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Thomas Smith
Thomas Smith

[S3E8] He Is Risen [REPACK]

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Even the more morally straight members of the Soprano clan can't help but snicker when Tony tosses food at Janice's oblivious narcoleptic boyfriend.

  • All Women Are Prudes: Meadow at least, since she really holds out on Jackie Jr.

  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Tony accepts that he can't do anything about Ralph killing Tracee after heeding advice from Silvio. Under The Mafia code, Tony can't move against a made man on account of Tracee having no relation to Tony, nor was she his Goomah.

  • Blatant Lies: Carmela tells Rosalie that her father is sick, as a cover for Tony not wanting to invite Ralphie over for Thanksgiving.

  • Johnny Sack tells Ralph that Tony has a Capo offer waiting for him, in an effort to force the both of them to smooth things over. The offer wasn't there because Gigi hadn't yet died to create the vacancy.

  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Tony wishes he could rid himself of Ralphie, but if he did he would lose his biggest earner. Johnny Sack also lampshades for him that Ralph would be the ideal point man for getting the Esplanade project off the ground.

  • The Can Kicked Him: Gigi Cestone dies of a heart attack while on the toilet at the Aprile crew hangout.

  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: How Tony feels about Ralph, especially after accepting advice from Silvio in his capacity as The Consigliere.

  • The Chains of Commanding: Tony never stops wearing them during the whole run of the show, but he feels them acutely during this episode as he struggles with whether to promote Ralph to Capo at Gigi's expense. Especially when Johnny Sack from New York applies his leverage.Uncle Junior: A good kid, but you never should've put Gigi in there.Tony: He's strong, a good earner, well-respected.Uncle Junior: Not by that crew. To them he's a Ghibelline coming over to butt in. They don't trust him, they undermine him. On top of that, you got Ralph now pissing in their ears. Any day you'll have a mutiny on your hands.Tony: So I take Gigi out, what kind of message does that send?Uncle Junior: That you're indecisive and unsure of yourself.Tony: Exactly. Who the fuck would I replace him with anyway?Uncle Junior: All good questions.Tony: Great, what's the fucking answer?Uncle Junior: Who says there is one? That's what being a boss is. You steer the ship the best way you know. Sometimes it's smooth, sometimes you hit the rocks. In the meantime, you find your pleasures where you can.

  • Close to Home: Tony seeing Meadow with a plate of bread stirs a Flashback of Tracee offering him a plate of bread previously. It highlights Tony's anxiety over how to handle the situation with Ralph.

  • Co-Dragons: Invoked by Tony as part of his "posturing" against Ralph. During the latter's arranged apology, Tony makes Paulie and Christopher background fixtures to better project the image of power.

  • The Consigliere: Both Silvio and even Uncle Junior take on this role to try and help Tony navigate the whole situation with Ralph and Gigi.

  • Consummate Professional: It's been hinted at all along that Dr. Kupferberg is a perfectly ethical and competent psychiatrist. Up until this point, we've only seen him take a hard stance on the problems that Dr. Melfi is bringing on herself by willingly treating a Mafia boss like Tony. Here we see him genuinely compassionate in trying to help Dr. Melfi work through her issues, particularly those stemming from her having been raped. He can switch gears to do his job as needed.

  • Continuity Nod: Tony offers to escort Dr. Melfi to her car while noting that it's dark out after a late-hour therapy session has concluded. It provokes a slight Close to Home reaction on Melfi's part.

  • Tony also reminds Johnny Sack that he previously promised not to 'stick his beak in'.

  • Date Rape: Subverted. Whatever else you might say about Jackie Jr., to his credit he does not do this to Meadow even though she has totally passed out from a combination of Ecstasy and Tequila. That he partially unbuttoned her shirt showed that he thought about it.

  • Descent into Addiction: Ralph admits to falling into cocaine addiction after his extended stay in Miami, where it was in abundance.

  • Diabolus ex Machina: Gigi's Undignified Death becomes one, as it pretty much erases the Sadistic Choice that Tony was struggling with. As much as Tony may not like it, Ralph really is the last man standing in terms of suitable candidates who can take over the Aprile crew.

  • Disposable Sex Worker: Almost every other mobster tries to urge Tony to get over Tracee's death on the basis that she was a worthless whore. Tony bristles against the suggestions since he can't forget that Tracee was almost the same age as Meadow. Also doubles as Continuity Nod.

  • Double Entendre: Tony and Gloria when they meet at her sales lot.Tony: Had my eye on ... one of these.Gloria: You have good taste.Tony: Mind if I take it for a test drive?Gloria: You have to be accompanied by a sales rep.Tony: Anybody available?

  • Double-Meaning Title: The title is a reference to Aaron, Janice's narcoleptic, evangelical boyfriend, who asks Jackie Jr. if he has heard "the good news, He is risen" (of Jesus Christ's resurrection). It also refers to Ralph being finally promoted to Capo of his crew. Perhaps also a cruder double entendre for Jackie Jr.'s nascent sexual interest in Meadow as well...

