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[S2E6] The Happy Wanderer UPDATED


Tony tells Dr. Melfi that he is angry with everybody, but doesn't know why; he wants to hit her, and the happy-looking people he sees in the street. He despises the weaklings who run to psychiatrists and tells her, as he has told her before, that he admires the strong, silent type, like Gary Cooper.




[S2E6] The Happy Wanderer



At his therapy session with Dr. Melfi, Tony discusses that things are going well for him but that he is becoming angry at everything. As an example he refers to "happy wanderers," people walking down the street with a smile and a happy manner. Tony explains that he is resentful of these people because "they always walk around with a clear head", while he cannot stave off depression and anger even when life is seemingly unproblematic, despairing at the death of his brother-in-law's father, Tom Giglione Sr., who was swept off a roof while putting up a satellite dish just one day after his retirement. Tony then tells Melfi that he is beginning to resent therapy as it encourages feelings of victimization, while his hero, Gary Cooper, was always resilient, "the strong, silent type". Tony also learns from Uncle Junior that he had another uncle who was mentally disabled. Uncle Junior tells him that his name was Ercole (nicknamed "Eckley") and that his mother could not take care of him, instead sending him to the most suitable charity home in the state. Melfi sarcastically asks Tony if having a retarded family member makes him feel better about coming to therapy.


  • Tropes: Adam Westing: Frank Sinatra couldn't show up to lampoon his own mob ties, on account of being dead, so instead we get Frank Sinatra Jr. playing poker

  • Bait-and-Switch: A police officer named Danny pulls Paulie over, and initially it looks like it's going to be a tense and violent confrontation. But then it turns into friendly joking and business at the same time. Paulie gives Danny his bribe money, and Danny warns Paulie that Tony's men need to exercise more restraint at the Teittlemans' hotel, as there's only so much the cops can sweep under the rug.

  • Berserk Button: Silvio loses it when Matthew tries to sweep up some crumbs underneath his chair, which causes him to launch into a rant about being interrupted and pestered. He also has this attitude if he loses a hand of poker.

  • Bilingual Bonus: Tony says "Va fa'cula tu" when he's convinced Livia is gushing Crocodile Tears at Uncle Tom's funeral. It's basically a wish for her to do something to herself.

  • Born in the Wrong Century: Junior laments that had Eckley been born later, the family would have had a lot more resources to help him with his disability and he might have been able to be a contributing member of society. Instead, they had no choice but to leave him to live in an institution.

  • Brick Joke: Christopher mentions to Sean and Matt that Silvio has a bad temper whenever he's on a losing streak. Tony later exploits Silvio's Hair-Trigger Temper by having Matt sweep cheese from under the table.

  • Butt-Monkey: Matthew and Sean find themselves constantly belittled, interrupted, and insulted by Tony, Chris, and the rest of the players at the Executive poker game.

  • Hillel Teittleman becomes this for Furio.

  • Tony's verbal and physical abuse of Dave while shaking him down, and which reduces him to tears, also qualifies.

  • Cluster F-Bomb: When Eric goes off on Meadow for her father's actions at the end of the episode.

  • Continuity Nod: During his session at Melfi's, Tony says that he has no intent on being violent, and that he's well aware of what happened when he busted her coffee table. Later in the same conversation, he brings up something he said to her in their very first meeting as a Meaningful Echo.

  • Crocodile Tears: Tony is convinced that Livia is pouring these out at Uncle Tom's funeral. Likewise, Junior tells Tony that Livia's claims that Johnny had left her in poverty are this, saying that Johnny had left her "a packet that could choke an elephant" and that Livia is "like a woman with a Virginia ham under her arm, crying the blues coz she's got no bread."

  • Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster!: Deconstructed. On the one hand, Tony and the others enjoy bringing in a good haul from the executive poker game.

  • But tensions worsen between Tony and Richie over Davey making his way into the executive game, which serves as a reminder that betrayal by a "friend" in the same gang is a neverending possibility.

  • Tony profiting off of Davey's misfortunes ends up worsening his own relationship with his daughter, Meadow.

