College" is the fifth episode of the first season of the HBO television series The Sopranos. It was written by series creator/executive producer David Chase and co-producer Jim Manos, Jr., and was directed by Allen Coulter. It originally aired on February 7, 1999.
The episode is widely regarded as one of the best of the series, rated as the best by both Time Magazine and Entertainment Weekly.
Episode recapTony takes Meadow on a trip to New England to visit colleges she is considering. On the drive to Maine, Tony is taken aback when his daughter asks if he is 'in the Mafia', and his instinctive reaction is to deny everything. When Meadow proves skeptical, he relents and admits (if not understates) that a portion of his income is from illegal gambling and other activities. Meadow admits to taking speed to study for SATs, but after Tony reacts angrily, will not state her source of the drugs. Both seem relieved by this mutual honesty on difficult topics.
However, later on the journey, Tony spots a familiar face from afar at a gas station—Fabian Petrulio, a former member of the DiMeo crime family who turned FBI informant and was relocated under the Witness Protection Program. Despite Meadow's obvious alarm and suspicions at his agitated reaction (chasing a car through oncoming traffic), Tony resolves to locate the man, confirm his identity, and personally execute him—-while continuing his trip with Meadow. Tony leaves his daughter at a college bar while he tracks down Petrulio. He confirms Petrulio's identity when he sees a bust of Ronald Reagan in Petrulio's office, similar to those that Petrulio had created while in prison. Tony fails to realize that his snooping has not gone unnoticed, and Petrulio in turn tracks the pair back to the motel where they are staying. However, two elderly bystanders present prevent him from taking a shot at an unsuspecting Tony.
The next morning, Tony drops off Meadow for an interview at Colby College, and leaves to ambush Petrulio at his "Frederick 'Fred' Peters" travel agency. Tony strangles him with a length of wire as Petrulio pleads for his life. On his return to Bowdoin, Tony is met with more skepticism from his daughter, and is struck by a Nathaniel Hawthorne quote on display in the college: "No man… can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which one may be true."
Meanwhile, back in New Jersey, Carmela has been at home recovering from a case of the flu, and is paid a surprise visit from Father Phil while A.J. is at a friend's sleepover. Father Phil and Carmela relax with baked ziti, wine, and the film The Remains of the Day. Carmela's emotions are spurred when Dr. Melfi phones to reschedule Tony's appointment, revealing to Carmela that her husband's psychiatrist is female. Carmela pours out her heart to the Father about her marriage, her fears for her children and her soul, and Carmela is nearly driven to kiss Father Phil, only the moment is lost when the priest's stomach revolts against his alcohol consumption. The Father sleeps it off on the sofa until morning. Tony and Meadow return the same day, but his inquiry as to what Carmela was doing spending her evening alone with another man is turned around when she mentions her conversation with Dr. Jennifer Melfi, putting Tony on the defensive