Members Only (The Sopranos episode)

Infobox Television episode | Title = Members Only
Series = The Sopranos
Season = 6
Episode = 66
Guests= "see below"
Airdate = Start date|2006|03|12
Production = 601
Writer = Terence Winter
Director = Tim Van Patten
Episode list = List of "The Sopranos" episodes
Season list = Infobox The Sopranos season six


Prev = All Due Respect
Next = Join the Club
"Members Only" is the sixty-sixth episode of the HBO original series "The Sopranos", and the first of the show's sixth season. Written by Terence Winter and directed by Tim Van Patten, it originally aired on Sunday March 12 2006.

Guest starring

* Jerry Adler as Hesh Rabkin
* Tom Aldredge as Hugh De Angelis
* John Bianco as Gerry Torciano
* Denise Borino as Ginny Sacrimoni
* Max Casella as Benny Fazio
* Danielle Di Vecchio as Barbara Soprano Giglione
* Robert Funaro as Eugene Pontecorvo
* Toni Kalem as Angie Bonpensiero
*Sharon Angela as Rosalie Aprile
* George Loros as Raymond Curto
* Lou Martini, Jr. as Anthony Infante
* Arthur J. Nascarella as Carlo Gervasi
* Matt Servitto as Agent Dwight Harris
* Frankie Valli as Rusty Millio
* Lenny Venito as James "Murmur" Zancone
* Karen Young as Agent Robyn Sanseverino

Episode recap

The episode begins with an opening narration ("The ancient Egyptians postulated seven souls..."), from a spoken word performance by William S. Burroughs, excerpted from his novel "The Western Lands". Over a year has passed since the end of the previous episode. Vito Spatafore has lost a great deal of weight, A.J. is now attending college, Janice and Bobby Baccalieri have a child, and questions continue to be asked about the disappearance of Adriana La Cerva. Artie Bucco is also reuniting with his estranged wife, Charmaine. Carmela and Angie Bonpensiero patch up a long quarrel and both show off their new cars: Carmela, a Porsche Cayenne and Angie, a Chevrolet Corvette. Meanwhile, Carmela's construction of her was suspended, due to a "stop order" issued by the building inspector for improper materials used. Carmela asked Tony to see if he can get the stop order lifted, but he kept putting it off.

Phil Leotardo is now acting Boss, taking over Johnny Sack's operations while Sacrimoni is in jail. After dining at a Chinese restaurant in Brooklyn, Hesh Rabkin and his son-in-law are beaten up by Phil's men, and when the son-in-law tries to escape, he is hit by a car. At the hospital, Hesh asks Tony for help to settle the feud. Phil and Tony also have a disagreement on their cut from their latest building project. Both incidents are resolved in a meeting between the two families behind the Bada Bing, during which Phil no longer expresses the direct hostility he'd shown previously for Tony and Christopher. In addition to Phil, Johnny also communicates to Tony through his optometrist brother-in-law, Anthony Infante.

Eugene Pontecorvo has inherited a little over two million dollars from his aunt, and he and his wife Deanne wish to use the money to move to Florida. Gene goes to Tony with a gift and a request to retire to Florida. Tony tells Eugene he took an oath, and that retiring is not an option, but he will consider it. After Eugene kills a man named Teddy Spirodakis who was in debt to Christopher, Eugene is informed by Silvio Dante that Tony has denied his request. Unknown to the crime family, Eugene is a reluctant cooperator with the FBI. The Bureau have stepped up their pressure on Pontecorvo to produce information, having lost an asset when informant Raymond Curto died suddenly of a stroke while talking to Agent Robyn Sanseverino. Furthermore, his family life was further on the rocks when not only did Deanne refused alternatives to moving to Florida (such as buying a vacation condo or even finding a better place to live in Jersey), she also found their son's heroin fix kit (a spoon and a syringe in a plastic bag) under his bed. Depressed and feeling stuck in an untenable situation, Eugene hangs himself.

Agent Dwight Harris shows up at Satriale's pork store and tells Tony he has been in Pakistan because he was transferred to counter-terrorism. It was also how he contracted a parasite, which causes him to vomit at times, including en route to Satriale's (in the very first scene of this episode).

Uncle Junior's mental state has deteriorated significantly. He attempts to find in his backyard money he thinks he buried many years ago. He is convinced "Little Pussy" Malanga (dead for several years) is out to get him, and is afraid to answer his phone. One afternoon when Janice and Bobby are too busy with their new baby to take care of Junior, Tony pays his uncle a visit. Tony begins to prepare dinner for Junior, and sends his uncle upstairs to look for his misplaced false teeth. Junior finds a gun instead and returns downstairs. Under the delusion Tony is Malanga, Uncle Junior yells, "cazzata" Malanga!" (loosely translated, "fucking Malanga!"), and shoots Tony in the stomach. Uncle Junior then runs up the stairs and hides in a closet, as Tony struggles to call 911.

First appearances

The episode marks the first appearances of:
* Anthony Infante: Ginny Sacramoni's brother, who owns an eyewear store.
* Domenica Baccalieri: Janice and Bobby's 12-month-old daughter.
* James "Murmur" Zancone": Christopher's associate and AA sponsor—first seen at Raymond's funeral.
* Gerry Torciano: associate in the Lupertazzi crime family and Phil Leotardo's protégé after his brother's death; responsible for Phil Leotardo's business in Brooklyn following his promotion to acting capo.

Deceased

* Raymond Curto: stroke
* Teddy Spirodakis: shot by Eugene in a restaurant in Boston
* Eugene Pontecorvo: suicide by hanging
* Dick Barone: (off-screen) owner of Barone Sanitation; died of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease).

Title reference

* Eugene wears a "Members Only" jacket, which was popular in the early 1980s.

Awards

* Terence Winter, the episode's writer, won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Drama series at the 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.

Production

* The "traditional" season opening sequence involving Tony fetching a newspaper is not featured. Instead, a montage of the characters is featured showcasing what has happened in the past two years. In "Mr. & Mrs. John Sacrimoni Request", Carmela is seen picking up the paper which bears a picture of Uncle Junior on the front page.
* Drea de Matteo (Adriana La Cerva) and Steve Buscemi (Tony Blundetto) are no longer billed in the opening credits.
* Frank Vincent (Phil Leotardo), Joseph Gannascoli (Vito Spatafore), Dan Grimaldi (Patsy Parisi) and Toni Kalem (Angie Bonpensiero) are now billed in the opening credits but only for the episodes in which they appear.
* In the original broadcast of this episode (March 12, 2006) no previews for the next episode were shown in order to keep the aftermath of Tony's shooting a mystery.

References to prior episodes

* 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 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.
* In the scene with Dr. Melfi she calls the home that Tony put his mother in a "retirement community" and Tony corrects her and calls it a nursing home. Prior to this, whenever somebody called it a nursing home, Tony always corrected them and called it a retirement community.

Connections to future episodes

* A man in a Members Only jacket is acting suspicious in the series finale.
* Although both characters have interacted before, this is the first time we see Phil calling Vito "cugino mio" ("my cousin"). Their status as cousins-in-law is further solidified in the episode "Mayham".

References to other media

* The song featured in the opening scene and closing credits is "Seven Souls" by Material. It features William S. Burroughs reading from his novel "The Western Lands".
* The movie Junior watches is "Paths of Glory", a 1957 war movie directed by Stanley Kubrick.


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