Fortunate Son

Episode Report Card
Aaron: B | Grade It Now!
And onward goes this thing of ours

The Fine-Grain Film of Flashbacks lets us know that we're in, well, a flashback. Young Tony sits in a car outside Satriale's Butcher Shop, listening to college football on the radio. Inside, Johnny "Pops" Soprano is hassling Mr. Satriale over a late payment. When the butcher stalls, Johnny grabs him and starts dragging him to the back room. Young Tony chooses this moment to come inside, and Johnny yells at him to get back in the car. Uncle Junior is there too, and he tells Tony to mind his father. Young Junior is seriously creepy, by the way. He also gets more lines and screen-time than Regular Junior this week, which is a shame. In the back, Johnny interrogates Satriale about the money he's owed. When it's clear there's no cash to be had, Johnny starts beating him. A terrified Satriale offers up Livia's meat delivery for free, but that doesn't stop Johnny from dragging him to a table and pinning his hand in place. As the butcher screams in agony, Johnny grabs a cleaver and does a little meat cutting of his own, before looking up to find a shocked Young Tony watching from the doorway.

Smash cut to Melfi, looking sad. "What? Your father never cut off anyone's pinkie?" jokes Tony. Melfi tells him that seeing something like that would be traumatic for anyone, never mind an eleven-year-old. "Actually, it was a rush," he tells her, and then goes back to his flashback.

Ye Olde Soprano House. Johnny is zonked out in the living room; Young Tony comes in to tell him dinner is ready. Johnny motions Tony closer, but Tony seems reluctant. Finally, he comes to stand at his father's side. Johnny chastises him for disobeying and coming into the butcher shop, but also says he's proud of Tony because most young boys "would have run like little girls." He goes on to explain that Mr. Satriale was a gambler, and his refusal to pay up was affecting Johnny's livelihood and his ability to (literally) "put food on the table." He warns Tony twice to NEVER gamble before Livia calls them all into the kitchen.

At the table, Livia brings out a roast. Johnny, ever the debonair romantic, tells the room that "she likes it with the bone standing up like that." She reaches out with a finger and tenderly places a drop of blood on his tongue. That's more than a little disturbing, but it's also beautiful imagery for their relationship. Johnny starts singing "All of Me," and while he is pretty good, I don't think he tops Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin. The kids laugh and watch them dance, and Young Janice has worse hair than Joey Pants. Young Barbara, however, is working the always-cute missing-front-teeth angle. Livia goes from hot to cold in an instant, and she shoves Johnny away. He takes it in stride, telling the kids that "the lady loves her meat" as he begins cutting the roast. Young Tony, who's been watching intently this whole time, sees the blade slicing the meat and suddenly topples to the ground, smashing his head on the table as he falls.

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