Tony Soprano suffers increasing paranoia over his secret psychiatric sessions, especially after a near-encounter with Silvio Dante, who was visiting the dental office just opposite Dr. Melfi’s suite. However, Tony is in no hurry to abandon therapy: he has also been developing feelings for the doctor, even to the point of having a detective in his employ, Vin Makazian, secretly follow and photograph her. Unfortunately, Makazian assumes Melfi is a mistress of Tony’s, and oversteps the mark; when he sees Melfi with a date, he pulls the pair over on a false accusation of crossing the double yellow line, and after the date admits to having wine with dinner, proceeds to conduct a field sobriety test and then brutally beat the helpless man and take him into custody, stating to a confused Melfi, “You got prime rib at home, and you’re going out for hamburger?” Tony’s dangerous feelings even lead him to consider quitting therapy, but Carmela insists he continue, although she is still under the impression that Tony’s psychiatrist is male. In fact, Carmela goes so far as to warn Tony that without continued therapy, their marriage will be at serious risk.
A.J. is left confused when a physically bigger classmate, Jeremy Piocosta, backs down from a fight with him and pays for a shirt he ripped in a previous scuffle. With some guidance from Meadow, A.J. comes to realize that Jeremy was intimidated by the reputation of A.J.’s father. Tony had coincidentally met Jeremy’s father the day before at a plant nursery as Tony was seeking pesticide for his garden corn. Tony’s friendliness while holding an axe confused Jeremy’s father, and probably provoked Jeremy to quit the fight. A.J. then learns from Meadow about what exactly their father does for a living.
Christopher, meanwhile, is running scared after his mock execution, which has left him in a neck brace, and is even more unnerved when he and Adriana discover Brendan Filone lying dead in his bathtub, shot through the eye. Convinced that Tony is exacting vengeance on him for giving drugs to Meadow, his fears are only allayed when he questions her and discovers that she has not revealed the transaction. However, finding that Junior is responsible, and has also assumed collection of protection money owed to Tony’s crew, he is keen for vengeance. Upon bringing news of Brendan’s demise, Christopher also implies that he will take out Mikey Palmice. Tony does not allow Chris to go forward with his plans because Mikey is a made man. Instead, Tony takes a ride to the luncheonette, beats Mikey, and proceeds to staple his suit with a stolen staple gun. He then confronts Junior about his extreme actions against Brendan and Chris.
Although Tony chastises his uncle, the prospect of war with Junior also looms large for him, especially after the abrupt death of his friend and acting DiMeo Family boss, Jackie Aprile, Sr., creates uncertainty over who will succeed him. Although Tony has the backing of the other capos and is irate over the unauthorized and extreme punishments meted out to Christopher, he seeks a diplomatic resolution with his uncle. After some unwitting inspiration from Dr. Melfi about giving the elderly the “illusion of control”, Tony concedes leadership of the family to Junior, with several advantages: he can avoid a war and obtain income-earning properties and contracts as payment from Junior in exchange for his recommendation. Junior, being the Boss, would also bear the brunt of any investigation from the authorities. Content with his decision, Tony opts to remain in therapy.
James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano
Lorraine Bracco as Dr. Jennifer Melfi
Edie Falco as Carmela Soprano
Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti
Dominic Chianese as Corrado Soprano, Jr.
Vincent Pastore as Pussy Bonpensiero
Steven Van Zandt as Silvio Dante
Tony Sirico as Paulie Gualtieri
Robert Iler as Anthony Soprano, Jr.
Jamie-Lynn Sigler as Meadow Soprano
and Nancy Marchand as Livia Soprano
John Heard as Vin Makazian
Jerry Adler as Hesh Rabkin
Michael Rispoli as Jackie Aprile, Sr.
Mark Blum as Randall Curtin
Also guest starring
Al Sapienza as Mikey Palmice
Anthony DeSando as Brendan Filone
Drea de Matteo as Adriana
Tony Darrow as Larry Boy Barese
George Loros as Raymond Curto
Joe Badalucco, Jr. as Jimmy Altieri
Sharon Angela as Rosalie Aprile
John Arocho as Kid #2
Oksana Lada as Irina Peltsin
Michael Buscemi as Lewis Pantowski
T.J. Coluca as Jeremy Piocosta
Michele DeCesare as Hunter Scangarelo
Guillermo Diaz as Salesperson
Daniel Hilt as Kid #3
Ray Michael Karl as Teacher
Theresa Lynn as Stripper
Shawn McLean as Yo Yo Mendez
Annika Pergament as News Anchor
Sal Petraccione as George Piocosta
James Spector as Kid #1
Corrine Stella as Woman
Anthony Tavaglione as Lance