"Denial, Anger, Acceptance" is the third episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos. It was written by Mark Saraceni, directed by Nick Gomez, and originally aired on January 24, 1999.
Shlomo Teittleman is the head of a Hasidic Jewish family. His daughter is seeking a divorce from her husband Ariel, who claims that he has built up one of the family businesses, a motel, and will only consent to a divorce if he receives a 50% stake in it. Teittleman approaches Tony, who agrees to remove Ariel's claim in return for a 25% stake. Ariel turns out to be very tough, both emotionally and physically, and will not yield, however much he is beaten up by Silvio and Paulie. They consult Tony, who consults Hesh, who obliquely suggests threatening him with castration; Ariel yields. Teittleman then attempts to renegotiate the agreement; Tony, menacing, refuses.
Jackie remains in the hospital. Tony takes him a dancer from the Bada Bing, posing as a nurse, for a "private party". However, Jackie's condition continues to deteriorate and he is unable to think of anything else.
Artie is still depressed by the loss of his restaurant; the insurance company continues to suspect arson. He and Charmaine cater a charity event at the Sopranos' home; when he complains again, an altercation between him and Tony turns into a boyish food fight. During the event, Carmela offends Charmaine by seeming to treat her like a servant. Afterward, while they are clearing up, Charmaine confides that, years ago, before Carmela and Tony were married, she slept with Tony.
Meadow and one of her friends, Hunter Scangarelo, exhausted from choir practice and studying for the SATs, decide they need speed and go to Christopher for a supply. Chris initially refuses, fearing Tony's wrath if he finds out; his girlfriend Adriana La Cerva convinces him to do it anyway, as the girls are likely to get adulterated and unsafe drugs from less trustworthy dealers. Chris agrees to provide the speed, stressing that Meadow must never speak of it. At the recital Meadow and Hunter, showing subtle signs of methamphetamine use, sing their brief solos successfully.
Chris and Brendan return the stolen truck, and Junior discusses what action to take with his underling, Mikey Palmice, and with Livia. Obliquely, she advises him to punish Chris and to take drastic action against Brendan. Out alone one night, Chris is seized by Russian thugs who prepare to kill him. He thinks they have been sent by Tony because he sold the speed to Meadow. Terrified, he pleads for his life, but it is only a mock execution. Brendan is shot dead by Mikey; Junior glances at the body.
* = credit only
This is the first episode where Irina is played by Oksana Lada. She was originally portrayed by Siberia Federico in the pilot.
Denial, anger, and acceptance are the first, second, and fifth stages, respectively, described in the Kübler-Ross model.
In a retrospective review, Emily St. James of The A.V. Club wrote that the "[ending] montage - intercut with Tony watching Meadow sing - is one of the first moments when The Sopranos takes music and rises above its prosaic, muddy universe to become something like sublime"; St. James commented that although the episode "is a 'Let's get the plot wheels turning!' kind of episode, and those sorts of episodes can be a little trying from time to time", there is nonetheless "lots of it that is just expertly executed". Alan Sepinwall praised Gandolfini's performance as well as the story involving Carmela and Charmaine, writing that the show "has a really great eye and ear for insults – particularly ones not necessarily intended as such".
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