Members Only (The Sopranos)

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"Members Only"
The Sopranos episode
Sopranos ep66.jpg
Episode no.Season 6
Episode 1
Directed byTim Van Patten
Written byTerence Winter
Cinematography byPhil Abraham
Production code601
Original air dateMarch 12, 2006 (2006-03-12)
Running time52 minutes
Guest appearance(s)

see below

Episode chronology
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"All Due Respect"
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"Join the Club"
The Sopranos (season 6)
List of The Sopranos episodes

"Members Only" is the 66th episode of the HBO series The Sopranos, and the first of the show's sixth season. Written by Terence Winter and directed by Tim Van Patten, it aired originally on March 12, 2006.

Starring[edit]

Guest starring[edit]

Also guest starring[edit]

Synopsis[edit]

Nearly two years have passed. Janice is raising a new daughter with Bobby Baccalieri, who has taken up model railroading as a hobby. Meadow continues her relationship with Finn. A.J. is now attending college. Adriana is remembered by a worrying Carmela. Vito Spatafore is thinner and is now a spokesperson for a weight loss company; he is Tony's best earner and is ambitious. Phil Leotardo, now the acting boss of the Lupertazzi crime family, is taking care of business for the imprisoned Johnny Sack.

In Brooklyn, Hesh Rabkin and his son-in-law Eli Kaplan are assaulted by Lupertazzi associates. Trying to escape, Eli is knocked down by a hit-and-run driver and seriously injured. At Hesh's request, Tony tries to reach out directly to Johnny through his optometrist brother-in-law, Anthony Infante, but Johnny is only paying attention to his immediate family's financial troubles. Finally, Tony, Vito, and Christopher – now a caporegime in the DiMeo crime family – meet with Phil and Gerry "The Hairdo" Torciano. Disputes between Tony and Phil are resolved, and it is explained that the New York associates were protecting Gerry's area and did not know Eli associated with the Sopranos; they agree to pay Eli $50,000 compensation.

Carmela's construction of her spec house is suspended, due to a "stop order" issued by a building inspector because improper lumber has been used. Her father, Hugh De Angelis, thinks an inspector he used to know would waive the requirement, but his contact has retired. Carmela repeatedly asks Tony to see if he can get the stop order lifted, but he keeps putting it off.

Eugene Pontecorvo inherits $2 million, and would like to retire with his family to Florida. Bearing gifts, he goes to Tony to ask permission. Tony reminds Eugene that he took an oath. Later, Eugene gives him a cut of the inheritance. At Chris's behest, he then kills a debtor; in return, Chris says, "I'll put in a good word to T about the Florida thing." Tony's decision is relayed through Silvio: "Your Florida thing. That's a no-go." Eugene is also an informant for the FBI. He is now more valuable than before because Ray Curto has died; they, too, will not free him. His wife is bitter. His son is almost certainly on heroin again. Eugene hangs himself.

Uncle Junior's mind is deteriorating. Tony helps him look for some money he thinks he buried in his backyard thirty years ago, but they find nothing. Both Dr. Melfi and Janice suggest a retirement home or assisted living for him, but Tony forcefully refuses. One afternoon, when Junior is particularly agitated, no one else is free to look after him, so Tony goes. While Tony is cooking dinner Junior, thinking he is a long-dead mobster, shoots him in the gut. While Junior cowers in a closet upstairs, Tony manages to dial 911 before passing out.

First appearances[edit]

The episode marks the first appearances of:

Deceased[edit]

Title reference[edit]

  • Eugene Pontecorvo is shown wearing a "Members Only" jacket and is made fun of for it by Vito Spatafore.
  • It could refer to the Mafia code of being a member only and never a retiree, just what Eugene Pontecorvo attempted to become.[citation needed]

Production[edit]

References to prior episodes[edit]

  • Pussy Malanga, the man Uncle Junior was convinced is after him and whom he eventually mistakes Tony for is the same mobster Uncle Junior wanted to kill in Artie Bucco's first restaurant in the pilot episode.
  • Dr. Melfi recalls that Tony grabbed a pillow in order to smother his mother in "I Dream of Jeannie Cusamano," but Tony denies this, saying he only grabbed the pillow to occupy his hands.
  • Dr. Melfi calls the home that Tony put his mother in a "retirement community" and Tony corrects her and calls it a nursing home. Before this, whenever somebody called it a nursing home, Tony always corrected them and called it a retirement community.
  • The appearance of Adriana La Cerva's ghost to Carmela in the spec house recalls Adriana's statement to FBI Agent Robyn Sanseverino in "Watching Too Much Television": "Why don't you go haunt a house or something"?

Other cultural references[edit]

  • Tony refers to his forgetful Uncle Junior as "Knucklehead Smiff."
  • Vito asks Agent Harris if he had lost weight due to the Atkins diet.
  • When Eugene proposes retiring, he cites the precedent set by "Joe Bananas" (Joseph Bonanno).
  • The movie Junior watches is Paths of Glory, a 1957 war movie directed by Stanley Kubrick.
  • When Junior says Pussy Malanga is prank calling his house Tony says they will get FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to investigate.

Music[edit]

  • The song featured in the opening scene and closing credits is "Seven Souls" by Bill Laswell. It features William S. Burroughs reading from his novel The Western Lands. Creator David Chase describes the song as featuring a strong foreboding tone and themes touching the concepts of death and resurrection. Chase had originally tried to use this song for the pilot episode of The Sopranos. It finally ended up being used on the show in this episode, in the opening montage of the premiere of the final season, eight years later.[1]
  • The song featured in the scene where Tony and Carmela are dining at the sushi restaurant is "Ride a White Horse" by Goldfrapp.
  • "Dreaming" by Blondie plays on the car radio when Eugene is returning home from his murder job.
  • The song playing when Junior shoots Tony is "Comes Love" by Artie Shaw, sung by Helen Forrest.

Awards[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Martin, Brett (2007-10-30). ""This Thing of Ours": Creating The Sopranos Universe". The Sopranos: The Complete Book. New York: Time. pp. 168, 169. ISBN 978-1-933821-18-4.

External links[edit]