"And the family is well?" asks Melfi, as Tony and Carmela are once again back in couples therapy. Carmela is concerned about Meadow, who's dating "the son of some friends of the family." Carmela also apparently does know that Melfi is aware of what Tony does for a living, despite the fact that they skirted around the issue nicely back in their individual session together. Tony admits that he's "not as optimistic as [he] once was," and then Melfi asks about Noah. "They broke up," reports Carmela, "Actually, he broke it off with her." "You believe that?" asks the indignant Daddy, and Carmela snipes that it's not like Tony gave the boy a lot of choice. Please. Like Tony had anything to do with it. Everyone knows Noah was chafing Amy, if you know what I mean, and I think this time it's more likely that you do. The argument between them sort of trails off as they politely agree to disagree, and even Melfi is somewhat shocked by this turn of events. "I find it very interesting that you're able to talk about this without rancor." Hilarious shot of Tony and Carmela, neither of whom know what "rancor" means. Of course, the first thing I thought of was Jabba's pet, so maybe I should just keep quiet. ["Ewoks make great pets, too. You just have to get them spayed or -- ow! All right, already. I'm going. Geez." -- George Lucas] Tony leads us into our second subtle segue by explaining, "We're learning how to communicate."
Cut to Meadow, spelling out "oblique" on a Scrabble board. Ha! Now that's a joke even a grammarian can love. Little Lord Fuckpants, however, thinks it's the Spanish "oblee-kay," until Meadow explains that it means "indirect. Not straightforward. Come on, you're in college." My dictionary lists several antonyms for oblique, one of which is "that last reference to Jackie's educational status." Fuckpants defends himself by claiming that he's "not an English major," and after slamming New Jersey for two straight weeks, I so know better than to touch that one. And Daniel thinks he's the one Sars wants to fire. David Chase will probably be having his conversation with the unemployment guy next week. Somehow I think it's a safe bet that the phrase "get out. Now" will be uttered in that one. Jackie takes his turn to spell out "ass" on the board, and then follows it up by adding, "As in, how about giving me some," which as a come-on is not so much oblique as it is, well, weak, so to speak. Meadow demurs, citing her own illness (and she does look a bit like death warmed over here). Jackie, playing the Mr. Sensitive role to the hilt, then suggests they do some "X." I've heard that's almost as good as chicken soup. Meadow doesn't want to mix and match medicines with her Nyquil, though, and once Little Lord Fuckpants realizes there's no fun to be had here, he bolts, claiming that Meadow needs to get her rest.
Christopher and Paulie stand in the same apartment hallway set that this show has used about a half dozen times before and have the exact same conversation about Russians that they've also had before. Christopher thinks they're not all bad (though this time he fails to cite Irina as proof), but Paulie still remembers the Cuban missile crisis with anger. "That was real?" asks Christopher, "I saw that movie. I thought it was bullshit." I saw it too, and it was. When their knocking is answered, Paulie identifies themselves as "the fucking KGB," and then the Russian opens his door. Dammit. Now, see, this is what I mean about having to recap every single word on the show. The one character I glossed over last week as "The Drunk Guy" suddenly turns out to be an unstoppable killing machine, and probably the main impetus for the season finale's plot arc. Oh well. Anyway, he invites Paulie and Christopher in, and offers them a drink. At least I got the "drunk" part right. Paulie checks out the guy's entertainment center, which is indeed well stocked (although I note the conspicuous absence of God's gift to TV watchers, the TiVo), and wonders what the guy's huge universal remote control is for. Christopher, who is at least trying to be polite, collects Silvio's money, but Paulie can't resist yet another crack about Drunk Guy's Russian heritage. When told to return the universal remote to its docking station, Paulie smashes it onto the floor instead, and fisticuffs ensue. The highlights: Paulie smashing a bottle over Drunk Guy's head, Christopher getting dragged around the room on Drunk Guy's back, and Paulie finally choking the fight out of the guy with a floor lamp. Once the action subsides, Christopher is worried about the potential consequences, especially since Drunk Guy appears to be dead. Paulie remains calm, however, ripping a tapestry off the wall and ordering Chris to bring the car around. Outside, they proceed to load Drunk Guy's carpet-wrapped body into the trunk of Paulie's Cadillac, all the while glancing around for witnesses. I can't believe Cadillac passed up the opportunity to get a line added about the size of their trunks.