Army of One (The Sopranos episode)


Army of One (The Sopranos episode)

Infobox Television episode
Title = Army of One
Series = The Sopranos


Caption = Paulie and Ralphie having a sitdown
Season = 3
Episode = 39
Airdate = Start date|2001|5|20
Production = 313
Writer = David Chase and Lawrence Konner
Director = John Patterson
Photographer =
Guests = "see below"
Episode list = List of "The Sopranos" episodes
Season list = Infobox The Sopranos season three
Prev =
Next =
"Army of One" is the thirty-ninth episode of the HBO original series "The Sopranos" and was the finale of the show's third season. It was written by David Chase and Lawrence Konner, directed by John Patterson and originally aired on Sunday May 20 2001.

Guest starring roles

* Sharon Angela as Rosalie Aprile
* Tobin Bell as Major Zwingli
* Denise Borino as Ginny Sacrimoni
* Jason Cerbone as Jackie Aprile, Jr.
* Vince Curatola as Johnny Sack
* Joseph R. Gannascoli as Vito Spatafore
* Lola Glaudini as Agent Deborah Ciccerone
* Dan Grimaldi as Patsy Parisi
* Melissa Marsala as Kelli Aprile
* Frank Pando as Agent Grasso
* Frank Pellegrino as Bureau Chief Frank Cubitoso
* Matt Servitto as Agent Dwight Harris
* Maureen Van Zandt as Gabriella Dante
* Michael K. Williams as Ray-Ray

Episode recap

Jackie Aprile, Jr. is forced into hiding at a housing projects in Boonton shortly after his failed armed robbery at Eugene Pontecorvo's Saturday night card game. As Jackie gets adjusted to living at the projects, he calls Tony Soprano and tries to tell him where he is so they can settle the matter before it gets even more out of hand. Tony tells him to stay where he is and to talk to Ralph Cifaretto who is making the final call on what will happen. Tony then meets Ralphie, who has been hesitating over his judgment of Jackie, and asks that Ralphie make his decision in a "timely fashion." Ralphie had already dispatched Vito Spatafore to stay near the Boonton projects and find Jackie and in case he tries to leave. But after this discussion, he is forced to act. When Jackie leaves the apartment to get some air, he is shot in the back of the head by Vito and left lying in an isolated patch of snow, in a splatter of his own blood.

Meanwhile, A.J. and another friend confess to stealing answers to a geometry test after their principal convinces them he has uncovered DNA evidence at the scene, and A.J. is promptly expelled from Verbum Dei. Tony becomes extremely angered when he hears the news and decides to save A.J. before it is too late. His solution is to send his son to military school. Over dinner, Tony and Carmela mull over school brochures as A.J. nervously awaits his fate. Carmela then receives a phone call from Marie, Rosalie Aprile's sister, informing her that Jackie has been shot and killed by "drug dealers". Carmela hurries over to Rosalie's to comfort her grieving friend.

Paulie Walnuts demands that Tony have a sitdown with himself and Ralphie. When the request is finally honored, Paulie states that because he gave Ralph valuable information to a job that Ralphie's crew subsequently pulled off (as well as the act being on Paulie's turf), he is owed half of the take ($50,000). Tony listens to the case and orders that Ralphie turn over $12,000, much to Paulie's shock and dismay. When Paulie tries to convince Tony to reconsider, Silvio Dante intrudes, stating that Tony has made the decision and the sitdown is over.

Uncle Junior's cancer is in remission, leaving him physically competent for a RICO trial. However, the FBI is still intent on bringing down Tony. With Big Pussy Bonpensiero now "MIA" (actually deceased), Agent Dwight Harris recommends that they look for information via Christopher Moltisanti, who is moving through the ranks ever closer to Tony. Bureau Chief Frank Cubitoso enlists Agent Deborah Ciccerone on an undercover mission to befriend Chris's fiancée, Adriana La Cerva, and report back on whatever information she can find.

