The Sopranos/Pax Soprana

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Pax Soprana
"It's unfortunate that we have to stop now, because I think it's really important we talk about this."
Season 1, Episode 6
Airdate February 14, 1999
Production Number S106
Written by Frank Renzulli
Directed by Alan Taylor
Produced by Ilene S. Landress
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Down Neck
The SopranosSeason One

Pax Soprana is the sixth episode of the first season of The Sopranos, and the sixth episode overall.

Starring: James Gandolfini (Tony Soprano), Lorraine Bracco (Dr. Jennifer Melfi), Edie Falco (Carmela Soprano), Michael Imperioli (Christopher Moltisanti), Dominic Chianese (Junior Soprano), Vincent Pastore ("Big Pussy" Bonpensiero), Steven Van Zandt (credit only), Tony Sirico (credit only), Robert Iler (credit only), Jamie-Lynn Sigler (credit only)

And: Nancy Marchand (Livia Soprano)

Guest Starring: John Heard (Vin Makazian), Jerry Adler (Hesh Rabkin)

Also Guest Starring: Al Sapienza (Mikey Palmice), Paul Schulze (Father Phil), Oksana Babiy (Irina), Tony Darrow (Larry Boy Barese), George Loros (Raymond Curto), Joe Badalucco, Jr. (Jimmy Altieri), Vincent Curatola (Johnny Sack)

Co-Starring: Freddy Bastone (Batman), William Conn (Old Man), Maurizio Corbino (Waiter), Sylvia Kauders (Old Woman), Salem Ludwig (Mr. Capri), Prianga Pieris (Mechanic), Salvatore Piro (Sammy Grigio), Christopher Quinn (Rusty Irish), Dave Salerno (Card Player), Frank Santorelli (Georgie), Donn Swaby (Guy on Bridge), Sonny Zito (Eggie)


Plot Overview

Tony's love life is in turmoil, as he is fighting with his Russian goomar Irina over her inability to arouse him. Carmela, too, is worried Tony has ceased to find her attractive, and in response, she has started spending lots of money and arguing with Tony, even on their anniversary. Tony is not completely impotent, however, as there is one woman he is fantasizing about: Dr. Melfi. To court her, Tony brings coffee to their therapy sessions and complains about Carmela's inability to pleasure him. He becomes openly flirtatious and finally tries to kiss her. Although she instructs him not to bring her gifts on ethical grounds, Tony hires people to steal her car and fix her faulty starter against her wishes. At their next therapy session, Tony confesses to having done this and tells Melfi he is in love with her, but she dismisses his come-ons as positive responses to a caring, nurturing female figure in therapy.

As if the women in his life weren't enough trouble, the men in his life—particularly the titular new boss of the family, his Uncle Junior—are causing him endless grief. Junior has been making enemies with the other capos by shaking down a poker game under Jimmy Altieri's protection and ordering a hit on a drug dealer, Rusty Irish, who works for Larry Boy Barese, as a favor to his tailor, Mr. Capri, whose grandson died from drugs Rusty Irish sold him. Most directly relevant to Tony, Livia has convinced Junior to impose a tax on Tony's friend Hesh. To resolve this last conflict while letting Junior save face, Tony convinces New York boss Johnny Sack to intervene on Hesh's behalf. Johnny Sack does so, and an amicable agreement is worked out. Nonetheless, the capos are still grumbling, and Tony cautiously informs Livia that Junior's life may be in danger if she puts her own petty concerns above the family's business.

At last, Tony seems to find peace with both sides of his family. Under Father Phil's counsel, Carmela has realized she is jealous of Melfi for being able to help Tony in ways she cannot, and he reassures her that she has no reason for jealousy. Meanwhile, he suggests Junior be more generous and conciliatory with the other capos. As a result, Junior divides up the tax imposed upon Hesh between the capos, although Tony gives his own share back to Hesh.

Dark clouds are on the horizon, however, for the family. At a celebration dinner for his uncle's ascent, Tony toasts to the start of Junior's reign as boss, but none of the celebrants notice the cameras on the waiters' lapels—cameras which take photographs for FBI Headquarters, where the feds remove a photo of Jackie Aprile from their bulletin board and replace it with one of Junior.



