Episode 11 “Nobody Knows Anything”
Episode 11 kicks off in a brothel, where Tony, Paulie & Big Pussy are gettin’ their rocks off. I don’t remember seeing these guys hanging out in brothels in any other Sopranos episode. Most of the time they are either on a yacht or in a hotel room when it comes to goomar time.
For the first time since the show’s inception, Big Pussy gets thrust into the limelight. However watch this episode very carefully; unlike an episode that revolves around Christopher, we don’t see Pussy alone at home, every scene is showing him around Jimmy, Tony, or the crew. The whole issue over his back pain could really be debated all day long. I really have to call bullshit on it though, because I believe at this point that he really was wearing a wire and was looking for an excuse to get away from Tony and the guys.
This episode is the first time that The Sopranos uses the TV show “jump ahead mechanism”, where shortly after the initial brothel scene we get a title stating “Four Days Later”.
The scene featuring Big Pussy getting busted by the FBI at Jimmy Altieri’s card game is quite interesting for several reasons. First off, Pussy finds a chance and he runs out of the card game when the feds find the guns. Now, if he was talking to the feds at this point, why would he run? I have to guess that he’s afraid that they might give him away in front of Jimmy or the other guys who were at the game.
The second thing about this scene that I find interesting is that if Jimmy Altieri ends up truly being a rat, then this is where he gets popped and ends up squealing to the feds, although not once is he shown talking to the feds or wearing a wire to the viewers. After this bust though, Jimmy does spend a lot more time in custody than Big Pussy does. On a side note, I really love how the feds address the mobsters in this show when they are busting them. They always make it sound like they are old friends.
The third interesting thing about this scene is that merely four days after his back was hurt so bad at the brothel, Pussy is running down the street away from the feds. If wiseguys never run from the feds (as Junior states in the next scene) and Pussy’s back hurts so bad…well those two things just don’t add up for him to be running away from the scene. Listen to the lyrics to the song playing shortly before Pussy takes off, out of the card game, “He ran, in the slick black street looking back, over his shoulder…he ran sweating…” This is a great example of music/lyrics telling a story in a Sopranos scene. The song is called Pretty and Twisted by the band Concrete Blonde.
On a lighter subject (pun intended), it was awesome to see Junior Soprano hanging out at the Bada Bing! I think it’s the first & only time I’ve ever spotted him there.
In a twist scene, where Vin Makazian and Tony Soprano meet, Vin reveals to Tony that Big Pussy is wired for sound and talking to the feds. I really love how Tony’s hair in this scene goes from looking very regular, to all out of place, as if his hair is showing how he’s feeling. Once again we get major foreshadowing on Vin’s fate, courtesy of the bridge scenery in the background.
This scene also reminds me of The Godfather with the boats in the background as Tony stands trying to take in the information that his best friend might’ve flipped. Hear the bells going off in the distance? I think they are ringing in the fact that Vin’s life is coming close to it’s end. Once again Tony continues to treat Vin like shit and this time Vin is telling him the most important information yet.
Tony can’t accept it and he will peg the rat theory on Jimmy Altieri, the easy target who was just busted by the feds. Tony thinks Vin’s source mixed up Pussy & Jimmy (both big guys with dark hair). This leads into one of the most speculated and unanswered questions from season one; was Jimmy Altieri really a rat? Although his questioning to Tony & Junior after the bust would suggest it, it’s never confirmed to us viewers and we’ll have to go on a hunch. Do you think Jimmy Altieri was really a rat?
AJ Soprano is spotted once again wearing his Marilyn Manson t shirt. I wonder if the kid really did listen to them? We also spot Big Pussy’s “temporary wife”, once again played by a different actress than who would eventually play Angie Bonpensiero.
Ever notice that when Tony Soprano is running into a problem or a big decision, whether it’s with business or something that’s setting him of course, he tends to don a coat?
In their final moment together, Vin Makazian continues to argue and at the same time open up to Tony Soprano, as if he’s still waiting for Tony to just accept him as a friend. One of Vin’s last remarks to Tony, “Ah, you’re a prick until the end, right?”
While discussing Junior, Livia reveals to Carmela an interesting point. Livia remarks that she enjoys having him around because he actually listens to her. Livia definitely knows that she can persuade Junior and with him being the boss, she can have some effect on Tony through it. Although soon she will play dumb, in this episode she is well aware of what she is telling Junior and the effect that it will have on him.
A hiccup I spotted when Paulie walks into the Bing to discuss Big Pussy with Tony – if you look closely in the mirror you can see the camera operator. I’m guessing they didn’t have time to do too many takes on this shot. This scene also features a subtle line that always makes me laugh, no matter how many times I watch it; Tony: “He’s wearing a wire…Pussy” Paulie: “Get the fuck outta here…Our Pussy???” This scene wins my “scene of the episode” award, so the video clip is included at the bottom of this blog entry. James Gandolfini & Tony Sirico really nailed every line in this one.
