The Ride (The Sopranos episode)

Infobox Television episode | Title = The Ride
Series = The Sopranos
Season = 6
Episode = 74
Guests= "see below"
Airdate = May 7, 2006 (HBO)
Production = 609
Writer = Terence Winter
Director = Alan Taylor
Episode list = Episode chronology


Prev = Johnny Cakes
Next = Moe n' Joe
"The Ride" is the seventy-fourth episode of the HBO original series "The Sopranos" and the ninth of the show's sixth season. It was written by Terence Winter, directed by Alan Taylor and originally aired on May 7 2006.

Guest starring

* Edoardo Ballerini as Corky Caporale
* John Bianco as Gerry Torciano
* Cara Buono as Kelli Lombardo
* Carl Capotorto as Little Paulie Germani
* Max Casella as Benny Fazio
* John "Cha Cha" Ciarcia as Albie Cianflone
* Miryam Coppersmith as Sophia Baccalieri
* Tony Darrow as Larry Boy Barese
* William DeMeo as Jason Molinaro
* Jonathan Del Arco as Father Jose
* Frances Ensemplare as Nucci Gualtieri
* Louis Gross as Perry Annunziata
* Will Janowitz as Finn DeTrolio
* Kimberly and Brianna Laughlin as Domenica Baccalieri
* Julianna Margulies as Julianna Skiff
* Angelo Massagli as Bobby Baccalieri, Jr.
* Patty McCormack as Liz La Cerva
* Arthur Nascarella as Carlo Gervasi
* Artie Pasquale as Burt Gervasi
* Lenny Venito as James "Murmur" Zancone
* T.R.Shields III as Dale Hutchins

Episode recap

In preparation of the annual Feast of Elzéar of Sabran, Paulie Gualtieri and Patsy Parisi visit their local church and learn that the new priest, Father José, wants to raise the fee provided to the parish. When Paulie refuses to pay, Father José tells them they will not be able to use the golden hat traditionally worn by the Saint, a traditional part of the statue's garb. "Fuck the hat," Paulie decides.

Christopher Moltisanti's girlfriend, Kelli, tells him that she is pregnant. She nervously blames herself and assures him she will "take care of it" by going to a clinic. Christopher instead suggests they get married in Atlantic City and "make a day of it." Chris mentions how much he wanted to have a baby with Adriana and tells Kelli that his ex is probably having some "other guy's babies now". Later, Chris enters the Bada Bing wearing a wedding ring, happy that he is married and about to be a father. He and Kelli make an offer on a large house as he anticipates starting a family.

On their way home from a trip to Pennsylvania, Christopher and Tony Soprano make an impromptu bathroom stop in what they think is a deserted parking lot. When they pull behind a building, they witness two bikers stealing crates of Château Pichon wine from a liquor store. As the two bikers go back into the store, Christopher and Tony plunder their wine, moving the crates into Tony's SUV. When the bikers re-emerge (carrying an ATM), bullets fly. As he and Tony speed away, Christopher hits one of the bikers. They celebrate their escapade at a restaurant, and although Christopher initially abstains, Tony suggests, "You should toast to your wedding at least," and he pours Christopher a glass of wine. Later, they drank more of the wine in the parking lot, while Christopher recollects the time when he tearfully told Tony that his former, deceased fiancée, Adriana, was an FBI informer.

Carmela Soprano encounters Liz La Cerva (Adriana's mother) at the feast, who claims Christopher killed her daughter, telling Carmela that the FBI told her as much. When Carmela asks Tony about it the next day, he insists that it would have been impossible for Christopher to have gotten away with killing his fiancée. While at the festival, Tony sees Julianna Skiff and waves to her, but she does not see him.

At the feast, Tony and Phil Leotardo work out a deal where they agree to split the profits for the New York distribution of a trailer of vitamins confiscated by Tony's crew. Phil's stipulation is that Johnny Sack be left out of the transaction in order to "spare John the stress of having to hear about this."

Christopher meets with Corky Caporale to pay him for the hit on Rusty Millio. Part of his payment includes some heroin. As Christopher watches Corky shoot up, he first recommends rehab to him, but then tells him he wants to "toot" a little himself. Christopher spends the night in a stoned stupor, bonding with a stray dog at the feast.

During the feast, several parishioners notice the missing gold hat and word begins to spread that Paulie scrimped on the planning of the festival. His frugal ways are blamed for an accident on a ride that left one child with a bloody nose and missing teeth and several others injured. Little Paulie Germani is left to deal with the police investigation. Janice and her baby were also on the ride, and although apparently unhurt after the accident, Janice seems to develop a neck injury after Meadow makes the suggestion that the injured may be compensated monetarily.

In Dr. Melfi's office, Tony laments about people lining up for thrill rides. "They pay money to almost puke." She asks if he's bored. Tony claims he continues to feel that every day is a gift, but "Does it have to be a pair of socks?"

Bad blood erupts between Bobby Bacala and Paulie after Bobby learns from Dale Hutchins, the ride's operator, that Paulie was responsible for withholding money needed for maintenance on the ride. Paulie has other problems, including having a biopsy to determine if he has prostate cancer. At the feast, he runs into Nucci, the aunt who raised him as her son. She points out how his cheap spending was not only wrong but also a sin to allow St. Elzear go without his gold hat.

