Episode 04 “Meadowlands”
Episode 4 of the Sopranos introduces us to the first of several Tony Soprano dream sequences that would show up throughout almost every season of the show. There are many interpretations for Tony’s dreams, especially the latter ones found in the final seasons.
Initially we realize this is a dream sequence because Hesh floats by one of Dr. Melfi’s office windows. This sequence has some hilarious moments featuring Silvio getting laid while waiting in Dr. Melfi’s waiting room while Paulie & Big Pussy just sit there waiting for their sessions with the doctor. I noticed that Big Pussy is the only one that doesn’t make eye contact with Tony. We also catch a glimpse of Jackie Aprile on a hospital bed (that’s in the middle of Dr. Melfi’s office) smoking a cigarette and he says to Tony, “Thunderstorms! You smell it? That’s rain.” And finally Dr. Melfi turns around in her chair to reveal Livia Soprano wearing a Dr. Melfi wig.
If I had to interpret this dream of Tony Soprano’s, the first thing I get right off the bat is that he’s afraid that his fellow members of the mob will find out he’s going to a psychiatrist, thus the reason he’s seeing his men outside the window and in the waiting room. The fact that Tony also sees his mother as Dr. Melfi leads me to believe that the root of his problems could be stemming from his mother (and the fact that I’ve already watched every single episode of the show). As Jackie’s heart monitor starts bleeping out of control, Tony awakens from his dream next to his goomar Irina.
Tony returns home and joins AJ in a late night game of Super Smash Bros. on Nintendo 64 (remember this season was probably shot sometime in 1998).
Getting ready to leave the hospital, Christopher is wearing a fresh neck brace. At this point Christopher is paranoid as hell. He thinks Tony is still after him. I believe this is the first time that Christopher actually calls Adrianna by her rightful name in the show (please correct me if I’m wrong on that).
Great Christopher line from this scene: “I’m sorry, I am sorry, but I got dragged out to the fuckin’ Meadowlands by neck, mock execution!” Supposedly Christopher made a number 2 in his pants when he was almost executed in the previous episode.
After the hospital, Christopher & Adrianna go to pay Brendan Filone a visit at home, only to find he was executed in his own bathtub. We can clearly now see that Mikey Palmice put a bullet straight through Brendan’s right eye.
This episode expands a little more into the lift of AJ Soprano. We see AJ beeping a kid who used to be his friend a message (“Your Mom Blows”). This leads to a brief fight and a few encounters with the kid. Eventually AJ comes out on top, even though the other kid is prominently bigger than AJ. The other kid’s father run’s into Tony Soprano at a Home & Garden type outdoor shop. It’s evident that this man is afraid of Tony, which leads to him telling his son to back down and to stop bothering AJ. In AJ’s world, the other kid was “scared”.
Next we’re taken to a rare scene showing some of the premises outside of Dr. Melfi’s offices. Tony is walking down the hall towards her for an appointment, just as Silvio Dante is leaving a Dentist’s office who is located in the same building. Tony darts into a side office to avert being seen by Silvio. Tony’s dream almost came true.
Christopher picks up Meadow from school and confronts her about whether she told Tony about the meth he gave her. Meadow tells him that she told Tony nothing about the drugs. Christopher begins to realize that it was probably Uncle Junior behind the hit.
Carmela confronts AJ about his torn shirt and AJ reveals he got into a fight at school. In this scene AJ is wearing a Marilyn Manson shirt, an obvious staple of the 90’s.
It becomes apparent that Tony Soprano is using his mother’s new living quarters to hold meetings so as not to be in the spotlight of the feds if he were to meet people in other public places. Tony meets with Vin Makazian who is a police detective. Tony wants him to do some background checks on his doctor, Jennifer Melfi. It seems Tony’s dreams are making him very paranoid of everyone around him. It also sounds like Vin owes Tony some money, he asks Tony to lay off the vig in return for the background check he’s going to perform. Sounds like a gambler to me. For the trivia nerds out there, Tony Soprano’s license plate on his maroon Chevy Suburban SUV is PG697P.
Paulie, Big Pussy, Silvio & Tony sit by Jackie Aprile’s hospital bed. The mood is gloomy. Christopher enters the room with the news on Brendan Filone…”Brendan’s brains are floating in the bathtub…message job…thru the eye”. Big Pussy to Paulie, “Moe Greene special.” Another Godfather reference on the Sopranos. Tony suspects “fuckin” Uncle Junior. Christopher calls out Mikey Palmice on this hit. Christopher is enraged and already wants vengeance. Silvio to Tony, “Our response should suit the message.” Tony tells Christopher to stay away from Mikey, he’s a made man. Paulie reveals he knows where Mikey lives, but Tony doesn’t want them to bother. Tony to Paulie regarding Christopher, “He tries to leave, you break his other neck.” Tony walks towards the elevator in the hospital and spots a man doing some construction…he borrows a staple gun.
