The Sopranos/Nobody Knows Anything
From The TV IV
Starring: James Gandolfini (Tony Soprano), Lorraine Bracco (Dr. Jennifer Melfi), Edie Falco (Carmela Soprano), Michael Imperioli (Christopher Moltisanti), Dominic Chianese (Junior Soprano), Vincent Pastore ("Big Pussy" Bonpensiero), Steven Van Zandt (Silvio Dante), Tony Sirico (Paulie "Walnuts"), Robert Iler (Anthony Soprano, Jr.), Jamie-Lynn Sigler (Meadow Soprano)
Co-Starring: Doug Barron (Dr. Mop-N-Glo), Veronica Bero (Girl), Britt Burr (Traffic Cop), Johann Carlo (Bonnie DiCaprio), Ramsey Faragallah (Fed #1), Annika Pergament (Female Anchor), Bobby Rivers (Male Anchor), Michele Santopietro (JoJo Palmice), Matthew Lawler (Fed #2), Chance Kelly (Fed #3), Tim Kirkpatrick (Detective #1), Peter Bretz (Detective #2)
Big Pussy's back has been hurting him, and his problems only get worse when he is at a card game with Jimmy Altieri and they are busted by the Feds, who find a pool table full of assault rifles and arrest Pussy and Jimmy. Pussy is released within hours, which does not worry Tony until Det. Vin Makazian informs him Pussy may be wearing a wire for the Feds. Christopher says Pussy has been popping pain pills for his back, and Paulie Walnuts says his own sources say nothing is wrong with Pussy's back. Tony asks Dr. Melfi if the pain in Pussy's back may be psychosomatic, and she says it could be caused by a big secret weighing heavily on his mind.
At Makazian's favorite whorehouse, Tony berates Makazian for not having concrete proof of Pussy's betrayal, so Makazian tells Tony a story about his abusive upbringing. Tony visits Pussy at his home and reminds him of his alternatives to being a rat, but Pussy seems either dismissive or unclear on what Tony is saying. Tony confides his worries to Paulie, who agrees to personally handle the situation. He offers Pussy a free steam bath, but Pussy refuses to take off his clothes, although he claims it is on doctor's orders that he not be exposed to heat and steam.
The plot thickens when Silvio discovers Makazian may have a motivation for lying about Pussy, as he has a large gambling debt which he cannot pay off. But when Makazian is arrested in a raid on the whorehouse, he commits suicide, eliminating any chance Tony has of getting to the bottom of the situation. However, Makazian's favorite madam Debbie, perhaps his closest friend, suggests Makazian trusted Tony and would have told him the truth.
Tony's fears seem to be alleviated, however, when Jimmy gets out of prison and comes to his house. In private in Tony's basement, Jimmy clumsily asks Tony questions about his illegal activities, and Tony realizes he is wearing a wire. Tony consults with Silvio and Paulie to say Makazian made a mistake in confusing the fat, black-haired Jimmy with the fat, black-haired Pussy, but nobody knows the whereabouts of Pussy, and Tony fears the worst.
On another front, Livia has been acting out to garner sympathy from Tony by not showing up to an open house at the Soprano home. Carmela visits her at Green Grove and tells her to stop being so dramatic, but when Tony arrives later for a visit, he learns she is in aquatherapy, so he just leaves a message that he has sold her house. Livia is angered by this news, which she tells Junior when he comes to visit. She also tells him the other capos have checked their mothers into Green Grove, which makes Junior suspicious and paranoid. That night, Mikey Palmice receives word Junior has ordered a hit on Tony, and he plots for his own future.
- Walking on a Tightrope, performed by Johnny Adams: Big Pussy's back goes out at the whorehouse, and Tony and Paulie help him walk out.
- The Highs Are Too High, performed by Johnette Napolitano: The Feds bust up a card game with Big Pussy and Jimmy Altieri.
- Slide Slide, performed by The Hotheads: Bada-Bing dance music as Big Pussy gets out of prison and comes back.
- Mickey's Monkey, performed by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles: At the open house, Carmela asks Tony to move the piano, and he tries to enlist Big Pussy's help.
- My Heart's Hangin' Heavy, performed by Johnny Adams: Tony meets Vin Makazian at the whorehouse.
- Love Theme from The Godfather, composed by Nino Rota: Paulie's car horn.
- Lick It Up, performed by KISS: Bada-Bing dance music as Tony learns Makazian is dead.
- Manifold de Amour, performed by Latin Playboys: Tony looks out over the bridge and on into the closing credits.
