Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Sopranos episode guide #15: Do Not Resuscitate

US Transmission Date: 23 January 2000
UK Transmission Date: 19 October 2000

Writer: Robin Green & Mitchell Burgess and Frank Renzulli • Director: Martin Bruestle
Cast: Bill Cobbs (Reverend James, Snr), Gregalan Williams (Reverend James, Jr), Robert Desiderio (Jack Massarone), Michael Broughton (Protester), James Collins (truck Driver), Katherine Dent (Arlene Riley), Elizabeth Flax (Therapist), Sam Gray (Judge Greenspan), Timothy Huang (Doctor), Tertia Lynch (Duty Nurse), John Mariano (Ralph Giorgio), Tony Rigo (Old Guy), Laurine Towler (Surgical Nurse), Kellie Turner (Nurse’s Aide), Beatrice Winde (Funeral Guest)

Storyline: Tony visits his uncle in prison. Junior wants Tony to make peace with Livia, to kill off rumours about recent events between them. Tony refuses and demands a meeting with Bobby ‘Bacala’ Baccalieri, Junior’s representative outside the prison. Black protestors are staging a picket line protest outside a Masserone Brothers’ construction site, preventing further work. The protest is led by Reverend James Jr, aided by his father. The picket line is about the lack of black jointfitters working on the job.

Tony argues with Janice about plans to sell Livia’s house. Janice wants a friend of hers to act as estate agent for a cut-price commission. Janice visits her mother at a hospital rehabilitation unit. Livia belittles her daughter. Tony meets with Jack Massarone, who wants him to intervene against the picket line. The jointfitters’ union is under Junior’s jurisdiction, but Tony agrees to intervene. He has assisted Massarone before getting work contracts.

Bacala meets with Tony and his crew at Satriale’s Pork Store. Tony says Junior can continue to earn, but only enough to pay for his defence lawyers. Tony is taking over many of Junior’s interests. Pussy gets a steroid injection to help his back. He is driven home by Skip Lipari, a law enforcement agent. Pussy has been an informant for two years. He lies about not having met with Tony yet since returning from Puerto Rico. Skip says Jimmy Altieri’s death means nobody still suspects Pussy is a rat, but Pussy is not so sure.

Junior appears before a judge, who grants him bail on medical grounds. However Junior is placed under house arrest and made to wear an electronic bracelet at all times, to avoid risk of flight. Tony goes to Reverend James Jr’s home, but he’s out. Tony shares a soft drink and talks with Reverend James Snr before leaving. Junior and Tony meet in a doctor’s office – federal law prohibits the use of listening devices in such places. Junior says the owner of Green Grove retirement community is spreading rumours about Soprano business. At a family dinner AJ says he has to write a report about DNA for school. Tony agrees to give Janice’s friend the real estate listing on Livia’s house. Frederick Capuano goes missing. The police find his car with the job open and the keys inside. Capuano’s hairpiece lies on the road behind the car. Meadow practises her driving by taking Janice to buy marijuana in Livia’s car. Janice quizzes her niece about Livia’s hobbies. Meadow suggests music by the De Castro sisters or Mario Lanza.

Junior goes to an optometrist, accompanied by Bacala. Jack Massarone passes through the waiting room, leaving behind an envelope of cash that Bacala picks up for Junior. Janice takes Livia flowers and a recording of Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti. Mother and daughter share a happy moment. Tony and Bacala have a covert meeting. Tony says the picket line will be broken up the next morning. At dinner Carmela announces that Meadow passed her driving test. After dinner, Tony and Janice discuss their mother outside.

Livia will soon be fit enough to leave the rehab unit, but she needs a place to stay. Tony refuses to have Livia move back into her own home. He suggests she go back to Green Grove, but Janice can’t afford the fees. Tony and Pussy go to watch the picket line be smashed. Tony drives off when wannabe mobsters Matt and Sean try to approach him. Christopher leads the team of heavies who attack the protestors.

Janice visits Livia and suggests they move into Livia’s house together. But her mother wants to go back to Green Grove and has a coughing fit when Janice contradicts her. Afterwards a nurse approaches Janice, asking if the Sopranos are willing to sign a Do Not Resuscitate form for Livia. Janice and Tony argue about the DNR form, which Tony eventually agrees to sign. AJ overhears their conversation. Meadow drives AJ to visit Livia.

