointed that the shoes don't fit and Christopher will have to get replacements. Later that night, Paulie and Patsy show up to search Christopher's house, taking a cut of his swag, and Christopher sees Paulie sniffing Adriana's underwear.

Georgie the bouncer brings a Big Mouth Billy Bass - a toy fish that lip-syncs to various popular songs - to the Bada Bing and Tony finds it in his office. Though amused at first, he becomes unsettled when the Bass reminds him of his nightmare about the fish that spoke with Pussy Bonpensiero's voice and beats Georgie with the novelty item. Later, Carmela sees Angie Bonpensiero (Pussy's widow) at the supermarket, and strikes up a conversation. Angie complains about her financial troubles, suggesting that Tony's allowance to her is not enough to get by, especially now that her dog is sick. Carmela broaches this to Tony and he promptly visits Angie. When he finds a new car in her driveway he smashes the windows and intimidates her, noting her dog seems healthy and accusing her of trying to extort him through his wife.

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Christopher tells Tony about Paulie sniffing Adriana's panties, and Tony reprimands Paulie in turn. Paulie confronts Christopher, ordering him never to go directly to the boss again. When Paulie visits Chris unprompted outside of a motel, Chris suspects Paulie might try to whack him, but instead Paulie wants to reconcile. He shows Chris the Billy Bass toy, and they bond by laughing at it.

Though Junior has the utmost faith in Dr. Kennedy, Tony convinces him to get a second opinion. The second doctor recommends chemotherapy and agrees to call a tumor board meeting with Kennedy present. Upon learning that he would have to work with another doctor he dislikes, Kennedy backs away from treating Junior. As Junior begins chemotherapy, he is disheartened by Kennedy's absence and his failure to answer any of Junior's calls. Tony brings Furio to a golf course to confront Kennedy, humiliating and intimidating him into visiting Junior again, also getting the somewhat arrogant man to admit he is "just a doctor".

Carmela, disheartened by Tony's behavior in between his philandering and unwillingness to donate more money to the college, visits Dr. Krakower. During their session, the morally stalwart Jewish Krakower confronts her bluntly with the harsh reality of the violent criminal she is married to, telling her that her only option to obtain a clean conscience is to take the kids and go. Carmela is shaken by this appraisal of her life. Tony finds her laying on the couch at home, and she tells him seriously that he needs to do something nice for her that day. Tony agrees to pay the $50,000 to Columbia, then offers to take her out for dinner.

