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The Sopranos – Season Two

Episode 14: ‘Guy Walks into a Psychiatrist’s Office’
The second season picks up where season one left off, with one “big” exception: Pussy Bompensiero finds his way home. After retreating to Puerto Rico for fear that his life was in danger, Pussy returns to find his relationship with Tony forever altered. Each man is suspicious of the other’s motives.

Tony’s “real” family has remained stable, for at least a little while. Carmela is playing the role of the dutiful wife and mother, Meadow is learning to drive, Christopher still has a problem with drugs, Livia resides in a hospital and Uncle Junior is wearing prison numbers. Bring in Tony’s sister Janice, and we have one big happy family. (Janice has arrived from Seattle to take care of Livia.)

On the business front, the guys devise a junk-bond scam to increase their cash flow. Run by Christopher, but actually led by two starry-eyed hot shots named Matt Bevilaqua and Sean Gismonte, the operation is supposed to be a legitimate looking business – until Bevilaqua and Gismonte start busting employees’ heads.

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Last but not least, a resentful Dr. Melfi blames Tony for the destruction of her practice and refuses to treat him again.

Episode 15: ‘Do Not Resuscitate’
Uncle Junior is released from prison and put under house arrest. He manages to conduct business from his doctor’s office, where even the long arm of the law can’t reach him.

In the meantime, Janice is working hard at being the favorite aunt to Meadow and preferred daughter to Livia. But, when Livia finds out that her daughter is planning on filing a “Do Not Resuscitate” order with doctors, all the schmoozing in the world wouldn’t win over mommy dearest.

Pussy’s double life is revealed (to the audience, anyway) when we find out that he has been feeding information to the Feds about Tony’s business in exchange for leniency on his heroin possession charge.

Episode 16: ‘Toodle F…ing Oo’
Meadow rebels and throws a party at her grandmother’s empty house. When the party is busted by the cops, Carmela and Tony are notified that their daughter was inebriated and that one of the underage guests overdosed. As punishment, her parents take away her Discover card for three weeks.

Janice thinks that Tony and Carmela are overreacting. That is, until she sees how the kids trashed her mother’s house. Carmela tells her to mind her own business and temporarily evicts Janice from her home. In the end, Meadow has a change of heart and decides to clean up the mess.

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Elsewhere, Jackie Aprile’s brother, Richie, is released after ten years in jail. He acts like a big shot, constantly reminding Tony of all the help he gave him back in their glory days. Tony is unimpressed. Richie also tries to rekindle some old feelings with Janice.

Meanwhile, Dr, Melfi is feeling guilty for abandoning Tony in his hour of need. Consequently, she has a nightmare about Tony having a near-fatal car accident.

Episode 17: ‘Commendatori’
Tony and the gang venture overseas to Italy to further Tony’s new car-jacking operation – an operation Uncle Junior had been running. Tony discovers that Vittorio, the head of the Italian operation that Tony is doing business with, doesn’t wear the pants in the outfit. It’s Vittorio’s sexy daughter, Annalisa, who is controls the family business.

Elements of the situation cause Tony a lot of conflict: His attraction to Annalisa confuses him, and he’s also wary of working with a woman. In the end, money is money, and he proceeds with business as usual.

Back home, Pussy’s wife is seriously contemplating a divorce. Carmela tries to convince her otherwise, because she believes in the sanctity of her marriage vows. Pussy, unaffected by his wife’s misery, is busy giving the Feds tips on Tony’s car-jacking project.

Episode 18: ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’
Adriana helps Christopher pursue his screenwriting career by enrolling him in an “Acting for Writers” class. Not big on constructive criticism, he throws his progressive manuscript in the garbage.

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Tony discovers that his father also experienced panic attacks, which shocks him at first, but later puts him at ease. However, this is just the calm before the storm. When he finds out that Janice is looking to take a loan out on his mother’s house, Tony is enraged. The situation escalates when Tony finds a skivvies-clad Richie cooking Janice breakfast.

Dr. Melfi considers taking Tony back as a patient, though her therapist strongly advises against this. She contacts Tony anyway to schedule an appointment; he declines, but later shows up at her office on schedule.