He asks his grandmother about her DNR form, whether it has anything to do with DNA. The next day Janice visits Livia while she is having physical therapy. Livia lets her daughter she knows about the DNR then hints she has money hidden somewhere but has forgotten its location. Junior falls in the shower and hurts his pelvis. Tony visits Reverend James Jr at home, where guests are leaving a wake for the late Reverend James Snr. Tony gives James his cut of the Masserone payoff – the clergyman was part of the scam from the start. Tony and Bacala take the injured Junior to hospital.

Mobspeak: Tony tells Bacala that Junior can keep his stripes (the title of boss). He will let Junior keep on earning (making money for the Family). Skip Lipari tells Pussy that Jimmy Altieri at the pill (died) for him. Junior’s lawyer objects to his client being characterised as a Mafioso (member of the Mafia). Junior claims Livia did not know she was setting up Tony to be popped (murdered).

Mamma Mia: In hospital Livia refuses to eat tapioca but tries to give it to Janice. She complains about the bruise on her hand from the intravenous needle. Livia says Janice could never stand herself and that’s why she ran away. Livia asks a nurse to open a window and push her out of it. The old woman then says Janice is only there because her daughter wants to take Livia’s house. Finally, she breaks down sobbing: ‘I gave my life to my children on a silver platter.’ Several days later Livia and Janice actually bond for a while when Janice brings her mother fresh flowers and Italian classical music. Janice tries to persuade Livia to move back home but the contrary old crone now wants to go back to Green Grove. She says its not that bad and they give you fresh towels every day. When Janice raises objections, Livia has a coughing fit. AJ tells his grandmother about Janice trying to get Tony to sign the DNR form. Livia tells Janice what she knows, then hints about having money but forgetting where it is. The implication is clear – if Janice wants the money, she’ll have to keep Livia alive to get it. Livia phones Carmela to say she will leave all her money to her grandchildren. She tries to seek help about Janice but Carmela hangs up.

Bright Lights, Baked Ziti: Livia picks at lunch in hospital but refuses to eat tapioca, requesting strawberry ice cream instead. Tony describes the obese Bacala as a Calzone with legs and later suggests he start eating more salads. At dinner the Sopranos have salad, meat and macaroni with cheese. At a subsequent dinner they have sausages and rice with salad. Tony jokes about Janice being a vegetarian. Livia nearly chokes on a cookie. When Tony and Janice argue about Livia’s DNR form, AJ is scooping ice cream into a bowl. Livia gives him an Italian candy when he visits her later. She watches a cooking show featuring Louisiana cuisine.

Mobbed Up: Tony says Janice and Livia deserve it each other. He says them living together would be like the film ‘Whatever Happened To Baby Jane’.

Sleeping With The Fishes: Frederick Capuano, who disappears after Junior tells Tony that the director of geriatric services at Green Grove has been spreading rumours about Soprano business. No body is found but the police discover Capuano’s car and hairpiece abandoned on a roadside.

I Dream of Jeannie Cusamano: Janice sees a hospital sign warning about the dangers of rushing down stairs in case of a fire. She fantasises about pushing Livia down stairs and Livia’s head appears on the body in the warning sign.

Quote/Unquote: Bacala gets philosophical about the victor always getting the spoils, but Tony dismisses him. ‘Why don’t you get the fuck out of here before I shove your quotations book up your fat fucking ass!’ Reverend James Snr objects to talk about shit and the Bible. ‘Only shit in the Bible came out of Pharaoh’s ass when Moses parted the Red Sea.’ Janice asks Meadow what Livia is into. ‘I don’t know, negativity?’

Soundtrack: ‘Non Ti Scordar Di Me’ by Lucianno Pavarotti. ‘Mother And Child Reunion’ by Paul Simon. ‘Goodnight My Love’ Benny Goodman with Ella Fitzgerald.

Surveillance Report: Janice is pitching a self-help video concept called ‘Lady Kerouac’, about packing for the highway to a woman’s self-esteem. As a child she sold her ballet shoes to get money for amphetamines. Prior to his recent bust, Junior hadn’t been arrested since 1968. He pays his taxes and was a veteran of World War II.

The Verdict: ‘She’s still around, she’s too miserable to die.’ Janice schemes to get herself into Livia’s house and ponders matricide. Junior gets out of jail on a medical but Tony is now fully in control of the Family. The return of Junior from prison helps kick-start this season, as does the sparring between Janice and Livia. However, Tony’s problems with passing out have magically gone this episode and Dr Melfi doesn’t even get a mention. The absence of Tony’s therapy sessions leaves a hole in the fabric of the series. This episode is an improvement on the season opener, with Janice revealing herself as a real chip off the block of her mother. The best moment is when Tony and Reverend James Jr discuss the passing of the older generation. Soon they will be the elders…

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