The crashing waves and receding hairline bring us back to the present day, and Paulie joins Tony on the boardwalk. "Are we going to see your boat?" he asks nervously, clearly thinking that he might be joining Pussy at the big ocean-front time-share in the sky. Tony puts him at ease, and wistfully admits that he was just "thinking about [their] former friend." Paulie, however, claims to never, ever (ever) think about Pussy. Then he takes off his coat, dons a tiara and frilly pink tutu, and dances a quaint little jig to celebrate his transformation into this week's Exposition Fairy. It's something about Junior hijacking a truck or some such, and if this subplot mattered at all I'd probably be able to muster up the energy to rewind the tape and find out exactly what he said, but right now I just don't care. Which means you just know that the entire season finale is going to hinge on one minor detail of his monologue here, and I'll be feeling like a total idiot. The sea breeze is not at all being kind to Paulie's hair, by the way. He looks like a porcupine. With bright white quills. As they walk along the boardwalk, Paulie explains that he seems to have developed a Pants Predicament of his own. Apparently, some electrician on the Esplanade owes him a hundred thousand dollars behind some college basketball bets, but Joey Pants has the whole project held up with a strike until the contractors cough up some extra dough. I bet Joey was trying to get the Hollywood writers out on strike too. He's gotta be pissed about getting written out of The Matrix sequels. Anyway, when Tony weighs the value of Paulie's sports book (except isn't it Christopher's now?) against the "millions" from the Esplanade, his decision is predictable. "I figured you'd take his side," gripes Paulie, and Tony flashes him a "what are you gonna do?" look. Paulie softens his stance to just ask for a few off-the-books jobs for his electrician, saying, "I shouldn't get something off this Esplanade?" I didn't think Paulie even knew the word "esplanade," but then I remember that his hagiography will heavily feature the word "parthenogenesis," so I'll let it slide.
Episode Report CardAaron: B- | 581 USERS: C+
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