Far and away the weakest episode of the (outstanding) season. Michael Imperioli should've taken some notes when another cast member this season decided to write an episode - Toni Kalem's (that's Angie Bompansero to you) "All Happy Families...," another tension-wracked gem this tension-full season. This episode is arguably Imperioli's best - a far cry from the dregs of pretension that destroyed "From Where To Eternity" and "Christopher," unarguably the two worst episodes of the series. Much happens in "Marco Polo," to be certain, most pivotally Carmela and Tony's tryst in the pool and Tony B's crucial secret alliance with Angelo Garepe - one you know will have dire consequences with Johnny Sack. Yet it remains lifeless, strung along by Imperioli's trademark hack dialogue - spontaneous sermonizing left and right, and simply, saying too much. Carmela's rant at her mother is so flagrantly unswallowable, I suggest you pretend the whole thing didn't happen - much like I do with Tony's inspirational car ride at the end of "Christopher."
Friends and Family gather for Hugh's surprise party, to get a little extra cash Tony B. whacks Joey Peeps
with orders from Rusty Millio and Angelo (who had orders from Little Carmine) -- furthering the feud for New York over Little Carmine and Jo
Although it doesn’t open too many doors for the rest of the season, it is an interesting character study of some characters on the show we aren’t used to knowing a lot about. Hugh’s Surprise party is FUN to watch (with Tony B. getting hammered, Carmela's mother's friends bashing Tony Soprano in front of him, and Tony and Carmela almost hooking up in the pool after a game of Marco Polo) but halfway through the episode it doesn’t seem like we are in Sopranoland anymore. Good thing or Bad thing? Honestly, I don’t know. I liked seeing 's wife (Toni Kalem) again after such a long time (she even wrote the season's best episode so far) and her troubles at the body shop with Phil Leotardo's cadillac. The major door it opens is at the end, where Tony B. whacks Joey Peeps and a , and somehow manages to get his foot run over in the process. If Johnny Sack finds out, Tony Soprano’s ass is grass.
Overall Grade: A-
Ranking in season: # 9 / 13
Ranking in series: # 43 / 65
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