Sopranos
Fortunate Son

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And onward goes this thing of ours

Michael Imperioli: I don't know…
Michael Knight: I've been through this sort of thing before. You're about to embark on a shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist: Christopher Moltisanti -- a young made man on a crusade to champion the cause of the junkies, the gamblers, the pizza parlors, in a world of criminals who operate above the law.
Michael Imperioli: Uh, okay. Whatever.
Michael Knight: Sorry. I think I've seen too many TV movies.

Christopher comes down a staircase to find all the bigwigs gathered in a basement somewhere. He's followed by Silvio, who informs the waiting crowd that "[Christopher] sat on one asscheek the whole way over." "He's seen too many movies, this kid," is Tony's reply, and since I've certainly logged enough mileage on that joke, I'll just take my free flight and move on. They lead Chris over to a table while Bobby Bacala -- who's pretty much always funny just by being on-screen -- fusses with the lights. Tony, Paulie, and Silvio stand on one side of the table, while Christopher and some guy I don't recognize (but he showed up with Patsy Parisi) are on the other. Tony tells them that if they have any doubts, now is the time to speak up. They don't. Tony goes on to explain that the "family" is more important than anything. "This family…comes before your wife, your children, your mother or your father." He puts a little extra emphasis on mother, by the way. While he talks, Christopher glances over and notices a raven (or possibly a crow. I'm not good with birds, and I say "raven" only because I'm just vain enough to hope it's one of the many shout-outs to my Scream recap in this episode) sitting on the windowsill. Paulie then tells them that if they ever have a problem with anyone, in the family or not, they need only tell Tony. "You stay within the family," he warns them, and then there's a bit of ceremony involving pricked fingers and flaming cards. That's actually a lot less appealing than it sounds. Chris keeps a nervous eye on the raven as Tony has them hold the burning cards and swear, "May I burn in hell if I betray my friends." I thought they were family? Anyway, it's official. After two seasons of hoping, bitching, and dreaming, Christopher is finally a made guy. But as the bird in the window flaps away, he doesn't look too happy about it.

What is it with HBO and the strippers? Come to think of it, I probably watched about five hours of HBO this week so far, and all but one of them had a stripper in it. That's got to mean something. But probably more about me than HBO. We're at a party for Christopher and the already forgotten Other Guy Who Got Made, and the strippers are dancing with giant feathers in the middle of a banquet hall while the boys eat. Paulie finds Christopher at the bar, and tells him that he'll be taking over the sports betting operation. His only responsibility will be kicking ten percent of the take to Paulie, with a six-thousand dollar weekly minimum. Paulie's only responsibility is to give his percentage to Tony, "and onward goes this thing of ours." Apparently, the Mob is some sort of pyramid scheme. The cops should really look into that. Paulie explains that, "with all the headaches in the modern world, ours are boiled down to only one. And that ain't a bad deal." Christopher professes his love for Paulie in a not-at-all-unmanly fashion, and finally seems to be enjoying his newly made status.

Cut to Tony standing with Carmine Lupertazzi, one of the New York bosses. They chat about work for a bit, but when Johnny Sack goes off to answer his cell phone, Carmine casually asks Tony if he's feeling okay. Tony thinks he means Livia, so of course he replies, "What are you gonna do?" Turns out Carmine is actually talking about Tony's "spells." Tony is appalled to discover that even the New Yorkers know about them. Carmine, however, is surprisingly supportive. He inquires about Tony's therapy, telling him that "there's no stigma attached to it anymore." He says they've been doing good business with the Sopranos for a long time, and he'd like to keep it that way, so Tony should try and "be a better friend to himself." Tony thanks him sincerely for his concern, and the scene ends with a hilarious shot of Gandolfini shoveling a slice of meat into his mouth while ogling the strippers as they bump and grind in the foreground.

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