(#85) Johnny Cakes - Season 6 Part 1, Episode 8
Written by Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider
Directed by Tim Van Patten

One of the crew members, Vito, being a homosexual is definitely a crucial and quite bold plot development to include in this particular series certainly making Season 6 Part 1 what it is. The most intriguing aspects about it to me, however, is when he’s found-out and how everyone reacts to it (I do rank “Live Free or Die” very high) and then the sequence when he heads back home from New Hampshire making you wonder what’s going to happen next. The whole romance between Vito and the fireman (picnic not withstanding) I can do without just like I can also do without (hetero) romance stories or chick flicks in general. Back in North Jersey, Phil is on Tony about Vito’s whereabouts with Tony telling him he will handle the situation himself. AJ sells his drums, is going out to clubs spending a lot of money (another plotline not relatively intriguing), actually asks Tony on his boat what they’re going to do about Uncle Junior only for Tony to douse water on that right away, and then later actually sneaks a knife into Junior’s living quarters and - to put it kindly - very miserably fails at avenging his father’s shooting. Tony picks up AJ at the station (Assemblyman Zellman sweeps it under the rug; nobody else ever finds out) and angrily scolds him. He tells his son how lucky he is for not being charged of attempted murder. Later at the club, AJ suffers a panic attack in the men’s room. Sexy real estate agent, Julianna Skiff (representing Jamba Juice), gets Tony to sell property of his in an old Newark neighborhood that rents out a small poultry store, almost has sex with her upon signing the contract at her apartment only to suddenly restrain himself and leave, then takes his frustration out on Carmela when he gets home. “What the fuck is happening to this neighborhood?“ asks Patsy to Burt upon both finding out that Tony sold the poultry store, one of the places they collect from, and also in regards to a Starbucks-like coffee shop that moved into the neighborhood beginning of the episode. This is reminiscent of Paulie’s ‘rape of our culture’ rant made beginning of the series (‘46 Long’) along with other unnecessary political/’Italians-treated-unfairly’ stuff that comes up now and again in the series. Can do without them. AJ’s future-girlfriend is seen for the first time. In the closing credits, Emily Wickersham isn’t listed simply as ‘girl at club’ but as ‘Rhiannon’ despite we never getting her name in this episode, her appearance being very brief, and she not appearing again until a few episodes later - also very brief, still not getting her name - then finally given proper introduction in ‘The Blue Comet’ a year later.

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