A.J. is taken to an appointment with the military school's administrator, Major Zwingli, who lays out the basic schedule for students that attend the school. A.J. is bemused and unnerved as the major tells him what to expect as a new recruit. Zwingli then has a talk with Tony and Carmela about the rigorous program and how he believes it will benefit their child. Carmela is still concerned since she believes they are training him to be a "professional killer". Tony tries to convince Carmela that their son would be learning discipline and respect, not violence. The disagreement degenerates into a major row with door slamming and yelling and ending with the two sleeping in separate rooms for the night.

At Jackie's wake, Rosalie and daughter Kelli Aprile are extremely emotional. When Meadow sees Jackie lying in his casket, she begins to cry uncontrollably. Tony and Carmela try to comfort her, but are embarrassed when Rosalie notes the lack of attendance: the funeral has coincided with Super Bowl Sunday. When everyone settles down, Carmela views Jackie lying in his casket. That night, Tony and Carm are reconciled and Carmela decides to support Tony's decision to send A.J. to military school.

As A.J. prepares to depart for the military school, he puts on his dress uniform for his proud parents. Tony urges him to put on his military hat that came with the uniform, much to A.J.'s chagrin. Tony, agitated at the insubordinant attitude, gets off of the sofa and approaches his son menacingly. A.J. complies and puts on the hat, a traditional military Shako. A.J then looks at himself in the mirror. He turns back and, feeling humiliated and in tears, asks not to be sent away. Tony, disdainful, tells him to stop and reaffirms his decision, saying that "he needs toughening up". To Tony and Carmela's horror, A.J. promptly suffers a panic attack and collapses. In therapy, Tony relates events to Dr. Melfi, and dismayed that A.J. has inherited his psychiatric affliction. He says that he can no longer send his son to military school and begins to lose hope that he can ever rescue his child from disaster.

On the day of Jackie's burial, Christopher and Silvio are arrested at the cemetery for illegal gambling and are escorted to the District Attorney's office, while Paulie flees through the headstones. Uncle Junior witnesses this and runs back to his car, almost leaving Bobby Baccalieri behind. After the burial, a small group of people return to Rosalie's to comfort her, before proceeding to Vesuvio. At the restaurant parking lot, Paulie meets Johnny Sack, and expresses his contempt for Tony's ruling in Ralphie's favor, telling Johnny to offer his services to the New York family boss, Carmine Lupertazzi. Silvio and Chris are able to make bail quick enough to meet everyone after the funeral at Vesuvio. Back inside, Junior begins to sing the Italian love song "Core 'ngrato" ("Ungrateful Heart"). Everyone is touched, except for a very drunk Meadow who throws pieces of bread at Junior as he sings. Confronted by her father outside, Meadow tearfully denounces the funeral proceedings as "bullshit" and runs across the street, almost being hit in traffic as Tony looks on in shock. Tony returns to the dinner, quietly telling Carmela that Meadow hopefully has money to catch a ride back to Columbia University. He then puts his arm around A.J. as the three listen to Uncle Junior continue to croon.

First appearance

* Agent Deborah Ciccerone: An F.B.I. agent assigned to go undercover as Adriana's "new best friend".

Deceased

* Jackie Aprile, Jr.: murdered by Vito Spatafore near the Boonton housing projects

Title reference

* The episode's title is an advertising campaign slogan used by the United States Army, which Tony discusses with Major Zwingli while meeting at the military school. (Although the Army didn't begin using this slogan until 2002, a full year after it first aired.)

Production

* In the original 2001 broadcast, Agent Deborah Ciccerone was played by actress Fairuza Balk. However due to scheduling conflicts, she was not able to return for season four. For the DVD recordings and repeats, Balk was replaced by Lola Glaudini, who went on to play the role permanently in 2002.
* Although it is never explicitly mentioned in the show, Vito and Jackie Jr. are cousins, through Richie Aprile (their uncle). Also, when Bryan Spatafore (Vito's brother) is injured in the episode "Another Toothpick", Jackie Jr. says that Bryan was his cousin. However, neither Vito nor Jackie Jr. mention each other as relatives, nor is the former seen contemplating the murder of a family member.

Music

* During Jackie's wake, Junior's performance of "Core 'ngrato" ("Ungrateful Heart") was actually sung by Dominic Chianese himself.
* The song played over the end credits is "#8" (unofficially titled [blur] aka [circles] ) by Aphex Twin.


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