|...To Save Us All from Satan's Power|
|Season 3, Episode 10 #36|
|Air date||April 29, 2001|
|Written by|| Robin Green
|Directed by||Jack Bender|
"The Telltale Moozadell"
Before meeting Paulie Walnuts on the boardwalk at Asbury Park, Tony flashes back to the winter holidays of 1995 when he first noticed Pussy was acting strangely. When Tony asks if Paulie feels guilty about murdering him on the boat, Paulie claims he does not regret it for a second and would do it again. When Tony brings the topic up again at the pork store, Silvio Dante begins having nightmares regarding Pussy. Further reminiscence is prompted when Silvio and Paulie have to find a replacement for their former friend to play Santa Claus at the Satriale's Christmas party, a tradition set up by Tony's father when he took over Satriale's to entertain and give back to the kids of the neighborhood. The mobsters at the pork store first try to get Tony to play Santa on account of his girth, but, when he refuses, they pick Bobby "Bacala" for the part. Unlike Big Pussy, who back in his day could play Santa Claus at the Christmas party to everyone's liking, Bobby's shyness and bluntness do not go well with his role. After a child swears at Bobby, Tony tells Bobby to be more cheerful.
When Tony is mulling over Pussy's betrayal and death, he remembers the time when Pussy missed a sitdown to mediate peace between Jackie Aprile and Junior Soprano he himself had previously set up in Boca Raton. Tony thinks it was the night when the FBI coerced him into cooperation after catching him selling heroin and later, at Christmas, made him wear a wire when he dressed up as Santa at Satriale's (and refused to let anybody touch his costume).
Meanwhile, Janice Soprano announces that she will cook Christmas dinner since she feels guilty about always being served by Carmela. When Janice tells Tony that her wrist is becoming hard to manage, she reminds him about her encounter with the Russian thugs who arrived to take back Svetlana's prosthetic leg. Tony adds to his Christmas "to-do" list an entry: "Janice's Russian." As a favor to Tony, a member of the local Russian mob, who launders money for him, gives Tony the name of Janice's attacker (Igor) and his place of employment (a taxi firm for which he drives a cab). The following evening, Tony and Furio get into Igor's taxi, beat him and throw him through a glass window of a mall display where the beaten Igor is later found wearing a Christmas hat and lying under a Santa's sled decoration. The following day on the news, the reporter presenting the story says a youth street gang is suspected to be responsible. When Janice sees this on television, she becomes emotional, wakes up her narcoleptic boyfriend, Aaron, and mentions that what's missing from their Contemporary Christian music song they are trying to write is the "brother concept."
At Nuovo Vesuvio, the newly separated Charmaine Bucco has started to wear revealing clothing, attracting compliments from several mob members. As Tony, Paulie and Silvio eat dinner, Charmaine walks over to the table where she jokes to Tony that she believes the people at the next table are FBI. Silvio becomes offended by this, and Artie apologizes. The following day, Tony meets up with Charmaine at the coat check where she tells him that she does not want him and "his boys" there all the time and that he ruined their marriage. Tony becomes angry and he, Silvio and Christopher leave. The trio check out the Bada Bing's rival strip club where they spot Jackie Aprile, Jr. getting a lap dance from a stripper. Infuriated, Tony drags him into the bathroom where he shoves, punches and slaps him, drawing blood from his nose. After confiscating Jackie's gun (which he got from Ralph Cifaretto), Tony finally knees Jackie in the groin and tells him "You bottomed out."
On Christmas morning, the Sopranos open their gifts when Jackie Jr. arrives with presents from Rosalie. He then gives Meadow a necklace with the engraving "To M.S. from J.A.: I will always be true...," to Tony's irritation. As Tony goes to the kitchen, Jackie follows. Jackie confesses to him that he "flunked out" of Rutgers University but that he wants to enter the men's fashion business and that he still wants to be supportive and loving to Meadow. Jackie then leaves saying he has to drive his mother to visit his grandmother. Returning to his family to continue unwrapping presents, Tony has to fake a happy face when he finds that Meadow has bought him a Big Mouth Billy Bass, the singing fish looking so similar to the one in his dream he had earlier that year, the dream that made him first realize Pussy had been a turncoat.
Title reference Edit
- The episode's title is taken from a verse of the Christmas carol "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen".
References to prior episodes Edit
- The Big Mouth Billy Bass, including the song "Take Me to the River", was previously featured in the episode "Second Opinion".
- The Asbury Park boardwalk in winter, along with the view of the sea closing the episode, was previously featured in "Funhouse".
- In 1995, Big Pussy mentioned that he always dreamed of having a house on the ocean and said, "Maybe in another life". This is ironic because Tony, Silvio, and Paulie dumped his body in the ocean after shooting him on Tony's yacht in the episode "Funhouse".
References to other media and events Edit
- In the 1995 flashback scenes involving a television, reports of the O. J. Simpson murder trial were seen.
- When Janice says their song "is missing the brother concept," Aaron asks: "He Ain't Heavy?"
- In one scene in Tony and Carmela's bedroom, they were watching the film It's a Wonderful Life on television.
- In the back room at Satriale's, Tony, Christopher, Silvio, and Paulie discuss several holiday icons, including Santa Claus, his elves, and the Dr. Seuss book How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Christopher claims that the Grinch is "where the money is." Christopher also references Jim Carrey in The Grinch.
- Tony's deductions about Big Pussy's betrayal timeline conflict with prior information: in Season 2, FBI Agent Skip Lipari reminds Big Pussy that he's been working for them since 1998, not 1995 as suggested in this episode by Tony. Also, just before his execution in 2000, he admits to Tony (perhaps truthfully) that he has been working for the FBI for a year-and-a-half. It is possible that Tony was just being paranoid about the events of 1995.
- In his only cameo appearance in the series, director of cinematography Alik Sakharov plays Russian-mob bookkeeper Agron. Like the character, Sakharov is also of Russian heritage.
- The song played over the end credits is "I've Got a Feeling" by the American Sacred Steel gospel group, The Campbell Brothers with Katie Jackson.
- During the 1995 Christmas flashback at Satriale's, the jukebox was playing "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)", by The Chipmunks.
- The song Silvio has turned off in the Bada Bing is "The Cycle" from Virgos Merlot's Signs of a Vacant Soul album.
- A remixed version of "The Little Drummer Boy" plays at the rival strip club where Tony beats up Jackie Jr.