  • Tony speaks in a hostile fashion towards the "happy wanderers" in his sessions with Dr. Melfi. Yet his tone and facial expressions betray that he sees the "happy wanderer" with a Green-Eyed Monster, since the wanderer lives free of the stresses and paranoia that come with the gangster life.

  • Death Glare: Livia gives Tony a particularly scary one during the funeral.

  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Junior snaps at Tony when he calls Eckley a retard, and laments that Eckley had been born in an age where mental health problems and disabilities were frowned upon and misunderstood.

  • Even Evil Has Standards: Despite Richie's low opinion of David, he prevents him from getting buried in debt at his own poker games and cuts him off when the latter is $7,000 down. Once Richie sees David playing in the Executive game, though, he snaps at Tony for allowing his friend to get involved in the first place.

  • Tony makes a point of protecting Davey from Richie's wrath as much out of principle as anything else. It is Tony's job as the host of the game to protect the players, and violent behavior can dissuade rollers needed for successful games from coming. That Dr. Fried and Frank Sinatra Jr. immediately left after Richie went after Davey lampshades that reality. Tony responds both by sending Richie packing and making Richie wait until after Tony has collected first before recovering any debts from Davey.

  • Et Tu, Brute?: Eric Scatino feels intensely betrayed by his parents and by Meadow.

  • Foreshadowing: Sunshine the dealer loves smart talk, even with the likes of Silvio. Remember that when he shows up again as the dealer for a future poker game.

  • For Your Own Good: Played with. Tony tries multiple times to slam the door to the Executive game shut on Davey, who really wants in. However, when Davey won't listen and plows ahead, Tony thinks nothing of bleeding him dry and ruining him financially.

  • From Bad to Worse: Invoked. David: I've just been having some bad luck! Tony: Oh, yeah? It's worse. (hits David in the face)

  • The Gambling Addict: David Scatino racks up an impressive debt ($45,000) in a very short amount of time, leading him to take desperate measures to pay it back.

  • Gentle Giant: Vito Spatafore, who is seen participating in the Executive Game and cracking jokes.

  • Humiliation Conga: David, who racks up an impressive amount of debt in a short period of time, loses his business to Tony and is forced to give his son's car to Meadow in an attempt to repay the loans he incurred.

  • Hypocrite: David to his son: "Accountability is everything". After accruing huge debt thanks to reckless gambling, and taking away his son's car to partially cover said debt.

  • When Meadow pouts after realizing that the SUV her father got for her is Eric's, Tony shuts her down with a blistering comeback:

  • Tony: You want to act holier than thou? You go right ahead, but I'm not giving it back. I'm gonna take that car, sell it to Pussy, and then I'm gonna buy clothes, food, shoes, CD players and all the rest of this shit that I've been buying since the day you were born! Everything this family has comes from the work I do! Hillel Teittleman objects to being taken advantage of for free by Furio, who quickly shuts him down by bringing a prostitute named Guernica over to remind him of the free services he gets to enjoy on account of the Sopranos.

  • I Need a Freaking Drink: The morning after David loses a large amount of money at the Executive Game, one of the first things he asks Tony is if they should go for a drink together.

  • Insistent Terminology: Junior's brother Eckley wasn't retarded, he was slow.

  • It's All About Me: Meadow's attitude towards her performance in the school's Cabaret play runs headlong into this, as she whines to her music teacher about not getting the solo part she wanted. Turns into a case of Nice Job Fixing It, Villain when Tony's machinations cause David's son to drop out of the play in rage, letting Meadow get the solo part she wanted (and clinching her college application).

  • She also shows this attitude when Tony's sister Barbara calls to tell the family her husband Tom's father died and she doesn't even bother to ask when or how it happened even though the man had spent several Christmases with the family. Tony is flabbergasted by her self-absorbedness.

  • Jerkass Has a Point: Tony acts abrasively towards Meadow when she pouts about Eric losing his vehicle. However, Tony is correct when he says that she has no room to complain, as her entire lifestyle has been funded by the work he does (mob business).

  • Late to the Punchline: After learning about Eckley from Junior, Tony realizes that all the times he heard Livia compare Johnny to his "feeble-minded brother" growing up were in reference to Eckley and not insults directed at Junior's intelligence; mentioning this to Junior gets him the stink-eye.