Tony passes Pussy over for a promotion, which angers Pussy and gives him a reason for ratting Tony out.

Episode 19: ‘The Happy Wanderer’
Tony and Richie bump heads again over the issue of respect. Tony begrudgingly allows David Scatino, a degenerate gambler, to play in the exclusive Executive Poker Game, even though he already knows that David owes Richie money. Tony fronts David, but in the end he owes Tony $45,000. To help pay off his debt, David gives Tony his son’s Pathfinder. Only there’s one small problem. David’s son is a good friend of Meadow’s and when Tony tries to give Meadow the SUV as a gift, she is highly offended.

Richie apologizes for disrespecting Tony’s authority. But, he is extraordinarily resentful of Tony’s being made the new Boss when Jackie was, after all, his brother. Janice fuels Richie’s jealously by telling him that he should take back what is rightfully his.

Episode 20: ‘D-Girl’
Christopher develops a taste for stardom when he meets Amy, an assistant to one of Hollywood’s most prestigious directors. Adriana encourages him to pass along his screenplay to the powers that be. In the meantime, he has a heated affair with Amy and finds out that Hollywood is just as corrupt North Jersey.

When Tony discovers that Christopher has been pursuing an alternative career in Hollywood, he gives him an ultimatum: either Christopher will devote himself entirely to Tony or he will simply become non-existent in Tony’s eyes. In accordance with Italian tradition, Christopher chooses Tony.

Later, A.J. gets caught smoking marijuana at his confirmation celebration. As his sponsor, Pussy offers to talk with him. During this heart to heart, Pussy reveals his loyalty to and affection for Tony – wearing a wire all the while.

Episode 21: ‘Full Leather Jacket’
Carmela’s dark side emerges in this episode, as she threatens a neighbor’s sister – a successful graduate of Georgetown University- to persuade her to write a letter of recommendation for Meadow, who has chosen Georgetown as her school of choice. At first polite, offering baked goods as gifts, Carmela soon gets aggressive, forcing the woman to comply.

Clearly, Carmela isn’t the only character with a mean streak. Junk bondsmen Bevilaqua and Gismonte decide that to move up in the world, they must eliminate the competition for Tony’s affections–and that competition is Christopher. They ambush Christopher on the street and critically wound him, but not before he’s able to kill Gismonte. Richie learns of this and condemns Bevilaqua, who is forced to go on the lam.

Richie senses the mounting tension in his relationship with Tony and, as a gesture of goodwill, gives Tony a jacket once worn by a famous mobster. Tony accepts the jacket, then gives it to a complete stranger. Richie catches wind of this and seethes with anger.

In the end, Tony learns of Christopher’s wounds and rushes to the hospital, stunned by what has happened.

Episode 22: ‘From Where to Eternity’
Recovery and revenge become the new focus of Tony’s gang. Christopher survives, though he is haunted by images of hell that came to him while unconscious. Among the disturbing depictions are reminders of his father’s death, images of his dead friend Brendan and corpses warning Christopher, Paulie and Tony of a particular time of day — three o’clock.
The latter detail terrifies Paulie to no end when he learns of it.

Like any good gangster, Tony immediately seeks retribution for the shooting. He receives a tip that Bevilaqua is hiding out in an abandoned amusement park nearby, and he recruits Pussy help him whack the young killer. Pussy is hesitant – knowing the FBI is watching his every move – but agrees to tag along. They find and beat Bevilaqua, then raise their guns. Tony gestures to Pussy to fire a shot. He does.

Elsewhere, Janice puts added pressure on Richie, encouraging him to make a move against Tony.

Episode 23: ‘Bust-Out’
The Bevilaqua hit could have more serious implications than Tony originally expected. The police report that a bystander saw Tony and “an accomplice” leave the scene just after the shooting. A quick decision would have to be made: should Tony go into hiding to avoid the law?

Yes, if he can get his hands on enough money to provide for Carmela and the kids.

