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"Whitecaps" is the 52nd episode of the HBO television series The Sopranos, and the 13th and final episode of the show's fourth season. It was written by series creator/executive producer David Chase, and executive producers Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess, and was directed by longtime series director John Patterson. It originally aired in the United States on December 8, 2002, attracting 12.5 million viewers. The episode is regarded by multiple critics as one of the series' best.

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  • 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.
  • Steven Van Zandt as Silvio Dante
  • Tony Sirico as Paulie Gualtieri
  • Robert Iler as Anthony Soprano, Jr.
  • Jamie-Lynn Sigler as Meadow Soprano
  • Drea de Matteo as Adriana La Cerva
  • Aida Turturro as Janice Soprano
  • John Ventimiglia as Artie Bucco
  • Vincent Curatola as Johnny Sack
  • Steven R. Schirripa as Bobby Baccalieri

Guest starring

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Episode recap

Tony gets a call from Patsy, who reports that Christopher has graduated from rehab. In a meeting with Agent Sanseverino, Adriana reveals that Chris no longer wants children because he feels he is unfit to be a father. She asks permission to visit her mother and gives thanks when it is granted. Elsewhere, Tony and an unwell Carmela visit Dr. Cusamano, who diagnoses her as having monovirus. He also inquires about any significant changes in her life that may have brought on the illness.

Tony takes Carmela to a surprise trip to "Whitecaps," a house on the Jersey Shore he is thinking of buying for the family. Carmela worries that they won't be able to afford the property, but Tony explains that he wants something to draw the family together. The Sopranos are told the house has been sold to another couple, but it seems likely they won't be approved for the home loan. Carmela encourages Tony to buy Whitecaps as an investment. Tony and Chris visit the house's owner, attorney Alan Sapinsly, and offer cash in the shortest possible time allowed by law. Sapinsly calls the current buyer and negotiates his way out of their contract by promising full return of the deposit, and threatening litigation if the buyer moves in. Tony tells his family the good news and they all arrive to survey the property. Tony and Carmela have a romantic walk on the beach.

With the Esplanade project shut down, Johnny is worried about the lost revenue. Tony meets Johnny to discuss making a move against Carmine. Tony says he has to pass, but this proves to be a negotiating technique. When Johnny promises to relinquish his claims to the HUD scam and gives him a favorable (60-40) split on all future projects, Tony agrees to go ahead. On the return trip, Tony asks Chris to contract the job out and make it look like a random act. Chris delivers a pre-payment to Credenzo Curtiss and Stanley Johnson, a couple of heroin dealers, and delivers instructions for the planned hit on Carmine.

Tony and Chris attend a sitdown in a park in Queens, settling on 15% for Carmine. Carmine asks Tony to remember his son, Little Carmine, when he "is gone." Later, Tony changes his mind and tells Chris to call off the hit and ensure the hired guns don't talk to anyone. At Chris' behest, Benny and Petey execute the would-be hitmen. Johnny is angered that the hit is off and expresses treasonous feelings about Carmine and his son. Johnny then asks Tony why he should trust him when he has backed out of their deal, something that he can hang over Johnny's head. Tony states that he shouldn't be hearing any of this. They part ways after an embrace, but eye each other when Johnny drives away. Elsewhere, thanks to juror intimidation, Junior is freed following a mistrial. Upon returning home, Bobby and Janice dance together, but an irritated Junior breaks up the moment by ordering Bobby to check for Murf's payment envelope.

Irina drunk dials Carmela and brags about Tony's adulterous relations with her and Svetlana. Later, when Tony returns home, he sees Carmela hurling his possessions from an upstairs window. Carmela tells Tony that he has embarrassed her for years with his infidelity and demands that he leave the house. After trading recriminations with his wife, Tony does so. After confronting Svetlana, Tony spends the night at Whitecaps. In the morning, Sapinsly advises Tony to meet with all of the top divorce lawyers, so that none of them can take Carmela on as a client, but Alan insists that they stick to the contract he signed.

At the Soprano household, Meadow discusses the separation with her mother. She is distressed about it and brings up Furio Giunta. Carmela denies any infidelity to Tony. Meadow storms off, after asking her mother how she could "eat shit" from Tony for so many years. Tony dines at Nuovo Vesuvio and Artie offers consolations. Paulie Gualtieri fervently supports Tony's position in the argument with Carmela, telling him he should have kicked her out of "his house."

Tony returns home and Carmela is angry to see him. She tries to stop him from taking food from the refrigerator, twice, and demands that he leave. Tony becomes violent and refuses to leave. Carmela threatens to call a lawyer and get a restraining order. Tony dares her to and hands her his phone which she bats away with her hand. Carmela tells him that she doesn't want him sleeping in her bed anymore and that she no longer loves him. Carmela runs upstairs in tears. Later, A.J. helps Tony clear the home cinema (located in the pool house) so that he can stay there. Tony tells his son that he will be taking a bigger hand in his life now that he is right outside. Tony has a difficult night's sleep.

Tony lies in the pool and Carmela asks him to move the chairs he has put on the lawn. Tony thinks she is looking for an excuse to nag him and they get into another argument. Carmela tells Tony it might not have come to this if he had a more loving attitude while at home. Tony brings up Carmela's telling him he was going to hell when he was first being examined for an MRI for his collapses (in the pilot). She follows him out to the home theater room and apologizes, telling him he was her man and was sweet to her. Tony asks her what she expected from their marriage, as she knew everything about him when they met, including the fact he and his family were gangsters, and that gangsters keep "women on the side." He also accuses her of materialism. Carmela calls Tony hateful and reveals she harbored feelings for Furio, telling Tony that her happiest moments for months have been her mornings with Furio. Tony again becomes violent and charges at Carmela and almost punches her but stops himself and punches holes in the wall beside her head instead, smashing it in. She turns away while Tony keeps punching. He tells her he looked for women with different qualities from her in his affairs. She reminds him that he hardly knew most of the women he slept with and walks out, calling him a "fucking hypocrite." Later, Tony calls Dr. Melfi but hangs up when she answers. She tries to call him back using *69 but the recording says that the number was blocked to that service.