  • Long-Lost Relative: During Tony and Junior's meeting at the medical clinic, the latter reveals that there he and Johnny Boy Soprano had another brother named "Ercole (Eckley)", who was born mentally disabled and sent to a charity home to live out his life.

  • Manipulative Bastard: Janice uses Tony's decision about Davie's gambling debts to try and drive the wedge further between Tony and Richie. More specifically, she tries to plant the idea of taking over as the boss in Richie's head, which again has shades of Lady Macbeth.

  • Meaningful Echo: During Tony's session at Melfi's, he claims that he has become just like the "crying patients" he once chastised during his initial consultation with her.

  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Thanks to Tony seizing David's SUV (which belonged to Eric), the younger Scatino decides not to participate in the Cabaret performance and Meadow gets the solo part she wanted, thus giving her an advantage for her college application.

  • Nice to the Waiter: Frank Sinatra Jr. tips Matthew a few chips when he cashes out after watching all the Butt-Monkey treatment, which also makes it a Pet the Dog moment.

  • Pet the Dog: Given how evil Johnny Soprano is shown to be throughout the show, his providing for his brother is a very surprising act of generosity and compassion.

  • Christopher tries to calm Richie down so he doesn't hurt Davey.

  • Pragmatic Villainy: One of the reasons Tony protects Davey from Richie is because he doesn't want people to stop attending poker games, so people need to know they can rely on him for protection.

  • Protectorate: Tony is literally the only thing that stops Richie from tearing Davie apart when Richie finds the latter at the Executive game. Richie is no slouch himself, but even he thinks better of pressing the issue when the hulking Tony stands firm.

  • Real Person Cameo: Frank Sinatra Jr. at the Executive poker game. Lampshaded by both Tony and Dave Scatino.

  • Retirony: Uncle Tom died a single day after his retirement, after being blown off his roof by a gust of wind while trying to fix the satellite dish.

  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: David seizes his son's SUV under the pretense that the latter drove it across mud and has made it all dirty. While he is correct, David actually wanted the vehicle so he could settle his outstanding debts, not teach his son a lesson about responsibility.

  • Shout-Out: Paulie greets the cop with "What ya hear, what ya say?"

  • Silvio blows up at Matthew for sweeping the cheese at his feet during the poker game. Silvio at one point refers to Matthew as Hazel, Hazel being a fictional maid in that TV series who tended to grate on the nerves of her employers.

  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Sinatra Jr and Dr. Fried inmediately quit the poker game after Richie attacks Davey despite Tony's protests that everything is fine as it is clear there's violence in the air.

  • Small Role, Big Impact: Davie is Put on a Bus shortly after the Executive game, but Richie seeing him there becomes yet another factor in the growing enmity between Tony and Richie.

  • That's an Order!: Tony decides that Richie won't see a cent from Davie until Davie has paid Tony back in full first, along with a reminder that Tony is the boss and Richie (as the subordinate capo) must obey.

  • Title Drop: Both Dr. Melfi and Tony make references to the "Happy Wanderer" during their therapy sessions.

  • Trapped by Gambling Debts: David, which motivates his decision to take Eric's SUV in an attempt to pay back what he owes.

  • Troll: Tony tells Matthew he should clean up underneath Silvio's feet, knowing full well how irritable Sil gets while gambling, just so he can watch Silvio chew Matthew out. The Smug Smile on Tony's face as he's watching it unfold says it all.

  • We Used to Be Friends: Eric ends his friendship with Meadow, with Berserker Tears and a Cluster F-Bomb.

  • Would Hit a Girl: Subverted. Tony claims that he wants to turn Melfi's face into "hamburger", then claims that he only said it because he's trying to figure out a way to vent his emotions, and has no intention of actually harming her (especially considering what happened the last time he tore up her office).

  • You Don't Want to Know: Subverted. Melfi asks what Tony is thinking, and he invokes this trope. Immediately afterward, he goes back on his word and tells her that he's thinking of punching her in the face, leaving her at a momentary loss for words.

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