  • Drugs Are Bad: Ralph admits his coke habit hasn't been good for him, even as he uses it as a lame excuse for his deplorable behavior.

  • Drugs Are Good: Or at least Caitlin seems to think so since Ecstasy apparently helps her cope with her OCD problems.

  • Drunk Driver: Meadow in Jackie Jr.'s car, as a result of Drowning Her Sorrows combined with Jackie being neglectful of her. Fortunately, nobody gets hurt when she crashes.

  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Gigi confides in Tony that Ralphie is constantly challenging his authority as capo. It doesn't help that his placement as Capo of what had been Richie Aprile's crew is an exercise in Keeping the Enemy Close on Tony's part, as lampshaded by Uncle Junior.

  • Even Evil Has Standards: None of the mobsters think Gigi deserves to go out the way that he did.

  • Jackie Jr. has been shown to be a loathsome Jerkass since the start of season 3. But whatever negative qualities he does have, he does not force himself on an unconscious Meadow when the opportunity to do so arises.

  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Played with. Tony would never be mistaken for a true hero. However, Ralph assumes that Tony must have been doing Tracee behind his back, or at least wanted to. But Ralph doesn't understand that this was one of Tony's more genuinely human moments, where he was distressed over a girl the same age as Meadow getting brutally beaten to death with very little if any provocation.

  • Evil Mentor: Combined with Manipulative Bastard when Ralph continues to offer Jackie Jr. mob-related work, along with speaking ill of Tony in order to plant the idea in Jackie's head that he should take over as boss.

  • The First Cut Is the Deepest: Meadow is still hurting over getting dumped by Noah. She even offers it as an explanation to Jackie Jr. for why she wants to take things slower.

  • Foreshadowing: Ralph puts on bravado before Vito and Eugene, that he's not afraid of Tony. Turns out he should be.

  • Silvio asks Tony if he noticed the bags under Gigi's eyes. He then remarks, "Fucking stress is killing him!" He has no idea how right he actually is.

  • Gigi himself indicates trouble with bowel movements in the wake of lots of Thanksgiving turkey.

  • Johnny is shown to be a devoted and affectionate husband to Ginny. Ralph is shown staring a long time at Ginny from behind, not out of sexual desire but because he's taking in just how obese she is. Both together foreshadow the arc about Ralph cracking a fat joke at Ginny's expense.

  • Ralph inquires of Johnny Sack whether he can leave the DiMeo family and join the Lupertazzi family instead. Johnny coldly tells him that Carmine doesn't even know him. In the future, when Johnny tells somebody else that Carmine is eager to hear about him, you'll know that it amounts to Blatant Lies and Johnny being a Manipulative Bastard.

  • Gloria, while enjoying herself with Tony in the bedroom, calls Dr. Melfi to cancel her appointment. She has to shush Tony when he asks about wine coolers. But it's too late, for Dr. Melfi's face registers a suspicion that she overheard a familiar voice on the other end of the line. Dr. Melfi will eventually Spot The Thread.

  • The Friend Nobody Likes: By now Ralph should be wearing a sign that says this. Ralph himself even admits to Johnny Sack that everybody laughs at him behind his back.

  • Hidden Depths: Janice apparently knows more about football than Tony assumes she does.

  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Ralph gets away with Tracee's murder because of a particular interpretation of The Mafia code. It won't last though.

  • Knows a Guy Who Knows a Guy: Turns out that Uncle Junior once knew Gloria's father, who had seven daughters. It's used to highlight Tony's growing interest in Gloria.

  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Tony is asked who he plans to replace Gigi with as capo, and he looks over his options: three guys who are visibly useless, then Ralphie.

  • Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth: Ralph is elated when Tony finally promotes him to captain. However, Ralph can't help himself and presses that he wants to be sure he's becoming Capo on his own merit and not just because of the rather fortunate turn of Gigi suffering an Undignified Death. Tony replies that Ralph should focus on the money he's now going to earn, and leave it at that.

  • Never My Fault: Ralph comes up with all kinds of excuses for why the situation with Tony and Tracee wasn't his fault, including Tracee being a Disposable Sex Worker and his own Descent into Addiction.

  • Ordered Apology: Ralph offers one to Tony, on Johnny Sack's demand. Effectively becomes a Rejected Apology combined with Flippant Forgiveness when Tony simply asks "Anything else?" before going back to eating. Ralph feels dejected, especially as he didn't get the promotion to Capo that he was coveting.

  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: While discussing famous deaths on the toilet, Silvio mistakenly believes that Don Simpson produced The Simpsons.

  • Punny Title: The title has a couple of layers, from being a straight quote of Aaron's Waking Non Sequitur to being a spoilery reference to Ralph's promotion. Then there's the fact that this episode originally aired on Easter Sunday.

