Where's Johnny?

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Aaron: A | Grade It Now!
Uncle Jun's Clan

Elsewhere, Paulie is joining his beloved Ma for afternoon tea at an aunt's house. He's as doting as ever, and no one seems too disturbed at the fact that one of the old ladies' friends was just recently brutally murdered in her own home. I guess they must figure the Russian did it. After some chit-chat, Paulie notices that no one has been cutting the aunt's grass lately, and that gives her the opportunity to involve him in the budding landscaping-war storyline. We learn that the beaten-up gardener's name is Sal Vitro, of In Vitro Fertilization Inc (tm someone on the forums) and that he's an old acquaintance of Paulie. The old ladies all loved Sal, because he used to take their garbage out when he was done with the lawns, and as someone who has a near-vertical front yard with a half-dozen thorny rosebushes and two flights of steps to reach the street, I can totally sympathize. I hate taking out my garbage. The aunt hands Paulie Gary La Manna's business card so as to better advance the plot, and Paulie promises to resolve the situation. Then he orders Ma to eat her scones. Mmm, scones.

Brooklyn. Instead of a hip, squiggly expositional font, the show elects to go with a radio voice-over to let us know where we are. And that's appreciated, because we soon find ourselves inside a bar we've never seen before. Lorraine the Loan Shark shows up to make a collection with her Jeter-riffic boy-toy in tow, and the bartender claims to have only "most" of what he owes. Perhaps out of sensitivity to the accusations of racial insensitivity that are occasionally leveled against this show, David Chase elects to have Miss Lorraine use the N-word in the course of threatening the bartender, so that she'll better deserve the comeuppance she's about to get. Or maybe she's just supposed to be a bitch. Either way, Frank Vincent shows up with a couple of friends at this point, and things get real ugly real fast. Lorraine greets the newcomers with a fake smile, and Frankie immediately wipes that smile off her face with a backhanded slap. (Given the recent casting news, however, I'm apparently not going to be able to call him "Frankie" much longer. So there's your weekly assignment for the nickname thread.) Before Lorraine can recover from the slap, Frankie's friends wrestle her to the ground and start taping her wrists together. They also restrain Derek, who turns out not to be anywhere near as tough as he looks. That may, however, have something to do with the guns Frankie's crew keep waving around. Frankie chews Lorraine out for choosing to kick up to Little Carmine instead of Johnny Sack, and she tries to defend herself by saying that Carmine Sr. was a friend of her father's. That tactic lasts only as long as it takes Frankie to cock his gun, and then Lorraine immediately changes course: "I'll pay you, okay?" she pleads. "I'll do anything you want. I'll suck your cock, okay? I'll suck all your cocks." Oy. Lorraine hasn't had much screen time, but she's certainly made the most of it in terms of eliciting an emotional response. I actually felt for her here. That may, however, have something to do with the fact that I've watched a lot of Oz. Frankie asks Derek if Lorraine is any good, and then disdainfully observes that he's probably the one who taught her how. Heh. Frankie watches Oz, too. He places a handy telephone book against Lorraine's chest, and tells his pals that it'll help muffle the shot. Lorraine starts bawling, but he shoots her anyway. But not really, because the phone book is think enough to stop the bullet. "It your lucky day," laughs Frankie, who knew exactly what was going to happen. "Next time, there'll be no next time," he adds, before leaving Lorraine to sob on the barroom floor.

Melvoin's office. I always forget how much I like Mel, and does me proud here by cheerfully giving up his office for a mob sit-down while he heads off to work on the New York Times crossword puzzle. I'm betting he does better than Tony did with the word jumble. Anyway, I spend a significant amount of time at my day job taking the minutes at various meetings, so I know you always have to start off with a list of the attendees. In this case it's Tony, Junior, Angelo, Lorraine, and Derek. After sending out for coffee, reviewing last week's old business, and setting up the PowerPoint projector, Tony asks Angelo how he's enjoying his new freedom, and Angelo replies that he loves being back home: "It's like paradise. I eat like a pharaoh, [and I've] got my own room with cable TV." Yeah. Welcome to my world, Angelo. Nice, ain't it? But how exactly do pharaohs eat? I'd think that "Walk Like An Egyptian" pose would make it pretty hard to hold a fork. They eventually get down to brass tacks, or in this case, brass shell casings extracted from the Yellow Pages. "The problem is that Carmine never named a successor," explains Tony. Everyone thought it would be Johnny Sack, but Little Carmine's return has complicated things. "There's a lot of potential for bloodshed," adds Angelo. And that's just the way we like it, right? RIGHT? "'Potential'?" whines Derek, like he's Simon Cowell and the cute girl just got voted out. "They almost killed us!" "[Derek], men are talking here," snarls Lorraine. Hee. Angelo asks Tony if he has any suggestions, because everyone knows he's close to Johnny. "What are you asking him for?" gripes Junior. "He never had the makings of a varsity athlete." Angelo and Lorraine are obviously baffled by this non sequitur (which understandable because they're new, but someone should definitely buy them the Season 1 DVDs), but Tony waves it off and suggests they try some sort of "power-sharing" arrangement. Lorraine thinks about this, and then acknowledges that the Sopranos have had success with two bosses. "That's not all it's cracked up to be," quips Junior, who's suddenly right back on the ball. Heh. Tony thinks the Lupertazzi family should have three bosses, or, as he puts it, "a triumver...thing. Like Caesar." Johnny and Little Carmine would split things up, and Angelo would serve as a tie-breaker when needed. So does that make him President Pro Tem of the mob? Everyone agrees that this is a good idea, because it brings peace and still lets Johnny Sack make more money than he used to. Now, does anyone have new business?

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