Tropes:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Chris and Paulie enjoy themselves with the second Big Mouth Billy Bass.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Carmela's mother outright accuses her of this by choosing a Mafiaso like Tony instead of a more stable man like a pharmacist like Alphonso Stamfa when he was available.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • Carmela gets a great one when being berated by Meadow:
    Meadow: Look, don't drag me into whatever bullshit accommodational pretense you've got worked out with Daddy.
    Carmela: What was that, last night's reading assignment?
    • Krakower later gets in a few at Carmela's expense:
    Carmela: [Tony's] a good man, a good father.
    Krakower: You tell me he's a depressed criminal, prone to anger, serially unfaithful. Is that your definition of a good man?
    and:
    Carmela: My priest said I should try and help him become a better man.
    Krakower: How that's going?
  • Awful Wedded Life: Carmela starts to explicitly admit to being in one to Dr. Krakower.
  • Bad Boss:
    • Tony for George.
    • Paulie does outrank Chris, true. But he goes into a full-on power trip the whole episode just because Chris dared to talk dollars and cents to him.
  • Batter Up!: Tony on Angie's car.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: Tony is initially dead set against Carmela's desire to donate $50,000 to Meadow's college. But he comes home to find her sulky and depressed. She rouses herself and insists on the $50,000 pledge no matter how many times Tony tries to negotiate the figure down. He soon picks up that she's implying an unspoken threat to divorce him if he doesn't give in, which he eventually does.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • According to Tony, Big Pussy went into Witness Protection.
    • Furio, to Dr. Kennedy: You got a bee on-a you hat.
    • Also, Furio is "Mr. Williams."
  • Brainy Brunette: Dean Ross confirms to Carmela that Meadow is definitely one.
  • Brutal Honesty:
    • Furio, again, on golf: Stupid a-fucking game.
    • Dr. Krakower does not spare Carmela's feelings one iota in spelling out to her the moral implications of being married to a mobster like Tony.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Chris for Paulie.
    • Georgie for Tony.
    • Bobby for Uncle Junior.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: Subverted. Junior tries his hand at it out of desperation since his cancer treatment requires food that can only be sipped through a straw. The ingredients are there to qualify, milk, avocados, and raw ground beef, but his execution and previous culinary background are lacking, to say the least ...
  • Country Matters: Tony calls Angie one to Carmela, showing that he already suspects her of attempting Financial Abuse on him.
  • Covert Pervert: Paulie's always been quirky, but sniffing the panties of the fiancee of one of his subordinates and friends is going way too far. And he's not even repentant when he's called out on it.
    Tony: He's gonna marry that girl, for chrissakes.
    Paulie: As of their wedding day, anything that touches her pussy is off limits.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy:
    • Chris really overreacts when Adriana admits to giving head to Penn of a certain comedy duo.
    • He also really doesn't like Paulie sniffing Adriana's panties.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Tony takes this up a notch more than usual, as a way of coping with his Heroic B So D from the previous episode.
    • Dr. Krakower gives a sly snark when he notes that there isn't a lot of moral difference between being Tony's "accomplice" and being his "enabler".
  • Don't You Like It?: Adriana is initially elated over Chris' gift to her of numerous designer shoes. But ... they're the wrong size.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • By Tony against Georgie, now officially a Running Gag.
    • Tony taking a baseball bat to Angie's car.
  • Double-Meaning Title: Uncle Junior seeks a second opinion from another doctor for his cancer treatment. The title could also refer to Carmela receiving a second opinion on her relationship with Tony, from Dr. Krakower.
  • Dr. Jerk: John Kennedy, and Junior is completely blind to it.
    • Also Dr. Krakower, from one perspective. He's absolutely right about Carmela's complicity in Tony's crimes and the toll it's taking on the family, but a practiced therapist would have realized that Carmela wasn't in a place to hear it, and would have worked with her to develop some emotional independence to get her to the point where she had the strength to leave Tony.
  • Enmity with an Object: Tony develops this towards the Big Mouth Billy Bass because it reminds him of his Anxiety Dream of Big Pussy.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Throughout the episode, Tony shows genuine concern for his uncle's poor health and does everything in his power to better Junior's position.
  • Evil Is Petty: Paulie proceeds to humiliate Chris with a Shameful Strip search for a Hidden Wire, followed by a Teeny Weenie joke because Chris dared to haggle with him over minor outstanding debts. And that's only the start of Paulie going into full-on Jerkass mode on Chris for pretty much the whole episode.
  • Financial Abuse: Angie tries this on Tony by "slipping the tongue" about trumped-up expenses. She gets a smashed-up car for her troubles.
  • The First Cut Is the Deepest: Meadow is still hurting over Noah dumping her, and she's blaming Tony for it.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Chris has tense words with both Paulie and Patsy, and not for the last time by a long shot.
    • Dr. Krakower flat out tells Carmela that the only way to regain any semblance of emotional or mental health is to leave Tony permanently. Future episodes will chronicle her contemplating or even attempting to follow through.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Dr. Krakower sets one up for Carmela, and he doesn't mince any words or pull any punches about it.