  • Willy Nilly, performed by Rufus Thomas: Mikey and his boys shake down a poker game which is under Jimmy Altieri's protection.
  • When the Boys in Your Arms, performed by Connie Francis: Mr. Capri fits Junior for a new suit (background).
  • I Whistle a Happy Tune, performed by William Conn, Sylvia Kauders, et al.: Junior visits Livia in the retirement center, and some of the other seniors sing in the background.
  • Coconut Boogaloo, performed by Medeski, Martin, & Wood: Christopher interrupts a hearts game Tony is playing with Big Pussy, Georgie and others to tell him Hesh wants to speak with him.
  • What Time Is It, performed by the Jive Five: Tony has his first erotic dream, in which he receives fellatio from Dr. Melfi, who speaks with Irina's voice.
  • Pampa, performed by Gustavo Santaolalla: Tony meets with Johnny Sack during his anniversary dinner with Carmela.
  • Happy Birthday, performed by Maurizio Corbino: Johnny Sack sends cake over to Tony's table to celebrate his anniversary with Carmela.
  • Paparazzi (Instrum Version), performed by Xzibit: The FBI photographs Tony's dinner with Junior and the closing credits.

Whack List

  • Rusty Irish
    • Killed by: Mikey Palmice and Eggie
    • Method of death: Thrown into Patterson Falls
    • Ordered by: Corrado Soprano, Jr.
    • Notes: Rusty Irish is a drug dealer who works for Larry Boy Barese, but he has sold designer drugs to a 14-year-old kid who committed suicide by jumping into Patterson Falls. Junior learns about the kid's death through his tailor, Mr. Capri, the kid's bereaved grandfather. As a favor for his friend, Junior has Mikey and Eggie take Rusty to Patterson Falls, but Mikey tells the struggling Rusty, "I'm going to give you a break. ... When I toss you over, if you can fly, I won't shoot you down, deal?" Mikey and Eggie then throw Rusty over, and he doesn't fly but falls to his death. Mikey then bribes a Guy on Bridge who witnessed the killing to say that Rusty Irish committed suicide.
  • Total Episode Body Count: 1

Title Significance

A Latin phrase which literally translates to "Sopranan peace," it is a play on the phrase "Pax Romana," a 200-year period of relative peace and prosperity for the Roman Empire. The Pax Romana began with the generous and benevolent policies of Caesar Augustus. Tony advises Junior to imitate Augustus, but Junior doesn't understand Tony's meaning. When Tony uses a dirty joke to make his point, however, Junior catches on.

Dream Diary

Tony has The Melfi Erotic Dreams.

Arc Advancement



  • Tony and Dr. Melfi: This is the first episode in which Melfi's attraction to the danger of Tony's lifestyle is brought up directly, ironically by Tony himself, who points out that most "legit people" he knows tend to avoid him, but Melfi "didn't flinch." Also, Tony tries to kiss Melfi and claims to be in love with her, but she rebuffs his advances.


  • 1x01 - The Sopranos: The bridge where Rusty Irish meets his end is the same bridge to which Hesh and Big Pussy took Mahaffey to convince him to cut Tony in on his HMO business.
  • 1x04 - Meadowlands: Tony is still having Det. Vin Makazian tail Dr. Melfi, but he says, "I oughtta knock the shit out of you for what you did to her date last month," referring to Makazian's beating of Melfi's date Randall Curtin. Also, it was at the end of that episode that Tony elected Junior to be the new acting boss of the family, the effects of which are the subject of most of this episode. In a later therapy session, Tony refutes Freud's notion of an Oedipal complex. However, in that episode, Tony turned Dr. Melfi around in her chair to find she had Livia's face, while in this episode, he fantasizes about having sex with Dr. Melfi.
  • 1x05 - College: At the start of their first therapy session, Melfi asks Tony about his "college trip with [his] daughter." Tony ignores the question, however, and talks about his fights with Carmela. He chides Melfi for "spilling the beans" about her gender by calling to reschedule their appointment.


