As a matter of fact, the feds did give one official Mafia boss that I know of a cooperation deal—Philadelphia’s Ralph Natale. They used him to try to nail Skinny Joey Merlino, the much younger underboss and expected future leader, and they were greatly disappointed in his performance. My buddy George Anastasia of the Philadelphia Inquirer said it pretty well: “The feds fell in love with the idea of flipping a boss before they found out he was a paper boss.”
Neither Tony Soprano nor Johnny Sack are paper bosses. I guess either one of them could go down in a war effort. Remember Paul Castellano in 1985? Carmine Galante in 1979. And going back to the 1950s, Albert Anastasia, who got it in a barber chair. I can’t recall any New Jersey bosses who got hit, but in Philly, there were two back-to-back in 1980 and ‘81: Angelo Bruno and Phil “Chicken Man” Testa.
Getting back to the show, three top Garden State wiseguys—Tony S., Silvio, and Paulie Walnuts—all had really nice observations about Johnny Sack after they’re tipped that Johnny Sack was undisputed boss. First, Tony explains the change in the man since the early days.
Tony: He used to be a pragmatist.
Silvio: Some people are better at being No. 2’s.
Paulie: You thought John had an ego before. Forget it now.
Reminds me of how Sammy Bull Gravano described his decision to back John Gotti as the new boss and Frank DeCicco as the new underboss after they all whacked Castellano: John’s ego would never allow himself to be No. 2. DeCicco was OK with it.
I liked your observation about Carmela coming off as a high-priced hooker. The first thing she brought up when they started talking hypothetically about getting back together was the $600,000 lot she wanted him to buy. And then came the other problem, Tony’s infidelity. His reply was pretty good. “My midlife crisis will no longer intrude on you any more.” Translation: I’ll be more discreet and won’t get caught.
As you mentioned Jeff, there were LOTS of great one-liners last night. Terry Winter is a master at his craft, no doubt about it. He’s certainly my first choice to write the screenplay for Murder Machine.
How about the back and forth between Tony and Chrisopher when Tony cuts his profits on the cigarettes scam in half, way before Christopher gives up his turncoat fiancee:
Christopher: I got a wedding to pay for.
Tony: Cut out the open bar.
And Silvio on still-missing Tony B.:
He’s still on a milk carton.
And Chistopher on Adriana’s colitis problems:
They got to replace her colon with a semicolon.
Speaking so much about Christopher and Adriana reminds me to mention they both gave Emmy performances last night. Adriana is finally at peace. Let’s face it. She and Christopher would not have been happy in the Witness Protection Program. By the way, there were a few unrealistic moves made by the FBI last night; the decision to let Adriana make a pitch to Christopher was the biggest. No way would they have let her do that, knowing that he could easily whack her.
And didn’t you just love the way Tony broke off with Valentina in the hospital? Like a true gentleman. That scene had me laughing out loud. “You look good. Your hair will grow back. Your skin will clear up. You will meet someone else. And I’ll pay for all the hospital bills, ad nauseum.” And then she says she’s going to kill herself, and his cell phone rings; Tony leaves, saying, excuse me, “I got to take this.”
But Tony’s greatest moment was telling Johnny Sack to go fuck himself. He hasn’t felt this good since he confessed to Tony B. about having that panic attack. His facial expressions throughout the show said it all. “This is the self in whom I am pleased.” No more need for Dr. Melfi, if last night is a true barometer. And it probably isn’t.
Oh, and about the barking and biting remarks in your absence last week. I know I didn’t mean any disrespect. And I don’t think Jerry Shargel meant any, either.