Unidentified Black Male
The Sopranos | Season 5 | Episode 9

Unidentified Black Male

TV-MA | 59 MIN

Written by: Matthew Weiner and Terence Winter
Directed by: Tim Van Patten

"I thought I was smart and that's why I bumped him up and protect him. Turns out I'm still just a fucking robot to my own pussy-ass weakness."

On a sweltering afternoon, the two Tonys are watching a Mets game on the tube. When Tony B. goes to get a beer, Tony S. notices he's favoring his right foot. "Two black guys jumped me outside a bar," Tony B. explains. Later, when Tony S. is playing golf with Johnny Sack, he asks whether there's any news on the Joe Peeps shooting. All Johnny can offer is that "some homeless fuck saw a guy limping away" from the murder scene. Soon after that Tony suffers an anxiety attack and collapses on the tee box.

When Tony confronts his cousin with this information, Tony B. jokes that the killer might have been Long John Silver. But Tony is in no mood to laugh. "I'm bending over backwards tryin' to stay neutral," he rages, "...and you're out there like a fuckin' free agent?" Tony B. holds his ground, denying he was involved. "Even if I was," he asks, "would you really want to know?" After an uncomfortably long pause, Tony decides to let it go. He even provides Tony B. an alibi, telling Johnny - who's coming ever closer to declaring war on Little Carmine - that his cousin was with him upstate the night Peeps was killed.

In addition, Tony gives Tony B. a boost up the career ladder. He's always felt guilty for being absent from the heist that sent Tony B. to prison - word is Tony was jumped by two black guys that night and ended up in the emergency room instead of at the job - and wants to make it up to him. So he gives Tony B. stewardship of a casino "on Bloomfield Avenue, over the hardware store" as well as telling him he'll try to expedite his being made. This largesse is deeply resented by Christopher, who perceives he's being pushed aside. "The guy gets out of jail," he complains to Adriana, "suddenly I'm dog shit in Tony's eye."

Christopher's not the only one who feels owed something. Carmela, convinced that her recent night with Tony "didn't change anything," informs him that she's starting divorce proceedings and will "aggressively pursue...an equitable distribution of our assets." But it won't be easy. She had a difficult time hiring an attorney because Tony had already met with most of the highly recommended ones, precluding them from representing her. When she does secure a lawyer, he's unable to find an accountant willing to investigate Tony's finances and quits the case.

Meanwhile, Meadow's relationship with boyfriend Finn DeTrolio takes its own dramatic turn. Finn is spending the summer in New York instead of at home in California, so Tony gets him a job on one of his construction sites. Although Finn is uncomfortable around the wiseguys, he manages to cope until one morning he shows up for work early and witnesses something he shouldn't: Vito Spatafore performing oral sex on a security guard. In a panic, Finn is about to leave for Mission Viejo when Meadow confronts him, accusing him of wanting to run out on her. After parsing their relationship for several hours, an exhausted Finn says, "Maybe we should get married." Meadow agrees, and soon phones Carmela with the news.

In a session with Dr. Melfi, Tony painfully addresses his own recent bouts of panic. After much coaxing, Dr. Melfi finally elicits the reason for them: on the night of the heist where his cousin was arrested, Tony wasn't really attacked by two black men. Following an argument with his mother, he'd suffered a panic attack and passed out, falling and cutting his head. Having finally gotten this lie off his chest is an emotional - and physical - relief. When Dr. Melfi likens the process to childbirth, Tony asserts his own metaphor. "Trust me," he tells her, "It's like taking a shit."