Down Neck

Episode Report Card
Sars: D | 1 USERS: D
Down Neck

Dr. G hands AJ a psychological test card with a riderless horse on it. AJ grouses about having to take the tests; Dr. G tells him that the faster he answers, the faster they'll finish, and asks him about the card. AJ comments that "there's no guy" on the horse, and Dr. G asks where the "guy" might be; AJ says, "Out buying food for the horse, maybe?" Dr. G scribbles on a pad. AJ says that maybe the guy's off watching TV, maybe South Park, and then he starts blathering on about how the first episode "was supposed to be on tonight -- the one where Cartman gets abducted by aliens," blah blah blah fishcakes, and Dr. G keeps scribbling and looking vaguely distressed. AJ shuts up.

Casa Soprano. Tony says to Carmela, "You're home." Carmela, her lips frosted Jackie Susann-style and her nose buried in a book on ADD, says that if it's bad, the school will put AJ in special ed. Tony gets some juice out of the fridge, curls his lip, and asks, "Doctor say that?" Carmela says no, she read it in these books she got at the mall; the testing just started today, anyway. Tony makes fun of the book titles, but Carmela ignores him and reads aloud that fifty percent of kids diagnosed with ADD wind up in special education classes. Tony snaps that they don't even know AJ has ADD yet, and Carmela says sarcastically, "You're right. Let's just be ignorant. Why worry about anything now?" Tony accuses her of blaming him for AJ's problems. "Who said anything about that?" Carmela says, without looking up (read: "Yes, I do."). "No, go ahead," Tony grits out. "You blame me." "I blame myself," she says flatly. "For what?" Tony asks. "For what," she mocks him, and goes back to her book.

"For staying with me?" he wants to know. "I have two eyes," she sighs, again not looking up. Tony asks who they blame their daughter on, then, and lists Meadow's achievements. "This isn't going anywhere," Carmela mutters, gathering her things, but Tony keeps at her: "Like father, like son, right? What about daddy's little girl?" Carmela keeps trying to ignore him, but Tony reminds her that AJ has Carmela's Uncle Lenny -- a scumbag of some sort, I guess -- "in his gene pool, do I blame you for that?" "If it helps you," Carmela snarls, snatching up the dry cleaning and storming upstairs, her haystack hair flapping offendedly. Tony leans against the counter and scratches his head.

Cut to a shot of the words "Death Notices" visible through a magnifying glass. Hold onto your hats, folks, because you won't believe who's reading the obits -- it's Livia. No, for real. AJ finds her in the living room of Green Grove and greets her, and she exclaims over him and pinches his cheek. "Ow," AJ says. Livia shows him off to another older lady, who asks, "How come he's not in school?" "Because he was a bad boy," Livia singsongs affectionately, pinching his cheek again. "Ow!" AJ says again, yanking his head away. "Ooooh, he's a big one!" the other lady says, in the tone of voice usually reserved for veal cutlets. Still, she's got a point. Livia confides to AJ after the woman has walked away that she had a stroke, and "now half her brain is gone." "Whoa," AJ says. A real chatterbox, that AJ. Livia hoists herself out of her chair and asks, "So, what shall we do?" and suggests they play Scrabble, but AJ declines politely: "I'm kinda wiped." Livia tells him he's "too young to be so tired," and AJ tells her that he spent the morning with a psychiatrist, taking a ton of tests. "A psychiatrist?" Livia repeats, horrified. "Yeah, 'cause I got suspended and everything," AJ says, not seeing the big deal. "They sent a psychiatrist?" "Yeah," AJ says, still not understanding why she's making such a fuss, but Livia calls that "crazy" and "a bunch of nonsense" and stage-whispers that "it's nothing but a racket for the Jews." AJ shrugs, "Dad goes." Livia doesn't believe him. "Yes he does." "No he does not." "Yes he does." "To a psychiatrist?" Livia asks again, with the secretly gleeful look she gets when she has something on Tony, but she still doesn't believe AJ. More back-and-forth, Livia saying "that's ridiculous," AJ saying "I heard him and Mom talkin' about it," Livia asking why Tony goes to a shrink, AJ asking if he can take a pear from the fruit bowl, and Livia saying vengefully, "He goes to talk about his mother. That's what he's doing. He talks about me, he complains, 'She didn't do this, she did that.'" Then, as AJ bites into a pear, she starts to get really upset: "Oh, I gave my life to my children on a silver platter. And this is how he repays me." She weeps into a hankie; AJ unconcerned, eats his pear. You know, most of the time -- like, say, in this scene -- AJ acts like he needs turning towards the sun and watering; how can they think he has ADD?

Long shot of the Suburban. AJ asks, "What's that sound?" and Tony gripes that it's a flat tire, and didn't he tell AJ to clean the nails out of the driveway that morning? Cut to Tony undoing the lug nuts and preparing to jack the car up as AJ says he'd prayed for something like this to happen, and Tony telling him curtly that they spent too much on braces to stop taking him to the dentist now. While Tony tries to change the tire, AJ sits in the back seat. Um, AJ? He's trying to jack the car up, so if you aren't going to help, at least get your fat ass out of the car and stop making it heavier. But AJ doesn't get out, and AJ doesn't make a move to help his father; no, AJ thinks they should call the auto club. Tony stares at him coldly and says, "We change tires at our house. Watch and learn." AJ rolls his eyes. Tony asks him how it went with the psychologist, and AJ relates that Dr. G had him look at pictures and say things about them. Tony, trying to ascertain whether Dr. G and AJ discussed him, asks if they talked about "anything interesting." "Well, that's kinda between me and my therapist," AJ says, and Tony gives him a "whatever" look. AJ says that Dr. G said he didn't have to talk about it if he didn't want to. Tony grouses, "That's what we pay extra for at that school?" AJ makes a snitty face and doesn't say anything. Tony brings up the remark AJ made the other night at dinner, which AJ hotly denies making, but Tony reassures him that "I'm not mad, I just need to know what you meant by it." AJ again denies meaning anything. "C'mon," Tony says. AJ stares at him stubbornly for a moment; Tony stares stubbornly back. AJ relents: "Some kids at school said some stuff." "What'd they say?" "That you were in the Mafia." Tony doesn't miss a beat: "What do you think?" AJ shrugs and says he doesn't know, but he saw all the guys writing down license-plate numbers and taking pictures at Jackie's funeral: "Those were Feds, right? Just like in Godfather One." "Uncle Jackie's funeral. Right," Tony fumes, looking at the ground. AJ goes on that he found a Website with Jackie's picture on it, and it said that Jackie "ran some union that ripped off these pension things or something." A brief silence before Tony lies, "Uncle Jackie was a complicated man. But you loved him, right?" "Yeah," AJ says quietly. "You didn't see me on that Web thing, didja?" "No," AJ says; I can't really tell if he's lying. "That's right," Tony says, clearly relieved, and tells AJ to help him with the tire "so we can get the algae scraped off your teeth," and AJ smiles and gets up, finally, to help his father.

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