Tony calls on compulsive gambler David Scatino to pay off his excessive poker debt. David has no choice but to sell his sporting-goods store and give the proceeds to Tony – which may not be so bad a deal, now that David has the opportunity to get the Soprano gang off his back once and for all.

Just as the proper funds are raised, however, the police inform Tony that the anonymous witness retracted his statement, leaving Tony in the clear. Conflict resolved.

Well, not quite.

Unbeknownst to Tony, Carmela has started an affair with Scatino’s brother, a contractor hired to remodel the Soprano’s home. Remodel indeed.

Episode 24: ‘House Arrest’
Too many close calls… too many cops sniffing around. Tony will have to go legit – or at least look legit. The solution? Become a nine-to-five employee of Barone Brothers Sanitation. His duties include devising gambling pools for sporting events and getting to know the blonde secretary.

Back at Dr. Melfi’s office, the vodka’s flowing like water. She’s taken to consuming several drinks a day to cope with Tony’s visits, and her own behavior is beginning to frighten her.

Uncle Junior’s life under house arrest has grown mundane, and he seeks the company of an old friend, Catherine Romano, to ease the boredom. Though romance seems to be blooming, Junior mostly takes solace in her attentiveness, and whether or not a more serious relationship is taking form, he’s finally content.

Richie, meanwhile, is deliberately disobeying Tony’s orders and selling drugs on garbage delivery routes. When Tony learns of this, a climactic resolution appears imminent.

Episode 25: ‘The Knight in White Satin Armor’
Tony has two big problems: a very disobedient Richie and a very needy, very disturbed mistress. Both must be dealt with.
Irina, Tony’s Russian mistress, is becoming increasingly attached to him, calling his home more and more often and pleading with him to come over. Finally, she threatens to kill herself to attract his attention. The attempt fails, but Tony is left feeling guilty about the incident. He offers her a hefty chunk of cash to leave him alone, and, well, money talks.

Richie, who unfortunately is not threatening to kill himself, simply won’t abide by Tony’s rules. He flagrantly disrespects Tony’s wishes and continues to peddle drugs – drawing unneeded attention to the gang.

Uncle Junior, of all people, comes to Tony’s rescue. He finally decides to side with Tony on all matters, warning him of Richie’s cruel intentions.

Richie, however, doesn’t survive long enough to deal with Tony head-on. He doesn’t survive through dinner, actually, as Janice becomes fed up with Richie’s physical abuse and sends a bullet directly through his heart as he eats.

Tony comes to her aid and has his gang dispose of Richie’s body. Fittingly, they take his corpse to the pork shop and send Richie’s remains through the meat grinders. Nice.

Janice, distraught, heads back to Seattle the next day.

Episode 26: ‘Funhouse’
With Richie now ground beef, Tony and the gang breathe a sigh of relief. They gorge themselves at two local restaurants, telling stories of their glory days.

Unfortunately, Tony consumes some tainted Indian food and develops a nasty case of food poisoning. This puts him completely out of commission, but also puts him in doubt over Pussy’s loyalty after a series of surreal sickbed dreams suggest that Pussy is indeed working for the Feds. In one such dream, a talking fish – in the voice of Pussy – reveals Pussy’s guilt. Will he soon sleep with the fishes?

Desperate, and delirious, Tony makes a last-ditch effort to discover solid evidence of Pussy’s guilt. He goes to Pussy’s house and searches for recording devices.

He finds several.

The inevitable is approaching at breakneck speed. Tony and the gang charter a boat and head out into the ocean. There, they confront Pussy head-on about his FBI connections. He breaks down and admits everything. Tony, Paulie and Silvio force themselves to murder their friend, dumping his bullet-riddled body into the water.

Tony returns home to more bad news–FBI agents found stolen airline tickets in his car, a no-no. After he’s bailed out of jail, fear sets in, and Tony worries about possible prison time. He sets himself straight, calms down and goes to see Dr. Melfi. They discuss Tony’s fear – how it rules his life – and he clearly disagrees with her.

Tony then arrives at Meadow’s high-school graduation, where we learn that Christopher is receiving an impressive bump up on the Gangland totem pole. All are happy, except for those who are curious as to why Pussy was absent from such an important occasion.

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