The Test Dream
The Sopranos | Season 5 | Episode 11

The Test Dream

TV-MA | 50 MIN

Written by Matthew Weiner and David Chase
Directed by Allen Coulter

"I told you many times, Anthony, you were special. You had smarts, personality, leadership potential. All the prerequisites to lead young men onto the field of sport."

Tony and his goomara, Valentina have just finished having sex when she heads for the kitchen to make him something to eat. While she prepares a not-so-hearty repast of egg substitutes and toast, she tries to convince Tony to go to Antigua with her. "You're getting a goddamned divorce, " Valentina complains, "and I see you less than before." But as her tirade heats up, so does the sleeve of her kimono. It catches fire from the stove and in a matter of seconds, her hair is ablaze as well and Tony is wrapping her in a blanket, patting out the flames.

With Valentina safely hospitalized, Tony drops by Tony Blundetto's to pick up an envelope of cash. He's decided to check into the Plaza Hotel and can use the extra money. "I just gotta get a good night's sleep," says Tony. In addition to staying up all night with Valentina, he's avoiding his housekeeper. "I seriously dread going home," he continues, "That Guatemalan forgets her English whenever it suits her purposes then shows up whenever she feels like it." Tony B. only half-listens as he compulsively tidies the room and calls to his sons. "I just gotta get the twins outta here already," he explains, so Tony takes off for Manhattan.

At the Plaza, Tony gets a voicemail message from Silvio that's as chilling as it is succinct: "Angelo's gone." While the old consigliere was out buying a big wheel for his grandchild, he was shot to death by Phil and Billy Leotardo. Suddenly Tony realizes why Tony B. was so agitated. "I saw him this morning and he must've fuckin' known already," Tony says over the phone to Paulie. Tony B. and Angelo became close friends in prison and Tony B. loved the old man like a father. Fearing the worst, Tony makes several more phone calls in an attempt to locate his cousin, with no results.

Eventually, Tony settles in for the night. After availing himself of the services of an Asian call girl, he finally manages to fall into a fitful sleep. He has a long dream peopled with important individuals from throughout his life and culminating in an encounter with his high school football coach, Mr. Molinaro. In the dream, Tony points a gun at Coach Molinaro, who berates him for the company he keeps, the life choices he's made and his lack of preparedness. When Tony pulls the trigger, the gun's silencer goes limp; he pulls it again and the clip falls out. Just before he wakes up, Coach Molinaro tells him, "You'll never shut me up."

Just before dawn Tony gets a visitor. It's Christopher, who quickly gets down to business. "I'm sorry to get you up," he says, "but I knew you'd want to know right away." Tony B. shot both of the Leotardo brothers, killing Billy and sending Phil to the hospital. While Tony processes this information, Christopher can't resist stating the obvious. "I guess TB's fucked, poor guy." Tony quickly corrects him. "Poor guy?" he says angrily, "We're all fucked."

After Christopher leaves, Tony phones Carmela, waking her, telling her he's in New York and canceling a fishing trip with A.J. "I had another one of my Coach Molinaro dreams," he tells her. "Turns out I was unprepared, as usual." Carmela laughs softly and they start talking, about little things - Carmela's night out with Gab and Ro, Artie's cornball jokes and the neighbor's barking dog - while the sun starts to rise.