Cold Stones
"Cold Stones"
The Sopranos episode
Ep76 03.jpg
Episode no. Season 6
Episode 76
Directed by Tim Van Patten
Written by Diane Frolov & Andrew Schneider
David Chase
Production code 611
Original air date May 21, 2006 (HBO)
Guest stars

see below

Episode chronology
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"Cold Stones" is the seventy-sixth episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the eleventh of the show's sixth season. It was written by Diane Frolov, Andrew Schneider and David Chase, directed by Tim Van Patten and originally aired on May 21, 2006.

Contents

Guest starring

Episode recap

Tony and A.J./Carmela and Ro's Paris trip

Carmela discovers that A.J. was fired from his job at Blockbuster for selling promotional items and has kept this a secret for three weeks. During the heated family argument that ensues, he complains that the job did not pay enough to sustain the lifestyle to which he had become accustomed, including regular nights out in expensive New York nightclubs. Tony tells A.J. that he should be grateful to his mother because, had Tony had his way, Tony would have "knocked out all his baby teeth with one shot." A.J. responds with an obscene gesture after his parents have left the room. Later, Meadow talks to her parents about following Finn to California. Meadow bristles and dismisses Carmela's musings about what she's perceived as mounting friction between the couple. Over breakfast, Carmela discusses with Tony a trip to Paris she won at the silent auction she arranged for the Feast of St. Elzear, stating that she needs a break from her worries with the spec house and their children. Tony says he cannot accompany her because he is too busy and that "The Frogs (French) hate us (Americans).", but encourages her to take Rosalie Aprile instead.

In Paris, Carmela reacts to the surroundings with emotional intensity, unlike the more prosaic Rosalie, who exchanges telephone numbers with a local man, Michel. Over dinner, Carmela brings up Rosalie's grief over the loss of her husband and son, which they have never discussed in detail. Rosalie becomes angry that Carmela is spoiling their vacation with her morbid fascinations, but does reveal that she feels her grief is futile. Rosalie then tells Carmela she is going out with Michel, and invites her along. However Carmela decides she will walk along the Seine instead.

At home, Tony sees A.J. barely dressed, giggling and instant messaging on his computer and stares in disgust. In therapy, Tony discloses that he has been feeling hatred towards his son, feeling that A.J. is wasting his life. Tony says his father would find this hilarious, and tells her that if Carmela had not protected A.J., he would be a better person. Dr. Melfi uses this to approach Tony's personality since she sees his life as a product of his father's own brutality, taking his anger at this out on others and having a desperate need to dominate and control. Tony ignores the analysis and says he could not hit A.J. because of his small size, which he says comes from Carmela's side of the family. Melfi then points out that Tony's complaint that Carmela defended A.J. is hypocritical, as he's often complained his mother failed to protect him from his father.

At the Soprano house, Hernan and A.J. play video games. Tony then asks A.J. to join him in the garage, where he announces that he has provided him with a construction job. When A.J. makes excuses, indicating he is not interested in the job, Tony threatens to take away his car and other possessions, and to kick him out of the house. A.J. rolls his eyes at this, instigating Tony to casually smash A.J.'s windshield with a football helmet and threaten to destroy the car entirely. Tony then warns his son, "Don't put me to the test." Hours later, Carmela dreams of Adriana walking her dog, Cosette, by the Eiffel Tower. In the dream, a gendarme with an American accent asks Carmela to tell Adriana that she is dead.

Vito returns

Vito Spatafore approaches Tony at a mall while his brother, Bryan, stands guard. Vito tries to convince Tony he is not really homosexual, but that his blood pressure medication had temporarily confused him. Tony is unimpressed by this explanation and angered that Vito and Bryan have "sandbagged" him. Vito asks to buy his way back in, with $200,000 to appease Tony, and operate a business in Atlantic City involving prostitution and meth amphetamine trafficking. Tony appears willing to consider the offer, and later discusses Vito with Silvio Dante, Christopher Moltisanti and Paulie Walnuts. Silvio recommends that abandoning Vito would be the proper way to deal with the situation. Tony then relays Vito's request for consideration, and Paulie responds by silently leaving the room.