A.J. goes to his father to ask if he can move in with him because A.J. is not getting along with his mother. Tony refuses and tells A.J. to support his mother. Tony tells the family he has decided to move out completely. A.J. becomes upset and asks if it was because he asked to live with Tony. Meadow takes the news hard as well, and suggests Tony and Carmela try counseling again. When Meadow gets upstairs, a flash of a moment from years before when she antagonized her parents runs through her mind and she begins to cry. Tony packs to leave and Carmela tells him to be careful. A.J. watches from the doorway with his mother as his father leaves for good.

Whitecaps deposit battle

Sapinsly calls Tony to say he is going to let him out of the sale but will keep the $200,000 deposit. Tony says if that's the case, he will make Sapinsly's life hell. Benny and Little Paulie take the speakers out of Tony's home theater, install them on Tony's boat (The Stugots), and play a Dean Martin in Las Vegas concert at high volume, disrupting the Sapinslys' lunch party with family friends. The Sapinslys close the patio doors and return to their lunch, attempting to act as if the lunch is unaffected, but they can still hear the music through the closed windows. This occurs again at night as they sit in lawn chairs facing the bay sipping wine. Sapinsly's wife urges him to settle the matter. Sapinsly wants to call the Coast Guard again but she points out that they will only turn the music down again when the police boat comes close. She loses her temper and shouts at him that Tony could keep paying the $200 fines forever and goes into the house. Sapinsly sits there a few more moments. He gets up and goes inside, closing the doors and windows to block out some of the noise. It's clear that Tony Soprano has gotten the best of Sapinsly and he will surely return his deposit.

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  • Credenzo Curtis and Stanley Johnson: shot by Benny Fazio and Petey LaRosa in the Meadowlands to ensure their silence about the canceled Carmine hit.

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Title reference

  • "Whitecaps" is the name of the property Tony plans to buy for his family.
  • Whitecaps on water indicate rough sailing or trouble ahead.

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  • David Chase described Tony's use of Dean Martin to intimidate Sapinsly as "cultural warfare" because Martin is Italian.
  • "Whitecaps" is the longest episode of the series, running 75 minutes.
  • This is the final episode the characters Irina Peltsin and Svetlana Kirilenko appear in.

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References to past episodes

  • Tony brings up Carmela's telling him he was going to hell when he was first being examined for an MRI for his collapses (this occurred in the show's pilot episode).

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References to other media and cultural references

  • When Johnny Sack and Tony meet at an Office Depot to discuss potentially assassinating Carmine Lupertazzi, Johnny paraphrases a line from The Beatles' song, "Hey Jude", saying "I'll take a sad song and make it better".
  • Johnny Sack intimates that with Carmine's assassination there would be "differences between this and Castellano" in reference to the assassination of New York Gambino Crime Family Boss Paul Castellano by John Gotti, who subsequently became boss in 1986.
  • When Tony first sees Christopher after he's released from rehab, he says "Hey, Jack Lemmon! How's Lee Remick?" This refers to the 1962 film Days of Wine and Roses which deals with alcoholism and recovery.
  • When Carmela asks Tony to bring the theater seats down to the garage so they don't ruin the grass, he jokingly exclaims "Bad for the grass! Bad for the grass!" in an exaggerated, high-pitch voice, which is a reference to the 1974 film Chinatown.
  • When fighting with Tony in the pool house, Carmela says angrily "Who knew? All this time, you really wanted Tracy and Hepburn."
  • Johnny Sack says to Tony angrily "Creeps on this petty pace..." misquoting Shakespeare's Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5, lines 20).
  • When explaining his decision to call off the hit on Carmine, Tony warns Johnny Sack they need to avoid causing a "shootout at the OK Corral," referencing the infamous 1881 gunfight.

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  • "Layla" by Derek and the Dominos is playing in Tony's truck when he runs over his golf clubs in his driveway.
  • The song played while Tony and Christopher are at Nuovo Vesuvio is "Oh, What A Night" by The Dells.
  • When Janice and Bobby are dancing in Junior's kitchen, they sing/hum part of Sonny and Cher's "I Got You, Babe".
  • The song played over the end credits is "I Love Paris (Vegas)" by Dean Martin. It is followed by the instrumental piece, "I Have Dreamed", from the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical The King and I, performed by Fantastic Strings.

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Critical response

Entertainment Weekly placed "Whitecaps" #3 on their list of the 10 greatest The Sopranos episodes; TIME placed it at #4.


  • James Gandolfini won his third Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his performance in this episode. Gandolfini also won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series for his work on the fourth season as well.
  • Edie Falco won her third Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her performance in this episode. For her role as Carmela, she also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Television Series: Drama, the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series, and was the first female winner of the TCA Award for Individual Achievement in Drama, a feat that would later be accomplished by Julianna Margulies as well for The Good Wife in 2010.
  • Mitchell Burgess, David Chase, and Robin Green won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for their work on this episode.
  • John Patterson won the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing - Drama Series for his work on this episode.

Source of the article : Wikipedia



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