PFloyd69 wrote:If, and this is still obviously up for debate, Tony did get whacked at the end of the episode did that mean Paulie was right? Was the sitdown an effort by NY to lure Tony out of hiding and get him to let his guard down? I mean Butch knew that Phil was unhappy about not completing the job. Maybe they got that guy George to reach out to Tony and the phone call we heard was Tony calling him back.
Butch and Albie didn't contribute to Phil getting whacked in any way. So what if Tony found Phil, killed him, and then NY completed the job they had set out to do?
I think it’s a possibility actually. Under normal circumstances I could see it as a genuine truce to restore peace and continue business. But after going back and watching the episode again I can’t help but notice the blatant loss of respect and faith everyone around Tony has shown him in “Made in America.”
To recap quickly; from within T’s crew there’s Benny’s comment about “the gout” and not seeing Sil, there’s Carlo’s disappointment over not seeing Sil and the lament about the “power vacuum” and of course his eventual flip (the natural progression if he had doubt in Tony and the outfit) and then there’s Paulie turning down the promotion because of some superstition, but in reality he’s not confident in the position and thus the operation. You also have that awkward situation of Tony getting Patsy a drink and acting as a host, which reeked of submission at a time when absolute strength and subordination was imperative. And lastly the mention of the Cifireto crew running around like a “Chinese fire drill” is just one more stark example of the disorder, doubt and chaos that reflects poorly on Tony and his ability to run things.
…Which leads us to the most important factor, the perception from OUTSIDE the Soprano crew. Remember the collections were “light” again, a sign of doubt and disrespect. You have agent Harris who’s been this by the book, straight arrow Fed who always looked up to Tony in a way with respect, but now feels like he needs to help him to get him out of the trouble he’s in. A sign even he believed Tony was weak and in need of assistance in order to prevail. This is only reaffirmed when he gets the news Phil was “popped” and makes the “we’re gonna win this thing!” comment in a moment of genuine excitement and surprise (i.e. he was expecting things to happen differently).
But lastly, and most importantly in my opinion is what happens during the sit-down with New York, George and little Carmine. Through the entire meeting little Carmine is completely silent and when Tony comments on his absence from the conversation he looks at Tony and says, “it didn’t have to be this way.” That is HUGE. That is the perception of everyone in the mob world. Carmine didn’t say it to everybody; he didn’t say it rhetorically in a sigh looking up at the sky as if to say, “oh the helplessness of it all, but what can ya do?” No, he looked directly at Tony and said it to him as if to say, “you made this happen, you’re at fault.” Tony acknowledges the remark by rolling his head in a gesture that shouts “great, and another person who’s not seeing this my way.”
I think that’s more telling of Tony’s true situation than anything else. Remember in the mob world subtleties scream and perception IS reality. If the perception is you’re weak or a rat or a person with questionable integrity… then you are that person and people act on it (and you) accordingly. That’s why everyone is always so defensive and assertive, it’s why everyone is always testing everyone else to make sure the pecking order is where is should be. It’s because of this overt loss of faith that I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point after the sit-down the decision was made to get rid of Tony because he’s perceived as weak and unfit to run a family. His crews are diminished and in disarray, respect has been lost, his guys are turning rat and his judgment is questionable (see coco, war with phil etc).
It seems to me the damage has already been done and if NY maintains doing business with Tony then any of the doubt or disrespect or lack of faith that the community has for Tony immediately translates to NY for being associated. It seems pretty plausible that an outcome like that isn’t worth keeping Tony around and if he was killed in the dinner or at some point after I’m pretty sure that would be the reason for it.