Tony rolls up on Mr. GQ aka Mikey Palmice to deliver a message. Tony grabs a parking ticket off of Mikey’s windshield as Mikey exits the car and Tony proceeds to give him a beat down and then staple the speeding ticket to Mikey’s suit, with the staple gun. Tony emits, “This is overdue.” Tony wipes the staple gun clean of fingerprints right before dropping it in the middle of the street.
Tony confronts Junior about the situation at Sit Tite Loungette. Junior demands that Christopher starts earning for him. Tony denies the request. Junior: “I show you my hand and you slap it away?” Tony: “What’s the matter with you? Why can’t we talk like adults anymore, huh?” Junior: “Out. Next time you come, you come heavy or not at all.” Tony: “You don’t mean that.” As Tony exits, a crowd stands around staring at MikeyPalmice lying on the ground.
Vin follows Dr. Melfi on a date. He ends up pulling them over, asking her date to step out of the car, the man resists any DUI tests and Vig ends up assaulting the man and then arresting him. Vin meets with Tony to reveal what he’s found about Dr. Melfi – the most interesting thing of note to Tony being that Jennifer also sees a shrink once a week.
Now we’re introduced to the Sopranos capos during a dinner at the Bada Bing including Larry Boy Barese (Tony Darrow), Raymond “Buffalo Ray” Curto (George Loros), and Jimmy Altieri (Joe Badalucco, Jr.) as they discuss Uncle Junior and the status of Jackie Aprile on his deathbed. The capos concur that Tony Soprano should be the new boss when Jackie passes, although he might have to duke it out with Junior.
The next day Tony suffers a panic attack and collapses shortly after arriving home in his kitchen. I always find it amusing that at first Tony didn’t want to tell Carmela that his psychiatrist was a woman.
Christopher makes a stop at one of his corners to make a collection only to find that Junior Soprano’s boys already stopped by to make the collection. Junior claimed the spot. Christopher get’s enraged and beats up the dealer. Christopher: “I don’t care if they shove a scud missile up your ass, this is my corner, if you pay anyone but me, I’m coming back for your thumbs!”
While reading up on “Elder Care” at the Bada Bing, Tony spots a story on the news about the boss, Jackie Aprile. Aprile’s two year run as boss and 44 year run at life, just came to an end. Tears fill Tony’s eyes as he takes in the news. One of the strippers on the dance floor takes in the news and reveals, “I’ll never forget where I was this day.” Big Pussy, Paulie, Tony & Silvio do a toast in honor of Jackie Aprile.
Christopher comes in to the Bing pissed off at Junior’s recent actions. He starts mouthing off at Tony saying they need to make a decision while Tony is obviously very distraught about Jackie’s passing. Christopher: “This is Scarface, final scene, fuckin’ bazookas under each arm, SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND!…You don’t do something I gotta question your leadership”. The final line pushes Tony over the edge. Tony grabs Christopher by the neck and threatens to rip his head off. Tony has bigger concerns on his mind and exits the Bing to go see Uncle Junior.
Heeding Junior’s last words to him, Tony arrives back at Sit Tite coming “heavy” with a loaded gun. Tony: “I came in heavy, like you said, but I don’t wanna use it.” Tony reveals to Junior that he wants no misunderstanding on their new leader. Tony: “That’s why I want it to be you Uncle June.” Junior embraces Tony with a smile on his face. Tony’s asking price to Junior is Bloomfield and the Paving Union. Junior agrees and Tony congratulates him on his new position. Junior is now the boss of North Jersey.
Meadow reveals to AJ that their father has an “other family”. She pulls up the M.O.B. Website – Megabytes of Bad Guy. She prints out pages of the website for AJ to read. AJ falls asleep staring at a picture of himself and his father, from what looks to be a fishing trip. It seems as if AJ is starting to realize who his dad really is.
In a session, Melfi seems distant and reveals to Tony that her friend was beat up by a police officer earlier that week. Tony begins to look enraged when he realizes it was Vin. Dr. Melfi is disgusted by the cop.
At Jackie’s funeral, Silvio expresses his concern about Junior as the new boss, but Tony tells him to relax, “All the decisions come through me.” Junior is the new “lightening rod on top to take all the hits”. The Sopranos capos concur with Tony that making Junior the boss was the right decision.
As Tony stands next to Christopher & Paulie at the funeral, AJ looks on at his father with new eyes.
Meadow gives AJ a look like, “I told you so!”
Tony Soprano looks at his son AJ, and gives him a smile and a wink, as if to say that everything will be okay.