"A f--ing Philadelphia Lawyer"
Before turning to the episode more generally, one line must be mentioned. Tony, recognizing that being weak means death in his world, decides he must beat up the meathead who is now his bodyguard in front of the crew. And what does T call him during the manufactured argument but "a f---ing Philadelphia Lawyer." This insult has extra poignancy for my fellow junkettes.
As for the episode, it is, as always, the little things the Sopranos does so well that makes it a classic. The details of the wedding were picture perfect ($425! for the event--perhaps I don't want any daughters), but even better was Ginny's "diet" to fit in her dress, Allegra's own weight and relationship with her dad, and the waifish sister who clearly has an eating disorder. The world of mafia wives and princesses makes it amazing how "normal" Tony's own family is. This is, of course, very relatively speaking.
Christopher and T discussing whether Tony must do a favor for Johnny Sack at his daughter's wedding or visa versa is another classic. Christopher states "it's like the movie" with Tony responding "what movie." "One." That, of course, means the original Godfather, and Tony is right that that Don Vito must do favors on the wedding of his daughter. Christopher--the movie maven--can't even get the lines from his favorite movie correct.
Then there's Vito. His eyeing Finn at the wedding, recognizing his suit as Calvin Klein, and, to top it all off, his outfit at the gay bar--what can you say. While Vito may not be dead yet, he ain't going to be around much longer if he isn't alraedy sleeping with the fishes. Of course, we've seen this coming since last season.
Finally, a few thoughts on the theme of the episode--the necessity of maintaining the appearance of strength. Johnny Sack lost it and with that loss he may have lost his empire; Junior seems to have completely lost it unless he is pulling one of the greatest con jobs in history; and, of course, Tony. No one else in his crew has the combination of strength and brains (a semester and a half at Seton Hall!) to lead the NJ operation. Christopher and Paulie lack the brains, Sil is smarter but not smart enough and doesn't have the same strength, and Bobby ain't that bright and ain't that tough. Ironically, Vito comes closest except for his one big secret which is now coming out of the closet. But New Age Tony couldn't lead the crew and he has the self awareness to realize that (as does Melfi). Hence, the whupping he placed on his bodyguard. Yet, can Tony physically continue to perform? His satisfaction after the fight was mixed with his vomiting blood--not pretty. But at least we have the old Tony back albeit perhaps not better than ever.
Btw, I love Sunday nights. And once Sopranos and Big Love end, we get Entourage and Deadwood. How great is that.