Vito has a reunion dinner out with his family in Rockefeller Center. He tells his children that he has been working as an undercover spy for the CIA in Afghanistan, as an alibi for his absence. As Vito and Marie watch their children ice skate, she asks if he will seek therapy and speak with a priest. Vito scoffs at this and recommends they have another child. Later, in a Fort Lee motel room, Vito calls an upset Jim who describes Vito as "seriously fucked up." Jim doesn't buy Vito's excuse that he missed his family and tells Vito it was the mob life that he missed. Vito admits that is true, and says he didn't want to drag Jim into his lifestyle. Jim tells Vito never to call him again, and hangs up. Later, Vito meets with Terry Doria to lend him $20,000 at 2 and 1/2 points.

Vito has to go

Tony and Phil Leotardo disagree over "no-show" jobs on a new construction project. When they meet later at the statue of Lou Costello in Paterson, Phil is extremely angry after having learned Vito is back in town, and confronts Tony about the matter. Annoyed at being called by Phil for a matter Tony perceives as none of Phil's business, Tony reiterates to Phil that Vito is his captain and that Phil should leave the situation alone. Unfazed, Phil continues his tirade while Tony walks away from the meeting. Tony later discusses the situation with Silvio and decides Vito must be whacked in order to appease Phil, who might otherwise harm their business and possibly start an unwanted war. Both agree that Carlo would be the best for the job, due to Carlo's tendency to issue blistering, public derisions of Vito's sexuality.

Phil and his wife, Patty, discuss Vito's sexuality; Patty expresses her disappointment and resentment for having a homosexual in the family. She tells Phil that Vito has to be made to face his problems squarely. Meanwhile, Vito phones Tony, who arranges a meeting at the mall the following morning, planning for Carlo to lie in wait there and assassinate him. However, Vito arrives at his motel, and upon entering his room finds Fat Dom and Gerry waiting. Phil literally comes out of the closet and watches Dom and Gerry beat Vito to death, after telling Vito he is a "fucking disgrace."

The Soprano crew learns from Bobby Baccalieri that Vito was found dead with a pool cue rammed up his colon. They all look shocked, except Carlo who states that "you have to admire (Phil) — it's not all talk with him." Patsy remarks that he wishes he had borrowed money from Vito. Terry Doria, one who actually had done so just before Vito's demise, then subtly smiles to himself. Tony takes Silvio aside and tells him that the murder is as much about Phil's defiance of his authority as it is about Vito. Tony believes Phil is sending the family a message that he can kill one of Tony's captains and Tony cannot do anything about it. Tony tells Silvio he does not want war with Phil, as it would cripple their earning capacity. He decides to hit back at Phil financially, noting that Phil has "a wire room in Sheepshead Bay."

At Satriale's, Carlo and Silvio prepare a meal. Fat Dom arrives to make a payment but declines the meal, as he must visit his daughter. Dom, who was one of the men involved in the murder, attempts to spare sympathy about Vito but then starts making crude jokes. When he insults the entire Jersey crew and implies that Carlo was involved with Vito sexually, tempers snap and Silvio viciously hits him in the head with a dustbuster while Carlo repeatedly stabs him with a cooking knife. Silvio tells Carlo to call the others and say the dinner is cancelled; they then devise a plan on how to dispose of the body. As they wait for night to fall, Tony arrives and enters despite Silvio's warning. When Tony sees what has happened, he exits the store quickly, letting Silvio and Carlo deal with it.

At the Spatafore home, Francesca and Vito, Jr. read the news article about their father's death and realize that he lied about his involvement with the CIA. Elsewhere, Vito's Thin Club photographer recognizes his picture in the paper.

