Quick cut to Tony "Boxer Rebellion" Soprano opening his front door to reveal a downtrodden Silvio. StR was 889 here, but I think that may be some sort of flashback-related Y2K bug, because the episode wasn't nearly that good. They head down into the basement for a chat, and Tony fusses with the pull chain on the overhead light while Silvio tries to convince himself that they did the right thing with Big Pussy. "I can't believe I didn't notice back in '95," complains Silvio, but Tony is only interested in complaining about Meadow taking the lamp to school. Here's something else I never thought I'd say about The Sopranos: We. Get. It. Really. Silvio wonders if Pussy was possibly flipped when he was down in Boca, but Tony knows that wasn't it. "It was the sit-down," he intones, and I guess they should have just made it a chat. Or maybe a flashback.
More OJ. Fortunately for Tony, he's the kind with no pulp. Everyone is at the Aprile crew hangout when Junior arrives with Gigi in tow. Aww, and I was looking forward to a younger, svelte Bobby Bacala. Junior bitches that Bonpensiero isn't there(o), but Tony vouches for his safety. "You think I'd hurt my only uncle?" Actually, yes. Yes, we do. And let's not even talk about Livia and the pillow. Cut to later (relatively speaking, that is. It's still 1995), and Pussy finally shows up after the meeting is over. "You better have a good excuse for why you're still alive," he's told, and he offers up something about his goomah's mother having a stroke. "Did you get laid?" Jackie asks, and all is forgiven when Pussy admits that he did.
Back to the future. "We should have known right then," says Paulie. Tony reminds him that they try to get informants back out on the street that day, so "you don't have time to think."
Vesuvio. Tony, Paulie, and Silvio swap stories about their Christmas plans with the goomahs. Paulie, by the way, is getting his a diamond from "a Jew in the city." I'd be offended, but anyone who's ever gotten engaged knows it's true, so why bother? Tony reveals that Gloria went to Morocco by herself for the holidays. "Who is she, Bada-Bing Crosby?" asks Paulie. Snerk. "She's not one of those girls," replies Tony with pride. "She sells Mercedes. Smart. Gorgeous. Too good to be true." Foreshadowing, feeling left out with all the attention Contrivance has been getting lately, stops by and seeks comfort by devouring those two boxes of Chinese food in the fridge. They notice a girl whom they find attractive, but who I find to resemble some kind of vampire grape. There's much shock and amusement all around when they realize it's Charmaine. "Next the blind will see and the lame will walk," laughs Paulie, and even though it's not 1995 in this scene, I was still way ahead of them with that joke. She comes over to join them, and there's some strained small talk before Charmaine leans in and confides that she thinks the two guys in the corner are FBI agents. Then she cracks up laughing while the boys stare at her in disbelief. "I'm kidding!" she finally admits, and then walks away, cackling madly. Back in the kitchen, she and Artie immediately start fighting about how she'll "vilify a man behind his back and then smile in his face." Artie then performs a full-body imitation of her smiling that's almost as impressive a physical feat as Vertical Valerie the stripper's move a few scenes back. She insults his cooking, and he walks off to soothe Tony and the crew. Silvio can't let it go, though. "She's over here joking about the FBI. Since when is that funny?" I have noticed that it's been a while. Tony gets a call on his cell phone, and proceeds to write a Russian name down on his hand.