S4 Ep 13: Whitecaps
Written by Robin Green & Mitchell Burgess and David Chase
Directed by John Patterson
"I have no choice but to declare a mistrial."
With the possible exception of "Hi, I'm Angie Dickinson and here's my phone number," those are the nine sweetest words Junior Soprano could ever hope to hear. And ironically, after months of complicated - and expensive - legal maneuvers, Junior ultimately gained his freedom the old-fashioned way: by threatening one of the jurors.
Junior's not the only member of the Soprano family getting a new lease on life. Fresh out of rehab, Christopher is clean and sober, with "strengths I have that I didn't even know I had." He's going to need those strengths, because Tony and Johnny Sack have taken on a huge project: eliminating Carmine. Eager to usurp the old don, Johnny offers Tony some attractive financial inducements to help him. So Tony instructs Christopher to get it done.
With Christopher managing the Carmine project, Tony can focus on domestic matters. Carmela has been sick and depressed, and Tony decides to snap her out of it by buying a house at the shore. "It's for the family," he tells her. Genuinely touched, Carmela begins to come out of her funk - until she gets a phone call from Tony's old goomara, Irina. "Tony loves me," Irina sobs, "If it wasn't for his kids, you would be out on street."
When Tony gets home, his golf clubs have been thrown onto the driveway and Carmela is fully prepared to do the same to him. "You've made a fool of me for years with these whores," she screams, "And now it's come into our home?!" All of Tony's usual tactics to mollify her are useless. He ends up moving into another part of the house, sleeping - or trying to - alone, on an inflatable bed.
The air mattress and his disintegrating marriage aren't the only things keeping Tony awake nights. Uncomfortable with the plan to kill Carmine, Tony phones Christopher and calls it off, explaining, "Our friend's a little too quick to hand off the ball." When Tony breaks the news to Johnny, the New York under boss is furious. "John," Tony says, "I still consider you a dear, dear friend." It's clear, however, that those feelings aren't reciprocated.
But, by far, Tony's most endangered relationship is with Carmela. The season ends with Tony moving out of their home and into a hotel. Where he goes from there remains to be seen.