Isabella (Sopranos Episode)

"Isabella" is the twelfth episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos. It was written by Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess, directed by Allen Coulter and originally aired on Sunday March 28, 1999.

Guest starring roles
Joseph Badalucco Jr. as Jimmy Altieri
Maria Grazia Cucinotta as Isabella
John Eddins as John Clayborn
Robert LuPone as Dr. Bruce Cusamano
Katalin Pota as Lilliana
Sal Ruffino as Chucky Signore
Al Sapienza as Mikey Palmice
Paul Schulze as Father Phil Intintola
Matt Servitto as Agent Harris
Touche as Rasheen Ray
David Wike as Donnie Paduana

At Mariolina Capuano's funeral, Jimmy Altieri mentions to Uncle Junior how sad Brendan Filone's mother was at his funeral. Once Jimmy leaves, Junior complains to Mikey Palmice about Jimmy's talking about the Filone hit. He also confesses that Mariolina gave him his first hand job many years ago, but then realizes that such discussion is inappropriate at a funeral.

Tony sinks into a severe depressive state and, after taking lithium pills prescribed by Dr. Melfi, sees a beautiful Italian woman in a white dress named Isabella in his neighbors' (the Cusamanos') garden. Isabella tells Tony that she is a foreign exchange dental student, and guesses correctly that Tony is from Avellino, Italy. Later, Tony takes her out to lunch and, while hearing her talk about Italy, has a dream that she is breast-feeding a baby named "Antonio".

Junior continues his plan to assassinate Tony, using two outside hired goons โ€” Rasheen Ray and John Clayborn โ€” contracted through Donnie Paduana. Ray and Clayborn follow Tony and wait for him outside a store near Dr. Melfi's office. Christopher Moltisanti, concerned about Tony, has also followed him to the store, and unknowingly prevents the assassination attempt. Junior meets with Donnie after the failed attempt and Donnie makes a joke about Tony and Livia. Junior decides that Donnie has a big mouth and says he does not feel right about him. Mikey then kills Donnie in his car after Chucky Signore calls him back as he is about to drive away.

The next day, Rasheen Ray and John Clayborn again wait for Tony near Dr. Melfi's office. As Tony stops to buy a newspaper and orange juice, they attempt to close in for the hit. As Tony walks back to his SUV and as John approaches, Tony sees John's reflection in the window of his Suburban. John fires and the first shot shatters the juice bottle Tony is holding, while the second shatters the driver's window as Tony enters his vehicle. As John approaches the window, Tony quickly grapples him while Rasheen approaches the passenger window and shoots at Tony, but accidentally hits John in the head, fatally wounding him. Tony manages to start the vehicle and pulls away still holding Rasheen and his gun through the passenger window. Tony drops his assailant once he gets the vehicle moving faster. This momentarily invigorates Tony, but he takes his eyes off the road and crashes into a parked car. Between the attack and the car crash, Tony has sustained injuries to his ear and leg.

FBI Agent Dwight Harris shows up at the hospital to attempt to convince Tony and Carmela Soprano to enter the witness protection program because Tony is no longer safe in New Jersey. Tony declines and states that the incident was merely a carjacking. But Tony understands he has survived an assassination attempt on his life. Silvio Dante, Paulie Walnuts and Christopher suspect Junior's involvement, and discuss this among themselves when Junior visits Tony at home after his release from hospital.

At the end, the Cusamanos return home and Tony is surprised to find that there was never a foreign exchange student, and, moreover, nobody else ever saw Isabella in the neighborhood. Tony calls Dr. Melfi in alarm to report that he had hallucinated the whole thing, and, with Dr. Melfi's blessing, dumps his lithium medication down the toilet. Dr. Melfi theorizes that Isabella was an idealized maternal figure that Tony's subconscious produced because of his deep upset about his own mother's actions at the time, and asks if Tony has anything else worrying him right now. Tony responds that he is fine, and that he'll be even finer when he finds out who organized the hit.

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