- Vin Makazian
- Killed by: Vin Makazian
- Method of death: Jumped off Route 1 Bridge
- Ordered by: Vin Makazian
- Notes: Already miserable from his heavy gambling debts, lack of a relationship deeper than the one he has with a whorehouse madam and unhappy childhood, Makazian is pushed to the brink by his arrest in a sting on the whorehouse. He uses his badge to fight his way through a traffic jam and gets to the shoulder of the bridge, where he pins his badge to his lapel, climbs onto the railing and plunges to his death in the river below.
Total Episode Body Count: 1
The title is said twice during the episode, first by Paulie Walnuts in reference to Big Pussy's back problems when he tells Tony a doctor found nothing wrong, and at the end of the episode by Tony in regards to Pussy's whereabouts.
- The family suspects Big Pussy of wearing a wire, but Tony finds out Jimmy Altieri is definitely a rat.
- Livia's house is sold.
- Mikey Palmice receives word a hit has been ordered on Tony Soprano.
- Big Pussy: It is revealed that Big Pussy may be wearing a wire for the Feds.
- Carmela and Livia: Carmela appeals to Livia to "cut the drama," but Livia only defends herself by accusing Carmela of accusing her of doing something improper with Junior and whines about being "abandoned."
- 1x06 - Pax Soprana: Debbie strikes a nerve with Tony when she says, "Who wouldn't want to sleep with their shrink?"
- 1x09 - Boca: Livia reveals to Junior the capos have checked their mothers into Green Grove. Also later, Mikey says Tony has been disrespecting Junior by "making jokes about cunt-lappin'" and has been seeing a psychiatrist.
- 1x10 - A Hit Is a Hit: Jimmy Altieri tries to get Tony to speak about "the dead Colombian in the apartment," in reference to the hit on Gallegos.
- Paulie's Theme: This is the first time in the show Paulie Walnuts' car horn, which is custom made to play the first few bars of the Love Theme from The Godfather, is heard.
- Recurring Cameo: Actress Annika Pergament, who plays the Female Anchor in this episode, previously played a News Anchor in episodes 1x04 - Meadowlands and 1x08 - The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti and a TV Reporter in episode 1x09 - Boca.
Behind the Scenes
- Awards and Nominations: Actor John Heard was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his role as Vin Makazian in this episode, and writer Frank Renzulli was nominated for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series. Also, director Henry J. Bronchtein was nominated for a DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series' - Night.
Allusions and References
- Jonas Salk: American physician who became a household name with his development of the polio vaccine in the 1950s.
- Paulie Walnuts: Yeah, he's fuckin' like the Jonas Salk of backs.
- Sammy "the Bull" Gravano: Underboss of the Gambino crime family in the 1980s who turned state's evidence upon his arrest in 1991 and helped put his former boss and friend John Gotti behind bars for life.
- Tony: That's what they said about Gravano.
- Tony meets Vin Makazian at the docks and insults him, but Makazian complains that Tony doesn't pay him enough respect.
- Tony visits Big Pussy at home, where he is confined to a chair in his bathrobe, and reminds him that he always has options and he always has friends. Big Pussy simply says, "Yeah, I know."
- Paulie tries to treat Big Pussy to a steam bath, but Big Pussy turns him down.
- With no word from Big Pussy or Paulie Walnuts, Tony and Silvio worry Paulie may have jumped the gun. When Paulie arrives, Tony slams him up against the fridge and asks if he knows what happened to Big Pussy, but Paulie says he has not seen him.
- Tony: I'm not gonna hurt a man that I love because of some cop gossip from a degenerate fuckin' gambler with a badge, you understand me?
Vin Makazian: You know, you got an amazing ability to sum up a man's whole life in a single sentence. "Degenerate gambler with a badge," huh? You're a pisser. You're a real pisser.
- Tony: So your father tells me you're takin' up astronomy in college.
Kevin Bonpensiero: No, business.
Tony: Well, how come he keeps sayin' you're takin' up space in school?
- Tony: Could this prick have the balls to try somethin' like this?
Silvio: Hey, we're talkin' about 30 grand here! I don't even want to think about what me and you would do to remove that debt.
Tony: Wouldn't bet football.
- Meadow: It's the '90s. Parents are supposed to discuss sex with their children.
Tony: Yeah, but that's where you're wrong. You see, out there, it's the 1990s, but in this house, it's 1954.
- Tony: A.J., go see who's at the door.
A.J.: I'm eating.
Tony: Yeah, but you won't have any teeth left to eat with if you don't get up off your ass and go see who's at the door.