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Mambo Italiano

Paulie, breaking into a house. He skulks into the bedroom, hoists up the mattress, and starts rifling around looking for Minn's cash stash. While he's rooting around under the box spring, he sees slippers entering the room. Oops. Caught in the act, Paulie lies that he brought her something "from my ma," but Minn's completely not having it and heads for the phone to call Mama Walnuts, so Paulie tries to bribe her with the promise of a lunch date, but Minn accuses him of coming to rob her and makes a move for the Medic Alert-y device she has around her neck. Paulie tells her not to press the button. Then he grabs her. Then she starts screeching for help. Paulie grabs her harder, so she kicks him in the goolies -- nice one, Minn! -- and shuffles down the hall, still bellowing, "Heeeeelllllp!" After taking a moment to bounce off the dresser, Paulie gives chase, and they tussle in the kitchen doorway, Minn telling Paulie, "You were always a little bastard." He tells her to shut up and tackles her to the floor. They bounce off the couch. Minn keeps screaming. He whaps a pillow over her face and presses down. The way the sequence is shot reminds me to a distressing degree of Tony beating Ralph's head in, to the point where I half expected Paulie to jump up and puke in the sink afterwards, but he doesn't. He does, however, drag himself off of Minn's dead body and tromp back into the bedroom to get what he came for.

At the Bing, Paulie finds Tony in the back room. Tony's at the desk, bent over paperwork, but Paulie makes a point of going for a hug and a backslap. Then he hands Tony a fat envelope. Tony asks if he robbed a bank. Paulie shrugs, "Back in business, T," and attempts to chat Tony up about going to the track (Tony says he's "thinking about it," which I guess means he's trying to put Pie-O-My behind him). Patsy comes in to say that Johnny Sack is on the phone. Paulie snaps, "What's that prick want?" Tony doesn't know. Paulie stands there. When the hint finds no purchase in the rocky soil of Paulie's "social" "graces," Tony tells him, "Let me take this," and waits for Paulie to leave. Paulie does so…

…and promptly presses his ear to the door from outside. Heh. Tony's side of the conversation: "Hello…thought we did…all right, I'll meet ya." Paulie shudders and walks away from the door.

Soprano Manor. Tony asks Meadow if she said goodbye to her mother. Apparently, Carmela went to the store before Meadow got out of the shower. Tony sits on the stairs and watches Meadow get ready, then tells her that Carmela loves her: "You know that, don't you?" Meadow makes a "yeah, yeah" face and says she knows. She goes to sit by Tony, who asks her to cut Carm some slack: "She's goin' through a tough time right now." When Meadow asks why, Tony theorizes that maybe it's menopause or empty-nest syndrome. Shot of Meadow regarding him sadly as he mentions that he and Carm talked about it in counseling. Meadow, surprised: "You guys went to counseling?" Tony shrugs that it's part of the therapy for his panic attacks. "You? Were in therapy?" Okay, so AJ knew about Tony's therapy as far back as the first season, but Meadow didn't? That seems unlikely, but I can't recall a scene contradicting that, so…okay. Anyway, Tony thought she knew about it; Meadow's all, "Oh. My. God," but she seems proud of him. Tony goes on that maybe Carmela feels "unfulfilled" on some level, and when he uses the word "unfulfilled," Meadow starts to look sad again, and a little bit afraid, too. "Switch on Rosie O'Donnell, that's all these women bitch about," he grumps, but as Meadow continues to regard him worriedly, he admits that that's probably his fault. "It's an epidemic…right?" he concludes. We can see Meadow trying to decide if she should say what she thinks she knows. Whether she does it to spare Carmela or Tony is open to debate, but she opts for a relatively neutral, "You really think that's it?" "Yeah," Tony shrugs. Meadow's eyes fill up. Tony turns to look at her, and she looks down, bites her lip, and agrees softly that "it's probably the beginning of menopause, like you said." Tony kisses her on the forehead and tells her to have a good time and goes into the kitchen. Meadow sits a minute longer and looks worried some more. Good scene between those two, as always.

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