Listen carefully as Paulie pulls up next to Big Pussy and beeps his car horn – it plays the theme to The Godfather movies. Do the Godfather references ever end? I don’t care, I love ’em!
You’ve gotta wonder if Big Pussy thought that Paulie knew about him wearing a wire when Paulie asks him to follow him somewhere. Perhaps the thought that he might get whacked slipped through his mind. The scene of Paulie asking Pussy to remove his clothes in the locker room is not only hilarious, but it probably gave Pussy a red flag that Paulie & Tony knew that something was up with him. This is the last time that we’ll see Big Pussy before he mysteriously disappears throughout the rest of season one. In between the original airing of seasons one & two, a lot of speculation was brought up by the fans, questioning Pussy’s whereabouts. Pussy’s final words to Paulie, “Thanks for the thought, but get out of my fuckin’ face!”
I’ve come to love the scenes of Tony & Silvio meeting out in front of the Bada Bing to discuss business, they are a Soprano’s signature! While discussing Vin Makazian & Big Pussy, Silvio denies that Pussy is a rat and Tony mentions, “That’s what they said about Gravano!” This is a reference to Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano, who happened to be the man whom helped bring down mob boss John Gotti. Is it any coincidence (by the writers) that Big Pussy’s first name is also Salvatore?
Another interesting coincidence in this episode, is that another Soprano family capo get’s busted (at the brothel) and this time it’s Raymond Curto. I have to again question whether this was Ray’s turning point to become a rat? Did he flip in the same episode as fellow capo Jimmy Altieri?
Vin Makazian is also included in that bordello bust. I’ve got to assume that this bust, along with the amount of money that Vin owed Big Pussy (referenced by Tony & Silvio outside of the Bing) would have to have been Vin’s turning point to turn suicidal. Earlier Vin admitted to Tony that the bordello was his getaway. He’s now been robbed of one of his only vice’s. I find it quite ironic that he simply went to the bordello to relax (not to sleep with the women, as he also told Tony during this episode) and he get’s arrested for just being there.
In a chilling scene, we see Vin don his detective badge one last time, shortly before he plummet’s himself off of the Donald Goodkind Bridge (Route 1 Bridge). This would be the first successful suicide to take place on The Sopranos. In regular Sopranos fashion, we’re not 100% sure exactly as to why Vin offs himself, besides the money he owes and the brothel bust. After his body crashes into the water, we are shown a shot of the bridge one more time.
AJ is spotted wearing a second Marily Manson t shirt this episode! That’s a brand new Soprano’s record for Marilyn Manson t shirts spotted in one episode. Tony Soprano let’s us in on an interesting outlook of his, when Meadow & AJ question bordelos and sex, “You see, out there it’s the 1990’s, but in this house, it’s 1954!”
During a pivotal meeting with Junior, Livia Soprano makes a great reference to Johnny Sack, “that snake from Manhattan!” It’s interesting watching this scene over, between Livia & Junior Soprano, knowing that the feds are recording them and this is the conversation that Tony will hear a couple of episodes from now. It’s the final straw that sends Junior over the edge to make a move on Tony. If Livia Soprano hadn’t opened her mouth up about Tony’s capos and visitors to Green Grove, I have to wonder if Junior wouldn’t have made an attempt on Tony.
It seems awfully obvious that Jimmy Altieri has flipped when he visits Tony at his home, right after being released by the feds. Jimmy mentions the dead Columbian (the hit from the beginning of “A Hit Is A Hit”), the pool table that contained the guns from the bust at the beginning of this episode and back to “the Columbian money”. This scene is terrific not only for what’s being spoken, but for what is unspoken, especially through the look on Tony Soprano’s face as he starts to realize that Jimmy Altieri is a rat…or is he? I swear sometimes Tony Soprano wears his instincts right on his face.
Frustrated and in search of Big Pussy, Tony shouts out the episode title, “Nobody knows anything!”
Back at Mikey Palmice’s house we get introduced to two new characters; Mikey’s wife Jojo Palmice & also Chucky Signore, another member of Junior’s crew. This scene is one of my favorites because of how excited Mikey Palmice is about the Tony Soprano hit that Junior Soprano has finally sanctioned. Mikey is one of those characters on The Sopranos that I love to hate.
Perhaps some famous last words, a quote that I always remembered, spoken from Mikey to Jojo in this scene, “Tony Soprano’s on his way out and I mean as in forever!”
In an ode to Vin Makazian, we see a final shot of Tony overlooking the bridge & water where Vin killed himself. The song playing, Manifold De Amour by Latin Playboys, sounds very creepy and seems to be an omen of things to come for Tony Soprano.