At a dinner party, Melfi's psychiatrist friends (including Elliot) bring up the study about sociopaths, and Melfi gets pissed. Elliot also spills the beans to the group that Melfi treats Tony Soprano. Melfi finally reads the study in question and finds that it hits a bit close to home. At Tony's next appointment, Melfi breaks off their therapeutic relationship, to Tony's dismay. Janice informs Tony that Uncle Junior's money is running out and that he'll be transferred to a state facility if they don't help him out. Tony refuses, and he's sick of everyone expecting him to pay for everything, especially Bobby.
Silvio whacks Burt Gervasi for working with New York. Phil proposes to his guys that they take out the heads of the Soprano family (Tony, Silvio, and Bobby Bacala) and absorb any guys who are left. Agent Harris tips Tony off to the plan. Tony brings some guys over from Italy to take out Phil before Phil's plans are in motion. The Italians accidentally kill Phil's goomar and her father instead of Phil. Silvio discovers that Phil has gone into hiding until his plans play out, so Tony tells his guys to be on the lookout and be careful. Unfortunately, before Bobby gets the word, he's gunned down at the train store. Silvio and Patsy take some fire at the Bing; Silvio is hit, and he's barely clinging to life. Patsy runs away through the woods and isn't seen for the rest of the episode. Tony tells Carmela to clear out of the house with the kids as a precaution. Tony, Paulie, Carlo, Walden, and Tony's giant bald bodyguard bunk down at an old house (I don't think it was Livia's, because the interior was wrong -- the kitchen reminded me of Uncle Junior's house, but surely that's been sold to pay expenses by now, so it was probably just a safe house) and wait to see what happens in the finale, like the rest of us.
Welcome back, my friends, to the show that soon will end. And now I apologize for putting an Emerson, Lake & Palmer earworm in your heads. My husband is (sadly) a big prog rock fan, and the things I have to suffer through for the sake of my marriage would amaze you! I've actually seen ELP in concert. Then again, he watched an entire season of Dancing With The Stars for me and pretended like he cared, so I guess we're even.
Anyway, it's the penultimate episode, and it opens with a man grabbing a newspaper from the end of his driveway. Tony? In a robe? Nope. Burt Gervasi (brother to Carlo, made at the same time as the late Gerry the Hairdo) is the man seeking out the news of the day. He's wearing white shoes, which is a theme of the episode, apparently. Or maybe mobsters just like to wear track suits with white shoes. Or maybe Paulie is a fashion role model for everyone. Anyway, Burt's split-level ranch is not nearly as nice as Tony's house. Silvio skulks up behind Burt and says they need to talk, and some things can't be discussed over the phone. Burt invites Silvio inside and warns him to look out for his wife's dog, because "her fucking toy terrier's a shit machine." Once they're inside, Silvio says he "talked to some of the guys about [Burt's] misgivings." Burt, walking in front of Silvio, flips through the newspaper. He doesn't notice Silvio pulling out a piece of wire, which Silvio slips around Burt's neck. After a struggle of a few minutes, and lots of broken furniture and barking from the dog, Burt dies. The camera pans down to his white shoes. I told you it was a theme.
Phil meets with Albie and Butchie in his bar. He yells into the other room and tells the guys hanging out in there to get lost, then launches into a speech about how "the Sopranos are nothing more than a glorified crew" and don't deserve to be considered in the same league with the Five Families of New York. Phil proposes that they "decapitate" the New Jersey crew and deal with whoever is left. Albie thinks that's crazy, but Butchie thinks it makes good business sense, since they won't lose so much money as it gets kicked up through the levels. Phil isn't even worried about the money; he reminds them of Coco, Fat Dom, and his brother Billy, and adds that Tony has never been to prison and didn't really earn his position. Phil thinks Tony was handed the job. He also thinks the Sopranos have no respect for the Mafia traditions. Phil's final argument is that Tony harbored Vito even after he knew Vito was gay. Phil concludes, "There's no scraps in my scrapbook." He orders his guys to make it happen.