"Meadowlands" is the fourth episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos. It was written by Jason Cahill, directed by John Patterson and originally aired on January 31, 1999.
Tony becomes increasingly paranoid over his sessions with Dr. Melfi, especially after seeing Silvio leaving a dentist's office opposite Melfi's suite. He is also becoming attracted to Melfi and has corrupt police detective Vin Makazian secretly follow her. Makazian, who owes Tony money from gambling, assumes Melfi is Tony's mistress. When he sees her with a date he pulls the pair over, then assaults and arrests the man. Tony is beginning to consider quitting therapy, but Carmela—under the impression that Tony's therapist is a male—insists he continue or risk their marriage.
Christopher is scared after his mock execution leaves him in a neck brace. He becomes more unnerved when he and Adriana discover Brendan's body. Assuming that Tony is punishing him for giving speed to Meadow, he angrily confronts her but she assures him she has not told anyone. After finding that Junior and Mikey are responsible, Chris is inflamed and wants revenge. Tony orders Chris to stand down because Mikey is a made man, but then assaults Mikey himself. Tony then confronts Junior, who rejects an offer of compromise and tells him he should "come heavy" (i.e. with a gun) for his next visit or not at all.
The prospect of war with Junior looms large for Tony, especially after Jackie, the DiMeo family's acting boss, dies without a clear successor. Tony has the backing of other DiMeo capos, but seeks a diplomatic resolution with his uncle. After some unwitting inspiration from Melfi about giving the elderly the "illusion of control", Tony cedes leadership of the family to Junior in exchange for his uncle's income-earning properties and contracts, so war within the family is avoided while Junior becomes the primary target for federal investigations. Content with his decision, Tony opts to remain in therapy.
A.J. scuffles with a physically bigger classmate, Jeremy Piocosta. Jeremy backs down from a second formal fight and pays A.J. compensation for a shirt that was torn in the scuffle. A.J. is baffled by this. Meadow explains that Jeremy was not intimidated by A.J. but by Tony's reputation as a mobster. Tony had coincidentally run into Jeremy's father the day before at a plant nursery; Tony was friendly but happened to be holding an ax, and Jeremy's father quickly backed away. Meadow asks A.J. how many other garbage men live in a house as expensive as theirs, and shows him a Mafia-themed website. At Jackie's funeral, Meadow gives A.J. a knowing look and nods in the direction of the federal agents taking pictures.
The Meadowlands is a wetlands area in northern New Jersey. Christopher identifies it as the place where his mock execution took place.
Retrospectively, Emily St. James of The A.V. Club felt that although many elements of "Meadowlands" worked, the episode is "a bit of a step down from the previous three." She criticized the subplot involving AJ as "pretty pointless, playing out as a sort of miniature version of the Tony and Junior conflict and ending much the same way", but considered the overall episode to be "a pretty good summation of many of the things the show is going to be interested in going forward." Alan Sepinwall was highly positive, calling the resolution of the Tony and Junior conflict "an elegant solution, [...] and a great indicator of what a savvy tactician Tony is". Sepinwall also praised the final scene of "Meadowlands" as "a strong way to end an episode that's been all about the crumbling walls between Tony's work and home lives."
In order of first appearance:
Jason Cahill won a Writers Guild of America award for his work on this episode.
Owlapps.net - since 2012 - Les chouettes applications du hibou