Written by Terence Winter
Directed by Tim Van Patten
This week Tony finds out that going to jail might not be as bad as what you have to do to avoid it.
Tony's lawyer, Neil Mink, warns him that while he dodged a bullet on the Bevilaqua matter, the Feds are still gunning for him. The government has devoted considerable resources to investigating the Soprano organization, Neil tells Tony, "and sooner or later, they're going to want a return on their investment." If Tony wants to stay out of jail, Neil says, he's going to have to start behaving like a civilian and "get your ass out of that strip club." So, on advice of counsel, Tony forsakes the Bada Bing and the pork store for the corporate headquarters of Barone Brothers Sanitation.
For the next few weeks Tony spends his time going to the office and hobnobbing with the movers and shakers of the non-putrescable waste industry. While this solid-citizen-as-solid-waste-manager act may be helping him avoid federal indictment, it's also causing Tony's stressors to pile up higher than the inventory. He's having even more anxiety attacks and developed a rash on his forearm. Dr. Melfi tells him the reason for his increased stress is that inactivity has allowed him to reflect on the abhorrent things he's done. As for her own stressors, Dr. Melfi has been dealing with her growing aversion to Tony by fortifying herself with vodka before his sessions.
But Tony's too concerned with other matters to notice Dr. Melfi's flexible cocktail hour. Richie and Junior have been using their garbage routes to sell coke, despite Tony's warnings that this could bring the DEA and FBI down on everybody's heads. Finally Tony's taken as much insubordination from Richie as he can stand, and screams at him, "I fuckin' hate the way you make me ride you!" But as Richie sees it, Tony's eating alone and he's going to have to do something about it.
Speaking of eating alone: Junior has about had it with house arrest. Desirous of company more stimulating than Bobby Baccala's, he tries to get in touch with his old girlfriend, Roberta Sanfilippo. Junior remembers Roberta bittersweetly as "a great ass... and game as they come." But when she doesn't return his call, he settles for the companionship of Catherine Romano, an old friend from his school days. She's no Roberta, but she's game in her own way: she makes manicotti, massages his feet and doesn't mind when he falls asleep in front of the TV and snores like a band saw.
So it seems that for the time being, Junior has found a way to cope with confinement. And Tony finds a solution to boredom, too: he says "so long" to Barone Sanitation and goes back to his old haunts.
As for the Feds: let'em watch.