S5 Ep 8: Marco Polo
Written by Michael Imperioli
Directed by John Patterson
"When I first got out of the joint I thought an airbag was Paulie Walnuts."
Little Carmine is squiring Angelo Garepe and Jerry Basile, a New York made man, around his posh new home. "The house sang out to us of both Miami and Taormina, where we had our honeymoon," he explains, "We had to snap it up." Carmine didn't invite Basile over just to sip espresso and admire his "trumpay la oil" ocean vista, however. He wants Basile's allegiance and to that end he gives him a gift, a brand new, top-of-the-line washing machine. But just as Carmine is assuring Basile that "you and me are gonna do great things together," he is informed that his cabin cruiser, which is docked not far from its owner's dream house has sunk. He is clearly not happy about it.
Tony is doing his best to steer clear of the New York turf struggle. When Johnny brings up the damage he caused to Phil Leotardo's car, Tony assures him it was only because Phil owed him money. "I'm not saying you were wrong," Johnny tells him, "...but the captains loyal to me need to know I stand behind them right now." He then reminds Tony that he ruled in his favor on the issue of the racetrack money Leotardo owed him. Reluctantly, Tony agrees to bankroll the repair work on Leotardo's car, as long as it's done at Pussy's body shop - now run by Angie Bonpensiero - so that he can minimize his expenses.
Meanwhile, Carmine's camp is clandestinely courting Tony Blundetto. Over martinis at the Four Seasons' Palm Room, Garepe and Rusty Millio offer him a freelance job. When Tony B. asks what the job involves, Angelo says softly, "Somebody who needs to go." Carmine wants to retaliate for the Lorraine Calluzzo hit, but Tony B. balks. "I can't sign on right now," he tells them, because Tony Soprano "....don't want us involved in this problem over here." But it's tough for Tony B. to turn down an opportunity to earn. Although he's making decent money with the airbags, he'd like more. In addition, he finds his current position unchallenging. "I think I could be of a lot more service to you in other areas," he tells his cousin, but Tony brushes it off. "Just eat what's on your plate," he says.
On the home front, Carmela throws a 75th birthday barbecue for her father, Hugh. (The shindig is intended to be a surprise until Junior tips off the birthday boy: "At our age it's enough surprise we're still alive every morning.") Tony is not initially invited to the party, but when Hugh insists that he be there, Carmela relents. So Tony shows up, to the deep dismay of Carmela's mother. She's mortified to have her mobster son-in-law grilling "sazeech" near her "cultured Italian" friends, Dr. Russ and Lena Fegoli. Russ Fegoli, who has a Ph.D. in international affairs, is a retired "assistant to the Ambassador to the Vatican."
As the night wears on, the guests - except for Artie, who passes out in a lounge chair - depart and Tony and Carmela find themselves alone in the swimming pool. Then, it turns out, the evening has a surprise after all: Tony presses up against Carmela and begins kissing her. Resistant at first, she kisses him back and they end up spending the night together. Early the next morning, Tony, hung over, slips out of the bedroom while Carmela is still asleep.
That same morning, at Quintina Blundetto's house, Tony B. stirs his Tang, deep in thought. At the party, he found himself envying Tony's wealth and position, and his relationship with Meadow made him miss his own runaway daughter. When Tony B. got home with his sons, Jason and Justin, he was stung when Jason told him that he loved the Sopranos' house and didn't want to return to where his father lives. After a moment, Tony B. picks up his cell phone and calls Rusty Millio. "I'm in," he tells him. Shortly after that he shoots Joe Peeps and a young prostitute as they sit in Joe's parked car. But before Tony B. can pull away, Joe's car rolls forward, over Tony B.'s foot and into the car in front of it. As the car alarm blares, Tony B. manages to hobble to his own car and speed away.