Deceased

Production

  • This episode continues the trend of sleeping characters realizing a truth they had been avoiding (Carmela's dream suggests to her that Adriana is dead). In Seasons 2 and 5, Tony's dreams tell him truths about both Big Pussy working with the FBI and the need to kill his cousin, Tony Blundetto, respectively.
  • The Star-Ledger that Tony is reading in the mall contains the headline "The Corzine Era Begins," placing the events of this episode in mid-January 2006. Earlier references this season have implied that the show should be well into 2006 at this point, such as Christopher's allusion in "Live Free or Die" to the Muhammed cartoons, which did not receive coverage in the US media until January 2006, coupled with later episodes showing the feast of St. Elzear taking place (September 26) and the NFL season being under way. And of course, the episode aired in 2006.
  • Vito is wearing a University of Notre Dame hat when he meets with Tony. Later, Notre Dame Cathedral is shown in the background while Carmela is visiting Paris. (The church where the candles were lit is St. Eustache.)
  • The motel where Vito is beaten to death was filmed on location at the former Howard Johnson's motor lodge in Fort Lee, New Jersey.
  • Four alternative versions of Vito's death were reportedly shot.
  • Former series regular member Drea de Matteo reprises her role as Adriana La Cerva in this episode, this is her last appearance on the show.

References to past episodes

  • In an episode that features Carmela's philosophical musings about the vastness of time and human existence, references to past plots litter the action, letting the viewer walk through the relics of The Sopranos, just as Carmela and Ro visit those found along the Seine in Paris. Examples include: references to A.J. discovering Nietzsche before his confirmation (episode 2.07, "D-Girl"), Carmela recalling Mr. Wegler's story of Abelard and Heloise (episode 5.06, "Sentimental Education"), candles lit for Jackie, Sr. and Jackie, Jr., a dream of Adriana and Cosette, and subtle references to Richie Aprile's possibly gay son "Little Ricky," the practice of chopping up bodies at Satriale's (episode 2.12, "The Knight in White Satin Armor"), and Tony being given oral sex by a stripper as he was driving his SUV, as a similar act involving Tony and Adriana was spread around as a false rumor in a Season 5 episode, "Irregular Around the Margins".
  • The circulating light on the Eiffel Tower in Paris towards the end of the episode that Carmela sees is similar to, and possibly means the same thing as, the constant flashing, circulating light Tony sees in his comatose dreams earlier in the season.
  • Near the beginning of her trip to Paris, while taking in sights, a philosophical Carmela mentions Tony's saying "Who am I; where am I going?" when he came out of his comatose state in "Join the Club", saying that she feels the same way.
  • Carmela refers to her and Ro's plans to visit Italy ("The Knight in White Satin Armor"), which Tony explains were aborted because A.J. walked through a plate glass window. The reference to this offscreen incident alludes to the concept of parallel worlds emphasized in the season 1 episode, "College", and later in the season 6 episodes, "Join the Club" and "The Fleshy Part of the Thigh".
  • the Lynyrd Skynyrd song, "Simple Man", plays in Tony's car when he and Vito are talking on the phone. In "The Telltale Moozadell", Vito requested Adriana play Lynyrd Skynyrd at her club, the Crazy Horse.

Music

  • "Home" by Persephone's Bees plays in the beginning of the credits.
  • "As Time Goes By" from Casablanca plays through the rest of the closing credits. The city of Paris plays an important role in both Casablanca and this episode.
  • "Back In Black" by AC/DC is playing on the car radio while Tony is receiving fellatio from a stripper while driving. That song was followed immediately by Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Simple Man", as Tony speaks to Vito on the phone.
  • "Ouvre Les Yeux" by PM (from their 2000 album "Les Petits Chefs"), a French rap group from the Paris suburbs, plays during the first scene in Paris, the taxi is driving Carmela and Rosalie on the Champs-Elysees towards the Arc de Triomphe.
  • The melody to "La Vie En Rose" is hummed by Rosalie as she consoles Carmela at the Gallo-Roman baths.
  • "Knights in White Satin" by Giorgio Moroder is played while Tony is in the Bada Bing.

References


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