my review (countdown)

(#52) For All Debts Public and Private - Season 4, Episode 1
Written by David Chase
Directed by Allen Coulter

Many huge fans of this episode, especially Christopher-fans who see this as a breath-of-fresh-air from his venture into the entertainment biz. I’m sure they’re all wishing upon seeing this that I’d have this ranked much higher. Great opening episode! Only the premieres of both 6a and 6b are stronger. Key plot device here (real good, memorable one) is Christopher being pointed out by Tony that a particular cop, currently enjoying his retirement party, was the one who murdered his father Dickie Moltisanti when Christopher was a baby. Quite a few other worthy developments going on to introduce Season 4. Adrianna brings her ‘new friend’ (BIG mistake) Danielle over to her and Christopher’s apartment only for Christopher to be rude to her, causing Danielle to leave. He then complains to Ade about his demotion to being Tony’s driver again and injects heroin between his toes. Later, Ade and Danielle stop over at the Sopranos household while they’re having dinner. Tony seems to take quite an interest upon laying eyes on Danielle and also notices two empty seats at the table belonging to both Janice and Ralphie who snort coke (and more) together in the bathroom upstairs. Ro, on sedatives obviously to deal with Jackie Jr., is present. She and Ralphie are still together - for now at least. Seeing Pussy’s widow, Angie, handing out food samples at a supermarket prompts Carm to have financial worries and expresses these to Tony which then prompts him to hold a meeting with his capos - but not before giving Georgie at the Bing one of his classic beatings for wasting ice ($$$) behind the bar. At the meeting (Chris and Vito waiting outside), Tony cracks the whip on everyone to earn better. He starts hiding money in and around the family pool house and buys duck feed out-of-season (to Carm’s suspicion) to bury the money in. AJ now attends a new private school with Carm cramming the New York Times down his throat for his social studies class. Meadow, on the other hand, procrastinates signing up for the upcoming semester’s fall classes at Columbia. Paulie Gualtieri is serving time in Ohio on a gun charge and, still upset at Tony, reaches out to Johnny Sack by phone. As for New York, Tony and some of his crew meet up with them. Carmine brings up the Esplanade, asks Tony about Junior, then informs him that “a don doesn’t wear shorts“. Christopher gets high in a separate room with one of the stewardesses at the party only for Tony to bang the door telling him its time to leave. T has Chris drop him off at the very restaurant where the retirement party of ‘Dickie’s murderer’ is in progress. After filling Christopher in on the whole scoop and giving him the cop‘s address, Tony leaves Chris behind and gets right into Bobby’s car parked nearby. The two go out to a diner for a late dinner honoring Bobby’s promotion as Junior’s caretaker. A funny argument ensues due to Bobby mixing up Quasimodo with Nostradamus in conversation, but a friendly enough exchange between the two otherwise (a long way from exactly two seasons prior). We see Bobby’s wife, Karen, and their two kids for the first time. It is discovered that Uncle Junior’s nurse, whom he got flirty and a bit too close with, turned out to be a mole for the feds who will end up testifying against him at his upcoming trial. Junior needs money for the trial so Tony buys Newark property of his for ‘only’ a $100K knowing full well (from a tip Zellman gave him) its value will boost due to the Esplanade. Melfi advises Tony to “just give it up” when he gives her the classic line that there are “only two endings” (or a 3rd - Christopher as ‘buffer’) for a guy like him. Hiding out in the now-retired cop’s home awaiting him, Christopher knocks him out from behind upon his return and cuffs him to the living room stair rail. With ‘Magnum PI” blasting on the TV, he awakens soon enough to Chris‘s interrogation. After denying ever knowing who his father was and then trying to escape, ripping out the stair rail, Christopher shoots him dead, shoots the nose off the marlin hanging on his wall, laughs, makes it look like a suicide, and disappointedly finds only a $20 bill in his wallet. Did this guy really murder his father? After all, he did say the words. “I’m sorry” upon trying to escape. Or did Tony simply ‘want him dead‘? Or maybe just want his nephew to be further ‘tied-in’ with ‘this thing’ of theirs (more blood on his hands) to reduce potential risk of maybe he flipping down the line? Hours later, after sunrise, Christopher pays a not so cordial visit to his mother. He looks at old photos of his father (obviously Michael Imperioli himself, lol) on the kitchen table and leaves the moment his mother says that she can’t make him a fluffernutter for breakfast, but not before posting that very $20 bill on her refrigerator. This is the only episode that closing credits aren’t up against a black screen but instead against the very close-up of that $20 bill on the refrigerator (to Time Zone’s ‘World Destruction’ that also plays beginning of the episode as Tony walks down for his Star Ledger). Also, this is the first episode (after 9/11) to not show the Twin Towers during the opening credits.

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