At Christopher's belated bachelor party, held at Vesuvio's, there is noticeable lingering tension between Paulie and Bobby, who departs the dinner early. In the restroom, Tony runs into Paulie and demands he work things out with Bobby, which prompts Paulie to disclose his medical concerns to Tony.

At the feast, baby Nica Baccalieri cries, anxious to go on the tea cup ride again. As an exasperated Janice looks on, Tony placates Nica, picking her up into his arms, swinging her around as she giggles and laughs.

At home, Paulie is unable to sleep, then calls his urologist's answering service in the middle of the night. He is informed his doctor is out of town. The next morning, after seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary at the Bada Bing, a shaken Paulie visits Nucci at Green Grove. She warns him that she does not want to argue; Paulie enters her room and sits down to watch "The Lawrence Welk Show" on TV with her.

Title reference

* The episode's title refers to a faulty amusement ride at the feast on which Janice, Bobby, Jr., and Domenica were all riding during the incident. It can also be considered a reference to Christopher's and Tony's road trip to Pennsylvania, Christopher getting high, or the "ride" on which Silvio Dante took Adriana that is referenced in this episode.

Production

* The Feast of Saint Elzear takes place on September 27th.
* The episode includes a flashback scene of Christopher's emotional revelation to Tony that Adriana had been working for the Feds. That scene was originally shot as part of episode 5.12, "Long Term Parking", but had been cut to heighten the suspense surrounding Adriana's execution.
* The theme of a wind driving the characters is continued in this episode - the closing shot is of wind rustling autumn leaves as Paulie reconciles with Nucci.
*Actor Tony Sirico, who plays Paulie, cited the final scene as probably his character's favorite thing to do with his mother as a child, going on to explain that he really has no one else who loves him, which explains Nucci's sudden change in mood and silence.

Connections to prior and future episodes

* While awaiting the results of his biopsy, Paulie is seen to be awake at 3:00 am. In Season Two's "From Where to Eternity", Christopher awakes from a near death experience and tells Tony and Paulie he went to hell, saw Mikey Palmice and Brendan Filone and was told to deliver the message "three o'clock" for them. Since then, Paulie's obsession with that warning has become a theme of the show. In the final episode, "Made in America", Paulie mentions his vision of the Virgin Mary to Tony and, in the final scene, a man walks into the men's room in Holsten's at the 3 o'clock position, relative to Tony.

References to other media

* Christopher is watching the movie "Saw" at the start of the episode. Possibly in reflection of his failed 'Saw meets The Godfather' slasher film that is referred to in previous episodes (which later becomes 'The Ring meets the Godfather').
* The Feast of St. Elzear is reminiscent of a similar feast in one of the flashback sequences in "The Godfather II" where money was pinned to a statue as Vito Corleone took his first steps into becoming a mob boss. Conversely, the festival in this episode plays against the thematic background of decline for the mafia.
* In one scene towards the end of the episode, Janice Soprano and Bobby Baccalieri's toddler daughter cries because she wants to go on the ride that has since been shut down. To cheer up the little girl, Tony goes after her pretending to be a monster and then picks her up and plays with her childishly. This scene is reminiscent of the one in "The Godfather" when Vito Corleone (also a mob boss in his later years) is playing with his grandson, Anthony Corleone, in an outside garden and also pretending to be a monster of sorts.
* Following Tony and Christopher's heist of the wine (and again when Tony unloaded the wine in his basement), Tony commented that one of the bikers, with scraggly hair and a full mustache and beard, looked like "Grizzly Adams". Grizzly Adams was the title character in the 1977-1978 NBC television series "The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams".
* Christopher calls Tony "The Bad Lieutenant". The film of that name is a 1992 Abel Ferrara tale full of religious undertones and Catholic iconography similar to this episode. In the film, the unnamed Lieutenant sees a vision of Christ just as Paulie sees a vision of the Virgin Mary.
* The episode continues the use of references to Hurricane Katrina. Tony runs into Paulie in the bathroom and says "you're doing a heck of a job there, Brownie", a reference to a similar statement made by George W. Bush in to then FEMA director Michael Brown. Bush's comment is often used to sarcastically praise someone who is doing a poor job. Shortly after publicly praising Brown, many believe Bush forced him to resign.
* Upon arriving at a house that he is looking at for a potential purchase, Christopher says, "This is what I'm talking about, stately Wayne Manor" (the residence of Batman).

Music

* A live cover version of "Pipeline", performed by Johnny Thunders, plays over the episode credits.
* The song playing throughout Christopher's high is "The Dolphins" by folk artist Fred Neil.
* The polka played on accordion by Lawrence Welk during Paulie's visit to Nucci is the Norwegian traditional children's song "Hompetitten". The music was originally written by Gunnar Wahlberg and the lyrics by Alf Prøysen.
* The music playing while Christopher and Tony are driving and stealing wine is "All Right Now" by British rock band Free.
* The song played when Tony Soprano and Phil Leotardo meet at the feast is "A Chi", by the Italian singer Fausto Leali. The same song is played at the end of the episode, when Tony and Carmela Soprano join the Baccalieri at the feast.


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