  • Rape as Backstory: Enough time has passed that this trope now manifests with respect to Dr. Melfi. She admits to Dr. Kupferberg that her pain from having been raped is interfering with her own ability to treat her patients.

  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Johnny Sack does his best to smooth things over between Tony and Ralph, recognizing that he needs both of them to make the Esplanade project work.

  • Riddle for the Ages: We'll never know what form the Aprile crew mutiny would have taken and what the consequences of that would have been had Gigi stayed on as capo much longer; nor will we know what chain of events would have been set in motion by Tony demoting Gigi to prevent such an eventuality. How would Gigi handle taking orders from Ralph? How would Tony's own status as The Don be affected by the major display of weakness he would have exhibited(by stripping Gigi of his captaincy and thereby admitting that he was unsure of himself)?

  • Rule of Symbolism: Tony wants even more to see Gloria again after seeing a commercial for Mercedes cars, knowing that Gloria sells Mercedes herself. The commercial itself shows manly men in Cool Shades driving the cars at well above any reasonable speed limit. The commercial itself promises "thrills" for anyone buying the cars. Doubles as Foreshadowing when Tony actually does start seeing Gloria, and the commercial itself maps out almost exactly how it will play out for Tony.

  • Sacred Hospitality: This trope gets weaponized big time during this episode. Ralph refuses Tony's offer of a drink, and the other mobsters consider it a blatant show of disrespect to Tony as the recognized boss.

  • Tony in turn revokes the invitation to Ralph and Rosalie to join them for Thanksgiving dinner. He even puts Carmela up to Blatant Lies to make it happen.

  • Even when Ralph shows up to offer his Ordered Apology, Tony simply sits at his table, barely acknowledges Ralph, continues stuffing his face and lets Ralph stand without ever an offer to sit down and eat.

  • Yet again, and when Tony finally promotes Ralph to Capo. Ralph offers to share a drink with Tony. Tony simply shakes his head and walks away. Ralph is left simmering.

  • Sadistic Choice: Tony really struggles with whether to leave the otherwise respected Gigi as Capo of the Aprile crew, even as he's being undermined by Ralph or promote a capable but very unstable Ralph. The former choice holds out the distinct prospect of a Mutiny, as Aprile's crew don't like having Gigi be a Capo over them. The second choice involves the highly uncertain question of whether Ralph will prove to be a Bunny-Ears Lawyer whose flaws Tony can more or less tolerate, or whether Ralph will escalate into The Load or The Starscream or both. Gets resolved by a Diabolus ex Machina.

  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Vito and Eugene agree with Ralph that Tony broke the rules by attacking a made guy like Ralph without sufficient cause. A Disposable Sex Worker like Tracee, who was neither related to Tony nor his Goomah, did not amount to sufficient cause. Ultimately subverted in that Tony recognizes his limits and lets the matter of Tracee drop under the advice of Silvio.

  • Shout-Out: When Tony tells Carmela to disinvite Ralphie and Ro for Thanksgiving Dinner, he references The Jetsons, stating Ralph's not going to Mr. Spacely's house for dinner.

  • Silvio references "pulling a Jack Ruby" as a way to alert Tony that Ralph will potentially be The Starscream if he's not accommodated.

  • Janice apparently once served Barry Sanders as a waitress.

  • Janice also knows that the Detroit Lions always play a game on Thanksgiving every year.

  • Tony tries to take some of the sting out of Gigi's Undignified Death by pointing out that Elvis Presley was also found dead in his bathroom. Silvio follows suit by pointing out that movie producer Don Simpson shared a similar fate.

  • Sleepyhead: Aaron, Janice's new boyfriend from her prayer group, has narcolepsy. It's a recognized disability.

  • The Starscream: Ralph starts to reveal himself as one in earnest during this episode. It first shows when he actively tries to plant the idea in Jackie Jr.'s head that he should be boss instead of Tony. He confirms it when he lets it slip to Johnny Sack that Tony "is going down."

  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: The episode concludes with Tony and Gloria making love in his boat. "The Captain" by Kasey Chambers is playing at the same time. That the lyrics are about an aging woman wanting to latch onto a man while she still can also Foreshadows Gloria's hard slide into Yandere territory.

  • Thanksgiving Episode: The episode even aired on Easter Sunday.

  • Title Drop: Courtesy of Aaron.

  • Undignified Death: Gigi Cestone suffers a heart attack while constipated on a toilet and surrounded by porn magazines. The series finale puts it best:Tony: Gigi died takin' a shit!

  • Ungrateful Bastard: Ralph felt that Tony's attack on him also amounted to a lack of gratitude for the amount Ralph brings in as a high earner.

  • Waking Non Sequitur: Aaron: "Have you heard the good news? He is risen."

[S3E8] He Is Risen


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