The Show

  • Hesh's Money: This is the first episode in which we learn of Hesh Rabkin's horse farm and the six gold records he produced and for which he took writing credit, from which he still makes money.
  • Mr. & Mrs. Soprano: In this episode, we learn Tony and Carmela have been together exactly 18 years as of the first season.

Behind the Scenes

Allusions and References

  • "Gunga Din": Famous 1892 poem by Rudyard Kipling about a native water-bearer who saves the life of a British soldier.
Livia: She runs the water all day. Water, water, water. I'm... I'm living next door to Gunga Din.
  • Sigmund Freud: The Austrian psychologist and father of modern psychoanalysis. One of his most famous and controversial theories is the Oedipal complex—a theory that all boys reach an age where they resent their fathers for competing with them for their mother's affection.
Tony: A-a-and this crap about Freud and... and... and every boy wantin' to have sex with his mother, th-th-that's not gonna fly here.
  • Julius Caesar: Dictator of the Roman Republic who conquered Gaul and Spain, then returned home to seize power in a civil war with his fellow generals. Although Caesar was eventually victorious in the civil war and popular amongst the people of Rome, a cabal of senators feared his growing power and assassinated him by stabbing him. The assassination is the subject of Shakespeare's famous historical play Julius Caesar. After another power struggle, Caesar's nephew, Octavian Augustus, would become the first emperor of Rome.
Junior: Is this the one that they stabbed in the back?
Tony: No, that was Julius. I'm talkin' about Augustus.
  • Harry S. Truman: President Harry Truman became the 33rd president of the United States upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Truman had previously had no presidential aspirations, and his job was made harder by the fact that the United States was still in the midst of World War II. Despite the heavy challenges, Truman led America to victory over Germany and Japan and would later be considered one of the great presidents of the 20th century.
Hesh: Your uncle may turn out to be another Harry Truman. ... Well, Truman had a big job thrust upon him. He didn't want it, but in the end, he made some pretty wise decisions.

Memorable Moments

  • Having tried to get Irina to dress like Dr. Melfi but failed, at his next therapy session, he complains to Melfi about Irina (although he claims it's Carmela). In the course of trying to explain himself, he says it's obvious Melfi has "a killer body under there," but she "[plays] it down." He also calls her "sweet-sounding, like a mandolin." He then rises and walks over to her and tries to kiss her, but she pulls gently away. Their time is up, and she says they need to talk about what just happened.


  • Mikey Palmice: Junior Soprano is the new boss, and he ain't respecting old arrangements.
  • Tony: All the conversation I get around here, I might as well be a fuckin' dildo.
    Irina: If you were a dildo, we wouldn't be fighting.
  • Tony: My uncle's been boss of this family ten fuckin' minutes, already I got agita.
  • Tony: Are there any other side effects that you know of?
    Dr. Melfi: Some people experience a diminished libido. They have a hard time getting or maintaining a....
    Tony: Bingo.
  • Dr. Melfi: When's the last time you had a prostate exam?
    Tony: Hey, I don't even let anybody wag their finger in my face.
  • Tony: Is everybody in my life bananas or what?
  • Dr. Melfi: I've been gentle. That's my job. I listen. That's what I do best. I've been a broad, generic, sympathetic woman to you, because that's what this work calls for. You've made me all of the things you feel are missing in your wife and in your mother.
  • Tony: All right, you remember the story you told me about the father bull talkin' to the son? They're up on this hill, and they're lookin' down at a bunch of cows, and the son goes to the father, "Dad, why don't we run down there and fuck one of these cows?" And you remember what the father said? The father says, "Son, why don't we walk down there and fuck 'em all?"
  • Carmela: I've been thinkin' a lot about this. I was jealous of her ability to help you, to be a sort of salvation to you. I talked to Father Phil, and I wanna be that woman in your life.
    Tony: Carm, you're not just in my life. You are my life.
  • Tony: OK, I'm no good at speeches....
    Larry Boy Barese: Yeah, you owe him a fuckin' dime, you'll hear some great speeches.