You know, it's the little things that make me love this show. After the sight of a knife slicing meat sent Tony into therapy last week, we now cut straight to a knife slicing vegetables. And who's wielding this knife? None other than Tony's polar opposite on this show, Richard La Penna (a.k.a. Richard "Protocol" Romanus, a.k.a. the ex-husband that comes sniffing around Melfi every now and then). This guy's been with David Chase since The Rockford Files. Pretty much the entire scene here is about explaining who he is again. Basically, he's a crusader for the accurate portrayal of Italian-Americans in the media so people don't think they're all mobsters. Or maybe he's a professor. Or a doctor. Or possibly an astronaut. Who knows? Needless to say, he's not too fond of Melfi's treating Tony. It's quickly established that they got back together at about the same time that Melfi took Tony back as a patient, "and don't think the synergy hasn't escaped [him]." Or AOL Time Warner, for that matter. They banter some more about why she should "pink slip" Tony, during which Richard refers to Tony as being "alixithymic," and I defy anyone to post an accurate definition of that word to the forums, because I've looked, and there doesn't seem to be one. Do a search on Google though, and you'll get bonus points for correctly identifying where this week's writer stole it.
Cut to Melfi, taking a seat across from Tony in her office. He asks if her suit is new, which it is, and tells her she looks good, which she does. She's also thrilled he noticed. "Did you bring your log?" she asks, and I think you got the wrong show there, log lady. So does Gandolfini, whose line reading on "My log?" is a classic for the ages. Melfi prods him into talking about his breakthrough from last week by asking if he's taken any time to think. "How do people find the time?" he asks, and the delivery there was even better than the last one. At this point I was convinced that we were in for fifty-four minutes of light, frothy comedy. Do we really need to revisit the whole "never right about anything" thing again? Despite the fact that he hasn't had a panic attack since Livia died, when Melfi asks if he's happy, Tony can't even answer and has to quickly change the subject. Back to the log. When that conversational gambit goes nowhere, Melfi casually suggests bringing Carmela into their sessions. Ooh, Tony doesn't like that idea. "That's not in the future," he declares, but since it is in the spoilers (maybe), we'll just have to see how that all works out. At her prompting, he goes off on a laundry list of the problems in his life, and we slowly cross-fade to Melfi, sitting across from her own therapist.