  • Heroic B So D: Carmela gets one after her visit to Dr. Krakower.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Chris brags about one of his sexual conquests during a game of truth or dare with Adriana. However, when Adriana admits to blowing Penn of a certain comedy duo, Chris goes into full Crazy Jealous Guy mode and starts abusing her.
    • Chris goes into Crazy Jealous Guy mode over Paulie sniffing Adriana's panties and complains to Tony about it, who in turn grills Paulie over it. Suffice to say that Paulie savors the moment when he catches Chris having fun with a hooker and calls him out over it, as it amounts to being unfaithful to Adriana.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Tony Soprano, Mr. Italian Pride, calls Italians "Jews wit' better food."
  • Implied Death Threat:
    • Tony petting Angie's dog, while Angie looks on quite distressed, definitely qualifies.
    • There's really no other way to interpret Tony and "Mr. Williams" visit to Dr. Kennedy during his golf game.
  • Improperly Paranoid: Uncle Junior thinks Tony's demand for a second opinion is motivated by preventing or delaying his recovery from stomach cancer, so that Tony can become the undisputed boss of New Jersey. But in fact, Tony regards Uncle Junior as a has been who's no longer any threat and really does want his Uncle to recover from cancer.
  • Jerkass: Paulie really starts coming off like this by riding Christopher the way he does.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Seems to be Tony's reaction to Paulie's defense when accused of sniffing Adriana's panties, which boils down to "They aren't married yet, so she's fair game."
    • Tony is absolutely correct that Dean Ross is only meeting with Carmela because he sees the Sopranos as a prime target for donation money. Carmela, on the other hand, is too much of a Social Climber and easily flattered by the man to see that he's manipulating her.
    • Dr. Krakower could definitely be more tactful when advising Carmela, but he is completely correct when he tells her Tony is not and will never be a good man, she's an accomplice by living off his blood money, and she has no moral justification for staying married to him.
  • Kick the Dog: Tony swats Dr. Kennedy's cellphone into the nearby pond, just for good measure.
  • Meaningful Name: Uncle Junior's doctor shares names with a certain U.S. President, and hence why he accepts the doctor's advice without question.
  • Nepotism:
    • Tony reminds Chris that he's rising in the ranks faster than usual precisely for this reason. It's an attempt to convince Chris to roll with Paulie being his Jerkass self for now.
    • Paulie himself politely calls out Tony for the favoritism as well.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Tony and Furio use it for emphasis during their Implied Death Threat to Dr. Kennedy. They consistently walk forward right up to the doctor, forcing him to step back into the golf course pond.
  • Panty Thief: Or Panty Sniffer in the case of Paulie.
  • Perverted Sniffing: Chris receives a surprise, late-night visit at his apartment from Paulie and Patsy Parisi. The two gangsters comb through Chris and Adriana's belongings to cherry-pick Christopher's stolen swag. Chris catches Paulie taking a mighty sniff of a pair of panties from Adriana's lingerie drawer.
  • Pet the Dog: A retroactive one for Big Pussy, who is said to have doted on the Bonpensieros' poodle, Coco. Tony gives her a literal petting in this episode too.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain:
    • Tony tries to downplay the value of the doctor's Meaningful Name by pointing out that lots of "micks" name their sons after a certain U.S. President.
    • Carmela doesn't exactly make Dr. Krakower more sympathetic towards her by making some ignorant comments about his Jewish background during their session.
  • Running Gag: Tony laying a beat-down on Georgie for something he couldn't possibly have known would provoke it. By now, you should be starting a stopwatch whenever you see Georgie.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Dr. Krakower refuses to charge Carmela a cent for the therapy session on the grounds that he won't accept "blood money".
  • Shameful Strip: Sure, Paulie was within his rights under The Mafia code to subject Chris to a Hidden Wire search. But there's no mistaking the ulterior agenda to humiliate Chris as well.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Penn & Teller come up in a game of truth or dare between Chris and Adriana.
    • Uncle Junior's doctor shares a Meaningful Name with a certain U.S. President.
  • Take a Third Option: Carmela tries to work out her Heroic B So D after her visit to Dr. Krakower. It's sunk in for Carmela that she benefits from money made by crime, and yet she can't leave behind the opulent lifestyle that being Tony's wife gives her. The hefty pledge to Meadow's college provides the third option, and she proceeds to get it by pulling unspoken blackmail on Tony.
  • Teeny Weenie: Paulie makes this kind of joke at Chris' expense.
    Paulie: I guess you could call that a dick.
  • Therapy Backfire: Carmela's therapy session with Dr. Krakower is a textbook example of this. Krakower even notes how many patients just want him and other therapists to validate their feelings and decision making rather than be given an objective analysis of their behavior.
  • Tragic Dream: Uncle Junior has one at the start of the episode. All charges against him are dropped, his stomach cancer is completely cured, and he marries Angie Dickinson to boot, all for the oh-so-easy price of testifying against Tony.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Carmela accuses her parents of being such by reminding them of the favors that Tony, through his mob connections, did for Hugh's business in the past.
  • Unperson: Tony makes it clear to Carmela that he does not ever want Big Pussy to ever be mentioned again, claiming that Pussy went into Witness Protection.
  • Vehicular Sabotage: Tony takes a baseball bat to Angie's car, and pretty much reduces it to scrap metal.
  • Wish-Fulfillment: Both Chris and Adriana start to feel that they're finally enjoying the perks of Chris becoming made. But then Paulie shows up at their place, to remind them of hard truths.

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