And even though Joey refused an offer to give his confession in the previous scene, we now learn from Carmela that he's doing penance anyway. It's morning at Chez Soprano, and Tony is sitting across the kitchen counter from her in his robe (StR=1,103). It seems that not only has Joey endowed a scholarship at Rutgers in Jackie Jr.'s name, he's also asked Rosalie to marry him. "At least she had the presence of mind to say no," adds Carmela. Heh. I'm still stuck on the scholarship thing. Can you imagine telling all your friends, "Well, I was really worried about all my student loans, but then I got the Little Lord Fuckpants Fashion Design Scholarship. Next stop, Paris!" Since we've now gone at least three minutes without subtext, AJ comes wandering in to remind his parents how much they love their own children. They indulge his sullen complaints about being overfed at breakfast, and Tony even teases him a bit about his relationship with "Blondie." AJ is dating Debbie Harry? Now that would be cool. Tony playfully pokes the kid a few times, and then scoops him up in Chokehold Of Foreshadowing II: Oxygen Deprivation Bugaloo. He holds AJ in this position for a beat longer than is strictly necessary, and then plants a tender kiss on the back of his head. Carmela looks on approvingly.
Bing Backroom. Tony sits at his desk, and for the third scene in a row, he's eating something. Make of that what you will. Joey comes in, and gives us an update on Justin's condition. It's still too early to tell, but the injury seems to be localized to the area of the brain that affects speech. He also hands over an envelope with the cash from his collections in it, thus providing yet another reminder that, even when times are tough, he's still Tony's best earner. He's a sad, melancholy earner, however, and he quickly breaks down and begins confessing all sorts of awkward personal details, like the fact that he missed Justin's seventh birthday because he was high on coke. Soon he's sobbing so hard that you can actually see the snot dripping out of his nose, and Tony is moved to get up and sit down beside him. Unsure of how to handle the situation, Tony first tries patting him on the back, and then asks if Joey has health benefits through one of the unions on the Esplanade job. It's exactly the sort of question a concerned outsider might ask in a situation like this, but it also provides a nice echo to the insurance joke Joey pulled on Mama Walnuts just a few minutes earlier. Joey pulls himself together and explains that Justin is on his stepfather's insurance, but that he'll pay whatever else might be needed. And while we're talking about echoes, here's Tony with another: Just like Boon did a few weeks ago, Tony now has to explain about his relationship with Valentina. It's exceedingly difficult to read Joey's reaction to this news, as all he does is sigh and then get up to head back to the hospital. As he walks out the door, Tony suggests that he go visit Pie-O-My as a way to perk himself back up. Joey declines because he's too busy, but does ask Tony to pass along his gratitude to Carmela, who's "been a great help." "I have bad luck, huh?" he adds. "I had to get hooked up with that miserable twat. Maybe if I met a girl like Carmela, my life could have taken a whole different trajectory." Tony looks like he feels dirty at the mere thought of Joey and his wife being together, but Joey himself seems to be strangely at peace with where he finds himself in the world. Damn, that's some fine acting.