Mob Experts on The Sopranos, Week 11

What Was With That Dream Sequence?
Talking television.
May 17 2004 11:17 AM

Mob Experts on The Sopranos, Week 11

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Dear Jerry,

Jeff won't be with us today, so it's just us Jerrys who will dissect, decipher, and decry what we saw last night in Week 11 of The Sopranos. Before I get to what I think I saw, I'd like to correct a misstatement I made last week concerning Silvio, whom I described as a totally useless underboss. A reader contacted me and pointed out—correctly, according to the official HBO Sopranos Web site—that Silvio is Tony's consigliere, not his underboss. I should have described Silvio as a totally useless consigliere.

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As soon as I wrote that, it occurred to me that last night Silvio—bless his devotion to Tony—did provide some useful service, even though we didn't see him. I believe that was Silvio's voice we heard on Tony's voice mail at the Plaza, reporting that New York consigliere Angelo Garepe had been whacked in retaliation for Joey Peeps. I was sorry to see the old guy get it—there certainly were more culpable members of Little Carmine's group who deserved to get rubbed out before he did—but it made sense for Johnny Sack to target him. He was old, on parole, not likely to be carrying a piece—all around a not very dangerous endeavor. Reminds me of one of the early hits in the Colombo war: Black Sam Nastasi was a 78-year-old gambler who was blown away while playing cards. Like Angelo, Black Sam had no clue he was about to get it.

I know I've mentioned this before, but real wiseguys—especiallyNew Yorkwiseguys—don't generally ask mob wannabes from the Garden State to do their dirty work. They take pride in doing it themselves. And on those rare occasions when they do look for help—John Gotti did so 1989, and John Riggi (the boss of the real Sopranos, the DeCavalcantes, who did the deed) told his guys "This is a favor for John Gotti. It will put us on the map"—they would NEVER pay for the work. It's a favor. It gets recorded in the "favor bank," which can be drawn on when a reciprocal favor is needed. It would be an insult to give a wiseguy, even a wannabe wisegugy from New Jersey, money for doing it.

Before I get to the tediously looooooooooong dream sequence, I want to mention that there were, as usual, a couple of great one-liners last night. My favorite was Tony listing all the reasons why it would be great if he could snare Charmaine Bucco away from old friend Artie: "… Plus, she's a licensed notary public!" And that line came on the heels of Tony's complaints about all of his problems revolving around the comare he was screwing—in real life as opposed to his dreams, I think—Valentina, who had set herself on fire and was in the hospital. First there was the annoying "smell of burning hair" that lingered with him for days, and then, "Why the fuck does this shit always happen to me?

As for Tony's dream, well, he finally realized he has to whack cousin Tony B.; it also gave David Chase an opportunity to give a little payday to all the actors whose characters had been killed off during the years. I must have missed the episode featuring the guy sitting in the back seat of the car with Tony when Tony said he knew he was dreaming. Whomever he was, he had a nice line, that I am sure was in some way relevant to the way he died, "I got no opinion on that, one way or the other."

Where is Jeff when we need him?

So, what'd you think, Jerry?

Later,

Jerry

Jerry Capeci is author ofThe Complete Idiot's Guide to the Mafia and Jerry Capeci's Gang Land: Fifteen Years of Covering the Mafia. His weekly column about organized crime, "Gang Land," appears in theNew York Sun and at www.ganglandnews.com.

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