Episode 03 “Denial, Anger, Acceptance”
Episode 3 of the Sopranos starts out with the intro we’ve gotten used to: we see the HBO title and then it goes straight into the theme song, credits and the views of Tony Soprano driving the NJ Turnpike and North Jersey.
The episode then kicks off with what was probably some sort of re-write; as the steadicam moves towards Christopher, if you look closely at his mouth, it doesn’t match what’s being spoken. Christopher’s drug use also becomes apparent in the first few scenes as him & Brendan make a getaway while doing some cocaine.
One character who we see for the first time in this episode is Rosalie Aprile. I believe this is one of the few Sopranos episodes where she’s actually married. She got close, but was pretty much single throughout the rest of the series.
One of Paulie’s first hilarious beat-down scenes includes Silvio & Paulie beating the Hasidic man’s son-in-law over the head with a bell. Love seeing the early scenes of Paulie & Silvio working together – whether it was breaking balls or busting someone up. Classic Sopranos stuff right there.
Meadow’s friend Hunter and her are spending all hours of the night studying for their SATs. This opens up an interesting storyline where Meadow & Hunter go to Christopher to ask him to help them score some drugs so they can pull a couple all nighters.
Throughout this episode we also see the current boss of NJ, Jackie Aprile, go from bad to worse. His battle with cancer starts to really consume him. The nurse that Tony brings to see Jackie in the hospital bed steals the show! I think that scene is the last time we see Jackie enjoying his life and not thinking about the cancer.
Christopher ends up giving Meadow some speed. He makes certain to warn her that she should NEVER tell her father, Tony Soprano, about the exchange.
Random sighting: a Lisa Loeb poster on Meadow Soprano’s bedroom wall. One hit wonder anybody?
Carmela gives Charmaine Bucco the same command that she gives to her maid – the sort of hand wave command that says “you work for me, get over here, right now”.
Meanwhile Tony & Artie Bucco get into a food fight – one of those scenes where Artie pisses off Tony and you think Tony is going to freak out, but he ends up laughing it off. If Tony Soprano has a weak spot for somebody, it’s Artie Bucco.
This episode introduces another underlying theme that would run throughout the Sopranos series – Charmaine & Artie Bucco arguing over accepting money and /or working with or for Tony Soprano. You always sense some sort of resentment of Tony from Charmaine and this early episode reveals possibly why.
Charmaine reveals to Carmela that at one point in their past, when Carmela & Tony had briefly broken up, Charmaine dated Tony. Whether she regrets not staying with him or if she is a woman scorn remains to be seen. However she does tell Carmela that she doesn’t regret the choices she made in her life.
Another first appearance of a character who would have major & minor implications is Tony’s Russian comare aka Irina. She has a brief scene in this episode and will continue to see Tony throughout the first two seasons of The Sopranos.
Tony leaves his “date” with Irina to help Silvio & Paulie deal with an issue with their Hasidic friend’s son-in-law. In the end, it’s Hesh who helps Tony figure out how to deal with the Hasidic man.
Favorite quote of this episode: Hasidic man: “And the Romans, where are they now?” Tony Soprano: “You’re looking at ’em, asshole.”
The scene of Hesh in his bed as Tony calls him reminds me of a theme I’m going to get into when I finally make my way to the final episodes. It’s something I want to look out for every time Tony consults with Hesh – something very interesting and kind of funny that the writers did with Hesh’s character. More to come on this.
In the end Shlomo, pisses off Tony. Tony confronts him & demands his money. Shlomo calls Tony a living gollum…a monster…Frankenstein!
Uncle Junior pays Livia Soprano a visit at her new living quarters. The scene reveals one major plot that would carry out in the first season – Livia seems to have a major pull on Junior’s mafia decisions. Junior complains about Christopher, yet Livia reminds him that Tony loves Christopher as a son, but he does need to be taught a lesson.
Brendan Filone on the other hand… Livia : “The other one, Filone…I don’t know”. She gives Junior a look and he responds with a smile as if he knows exactly what she means – have him whacked. Junior: “You’ve got a lot of sense for an old gal!”
Tony takes no pity on Jackie Aprile and can’t stand him complaining and focusing on his cancer. Tony complains to Dr. Melfi about it, exclaiming that Jackie is already gone. Tony then shifts to actually feeling bad for Jackie and adjusting the fact that his old friend will soon pass.
The episode ends with a montage of Tony & Carmela watching Meadow and her class sing at a school choir show and jumping to scenes of violence.
Two henchmen jump Christopher and when it looks like he’s about to get whacked by a gun to his head, the henchman pulls the trigger, but no bullets were in the gun. Christopher mistakes this beatdown as coming from Tony rather than Uncle Junior. He thinks that Tony found out about the drugs that he gave to Meadow.
The scene cuts back to Meadow & Hunter singing the angelic song in the choir as Tony & Carmela continue to look on.
Finally after another shot back to Meadow & Hunter singing we are taken into Brendan Filone’s bathroom, where he is resting in his bathtub with a cigarette in his hand.
Mikey Palmice walks into the scene, silencer in hand. It becomes apparent that Brendan Filone’s days are numbered.
Using a silencer, Mikey pulls the trigger on Brendan in the bathtub and the youngster is whacked.
Cut to a closeup of the cigarette Brendan was smoking, as it floats in the bloody bathtub water.
Finally, one last shot of Tony & Carmela in the audience, enjoying Meadow’s performance, one last shot of the choir and fade to black.