Mr. Ruggerio's Neighborhood

Episode Report Card
admin: B+ | Grade It Now!
The meaningless and all that's true

They've won Grammys. Tony likes to sing their songs in the car. Plus, they're still cooler than Jethro Tull ever was, so I'm just going to let Steely Dan provide this recap with all the introduction it'll ever need: The boys are back in town.

Except it turns out that was Thin Lizzy, but I've never been one to let a strict interpretation of the facts get in the way of an obscure reference, so…on with the recap!

Previously on The Sopranos: Pretty much the entire first two seasons happened. And, despite the fancy new 3-D logo the ads have all been sporting, the credits (and the song) remain the same.

Fade up on the Soprano compound (looking especially compound-like with the huge roof-mounted spotlights). After a time-lapse sunrise, a slow American Beauty-style pan up the driveway reveals Tony, in open bathrobe and boxers, fetching the paper. If his criminal activities weren't enough to convince the Cusamanos to…uh, sorry. It's just that anyone who read the Season Two premiere recap will find this instantly familiar (and if you haven't, you should. Come on, you know you want some). In fact, about the only thing that's different so far is Tony's new, shorter haircut. Alas, this probably means no bed-head jokes this year. Except anytime Silvio is onscreen. Tony checks the headline -- it's about a mob war over garbage trucks. That'll be important in Episode 2.

Cut to an FBI office somewhere, presumably in the greater metropolitan New York/New Jersey area. No matter where it's located, it's certainly a more realistic portrayal of an FBI office than the multi-tiered, full-screen video at every desk, hot secretary, and hard-wood trim monstrosity Milch tried to pawn off on us last Thursday. The agents (Skip included) sit around, listening to a tape of Tony and Pussy engaging in a meaningless conversation. They all read along intently on their transcripts. As the tape ends, they bemoan the fact that "Number 16" was unable to get anything incriminating on tape. "Number 16" was, of course, Big Pussy, and they now feel it's safe to assume that "Bonpensiero is compost." Actually, he's fish food, but why quibble over details. The boss tells them that without Pussy, they won't be able to make a RICO case on Webistics. I just figured it was because they couldn't spell it. They decide to focus on the airline tickets, but that requires Livia. "What kind of mother would testify against her own son?" asks one of the agents. Off the top of my head, I'd guess Mrs. Menendez. Or maybe Linda Tripp, assuming anyone would be willing to impregnate her in the first place. Anyway, there's more talk about Richie, and the Feds are sure he was killed over his involvement in the garbage war that's heating up. Man, these guys are clueless.

The agents continue to discuss their inability to get Tony on tape. He's apparently quite paranoid about it, even though we've never really seen too much of this behavior from him. He won't talk on the phone or in the house. Skip points out that he sometimes talks business by the pool, but he's afraid of "parabolics." Now that is paranoid. Then again, you're not paranoid if they really are out to get you. He does, however, occasionally talk in the basement, because he feels safe with the noise from all the air ducts. They decide to bug the basement.

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